India-Pakistan: September 27, 2000


During the 1999 border conflict in the Kargil region, both India and Pakistan deployed nuclear-armed missiles. Neither knew for certain if the missiles would reach their targets or if the warheads would function, but both expected to be able to score serious damage on their historic enemy. The revelations have come from a number of Indian and Pakistani military officers; the leaks may be intended by their respective governments to show their enemies just exactly where the lines are drawn that would provoke a nuclear war. Both insisted that their missiles were deployed only as a deterrent. India reportedly deployed five nuclear-tipped missiles. Four of these were Prithvis which have a range of only 150 miles, but one was a much larger Agni missile, which can reach 1,000 miles. The Prithvis apparently had sub-kiloton tactical warheads. India reportedly regards a force of 40-60 Agnis as the minimum necessary to form a credible deterrent. Pakistan reportedly had six Hatf-II missiles armed with nuclear warheads. These missiles have a range of 500 miles and were aimed at Indian cities and industrial areas. Pakistan is thought by nearly everyone to have the strategic advantage in that its missiles are proven foreign designs (Hatf-II is a Chinese M9 while Guari is a North Korean Nodong-2) while India's numerous efforts to produce home-designed military systems usually result in embarrassing failures.--Stephen V Cole


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