Originally Published in 2004
India and Pakistan have repeatedly threatened nuclear war against each other, most seriously in the last few years. In late December 2002 Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, addressing Air Force veterans in Karachi, said:
The last year “personally” conveyed a clear “message” to Prime Minister Vajpayee, “through every international leader who came to Pakistan,” namely, that Indian troops “should not expect a conventional war from Pakistan” if they “moved a single step across the international border or the Line of Control.”In response Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez said:
“We can take a bomb or two, or more. When we respond, there will be no Pakistan.”About the same time former Army Chief of Staff Aslam Beg, then heading a right-wing Pakistani think tank said:
“Our policy of deterrence is India-specific. No matter who comes for us, Israel, the United States or India we will take on India. If someone is thinking of taking on Pakistan, they should know we will take on India.”And despite subsequent detente between the two nations during the remainder of 2003, as late as fall 2003, Ariel Sharon visited India, worrying Pakistan that he was once again proposing India do a surgical strike against Pakistani nuclear assets. Once any such Indian-Pakistani nuclear exchange began, there are a number of scenarios by which it could escalate into accidental or intentional world nuclear war.