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Subject: Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.
Fred    5/29/2002 7:23:42 PM
I was wonderring if anyone out there knows aproximatley what the nuclear capabilities of In India and Pakistan?
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bsl    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/29/2002 9:16:05 PM
The **public** figures seem to give Pakistan perhaps a couple of dozen warheads, and India perhaps as many as a hundred. But, I wouldn't bet the house on those figures. As far as anything I've ever seen, we're talking relatively small fission devices, rather than fusion warheads. Hiroshima sized, and a bit larger. It seems extremely unlikely that either side has been able to test a fusion device. If that wasn't detected, than several major institutions both in America and abroad have failed, completely. And, I doubt a country would risk going to war depending on a completely untested nuclear system. But, the possibility that one or both sides might have significantly more warheads is real. Once they've tested a design, they can run off as many copies as they have parts for. The published figures for available fission materials are speculative and could easily be wrong. Both sides have tested ballistic missiles, successfully. AND, both can probably hang bombs on planes. Note that the recent story of possible projected casualties of a full scale nuclear exchange has been misreported. The "ten to twelve" million figure seems to refer only to immediate casualties, and NOT the ultimate level of people killed. Depending on exactly how the bombs were used, and the aftermath, the ultimate figures could exceed a hundred million, in the worst case.
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Fred    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/29/2002 10:05:44 PM
Thanks BSL. Are ther fallout implications for North America? Do you see this conflict spreading outwards a la the Balkans before WW?
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nakito    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 4:50:46 PM
Try this link out-its pretty comprehensive, and FAS tends to be accurate though maybe a little dated:
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bsl    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 6:23:44 PM
"Are ther fallout implications for North America?" Possibly. When America, the USSR and France conducted major, above ground tests during the 50s, there were measurable levels of fallout across most of the planet. Of course, those were far larger devices than any attributed to India and Pakistan. But, enough small fission explosions could still put a fair amount of crap into the high atmosphere, where it will travel. A lot of variables, including number of explosions, air versus ground bursts, specific composition of the warheads and the engineering of them, whether or not firestorms are kindled. But, we're certainly not in nuclear winter territory, and as far as fallout far from the subcontinent goes, we're more in the realm of long-term statistical effects than any acute radiation poisoning. "Do you see this conflict spreading outwards a la the Balkans before WW?" I have trouble finding escalation scenarios *apart* from the Islamic world, which means, basically, the Arabs, plus, perhaps, Iran. And, Israel, dragged in by someone lobbing weapons at it in a deliberate attempt to spread the fighting. This, however, is unlikely to come out of Pakistan. It's a policy Iraq would use. Conceivably Iran. Basically, if there is a general war between India and Pakistan, it seems to me that the way it might, conceivably spread, is if Al Qaeda or sympathetic elements in the Pakistani intelligence/military community were to try to drag others in on their side. How to do so is a problem, though. Now, Al Qaeda, et al, is certainly capable of attacks on uninvolved parties, in pursuit of their general, "Brothers in Islam, arise, and destroy the enemy infidel" strategy. But, how to accomplish this in a way which might help their cause. Just attacking another country is a bit dicey. The idea, presumably, would be to cause the attacked country to counterattack, in the hope that this, in turn, would so outrage some part of the Islamic world as to make it join an already bad fight. Huh? Any volunteers for a few nukes to be launched against you? Can we see a show of hands? I see obvious escalation scenarios in context of an American attack on Iraq, through this sort of tactic directed at Israel. Pakistan is a tougher one to reason out. Possible. But, not obvious. This can get to be a complicated thing. The interests of Pakistan, the country, and Al Qaeda do not necessarily coincide. For instance, let's look at the recent attack on French naval personel in Pakistan. These were people who were working FOR Pakistan, to increase Pakistani military power. Now, Al Qaeda might have reason to kill the infidels. Pakistan didn't. Can you imagine how angry major parts of the Pakistani military must be over that? Faced with the threat of iminent war with India, and Al Qaeda is attacking the very people strengthening Pakistan? Yet, significant parts of Pakistani intelligence seem intimately tied to Al Qaeda and there may be parts of the Pakistani professional military also tied. Things are complicated, in Islamabad.
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timon_phocas    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 7:23:35 PM
If India attacks Pakistan for fostering Kashmiri guerillas will China accuse India of fostering Tibetan guerillas? What happens then?
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To nakito    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 9:06:16 PM
Thanks I will have a look.
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Fred    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 9:12:01 PM
It is a twisted situation. I beleive Pakistan was backing the Taliban as a way to carve out influance in Afghanistan. They sure changed their minds awful quick. I see a problem in that nuclear warfare could cause chaos to the point where AQ or some other nutbars could get a nuke and smuggle it into the west. There are also fallout implications for allied forces in the west. Not to mention someone may lob a nuke at them either by design or accident. I wonder if it would be advisable to suggest to both sides the first one to lob a nuke will bedestroyed by the Wests nuclear detterant. Some fathead may fancy surviving a few bombs but a Trident could turn the whole country into a wasteland.
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Fred    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 9:14:57 PM
You know that is a possibilty I never considderred. It is a rather frightenning possibilty. The Chinese have enough conventional forces to wipe the map with India and have already done so I beleive. The Chinese Nuclear detterant still compared to the west and this would be a factor in thier thinking. I cannot imagine the horror of a nuke in Bombay or Madras or a similar Pakistani city. These people must be insane.
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ABM    RE:Indian and Pakistani Nuclear capabilities.   5/30/2002 9:28:08 PM
You know guys I was reading about NMD again the other day and I still like the concept but I like the executuion less. The basic problem with NMD as postulated is the small amount of interceptors versus the target and the relative cheapness of spoofing defences. I was wondderring if a return to a layeered system maight not be wise. In orbit place satellites to pick up the launch. Done I beleive. Why not take a version of the new airborne laser and place it in orbit as well. With enough of these satellites ones chances of significant hits goes up geometrically. Also why not use a simple kinetic kill launcher in orbit with a high rate of fire. Use lots and you overcome a lot of targetting problems. You could if you fired an object fast enough destroy warheads easily and the decoys bomblets whatever. Combine kinetic kill with lasers and you start giving the offence tons of problems. Use the kinetic kill interceptors for midboost kills after the lasers and Kinetic weapons have thinned them out. In the terminal phase I would consider nuclear tipped abms. It sounds terrible but better a smaller problem than a multi-kiloton airburst over Boston or Toronto. Also why not put conventional weapons in orbit for bombardment purpose. A simple metal pole fired at high speed into a missile site could cause significant damage and a cloud of them would be great. I read the idea somewhere and it seems to make sence. Imagine what you could do to a warship with a steel telephone pole hit at at a very high speed. I beleive these ideas may be technologically feasible. Anyways just an opinion.
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ABM/Fred    Oops previous post should be Fred:(   5/30/2002 11:07:26 PM
Sorry folks
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