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India, Pakistan Nuclear War Could Spell Doom In China, Iran & Bangladesh

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A nuclear conflagration between India and Pakistan would devastate global food supplies and could trigger unprecedented global food shortages and starvation for over a decade, a 19-member international research team said in a study on Monday. EurAsian Times gets you what would happen in case of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan

“Even a limited war would have devastating indirect implications worldwide. It would exceed the largest famine in documented history. We’re not saying a nuclear conflict is around the corner. But it is important to understand what could happen,” said Jonas Jägermeyr a post-doctoral scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who led the study.

The paper was co-authored by a total of 19 scientists from five countries, including three others from Goddard, which is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute: Michael Puma, Alison Heslin and Cynthia Rosenzweig. Jägermeyr also has affiliations with the University of Chicago and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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As per secondary research by the EurAsian Times, much attention has been focused recently on North Korea’s nuclear program and the potential for Iran or other countries to start up their own arsenals, many experts have long regarded Pakistan and India as the most dangerous players, because of their history of near-continuous conflict over territory and other issues.

India tested its first nuclear weapon in 1974 and when Pakistan followed in 1998, the stakes increased. The two countries have already had four full-scale conventional wars, in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999, along with many substantial skirmishes in between.

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As the EurAsian Times reported earlier, in November 2019, Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed warned India of area-specific nuclear attacks with tactical atomic bombs. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that rising tensions between the nuclear-armed countries could endanger the world.

Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh had said that India may change its ‘no-first-use policy’ in future depending on the circumstances. In such volatile situations, it’s not hard for one to predict a nuclear war scenario.

Imagine this, as geopolitical tensions rise between India and Pakistan over the contested region of Kashmir, a terrorist attacks a site in India, and as an immediate response, India sends its tanks rolling across the border with Pakistan. As a show of force against India, Pakistan decides to detonate several small nuclear bombs.

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The next day, India sets off its own atomic explosions and within days, the nations begin bombing dozens of military targets and then hundreds of cities. Tens of millions of people die in the blasts.

That horrifying scenario is just the beginning. Smoke from the incinerated cities rises high into the atmosphere, wrapping the planet in a blanket of soot that blocks the Sun’s rays. The planet plunges into a deep chill. For years, crops wither from California to China. Famine sets in around the globe.

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The Little Boy bomb attack by the US alone killed around 100,000 Japanese—between 30 to 40 per cent of Hiroshima’s population—and destroyed 69 per cent of the buildings in the city.

But Pakistan and India host some of the most populous and densely populated cities on the planet, with population densities of Calcutta, Karachi and Mumbai at or exceeding 65,000 people per square mile. Thus, even low-yield bombs could cause tremendous casualties.

Secondary research by the EurAsian Times estimates that the immediate effects of the bombs—the fireball, over-pressure wave, radiation burns etc.—would kill twenty million people. An earlier study estimated a hundred 15-kiloton nuclear detonations could kill twenty-six million in India and eighteen million in Pakistan—and concluded that escalating to using 100-kiloton warheads, which have greater blast radius and overpressure waves that can shatter hardened structures, would multiply death tolls four-fold.

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Moreover, these projected body counts omit the secondary effects of nuclear blasts. Many survivors of the initial explosion would suffer slow, lingering deaths due to radiation exposure. The collapse of healthcare, transport, sanitation, water and economic infrastructure would also claim many more lives. A nuclear blast could also trigger a deadly firestorm. For instance, a firestorm caused by the U.S. napalm bombing of Tokyo in March 1945 killed more people than the Fat Man bomb killed in Nagasaki.

Now consider likely population movements in event of a nuclear war between India-Pakistan, which together total over 1.5 billion people. Nuclear bombings—or their even their mere potential—would likely cause many city-dwellers to flee to the countryside to lower their odds of being caught in a nuclear strike. Wealthier citizens, numbering in tens of millions, would use their resources to flee abroad.

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Should bombs begin to pound, poorer citizens many begin flowing over to Afghanistan and Iran for Pakistan, and Nepal and Bangladesh for India. These poor states would struggle to supports tens of millions of refugees. China also borders India and Pakistan—but historically Beijing has not welcomed refugees.

But that is not all, the recent study based on computer simulations has suggested that even a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could lead to 20 to 50 per cent losses of staple food crops above 30-degree latitude or 11 per cent globally for five years after the conflict.

The simulations predict that if India and Pakistan each set off 50 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs, firestorms would spew around five million tonnes of soot (black smoke) into the stratosphere that would be carried by winds across the world, absorb sunlight and lower average global temperatures by 1.8 degrees Celsius for at least five years.

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The temperature drop would lead to an average of 11 per cent fall in the production of maize, wheat, soybeans and rice, the four major staple cereals, the researchers said in their study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their calculations suggest that by the fifth year, maize and wheat availability would decrease by around 13 per cent globally and by more than 20 per cent in 71 countries with a total population of around 1.3 billion.

The study, which relied on computer simulations of the impact of firestorms on crop production, has indicated that crops in the northern temperate regions — in Canada, China, Europe, Russia and the US — would be the hardest hit.

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However, because many of these countries produce surpluses that get exported to the low-income countries, the scientists predict, the production falls in the northern countries would impact the low-income countries.

The scientists predict that the northern nations would impose export bans to protect their own populations. Some of the countries to be hardest hit would be Bangladesh, Honduras, Niger, Rwanda and Somalia.

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India-based analysts view the study as a fresh attempt to amplify concerns about nuclear weapons in South Asia, although the researchers themselves have pointed out that of the estimated 14,000 nuclear warheads believed to exist globally, 95 per cent belong to the US and Russia while India and Pakistan are thought to have about 150 each.

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Asia Pacific

India-China Economic Romance Cannot End With A Mere Border Clash – Chinese Experts

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India and China have been at each other’s throat for more than a month now. Aside from the military confrontation in Ladakh, India has also moved to disengage from China economically.

While the move has got the support from the majority of Indians, Cui Hui’ao of the China Global Television Network (CGTN) writes that disengaging from China might not be a choice for India and that economic de-coupling is driven politically by Narendra Modi.

As reported by Eurasian Times consistently during last month, the feud between India and China has been a rollercoaster ride. From military buildup, deadly clashes to de-escalation and eventual withdrawal, the clash of the two Asiatic giants has seen it all.

Cui writes that apart from the military confrontation, India has retaliated in the economic sphere, referring to the decision by the Indian government to ban 59 Chinese application including TikTok, WeChat and ShareIt and the call to boycott Chinese products.

The journalist at CGTN writes that decoupling from China may be easier said than done for India. He says that India is not a manufacturing powerhouse, so in terms of bilateral trade, it actually buys much more from China than the other way around.

Cui analyses trade data to support the fact that New Delhi will find it difficult to reduce its dependence on Chinese imports. Between April 2019 and March 2020, India imported over 65 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods from China.

Cui is of the opinion that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Indian economy hard and in fact, the disengagement is driven by politics rather than economics. He finds it difficult to accept that India’s disengagement from China would take place at a time when the Indian economy is projected to contract by 4.5% according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Speaking to Cui, Cheng Xizhong, a visiting professor from Southwest University of Political Science and Law, says that the decision to de-couple from China economically is because of the domestic pressure on Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

‘’Since his second term began yet Indian economy is a mess. He has to find a way to shift the public attention elsewhere,” he said.

The author agrees with the point made by Cheng Xizhong and writes that pressure on the Indian PM Modi comes from multiple fronts, including his own supporters, businesses, and farmers union. But this time, the nationalistic voice is even louder.

Other experts interviewed by Chui agree that New Delhi would benefit more if it partnered with Beijing. Professor Cheng, a former Chinese military diplomat in South Asia, said that since India started its opening-up in the 1990s, its economic growth has been crippled by lack of high-quality infrastructure and it would wiser if India and China work together.

Similar views are shared by Indian economist Biswajit Dhar, who says that India’s decision to start producing domestically has to be strategic and it cannot take the decision to produce everything.”

While India and China disengage at the battlefront in Ladakh, the Indian government is looking for solutions to reduce its dependency on Chinese imports. PM Modi has encouraged all Indians to become self-reliant (Aatmanirbhar) by producing and purchasing indigenous goods and boost the Indian economy.

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South Asia

Modi unleashed the Indian Army against China while Congress kept a tight grip – Experts

India and China saw the worst face off in the last 45 years on the border. After the troops of the two neighbouring countries clashed on the LAC in the Galwan valley leaving 20 Indian troops dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties

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After the India-China clash last month that killed 20 Indian soldiers in a border skirmish, several anti-China protests erupted around the country. Protestors burned effigies of Chinese President Xi Jinping and called for an “economic war” against China.

Analysts have said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive approach fits the mood of the public but it doesn’t go as far as wanting a full-blown war with its nuclear-armed, economically mighter neighbour.

As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, India and China saw the worst face off in the last 45 years on the border. After the troops of the two neighbouring countries clashed on the LAC in the Galwan valley leaving 20 Indian troops dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

The efforts to defuse border tensions were somewhat resolved after a telephonic conversation between India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and through other diplomatic channels.

PM Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to troops near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where he made a veiled comment on China saying “age of expansionism is over”. “History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” Modi said addressing soldiers in Ladakh’s Nimo.

“Modi would not let the nationalist fervour lead India into a war with China. He wants to use this nationalist sentiment, but he is also scared of the blowback it might cause,” said Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the South Asia and China Centre at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

Analysts have also argued that after the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) came to power, Modi has given a freer rein to the army since taking power in 2014. According to S. Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Congress party sought better relations with China after the brief border war in late 1962, which meant keeping the military on a tight leash.

“Congress was always very persuasive and would ask the military not to do this or that along the border because it would aggrieve China,” Kondapalli said.

Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science at Indiana University explained that Modi and the BJP represent a Hindu-centric ideology, away from the secular and pluralistic nationalism that defined the country for more than half a century.

In August of last year, India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which had granted the northern Muslim-majority province a significant autonomy. Ganguly said the BJP’s Hindu-centric nationalism influences India’s approach to the issue with China because the contested border is in Kashmir.

He further said that Modi and the BJP justified the removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by pointing to separatist Muslim insurgents in the region supported by neighbouring rival Pakistan.

Ganguly argued that because of the large Muslim minority in India, and Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims, it is easy to whip up a degree of nationalist fervour by painting Muslims as fifth columnists of Pakistan.

“Whereas with China, it’s much more difficult to whip up a similar kind of nationalism because the Chinese community in India is so minuscule, but that doesn’t mean Modi isn’t trying,” he said.

“China’s military power is nearly four times that of India. Even after the deaths of the Indian soldiers on June 15, Kondapalli said the BJP had never thought of taking the dispute into anything beyond the defence of a few kilometres of land along the border with China.

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World

India-China Big Meet Today – Will Chinese army withdraw from Pangong Tso and Depsang?

The meeting between top Indian and Chinese commanders will take place in Chushul in Ladakh. The planned tactics to defuse tension are the most complicated yet for the two nations that stand eyeball-to-eyeball in various border areas of Ladakh including Pangong Tso area and in Depsang plains.

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Two senior military commanders from India and China who have held three rounds of peace negotiations before will meet again today to accomplish the most challenging task –  ensure the withdrawal of Chinese soldiers from eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso and Depsang.

Lt Gen. Harinder Singh and Maj. Gen. Liu Lin of the Chinese Liberation Army (PLA) will meet after senior diplomats from India and China earlier displayed their resolve to “ensure complete disengagement” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The meeting between top Indian and Chinese commanders will take place in Chushul in Ladakh. The planned tactics to defuse tension are the most complicated yet for the two nations that stand eyeball-to-eyeball in various border areas of Ladakh including Pangong Tso area and in Depsang plains.

Last week, troops of both nations withdrew their troops from three contentious areas —PP (patrolling point) 14,15 and 17A, the move creating a buffer zone of 3-4km depth. This was done to guarantee that soldiers who are separated at some points along the LAC by only 600 metres or less do not clash with each other.

Last week’s disengagement at PP 14, 15 and 17A was comparatively benign, according to experts. They said the tricky part is the pull out of Chinese PLA soldiers from Pangong Tso and the Depsang plains—situated west of PP 14, 15 and 17A.

India has been in control of one-third of Pangong Tso, and the Chinese of the remaining two-thirds for years. In the past China held its position at Finger 8—one of a series of mountain folds extending into the lake—but used to patrol up to Finger 4. India controlled positions up to Finger 4 and used to patrol up to Finger 8.

Tensions between Indian and Chinese soldiers started mounting in May when the Chinese PLA soldiers encroached as far as Finger 4 area. Though there has been some amount of pullback, PLA troops are now in the Indian territory as per experts in New Delhi and need to pull back.

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