In an Indo-Pak Conflict, Stakes are Higher Than Ever: US Think Tank

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In an Indo-Pak Conflict, Stakes are Higher Than Ever: US Think Tank

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif at the United Nations.


Washington:  Pakistan's dependence on tactical atomic weapons greatly expands the risk of  Indo-Pak nuclear confrontation and the most dangerous scenario that could lead to a catastrophe is a replay of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, a group of American think tanks has said.

166 people had died in the Mumbai attack in 2008.

"In the India-Pakistan conflict, the stakes are higher than ever," said Stratfor, an intelligence analysis group and think tank, in its latest analysis.

Nuclear risks will grow significantly in the event of another confrontation, wrote Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center in his latest op-ed.

"Pakistan's military leaders seem unpersuaded by arguments that mixing tactical nuclear weapons into conventional battle plans is a lousy idea," he wrote ahead of his visit to Pakistan soon.

"Pakistan's dependence on tactical nuclear weapons greatly expands the risk of a disastrous nuclear confrontation in the subcontinent as well, enhancing the potential for the use of nuclear weapons in either a real or perceived Cold Start offensive.

"The stakes are now much higher in any potential Indo-Pakistani conflict," Stratfor wrote in its analysis, which is widely read in the government circles.

"The most dangerous scenario that could lead to catastrophe is a replay of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks," wrote Lieutenant General (retired) David W Barno and Dr Nora Bensahel from the American University in a joint op-ed in 'War on the Rocks'.

"The chances of such Indian government restraint in a similarly deadly future scenario are unlikely," they said adding that if there were another Mumbai, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not step back from using military force in response, unlike his predecessors," it said.

"The damage from fallout and blast, the deaths of potentially millions, and the environmental devastation of even a few weapons detonations would suddenly dwarf any other global problem," they wrote.

Pakistan will continue to invest in tactical nuclear weapons to use on the battlefield to compensate for India's growing conventional military advantage, it said.

Introducing battlefield nuclear weapons will lower the threshold of nuclear weapons use while raising the possibility of a full nuclear exchange on the Indian subcontinent, it added.


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