Article 370 and Pakistan’s Nuclear Bombast
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 17 Aug , 2019

“The world will not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’…”  Oppenheimer cited Hindu Scripture, Bhagavad Gita under the impression of the Trinity explosion.

“No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before. The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun.” Brigadier General T.F. Farrell, military commander on the staff of the Manhattan Project, 16 July 1945

Pakistan is desperately trying to manipulate a narrative of an ownership of J&K. It has witnessed the shattering of its myth of proprietary rights perpetuated over the years. Its false sense of chauvinism is contributing to its irrationality.

The Pakistani polity is like the Rhinestone Cowboy,  ‘Singing’ the same old song…..Where hustle’s the name of the game….And nice guys get washed away like the snow in the rain.’

The frenzied lot is pushing the Pak Prime Minister into a corner by clamouring to use the “Bomb” against India. For what? For the action India has democratically taken to annul a provision from its own Constitution that had isolated a state from the rest of the country for seventy years and was done just to secure India’s own sovereignty.  Pakistan is desperately trying to manipulate a narrative of an ownership of J&K. It has witnessed the shattering of its myth of proprietary rights perpetuated over the years. Its false sense of chauvinism is contributing to its irrationality.

However, it is not here that any argument on Article 370 is intended to be presented, but to present views on this casual trend to glibly threaten another country with the use of nuclear weapons.

The quotes mentioned above are by those involved in the “Trinity” – the exploding of the Atom Bomb manufactured under the Manhattan Project and these are the reactions of those who witnessed the explosion. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons.

The first atomic bomb was successfully detonated on July 16, 1945. The atomic bomb was detonated 200 miles south of Los Alamos at Trinity Site on the Alamogordo Bombing Range in the Trinity test in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, USA.  That a 19 Kiloton nuclear bomb could cause such destruction was incomprehensible.

Sadly, not much later, on August 6th 1945 the first atom bomb of 20 kilotons was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Followed by a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9th 1945.

The instant death toll in Hiroshima is estimated to be 60-80,000 which rose to 140,000 over the next three to four month. In Nagasaki it is estimated that the instant death toll was 40-50,000 and it swelled to 80,000 -100,000 over the next few months. The truth is that the exact figures will never be known. These casualties were all civilians – men, women and children. There were the new-borns, the young, the old and the infirm. They were all mass murdered for no fault of theirs by the decision of one man – the President of USA.

America exploded the atom bomb on a country that did not possess a nuclear weapon. So America was sure there would be no retaliation by Japan with a nuclear weapon.

America had developed the bomb and decided to use it to bring the long war to a quick end and prevent casualties of its military men that would occur in event US was forced to capture the Japanese Islands and compel the surrender of all Japanese forces.  A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s staff by William Shockley estimated that invading Japan would cost 1.7–4 million American casualties, including 400,000–800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities.   

Thus one of the reasons for the decision to use the atom bomb was to prevent this huge number of US military casualties.

America exploded the atom bomb on a country that did not possess a nuclear weapon. So America was sure there would be no retaliation by Japan with a nuclear weapon.

Not much later during the Korean War, in an interview with President Harry Truman the following transpired:-

Q. Mr. President, I wonder if we could retrace that reference to the atom bomb? Did we understand you clearly that the use of the atomic bomb is under active consideration?
Truman: Always has been. It is one of our weapons.
Q. Does that mean, Mr. President, use against military objectives, or civilian—
Truman: It’s a matter that the military people will have to decide. I’m not a military authority that passes on those things.

On 24 December 1950, MacArthur submitted a list of “retardation targets” in Korea, Manchuria and other parts of China, for which 34 atomic bombs would be required. In June 1950, Louis Johnson released a study on the potential uses of radioactive agents. According to Major General Courtney Whitney, MacArthur considered the possibility of using radioactive wastes to seal off North Korea in December 1950, but he never submitted this to the Joint Chiefs.

It is so evident that the use of atom bombs was actively considered against countries that did not possess such weapons.  USA was thus safe as these countries could not react similarly.

India and China follow a very similar approach to the issue of nuclear weapons. Both have acquired this capability to counter any nuclear blackmail by any country having nuclear weapons.

Post the Second World War, an ideological segregation between USA and USSR saw the world divided between the “Free” nations led by USA and the Communists led by USSR. NATO and Warsaw Pact countries were deployed in Europe ready for another war. In this war there was an added factor – that of the profusion of nuclear tipped missiles of all hues and sizes those that could be launched from land, underwater and air. The numbers swelled to many thousands of nuclear tipped nuclear missiles held by each side. Just one missile accidentally fired would have triggered a retribution which would draw a similar retaliatory strike in larger numbers thus resulting in an uncontrolled escalatory spiral leading to an unimaginable catastrophic that would have had irreversible consequences for life on the planet.  It was a doctrinal strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction aptly abbreviated to being a MAD strategy.

In 1964, China detonated its atom bomb. Though Mao was instrumental in China acquiring the atom bomb, he dismissed it as a “Paper Tiger”. From the very start China adopted a policy of “No First Use”. Strangely, neither the US or its Allies in the NATO nor the USSR and its flock adopted a policy of “No First Use” then and that stance continues till now.  

India too acquired nuclear capability because it did not want to depend on any other country for a nuclear umbrella. Like China it was quick to pronounce its nuclear policy of “No First Use”. India and China follow a very similar approach to the issue of nuclear weapons. Both have acquired this capability to counter any nuclear blackmail by any country having nuclear weapons. Both are not indulging in any nuclear arms race.  Both have emphasised the need for nuclear free world. Both are the only nuclear power nations which have a clearly enunciated policy of “No First Use”.

This author has questioned a number of Western strategic experts on the reason as to why the western nuclear powers have not adopted a “No First Use” policy. Their arguments to support the policies of “First Use” are facile to say the least.

Pakistan has followed the West and follows a policy of “First Use”. To circumvent being accused of using a nuclear weapon on Indian soil it has developed low yield nuclear devices (also referred to as Tactical Nuclear Weapons –TNW’s). It intends to use these against Indian military forces which would have captured large swathes of Pakistani territory and threaten imminent disintegration of Pakistan. It has stated four thresholds viz. – Spatial, Military, Economic and Political circumstances under which it will use its nuclear weapons. It will use this on its own soil or on military targets in least populated areas in India to cause minimum collateral civilian damage. India has emphatically maintained that a nuclear device used anywhere will draw a massive retaliatory strike.

The representatives of the Pakistani people are in fact virtually asking their people to commit suicide and condemning them to death making the whole lot of Pakistan people jihadists!!! Do the people of Pakistan accept this verdict?

Some of India’s security experts have been impatient and following the NATO-Warsaw theme have advocated the development of TNW’s. They also propound that India should prepare to fight in a war in a nuclear battlefield environment. As a corollary, they also strongly advocate a revision of the nuclear Doctrine to water down the “massive retaliation” clause. However, considering India’s basic stance of working for a Nuclear Free world the government has rightly maintained its stance and does not support the views of these nuclear warfighting buffs.

Recently when Pakistani National Assembly members were clamouring for using the “Bomb” against India, they were doing so fully aware of the response from India. The representatives of the Pakistani people are in fact virtually asking their people to commit suicide and condemning them to death making the whole lot of Pakistan people jihadists!!! Do the people of Pakistan accept this verdict? How can people be forced to give their lives for a cause that has no relationship to their existence and well being? Voice of civil society in Pakistan is crushed under the weight of the Mullahs, the Army Brass which is supported by self-serving blood thirsty politicians. The Pakistan visual media has been spurring the debate by bringing on its screen loudmouth war mongers’ spewing venom and hate.

For all those nuclear buffs it would do good if they just step back and tone down their rhetoric. The only occasion when a nuclear weapon was used was when one side had a nuclear weapon and the other did not. How could the then US President justify knowingly ordering the murder of over 250,000 innocent civilians even if they were of the enemy country? In the first place they were Human Beings even if they are of the enemy nation. How is this not genocide?

Nuclear weapons cannot win any war between nuclear armed nations. USA got the message when it faced a nuclear armed USSR which forced the war to remain “Cold”. Now a nuclear Russia and a nuclear China is a challenge which makes the US think umpteen times about the viability of the use of nuclear weapons. North Korea with its most rudimentary missiles and nuclear warheads has the US President in knots. The next step the Western nuclear powers need to undertake is to adopt “No First Use” as a considered policy. Pakistan should learn from these very clear signals and abandon blackmailing India with its nuclear weapons. For taking the life of any Indian, soldier or civilian, it will have to pay a heavy price.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen (Dr) JS Bajwa

is Editor Indian Defence Review and former Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Director General Infantry.  He has authored two books Modernisation of the People's Liberation Army and  Modernisation of the Chinese PLA

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6 thoughts on “Article 370 and Pakistan’s Nuclear Bombast

  1. It was high time that India got over it’s phobia of Pakistani nukes. Yes it is true that Pakistan can use it’s nukes against India but so can India and they also know it well. Under the presumed protection of its nuclear assets, Pakistan has time and again fanned the flames of terrorism in India. We should be clear on the issue that no will help us if all we will do is plead to being the victim of terrorism. It is evident from numerous examples that Pakistan has been encouraged by lack of any visible punitive action by Indian state in the past. We should be aghast that major terrorist attacks in Mumbai time and again saw no visible punitive action(although if covert action had happened,it is out of public domain). Retaliatory strikes of 2016 and 2019 have changed the perception that India wouldn’t retaliate. Same goes for our nuclear assets, if attacked we have enough arsenal to wipe out the enemy state. Threat by Pakistani establishment of nuclear strikes against India show the naïve understanding of danger posed by Indian nukes. We have our own internal legislative process and they have their own. We don’t harp drums on their laws, neither should they. But alas it would be wishful thinking Pakistan would do so because their military’s whole relevance hangs on Kashmir and as for the civilian population it is collective hatred of Indian state.

  2. General,

    Could you please explain how come some ex-military officers, AirMar Kak and Maj Gen Mehta among others, have challenged the dismantling of Art 370 and 35A in the Supreme Court as per news reports? Their submission to the Court seeks for annulling the President’s decree in this regard as “illegal”? To my knowledge, high Government Officials in western nations, military or civilians, are prohibited by the laws of the land to undertake such a venture especially when the sovereignty of the nation is concerned, whether they are in service or retired, since they have been privy to the States “secrets and policy making mechanism” during their working life. And if they go that way, they would be adequately dealt with by the State’ intelligence appartus for breaking “secrecy”. I am sure you will be aware of this aspect as a high ranking military officer.I am really aghast as this state of affairs in India.

    • When Article 370 was mooted to be added to the Indian Constitution in 1954, there were some very prominent personalities who were deadly against the move. However, it was included under a Presidential Order on 14 May 1954. None of those who vehemently opposed it petitioned against the Governments decision in the Supreme Court.
      Today these veterans, including a former Secretary who served in the MHA, have taken their protest to another level by going to the SC.
      To give strength to their protest they should refuse to accept any benefit from the Government and even voluntarily forego their pensions too.

  3. The democratic measures taken by India to set the wrong continuing for over 70 long years in relation to J&K right , was reportedly raised by China in a closed door meeting of the UNSC on 16 August 2019. All except China are reported to have supported this mentioning. Pakistan failed to get practically any support at the UN. In brief , Pakistan had to eat an humble pie here as well. In this context , it may be apt to take readers to this Vedic astrology writer’s most significant part of this writer’s predictions in article – “ The Year 2019 astrologically for India” – published last year 2018 on 7 October at The prediction being referred to here is most significantly related to that happened on 16 August 2019 at the UNSC. The occasion of impressively wide support of world super powers like Russia , the US , France and UK came about after India abrogated articles 370 and 35-A in August 2019 while related prediction pointing to support was well brought out by this writer last year 2018 on 7 October. J&K was also mentioned. The brief prediction reads like this in the article :-
    “ July-September in 2019. These three months may also call for more care against floods , landslide , etc. Over reaction may not drag us to war or wastage…………………………………………………………….Positive aspect is that well meaning group or persons may spring up to share power in Indian mainstream of politics or WELL-MEANING POWERFUL NATIONS MAY SUPPORT INDIA.”

  4. Nuclear war will be most foolhardy for Pakistan. It very existence will finish and probably then become an internationally governed and managed and fed zone or a part of China .

    Imran’s Independence day speech was unlike the Imran whose USP was shooting from the hip, was all about support to Kashmir .

    12 months and for all his rhetoric, the economy is floundering on all fronts.

    He is back to appease and please the Big Dad USA for IMF loan, to escape FATF downgrade by arresting Terror heads of Jaish etc and of course gain again the presence on the main stage of the world.

    The world has since long moved on, treats Pakistan as Pariah and exporter of terrorism.
    Throwing its lot with China in CPEC hasn’t helped its cause in the Western world.

    Now it seems Pakistan and Imran have got a lifeline in abolition of Art 370 of Indian Constitution on Kashmir . That’s medelling in India’s internal affairs.
    He is trying to rally around the Nation to a narrative hugely successful in past.
    But today’s Pakistan isn’t that of yesteryears nor are the geo politics of the World , specially that of the Muslim World.
    The people in Pakistan are looking for deliverance from their economic woes, lack of amenities and jobs and in these circumstances to rally around a cause which they know is futile, is the folly of Imran and his Army backers.

    World too is sick of Pakistan medelling in Kashmir . Its earlier backers were then Inimical to India but today are our strategic partners, more on the strength of trying to capture the world s largest Arms market in India , than anything else.

    Economic s rules the world, so Pakistan is a rather lonely voice in the international forum espousing the illegal cause of Kashmir .

    Time it reset its policies and focussed more on brasstacks, to be able to stand on its own feet , as a proud independent nation as its Qaid e Azaam visualised when he propounded the Two Nation Theory.

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