CNN is reporting: “Pakistan vows retaliation after Indian airstrikes, as hostilities rise between nuclear powers.” The New York Times reports: “For the first time in five decades, Indian warplanes crossed into Pakistan and conducted airstrikes on Tuesday. But in the jarring escalation of hostilities, the leadership of each nuclear-armed country also appeared to leave itself a way out of pushing the conflict into war.
“In India, where election-year nationalism is fueling waves of anger over the militant attack in Kashmir that killed dozens of soldiers this month, the story line was of righteous vengeance accomplished.“’We won’t let this country bow down!’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a charged rally in New Delhi, speaking in front of a backdrop with the photos of the Indian soldiers killed by a suicide bomber.”
ZIA MIAN, zia at princeton.edu
Mian is a physicist and co-director of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, where he also directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia. He received the 2014 Linus Pauling Legacy Award for “his accomplishments as a scientist and as a peace activist in contributing to the global effort for nuclear disarmament and for a more peaceful world.”
He wrote or co-wrote several relevant pieces for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, most recently: “Managing Pakistan’s Bomb: Learning on the Job“: Pakistani Prime Minister “Imran Khan’s two-decade-long political career overlaps with the creation of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but he has had very little to say about the Bomb. When he has spoken, it has been as a Bomb supporter. …
“Military crises have occurred in the subcontinent with awful frequency in recent decades, despite the Bomb, and perhaps because of it. Pakistan and India have survived at least five since 1987, giving both sides misplaced confidence that they will survive the next, too. This, in turn, leads to a lessening of political restraints on the militaries of both countries and greater nuclear brinksmanship.”
See from 2016: “Kashmir, Climate Change and Nuclear War“: “A potential trigger for armed conflict that might escalate to nuclear war between Pakistan and India is the dispute over the land and people of Kashmir. Pakistan has claimed this territory since the partition of British India in 1947 that created the borders of India and Pakistan. The dispute has led already to three wars, in 1947, 1965, and 1999, and left Kashmir divided between Pakistan and India along a Line of Control where the armies of Pakistan and India now confront each other in an uneasy stalemate.”
Also: “Nuclear Battles in South Asia“: “The armies of Pakistan and India are practicing for nuclear war on the battlefield: Pakistan is rehearsing the use of nuclear weapons, while India trains to fight on despite such use and subsequently escalate. What were once mere ideas and scenarios dreamed up by hawkish military planners and nuclear strategists have become starkly visible capabilities and commitments. When the time comes, policy makers and people on both sides will expect — and perhaps demand — that the Bomb be used.”