South Asian Fake Nuclear Power
By Ishaal Zehra
Every now and then, in the democratic entity called India, something unusual happens which keeps one amused for so many days. The feeling is almost the same as some magician waves his wand and ‘woof’……. here comes a surprise (which eventually turns out to be a shock at the end of the day) and then another and another and the story goes on.
Some time back Mr. P. K. Iyengar, former head of India’s main nuclear body, told the BBC that he made it clear in 2002 that India’s nuclear tests were inconclusive and ambiguous and that the 1998 nuclear test was not a deterrent against China, though it was against Pakistan. His comments came as atomic scientist K Santhanam, who was associated with India’s 1998 nuclear tests, said they were not as successful as claimed. Meaning, the yield of the thermonuclear explosions was actually much below expectations and the tests were perhaps more a fizzle. Now if his statement is accurate then it points to a massive cover-up by India and also confirms what many in the West suspected at that time – that the nuclear devices India tested were not as powerful as had been thought. Revising history, Pakistan was forced to test her nuclear capability and declare itself a nuclear state after India made this dramatic presentation in front of the world boasting her fake strength in 1998 which actually disturbed the balance of power in the region.
Sometimes it is believed that countries exaggerate their achievements for political posturing against their enemies. Realistically, this is the part of the global game but this insanity of India in 98 unfortunately accelerated the arms race in the region and saying this would not be wrong that it is actually India who pushed the region towards an unending nuclear race.
This time the surprise came when the former US president Bill Clinton made it public that in the event of a nuclear war with Pakistan, Indian leaders had predicted a bizarre victory. Surprisingly the Indian officials had calculated that while 300 million to 500 million of their countrymen would die if Pakistani nukes hit India, all 120 million Pakistanis would be annihilated in a tit-for-tat Indian strike. What is more amazing is the Indian government’s willingness to play fast and loose with its citizens lives to notch up a bizarre win against Pakistan. Now this is actually called the height of enmity. In the heart of their hearts such is the hatred for Pakistan that they simply assumed their 500 million people dead just for the wish to see Pakistan dead and gone. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Taylor Branch’s new book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, which goes on sale in early October, has an unguarded Clinton venting about Indian leaders’ so-called willingness to threaten the death of millions in their standoff over nuclear arms.
India-Pakistan relations do not move at a comfortable pace. They zigzag from crisis to crisis. In the interregnum the two countries either engage in negotiations or struggle to revive an interrupted dialogue. And in such scenario keeping nuclear weapons free from risk is a mad fantasy. There is always a fatal risk that sooner or later, in a situation of political tension and panic, someone somewhere will err and millions may die.
Today many a brilliant writers and Mr. Iyengar himself stress upon conducting further tests to prove Indian nuclear capability. While talking to the BBC Mr. Iyengar said that If India wants to declare itself as a nuclear power and confirm to the military (read “Pakistan” instead) that it has all the means of designing a thermo-nuclear device which can go into a missile, which can be dropped from an aircraft or can be launched from a submarine, it needs many more tests. Humbly, for all such statements of conducting further nuclear tests just to establish India as a true nuclear power, I would suggest them to spend that money helping its huge population of rock bottom poverty rather then experiencing again a global embarrassment while raising their so-called ego by doing another fake, if somebody cares to listen.