India-Pakistan: May 25, 2002


The threat of nuclear war in South Asia is coming largely from Pakistan. Unable to control the Kashmiri terrorist attacks on India (without risking a civil war in Pakistan), popular opinion in Pakistan assumes that only its nuclear weapons protect it from the more powerful Indian armed forces. It's the old Cold War strategy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). There is growing popular demand in India that "something be done" about the Kashmir terrorists operating out of Pakistani bases. The current talk in India is about bombing the bases in Pakistan controlled Kashmir, with perhaps a ground invasion to occupy the bases. But that just pushes the bases back into Pakistan proper. While Pakistan has publicly signed on to serve in the War on Terrorism, they cannot do so without the risk of civil war, and no one has come up with a way to get around that. At the moment, many Pakistanis are willing to risk nuclear war rather than suppress the Kashmir terrorist activity. So the first real nuclear war may be, like so many wars before it, over real estate, with a little religion on the side. 

In Kashmir, five rebels and two soldiers were killed.

Kashmir has also been the scene, for the last week, of daily exchanges of artillery, mortar and machine-gun fire. So far, at least 26 Pakistanis and ten Indians (mostly civilians living in the area, the troops are dug in) have been killed. At least 30,000 civilians (on both sides of the border) have fled their homes to avoid the firepower. Troops along the border were seen bringing up more artillery and anti-aircraft weapons and building more fortifications. 

Pakistan tested one of its Hatf V missiles (range of 1500-2000 kilometers, can carry conventional or nuclear weapon.) This is the first of several tests that were planned for some time (you have to plan these tests in advance because the missile is still in development.) The 16 ton missiles can carry a warhead weighing from 1500-2200 pounds. The first test of the missile was in 1998. Evidence indicates that the Hatf V is actually a North Korean No-Dong missile, assembled in Pakistan from imported North Korean components. The Pakistanis have had to build their own warhead capable of handling a nuclear weapon. This is a fairly complex process, as you need a lot of safety devices in the warhead to prevent a premature detonation of the nuclear weapon. The Hatf V is said to be "ready for production," but not yet in production. 




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close