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Win Pak-India nuke war?

Updated Oct 31, 2015 09:33am


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The writer teaches physics in Islamabad and Lahore
The writer teaches physics in Islamabad and Lahore

That Pakistan may first use nuclear weapons in a future war with India was announced last week by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. Coming just two days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Oct 22 visit to Washington, this could be considered a reiteration of the army’s well-known stance. But, significantly it came from the Foreign Office rather than GHQ or Strategic Plans Division. Coming from both ends of the power spectrum, this confirms that Pakistan has drastically shifted its nuclear posture.

In the late 1980s, Pakistan had viewed nuclear weapons very differently; they were the last-ditch means to deter a possible nuclear attack by India. But Pakistan now says it intends to use low-yield nuclear bombs, also called tactical nuclear weapons, to forestall the possible advance of Indian troops into Pakistan under India’s ‘Cold Start’ operational doctrine.

Floated by Gen Deepak Kapoor in 2010, Cold Start calls for cutting Pakistan into “salami slices” as punishment for hosting yet another Mumbai-style terrorist attack inside India. It assumes that this limited action would not provoke a nuclear exchange. India strenuously denies that such a doctrine is official or that it has been made operational.

This denial cut no ice across the border. In 2011 a successful test of the Nasr “shoot and scoot” short-ranged missile was announced by ISPR, the Pakistan military’s official voice. Ensconced inside a multiple-barrelled mobile launcher the four 60-kilometre-range missiles are said to be tipped with nuclear warheads each roughly one-tenth the size of a Hiroshima-sized weapon. Pakistan says these tactical weapons will not destabilise the current balance or pose significant command and control problems, a claim that many believe as incorrect.

At the end both India and Pakistan would win, having taught the other a terrible lesson.

Pakistan is not the first country tempted by nuclear force multipliers. Nor, as claimed by ISPR, is making small warheads a significant technical feat. In fact in the 1950s the Americans had developed even smaller ones with sub-kiloton yields, and placed them on the Davy Crockett recoilless guns deployed at forward positions along the Turkey-USSR border. The nuclear shell, with a blast yield that would be dialled as required, could be fired by just two infantrymen. This was a tempting alternative to artillery but the Americans were eventually unnerved by the prospect of two soldiers setting off a nuclear war on their own initiative. The weapon was withdrawn and decommissioned after a few years.

Wars are fought to be won, not to be lost. So how will Pakistan’s new weapons help us win a war? This fundamental question is never even touched. But let us assume their use in a post Mumbai-II scenario. For every (small) mushroom cloud on Pakistani territory, roughly a dozen or more Indian main battle tanks and armoured vehicles would be destroyed. After many mushrooms, the invasion would stop dead in its tracks and a few thousand Indian troops would be killed. Pakistan would decisively win a battle.

But then what? With the nuclear threshold crossed for the first time since 1945, India would face one of two options: to fight on or flee. Which it will choose is impossible to predict because much will depend upon the extant political and military circumstances, as well as the personalities of the military and political leaders then in office.

Official Indian policy calls for massive retaliation. In 2013, reacting officially to Pakistan, Shyam Saran, the head of the National Security Advisory Board (the apex body concerned with security matters) declared that, “India will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, but if it is attacked with such weapons, it would engage in nuclear retaliation which will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage on its adversary. The label on a nuclear weapon used for attacking India, strategic or tactical, is irrelevant from the Indian perspective”.

Simply stated: whether struck by a micro-nuke or mini-nuke or city-buster, and whether on its own soil or outside its borders, India says it will consider itself under nuclear attack and react accordingly.

This is plain stupid. It violates the principle of proportionate retaliation and pushes aside the barriers to hell. But could the NSAB be bluffing? It may be that if push comes to shove, India will not actually launch its large nuclear weapons. The sensible instinct of self-preservation might somehow prevail, and the subcontinent live to see another morning.

More likely is that in the heat of the moment, reckless passions will rage and caution will take a backseat. A tit-for-tat exchange could continue until every single weapon, small and large, is used up on either side. It is difficult to imagine how any war termination mechanism could work even if, by some miracle, the nuclear command and control centres remain intact. At the end both India and Pakistan would win, having taught the other a terrible lesson. But neither would remain habitable.

The subcontinent’s military and political leaders are not the first to believe that a nuclear war can remain limited, and perhaps even won. President Reagan puzzled over the possibility of Armageddon, uncertain whether or not God was commanding him to destroy earth or to leave it in His hands. Allen Dulles, the first CIA director, had repeatedly railed against the stupidity of those Americans, “who draw an ‘artificial’ distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons and cannot realise that atomic bombs should be treated like bullets”.

Tactical nukes will not make Pakistan more secure. This dangerous programme should be immediately abandoned. Nukes may win a battle for us but at the cost of losing Pakistan. Instead our security lies in ensuring that Pakistan’s territory is not used for launching terror attacks upon our neighbours. We must explicitly renounce the use of covert war to liberate Kashmir — a fact hidden from none and recently admitted to by Gen Musharraf.

As for India: your security depends upon adopting a less belligerent attitude towards Pakistan, stopping a menacing military build-up that is spooking all your neighbours, and realising that respect is earned through economic rather than military strength.

These are tall orders for both countries. Any optimism is currently unwarranted.

The writer teaches physics in Islamabad and Lahore.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2015

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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (258) Closed

Jawad U Rahman Oct 31, 2015 01:43am

Spot on Dr. Hoodbhoy! Sometimes, I am amazed at the (lack of) diplomatic skills of Sartaj Aziz. He is a doting representative of the old mindset that needs to be replaced. We need radical change in our foreign and security policies. The wisdom you laid out for India applies to Pakistan as well that "respect is earned through economic rather than military strength"

Kabir Oct 31, 2015 01:45am

Sir,surprised to read such a liberal view from todays Pakistan.May Sense and senisibility on both sides prevail.Education is the only way out of this quagmire.

shyam Oct 31, 2015 01:50am

great article, a whiff of un-common common sense ! especially "Instead our security lies in ensuring that Pakistan’s territory is not used for launching terror attacks upon our neighbours." and that respect is earned through economic rather than military might

S.R. Oct 31, 2015 01:56am

Wise words from a wise man. Hope they reach the brains through ears. This nuclear war threatening posture must be stopped now.

Ajay Parghi Oct 31, 2015 02:03am

While northern India and Pakistan engage in mutual assured destruction, southern India and Bangladesh -while hurt greatly - would not parish.Iran and China would also be impacted from wind drafts and ocean streams.Stop this madness which is a nightmarish replay of the Cold War. Let Kashmir become a small soverign nation.A solution which works should make India and Pakistan EQUALLY happy or Equally unhappy!

Ali Oct 31, 2015 02:15am

A very balanced article. In a nuclear was there can be no winners. Tolerance, secularism, economic growth, modern education, medicine for all is the only way forward.

desidude Oct 31, 2015 02:26am

Another sensible article from Mr. Hoodbhoy. Both sides are playing with fire, and once it starts, neither one would know how to control it. The only hope is that both believe that the other side is serious and not go down this path.

Factual Oct 31, 2015 02:33am

I wish India had not started this madness in the region. They weren't really threatened by any of its neighbours; least of it China.

F Khan Oct 31, 2015 02:47am

Hope GHQ and Modi reads this sensible and worthy write up.

Ash200 Oct 31, 2015 02:54am

Very sensible article.

Saeed Oct 31, 2015 03:10am

Very realistic and brilliant. Anyone listening on both sides

Ombusiad Tomar Oct 31, 2015 03:13am

Threat of nuclear war is now more real than ever before, US/Russia confrontation in Syria, US/China in China Sea, Indo Pak confrontation over kashmir, KSA/Iran rivalry, Israel/Iran rivalry, North /South Korea, only place that seems safe is Africa and that will be the best place to settle.

NORI Oct 31, 2015 03:29am

Of the two famous Pervezs Pakistan has,one talks for his benefit and other talks for his country's benefit. Take a bow, Pervez Hoodbhoy sir.

Zack-Pakistani Oct 31, 2015 03:32am

excellent article, and I totally agree!

Zack-Pakistani Oct 31, 2015 03:35am

Having a nuclear weapon does not make us any just makes western countries richer ! The more Pakistan and India spends on weapons instead of social program it makes western countries richer and keeps us asians poor!

IFTIKHAR KHAN Oct 31, 2015 03:43am

Salute to your tireless efforts towards awareness of dire consequences of nuclear weaponry use. More writers in regional languages, artists and intellectuals should add their expertise objectively to this end. Somebody should make an animated video on same theme and put it on U-Tube.

asad Oct 31, 2015 03:48am

handful people like PH in Pakistan speaks rationally. Nukes would only ensure our mutual destruction.

Keti Zilgish Oct 31, 2015 04:22am

Top military people anywhere in this world have always had their minds screwed up particularly when they begin thinking that nobody can or should control them.

SUNIL Oct 31, 2015 05:35am

May the sane voice prevail

AB, US Oct 31, 2015 05:59am

Thanks Dr. Hoodbhoy for a timely article. Hope sane voices like yours will help to bring peace in the sub-continent given that leaders of both nations will listen. However, there is a remarkable distinction in rhetoric from both sides. Pakistan always speak of nuclear war but India doesn't and shouldn't. None the less due to some recent incidents we Indians are very concerned about the secular fabric of India which signifies the religious and cultural freedom exists in India. We do need blunt writers like you in India who is not afraid to bring the distasteful social and political issues in the forefront.

S. Haider Oct 31, 2015 06:19am

I completely agree with the author. The "tall orders", mentioned in the last two paragraphs, are most important. Any misjudgment about the decision of the opponent concerning the nukes would lead to complete destruction of both countries. I hope, rationality, and not emotion, prevails on both sides of the borders.

ayub Oct 31, 2015 06:58am

A very sensible advice to both countries. We should not take pride on developing more and more nuclear arsenal. Rather we must take pride on producing noble laureates. May I ask: how many noble laureates a country with a population of more than 170 million people have been produced so far? Boasting on producing weapons of mass destruction is a non sense.

PK Oct 31, 2015 07:04am


Well said, agree.

Tells no lie Oct 31, 2015 07:16am

I am happy, sir, I am pleased that peacekeepers are not silent.India or Pakistan a large number of Citizens wants peace, prosperity and those who cry for war have no Idea what war means,what it takes,what it leaves.People in Defense establishments and office they need not send people to frontier to die they die where ever they may be.

Sampath Oct 31, 2015 07:20am

Both our countries cannot take care of people even after natural disasters like floods, earthquakes. Imagine what will happen after a nuclear war. I am happy India has a no first use policy. This talk of tactical use is like a suicide bomber thinking he will survive his mission after taking out the enemy.

john Oct 31, 2015 07:22am

@Factual India is more worried about big brother China.It has air strips,roads,thosands of soldiers on the border.ithas 10 times more subs,many more planes and nukes and missiles.

UD Oct 31, 2015 07:50am

I agree. Two winners and two losers.

Amitabh Mishra Oct 31, 2015 07:56am

Well said Sir. Fully agree. I believe that we should not let a war happen that no one can win. It will only lead to self annihilation....

"Bomb ghar pe gire ki sarhad per, rooh-e-taameer chot khatee hai, Khet apne jale ya gairon ke, bhookh se zeest tilmilaatee hai." said by Sahir Ludhianavi.

Let us pray God and hope good sense prevails,

kck Oct 31, 2015 08:17am

We had three conventional wars and several proxy wars between Pakistan and India are in progress. The result of all these wars is that neither of us is clear winner. The winners are the third countries selling war machinery to us so that we continue fighting , destroying each other and keeping our people poor. The rich people of third countries provide finances to our strong people to keep us fighting among ourselves. We will be destroy each other with nuclear weapons if we do not become wise after loosing so much for more than six decades. Thanks Mr. Hoodbhoy and Daily Dawn for bringing this reality check to our people.

From USA, S.A. Hyder, Ph.D. Oct 31, 2015 08:18am

@S.R. They can only reach brains if the recipient have them ! The present powers-to-be appears to be completely devoid of even the miniscule part of the brain.

Guru Oct 31, 2015 08:21am

Purely speculating, India may choose to respond to low yields with low yields of its own. Then the bluff is called. With grater depth & hinterland, India is likely to prevail unless its rulers lose their nerve.

Canada For Canadians Oct 31, 2015 08:26am

Excellent exposition.Very sensible article indeed.

Optimist Oct 31, 2015 09:04am

Sir, I pray - May your tribe increase.

auginpk Oct 31, 2015 09:13am


Oh really

Dr.Javid Oct 31, 2015 09:13am

No! Not secularism but the truth of Islam resulting in universal peace and justice

Dr.M.Asghar Javid, UK GP

Gaurav Oct 31, 2015 09:13am

@Factual , please figure out your facts. India has fought a war with China and continues to have border issues with China.

R S Chakravarti Oct 31, 2015 09:39am

@AB, US There are people in India who returned awards in protest.

Rajendra Tiwari Oct 31, 2015 09:43am

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan will be suicidal for these countries and detrimental to the rest of the world.

singh is king Oct 31, 2015 10:04am

@Ajay Parghi exactly there should be win win situation. The problem of Kashmir and other issues are a symbol of failure of our both nations political masters. We can't expect peace from military general because they don't want it but certainly the people of both nations should debate about this. Media can play a positive role but as far Indian media is concerned it is still living in second world war era and promoting fake nationalism.

Not enemy Oct 31, 2015 10:06am

@Factual India was threaten by China and Indian Nuclear arms are meant for China not for Pakistan with whom we share our culture and civilization.

mamaji Oct 31, 2015 10:06am

your analysis is right, However in event of nuclear blackmail or actual use, India will definitely use massive nuclear retaliation and further powered by continental buster nuclear weapons, in event china comes in picture

Raj Oct 31, 2015 10:11am

Thanks you , words of sanity

aga khan Oct 31, 2015 10:14am

Great lessons for both Pakistan and India. Pray that the respective leaders seriously ponder such wisdom.

wellwisher Oct 31, 2015 10:18am

a very sensible advise

wellwisher Oct 31, 2015 10:19am

@Factual ---surprised.India was not threatened by China.

breznev Oct 31, 2015 10:23am

@Factual 1962 war with china

Onlooker (Sydney) Oct 31, 2015 10:30am

Very sensible and balanced analysis. Hope the leadership of both countries will listen. If anyone think they can win a nuclear war, they are simply ignorant.

Irfan Ullah Oct 31, 2015 10:34am

well written as usual! we have been deprived of basic needs and ppl are facing abject poverty but the central planners are busy in arm race with our neighbor. we have enough arms to defend ourselves from any aggression and now it is the time to shift the resources from building these destructive weapons to education, to built research centers and to alleviate the suffering of a common man. Warm relationship and economic cooperation are the basic key which can lead us to a prosperous nation like EU. In war both are losers while in trade every one is better off!

R.Kannan Oct 31, 2015 10:34am

It is astonishing that an article in Dawn actually says "our security lies in ensuring that Pakistan’s territory is not used for launching terror attacks upon our neighbours ". Dr Hoodbhoy writes with clarity of thought.

Bitter truth Oct 31, 2015 10:35am

Fantastic article! For a moment I thought this was wry turn by someone who's not a Pakistani neither an Indian!

Anany Oct 31, 2015 10:35am

@john brother as far as nukes r concerned only one nuke capable to take many lives.So actually number of nukes don't really matter

Farooq Oct 31, 2015 10:36am

This madness has to be stopped. Sane minds from both countries should raise up their voices against use and production of Nuclear weapons before its too late.

Saifur Rahman Oct 31, 2015 10:41am

@Ajay Parghi Spot on Ajay Parghi. This is what the Kashmiris want. They generally do not want to join either India or Pakistan

rohit Oct 31, 2015 10:41am

i guess If loc is converted in to international border....everything ll be settled.The only solution that my be accepted by Indians. poeple who wants to live with india can cross this side, who wants to live with Pakistan..they may cross border to Pakistan side. i dont think Indians hate Pakistan for anything else. Massive build up of army is primarily for china threat and its real, still India is far behind china.

ASif Oct 31, 2015 10:41am

Spot on Nice article political leaders often talk of a nuclear war because their families are settled in europe or america ,it will be the poor and common people who will die in such wars.....

Sumit Oct 31, 2015 10:44am

Agreed... I have become a fan for yours.

shan Oct 31, 2015 10:48am

Thanks and good article.

Sufi Muslim Oct 31, 2015 10:55am

Peace does not come from political, military or tactical measures and means. Peace comes from spiritual awakening, when those in positions of power and control rise in consciousness to reflect the Divine attribute of Peace.

And this is done by grooming the inner self through universally practiced spiritual exercises, regardless of one's outer religious or non-religious path.

Zahid.USA Oct 31, 2015 10:57am

This terrible noise of war to hear from both countries is very painful. This is not some kind of joke. Both Pakistan and India are high population density countries and millions of lives will be lost if there is a nuclear war. Let us not give in to war mongers. I have been to Pakistan and I have seen it recently. There is a war for us the Pakistanis to fight for and that is poverty, sanitation, clean water, pollution, climate change, corruption and countless other things.

And Sir, thank you so much for writing this such an eye opening article. It is clear that you stand for peace and prosperity.

Let us stand for tolerance of other religious groups and say no to extremism of any kind.

SRIDHAR RAGHUNATHA RAO Oct 31, 2015 10:58am

In any modern warfare there is no winner or looser. All will suffer. If the extent of suffering is considered as a yardstick, just like declaring even if I loose one eye the other should loose both, I must say that it will be at the cost of self destruction.

Raaz Oct 31, 2015 11:03am

Excellent Article Sir. I am happy to see so many sane comments on this article from both sides of the border. Let us hope that good sense prevails at the end. As rightly pointed out by you, the solution to the vexed issues that haunt our countries lies not in Wars but in common sense, which, alas! looks to be very much scarce.

manoj Oct 31, 2015 11:04am

well written....

Sandeep Oct 31, 2015 11:15am

A nice article as usual by Dr.Hoodbhoy!! India developed nuclear capability because China had one and Pakistan developed a nuclear bomb because India had one. India is facing threat from both the adversaries China and Pakistan. We can not trust either of the two.China recently displayed its military might in Beiging with advanced weaponry and its defence budget is jacked up to $160 billion. On the contrary Indian defence budget is just $40 billion. Also Dr.Hoodbhoy forgot mention that India is developing long range missile shield programme which will be operational in a few years that will give defence from those missiles.

wellwisher Oct 31, 2015 11:18am

Deng realised this philosophy in early seventies, and moved China on economic recovery path. I don't know when India started economic development ,may under Narsimha Rao .Under Zardary and now Nawaz, Pakistan is very slowly moving in right direction.

Sajjad Oct 31, 2015 11:19am

Thank you Teacher. Wonderfully written...

M.Saeed Oct 31, 2015 11:21am

Deploy humane think-tanks in place of insane battle-tanks.

sri.s Oct 31, 2015 11:22am

Spot on! It can't be any simpler than this. Nuclear war is not for winning but the opposite.

Seeker of truth Oct 31, 2015 11:23am

"As for India: your security depends upon adopting a less belligerent attitude towards Pakistan, stopping a menacing military build-up that is spooking all your neighbours, and realising that respect is earned through economic rather than military strength."

Mr. Hoodbhoy is correct. If both Indi and Pakistan heeds his advise peace will prevail between India and Pakistan and China would achieve what it wants to achieve. - A militarily weakened India.

kkk Oct 31, 2015 11:25am

those who sing the tune of nuke should study the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and what impact nuke made in these cities and what radiation does to soil and future generation. instead choose to live and let live but don't know why this simple thing does not understand by power holders

sid Oct 31, 2015 11:28am

All that's required is an agreement between America, Russia and China to de-nuclearize their weapons. Once done, this will have a ripple effect for the rest of the world to do the same. Also nuclear weapons technology should be moved to an international body for preservation and future research only.

Outspoken Indian Oct 31, 2015 11:29am

Excellent article. After explaining the build up to a nuclear war and the post war scenario, the great author sums up everything in the last two paragraphs. However,I think India will scale down build up of border army if cross border terrorism is stopped. There is no winner in a nuclear war. Is it so difficult for Pakistani politicians to understand? They are frequently threatening to nuke India and expect Shiva Sena type elements not to exist here ! India wants to eliminate terrorists crossing into Indian territory. I think even common Pakistanis are not against eliminating terrorists,they also suffer from terrorism. Both countries should spend money on education,infrastructure,health,energy sector instead of wasting on nukes. Why Asian countries need to have so huge arms and ammunitions ? Are we so big enemies ? Past is past, let's move ahead. Pakistan should co-operate with India . It will increase opportunities for both countries and prevent wastage of financial resources.

GIRIJA Oct 31, 2015 11:35am

Right thinking.

Parvez Oct 31, 2015 11:38am

Common sense says the use of nuclear weapons would be disastrous for both countries.......what is not being said is the oblique involvement of the ' big ' powers that push one country to keep pricking the other in order to provoke a conflict.... and this proxy situation must stop.

ashok Oct 31, 2015 11:42am

Thank you Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy for the excellent piece of advise for policy makers on both sides of the border. Nuclear wars cannot be won but they will devastate the land for generations to come. Let us concentrate on economic development rather than thinking of winning nuclear exchanges.

DINESH CHOUDHARY Oct 31, 2015 11:43am

Good neutral article

Ehsan Gul Oct 31, 2015 11:44am

The article correctly highlights the mindset Indian and Pakistani leadership shares in regard to show their military might over each other. We need to stop! Our foreign and security policies are irrational, we need to bring forward looking minds together for establishing policies based on economic growth rather than military mightiness.

GIRIJA Oct 31, 2015 11:51am

Good article.

Siddhartha Oct 31, 2015 12:05pm

Dr. Hoodboy must be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize!!!

sanjeev kumar Oct 31, 2015 12:09pm

Yes, sadly any optimism is unwarranted.

Krishna Oct 31, 2015 12:25pm

Dawn in general and the Physics Professor in particular need to be appreciated for sane but bold voice.

'We must explicitly renounce the use of covert war to liberate Kashmir '. Knowing Pakistanis a little, not at all surprised at this piece of advice.

The sooner we realise that the DNAs of people of both the countries is same the better for all of us. Let us accept that we all have the same background and culture. A few of us converted to another religion a few hundred years back, but that does make us enemies?

All the military hardware must be sold as junk after a few years. Right?

Sreenivasa Rajiv Oct 31, 2015 12:27pm

@Zack-Pakistani Sensible comment!

Jay Oct 31, 2015 12:29pm

Well written and wonderfully put both countries in right perspective with solution for both countries to act sensibly. Hope we have similar thinkers on both side in near future and both countries work towards their people instead wasting valuable time aggressively posturing against each other.

prashant Oct 31, 2015 12:31pm

Well thought and written article. I liked it.

A. A. Oct 31, 2015 12:46pm

Tactical weapons are a military solution to India's large conventional force. What Dr. Hoodbhoy is suggesting is a political solution. In case the political solution does not work and war is thrust upon us, then what military solution would Dr. Hoodbhoy suggest to win the war? That I found missing in the article.

Karan - Mumbai Oct 31, 2015 12:51pm

Sir , knowledgeable people like you should be in the government.

vasudevan Oct 31, 2015 12:51pm

What a beautiful essay! The author should come to our universities too, speak on the futility of war, nuclear or conventional so that the future generation will receive at least a small portion of his wisdom. I congratulate the author and appreciate him for his scholarly write-ups. I also commend Dawn for its courage in publishing such articles. I sincerely wish we become good neighbours as we simply cannot change geography.

manikanta Oct 31, 2015 12:57pm

Guys, I am from India. why do we both(countries) have to fight, lets stop this extremism. Together we can develop. Listen we are spending some billions of rupees on defense toys, but how many of our both villages have proper roads, unsettled boundaries with in. stop doing this kind of rampage, everybody have nukes, do u know what happens next, whole world will see US as fools of 21st century. Many countries are selling us weapons not because of love & affection, but to boost their GDP, and to show their strength.


Rajeev Nidumolu Oct 31, 2015 01:01pm

Balanced article. Military strategist who plan on using mini nukes in battlefield are dumb as to consequences of long term radioactive contamination of fertile fields of Punjab

Abhay Kumar Oct 31, 2015 01:02pm

I 100% agree with the writer. Why he can't become pm of Pakistan. It will be a great day for it. India too should focus on economic development.

Saj king khan Oct 31, 2015 01:06pm

It's a no win situation for both countries . Doomed if you do , doomed if you don't . Each way the mushroom clouds will destroy both as you can't control the winds . People from both countries will suffer .so keep calm and stick to peace. No. War full stop.!

Rick_james Oct 31, 2015 01:10pm

An excellent and true article.

Rahul Oct 31, 2015 01:17pm

You are absolutely right ! Last 2 paragraphs are eye opening . Both country should respect each other and If we fight other countries will laugh and take advantage of that .

BK Oct 31, 2015 01:28pm

Either side use Nuclear weapon it will disastrous for both, means both countries will get eliminated from earth, with horrifying effect for leftover neighbor countries. Nuclear weapons are not meant for war, but for mere deterrence.

Tapan Oct 31, 2015 01:38pm

Practical and Excellent ! Dr. Hoodbhoy seems to be among the very few with COMMON SENSE !

Chachar Oct 31, 2015 01:44pm

Excellent article with hard facts!! Both govts should follow the balanced approach without the nuclear race..

sam Oct 31, 2015 01:44pm

bang on...absolutely....salute...from an indian

Sumit Pramanick Oct 31, 2015 01:47pm

A very sensible article. However, it should be reminded that India has realised that economic might is the currency of the world order, much before the modern superpowers even existed. And we embarked upon that goal once again after independence and its high time Pakistan also strives towards that goal rather than creating a political environment of destruction and havoc.

point of view Oct 31, 2015 01:48pm

Thanks Dr. Hoodbhoy for a nice article. Pakistan blame India, India blame China, and China blame US for the huge military power including the nuclear weapons. The US, Europe, and Russia used to be blamed each other during the cold war period. Now the US want to remain to be a solely superpower. This is basically a chain, which will never be broken.

bala Oct 31, 2015 02:01pm

But The fact of the matter is if india pak became friends the big loser will be other super powers.

Feroz Oct 31, 2015 02:23pm

@Factual China attacked India in 1962 and captured territory. Which world are you living in ?

Bhagwan(luminous one) Oct 31, 2015 02:31pm

I as an Indian want Pakistan to be rich, liberal, stable, democratic and developed country like Malaysia and Singapore

santosh Oct 31, 2015 02:33pm

India is very caution to use Nuclear word .India never says I will nuclear anyone, due to India has not first use policy.

k k tiwari Oct 31, 2015 02:38pm

@Jawad U Rahman Well said , see Sino Indian economic relations

andavar Oct 31, 2015 02:38pm

Kudos to Dr. Hoodbhoy. Perfectly timed

Kaka Oct 31, 2015 02:55pm

It was India who took this Nuclear "PANGA" first and forced Pakistan to build its capacity. The reality is if Pakistan would not have build his Nuclear capacity, this country would have already been attached (may be several times). Pakistan has all the rights to build whatever is available to defend its territory. If people of sub-continent and/or rest of world intend to reduce this nuclear risk, they have to solve Kashmir issue - which looks impossible in near future. India is even escalating the situation - This country is not willing to abide its agreements, whether it is UNSC resolutions, water accords, even cricket memorandum.

BM Oct 31, 2015 03:15pm

The last three paras throw some sense...

Col HC Sharma Oct 31, 2015 03:16pm

A well thought of and mature views have been expressed by the learned writer.As I understand COLD START doctrine is not a full fledged war scenario and does not take into account the complete Indo-Pak IB,to my belief there will still be enough time gap for mature leadership to do meaningful thinking at both ends.Using a tactical nuclear wpn will be a sure way of full fledged war and leading to all kind of short and mid ranged missiles right in the early stages. As I understand Prithvi missile with Indian artillery is also nuclear capable.Reaction and counter reaction(s) will make sure that there is NO WINNER, so why plan for total destruction of two countries which were ONE till 1947.(war is too dangerous to be left to Generals)

Maxx Oct 31, 2015 03:25pm

India gobbled up all the smaller princely or independent states like Hyderabad, Junagadh, Manipur, Mizoram, Asam, Sikkim and Kashmir, there are many more, against the wishes of the people of that areas, conniving with the rulers, bribing them and all sorts of coercion. This hegemony, nihilistic, and expansionist designs can only be checked by an equal, strong defense, deterrence doctrine which Pakistan is doing now. No one can forget what happened in 1971.

Hyder Oct 31, 2015 03:29pm

No doubt, article is very informative and thought provoking, however, it is an idealistic approach which is very difficult to achieve. In conventional forces, we are in disparity with India and that disparity can not be lessen without the tactical weapons.

Jim Oct 31, 2015 03:32pm

In an otherwise thoughtful article by someone who is highly respected in India, Dr Hoobuoy

rp Oct 31, 2015 03:33pm

All blood is same, nothing happen with irresponsible statements. see the real problems like education, poverty.

Parwez akhtar Oct 31, 2015 03:33pm

Why this talk of using nukes, people of the indian- subcontinent Deserve better arn't we the same people who lived togather for centuries before '47. Let the poletical leader ship on both sides come to sensable resolve of disputes and then like the europeans lets have a econmiec union and open borders where people can move with in the union as they wish.

Akram Oct 31, 2015 03:45pm

good article by Dr Hoodbhoy, this kind of rationality is much needed in official circles. From the way foreign leaders have described both indian and Pakistani leaders on this issue both are equally insane.

However some in india (not even necessarily the majority) have the mistaken belief that india can survive a nuclear exchange. This is the view Pakistan seeks to change. We need a situation where both countries understand Mutual Assured Destruction means precisely that. Therefore there maybe something to the authors argument about lowering thresholds. However Pakistan needs to have the capability to obliterate india and make it uninhabitable to change these minds in india. Hence the build up will continue up to a point where we reach that capability.

rp Oct 31, 2015 03:47pm

Blood is same, real problem is education & poverty from both side. avoid irresponsible statements. Lets leave in peace..

IndianBoy Oct 31, 2015 03:49pm

He is the one of the few intellectual person whom i admire most as indian. He gives lecture , tries to revive pakistan's educational system. But such person with no power can do nothing. Hats off to you sir.

Capt C M Khan Oct 31, 2015 04:00pm

NOT IMPRESSED......The writer forgot about the FACTUAL Indian involvement in Baluchistan, KPK, Karachi etc. This is no secret that all the Terrorists Groups are on their PAYROLLS. I fully support Pakistan to use these weapons as TACTICAL DETERRENCE. If there is a Full Scale Nuclear War....both sides will be LOSERS.

Bhagwan(luminous one) Oct 31, 2015 04:14pm

Its not about how big India is or Pakistan is, its how the people of the two countries standard of living is. As an Indian I would like to stay in a small country with high living standards than within a big country with low living standards. India and Pakistan should stop fighting over the territory of Kashmir, rather they have to work together to provide high standard of living to the Kashmiri people which is the cause of dispute between the two countries.

Bhagwan(luminous one) Oct 31, 2015 04:18pm

@IndianBoy It would be good if he stood for elections as a prime ministerial candidate.

southram Oct 31, 2015 04:25pm


Come on both countrymen, let's hold elections, allow people of Kashmir to decide what they want? For India, it is only a win-win situation. Why drain huge investment of more than USD 10 billion investment for Kashmir development, when rest of India is ailing? Will this be seen as a goodwill gesture by Pakistan and will become friendly towards India?

Farhad Sarhady Oct 31, 2015 04:26pm

The threat of war Nukes or conventional is in India hand. The writer didn't take to account the east Pakistan scenario it was India which trained and launch Bengali against Pakistan. We have to square that score with India. We are no better then Burma which India can attack at the tip of the finger or Palestinian who lives is totally control by Israel in every aspect on daily basis. If wasn't for Nuclear arms today Pakistan may be under occupation. I can accept one time meal intermittent power but I cannot accept the Hindu roaming around my street.

praphul Oct 31, 2015 04:27pm

wow, i'm moved by this article. astonishing one.

raj Oct 31, 2015 04:29pm

A sensible talk from a sensible man. Hope the talk gets heard by the Boys of both the nations.

ahf1 Oct 31, 2015 04:29pm

Good Write up

M. SaleemRaikodi Oct 31, 2015 04:30pm

Well we all lose and the place will be inhabited

Kamal Sangra Oct 31, 2015 04:32pm

Excellent write up.

HZR Oct 31, 2015 04:34pm

A practical and realistic sum up.

Sajid Syed Oct 31, 2015 04:34pm

@Guru , Really, at what cost? Is it worth it? War has always losers, nobody not even a warlord ever wins. He spends his life fighting, thinking he has conquered but leaves behind a trail of desruction for himself and his loved ones. Show me on warlord who has lived in peace even after winning battles and wars, just one?

Bhagwan(luminous one) Oct 31, 2015 04:46pm

Both India and Pakistan goal should be to make their countries more of a welfare state(High standard of Living as in Scandinavian and European countries) than a security state. There is noting great to be military super power having more and more nuclear weapons but both countries should strive to become an economic super power where Per Capita GDP is high and people are living happily.

brk Oct 31, 2015 04:50pm

very well analysed.

Syed Rizvi Oct 31, 2015 04:50pm

We all agree that Pakistan and India must live in peace and harmony; but is it possible under Moodi's RSS rooted doctrine of Hindu domination of India. Should Pakistan surrender to India and become a part of India as evisaged and openly propagated by RSS.I am sure given the option of either Hindu domination theory out to test us and our resove to demostrate our survival instict; we must keep all our options open and well within the knowledge of Indian political and military leadership.

PNR Oct 31, 2015 04:57pm

Well written!!

WiseMan Oct 31, 2015 04:59pm

Sir, I respect you. You belong to the class of great physicists - Sri C.V. Raman, Dr. Chandrasekhar Subramanian, Dr. Amar Bose, Dr. Sathen Bose and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Pakistan is fortunate that you are born in Pakistan and you are passionate about developed Pakistan.

BNA Oct 31, 2015 05:03pm

That is the reality brought out by Dr hoodbhoy. Even USA and USSR could not venture in days of crisis worst then being witnessed between our two countries.

rs Oct 31, 2015 05:09pm

Very mature advise. Nicely articulated.

James Oct 31, 2015 05:10pm

One needs leadership not hot air of Modi and Nihari of Shariff - professor can imagine and fantasise but you need leaders with guts, brains and will to bring peace - rest in just columns in papers.

VG Oct 31, 2015 05:12pm

Brilliant article! The bottom-line is the moment improving HDI and social mobility becomes a priority, all these things automatically stop. During the cold war, administrators got hooked to using threat perception as a money generating business. Easy money. They could not kick the addiction and hence these problems got aggravated to this current level. Creating bogeys became a nationalised industry to secure funding. Sadly, the other side of the border also fanned this fire. It is time both sides sit together and look at things dispassionately. An eye for eye only makes the whole world blind.

Tej Singh Oct 31, 2015 05:29pm

Both India and Pakistan will be 100% destroyed in Nuclear war.

Ali Oct 31, 2015 05:43pm

@Jawad U Rahman I agree. Sartaz Aziz is non sense with old thinking and should be removed at the earliest. We need youngster with a new vision of growth and prosperity.

Shrirang Thakur, Mumbai Oct 31, 2015 05:44pm

Kya baat hai Parvez Sir, you are 100% correct.

rsvpp Oct 31, 2015 05:54pm

I hope sensible people who matter on both sides of the border read this article and do something to avoid an Armageddon. Else, both countries will destroy each other.

Gaurang Patel Oct 31, 2015 06:07pm

It would be interesting if thinkers like this author groups alike minds on both sides of border. Thwart public brainwashing by fanatics and really try to find out how common men living in Karachi, New Delhi and Kashmir improve their lives by competing economically.

Abid Oct 31, 2015 06:12pm

I wish the written should have also included stopping of Indian meddling into Pakistan's affairs.

Sidharth Oct 31, 2015 06:12pm

a great article sir! actually you're educated. hope the people of both the sides start getting educated. all the common people have to understand that its due to lack of knowledge, illiteracy both sides are being fooled by the political leaders and army men placed on higher post. A great effort by Dawn as well for being neutral. May India & Pakistan get into peace.

Shakti Oct 31, 2015 06:19pm

The nuke war is never going to happen and even if it does, we'll not be around to know who won. The thing citizens of both nations have to come to terms with is the fact that Kashmir can NEVER be resolved - only because there is no common ground. The sooner we come to terms with it, the better.

PAK FA Oct 31, 2015 06:19pm

@Jawad U Rahman Jawad sahib... respect comes from Economic coupled with Military strength. USA is the example. Despite being internally Bankrupted, due to her Military might, they are surviving as a super power.

Oberoi P Oct 31, 2015 06:23pm

@Saifur Rahman Since when did regions get a freedom of choice to declare independence? Does that mean that a region that is rich in resources simply declares itself an independent state since it can benefit more? That does not happen in the real world. Besides, Accession Laws are well established and cannot be challenged legally.

Ashish Singh Oct 31, 2015 06:29pm

Apppreciate that DAWN is giving space to such imminent, intellectual scholar views.

Rajesh Oct 31, 2015 06:29pm

very well said Mr. Hoodbhoy. You are among a few that speaks sane.

Gajanand Thakur Oct 31, 2015 06:43pm

I remember the great saying "Wherever selfless men are absent,the place is DOOMED. India-Pak need them in plenty. Mr. Hoodbhoy is one of them. Hats off!

himanshu Oct 31, 2015 06:47pm

Extremely balanced analysis Dr. Hoodbhoy. Respect.

Ashish Mishra Oct 31, 2015 06:53pm

I have a respect Dr Hoodbhoy. I heard his interview in youtube. Very sensible person in Pakistan. I know how he defend Zaid hamid in one of the debate. He is absolutely correct. Both India and Pakistan need economic growth not military growth. People need to improve their leaving standard. We need to get rid of our own internal disputs. As far as Kashmir is concern, both the countries need to rule peacefully of their part of Kashmir. Gradually we need to open the border for Kashmir's to move across. But this should be done in a trusted environment. As an Indian I want travel Lahore, Islamabad without any fear. I hope so most of Pakistani people will agree with me.

sana-2 Oct 31, 2015 07:00pm

The only solution is to DO NOT provoke Pakistan......this is not a bluff, circumstances have made Pakistanis so hard that they will NOT even blink on this decision!

Secondly, as far as the Mumbai type attacks are concerned, India needs to protect itself rather then blaming Pakistan on every smallest thing.......Pakistan is not the Pakistan of 70's anymore, 'salami slices'? it will rather end in stone age subcontinent with India at its center...

The only thing that can be done is to solve the Kashmir, the sooner the better!

Must read this.. Oct 31, 2015 07:12pm

Mr Pervez Hoodbhoy has missed some facts of the modern times.India & Pakistan could have small scale border skirmishes,but never a full scale war like before.Mr India or Mr Pakistan just keep in your mind,both of you will never be allowed to fight more than certain bar,you both are watched 24/7 through highly sophisticated satellites ,even a small convoy is watched,besides huge naval fleets of super powers are present in Indian Ocean as well as Arabian Sea,and recently Chinese top military leaders schedule to visit Pakistan & India to warn both to refrain and be peaceful.Mr Hoodbhoy don't worry ,nothing is going to happen,have a nice sleep,and one day or other Kashmir issue will be solved.

k p rao Oct 31, 2015 07:17pm

@Zack-Pakistani Very correct opinion. Japan was far away from USA and secondly US wanted to test the bombs. So Japan was nuked. Just imagine if instead of Japan had it been Mexico or Canada? Both countries being neighbours of USA; the after effects would have damaged USA equally ferociously because of climate. Because Japan was far away it did not affect USA in any way but it reeked havoc on Japan. So theoratically no neighbour can nuke each other without disastrous results to itself because extreme nearness.

HARISINGH Oct 31, 2015 07:19pm

Impeccable use of logic to draw out simulations. That ladies and gents is called logic, something which is sorely lacking in the leaderships on both sides of the border.

vinni Oct 31, 2015 07:20pm

@Zack-Pakistani No war had solved any problems. They had created more problems than they have solved. Wars make rich richer and poor poorer. Rich people on both sides make the poor fight one another to make the rich on both sides richer. Buying arms bring lot of corrupt commissions to the politicians , the army war lords . Stock piles of arms are used time to time to reduce stocks and buy more. People will understand the madness of war only when there is a bomb in Delhi/Islamabad, Karachi/Mumbai etc . This will never happen as the Armies are clever to get rid of their stocks in the deserts and mountains where there are no civilians. The show goes on to buy more arms on both sides.

Raj Oct 31, 2015 07:30pm

@Ombusiad Tomar ", only place that seems safe is Africa and that will be the best place to settle" lol :D but if indian n Pakistani settle in africa they will they fight there too ;)

DR PATEL (USA) Oct 31, 2015 07:32pm


Sanjay Oct 31, 2015 07:46pm

Sir, Being physicist like you, I appreciate the views expressed in the article. World has experienced the catastrophe of Nuclear Holocaust in 1945. Still some crazy politiceans think of nuking each other's country! Majority of Indians are not interested to have a conventional war with your country. Not even remotely think about nuclear war. Sir, we have inherited the subcontinent from our future generations. Our actions if driven by revenge, to teach lesson to each other, will any population be left to learn? Sir i follow your articles, rather I am fan your wrtings.

lafanga Oct 31, 2015 07:50pm

When your neighbour has a doctrine like"Akhand Bharat" which basically extends its border line to include your entire country than you are going to do everything in your power to prevent this from happening. India is the most belligerent country in the sub continent. This is a fact.

Observer II Oct 31, 2015 07:54pm

Dr PERVEZ HOODBHOY has written an excellent analysis.

Suraj Oct 31, 2015 08:04pm

I agree with Dr. Hoodbhoy a nuclear device or bomb regardless of its size or yield in kilotons is still a nuclear bomb. India will most likely respond with full force that will destroy both countries and their neighbors.

harender Oct 31, 2015 08:16pm

very sane words.Hope leaders would listen.

Syed Zaheer Ali Oct 31, 2015 08:18pm

I am sure it will never happen; it's a kind of saber rattling to impress other party. An ordinary physics student very well knows the consequences of this madness. More over UNO and super powers will forcefully stop both nations for this kind of insanity. God forbid, if it happens the whole sub-continent will become ashes and according to late US president J.F Kennedy "The fruit of winning this war will be ashes in our mouth". So India and Pakistan; be careful don't carried over of this idea that either of you can win this kind of war. It will be more intelligent to sit down with love and respect of each other and sincerely solve this issue. You will surprise to see that these neighbours will run to embrace each other and this subcontinent will progress faster than any other nation can expect.

Dude1 Oct 31, 2015 08:33pm

Well Said... Kudos to you sir..

Avinash Oct 31, 2015 08:38pm

I appreciate your view very reasonable .

Avinash Oct 31, 2015 08:39pm

@Zack-Pakistani I do agree with you

ZQ Oct 31, 2015 08:54pm

I met Mr Hoodbhoy in Houston couple of times and he is an asset to Pakistan.!India and Pakistan must take this article seriously and for India they need to understand that since Moodi came to power he has done nothing but spreaders hate towards Pakistan. It is not on the interest of India to prod Pakistan as it would have disastrous results for India and both the countries would be vanished from earth.

ZQ Oct 31, 2015 08:57pm

The only two sensible people who are capable of saving this country is Pervez Mussharraf and Fatima Bhutto, give them a chance to save Pakistan.

Talha khan Oct 31, 2015 08:58pm

Amazing article! The leaders of both nations should read this

Krish Oct 31, 2015 09:00pm

All the talk of using nuclear bomb on the battlefield is a lot of bluster. The fact is no country in the world can afford to use a weapon of mass destruction today. They risk being ostrasized by the global community not to mention the plethora of sanctions they will face as a consequence. That is all assuming that they will survive the retaliation from the opposite side.

Azad Dimag Oct 31, 2015 09:03pm

I love your write ups and have profound respect for your analysis. Hope the leaders and army guys are reading this with cool brains and start with your mindset. Both India and Pakistan have to think about giving proper education, housing and employments to their citizens and avoid the thought of nuclear war with each other. You are right both will win and I say both will loose more.

sana-2 Oct 31, 2015 09:06pm

@ZQ The only person that can save India is definitely Not Modi.....india should learn this as soon as possible, if you people vote for him for his anti-Pakistani sentiment then we are happy you did that.....because he made every single, mind you every single mild to low patriotic person into a hard-core it actors, professors, old age, small children, youth etc etc its like we are a reformed nation, a nation of 1947, and guess what....we support our army more then ever

ZQ Oct 31, 2015 09:08pm

@NORI No you wrong, Pervez Musharraf does not talk about himself , he is the only honest politician who can keep India at bay.. Look at the record Musharraf had during his tenure. If you have this kind of mentality then you deserve Saints like Zardari and Nawaz.. Good Luck!!

Haris Oct 31, 2015 09:20pm

Where was Mukti bani trained? How did Russia invade Crimea? Who was used to defeat USSR in Afghanistan? Proxy warfare is the modern military doctrine. Pakistan has 3 nuclear neighbors our own program is not extravagance it is a necessity. I wish we lived in the world that followed Dr Hoodbhoy's rules, but we don't. We live in a world with only one rule: might is right, Survival of the fittest, Jis ki laathi us ki bhains.

Pakistani Oct 31, 2015 09:22pm

With tactical nukes and second strike capability Pakistan has achieved full spectrum military deteerance. Now no power on Earth can think attack Pakistan would be a cake walk.

ZQ Oct 31, 2015 09:23pm

@wellwisher You must be kidding, the two c Zardari and Nawaz are not capable of putting this country on the road to recovery!! Only Musgarraf can do this.

Eramanagalam Somapalan Oct 31, 2015 09:23pm

Excellent observation and comments from an intelligent mind. I hope his wisdom will prevail on both the intended parties. It is my hope and prayer.

SP Oct 31, 2015 09:26pm

One must have a respective nation vote on whether to resort to nukes before deciding the fatal decision. I guarantee 10/10 times people in majority will vote against it.

Avi Oct 31, 2015 09:27pm

Slalam sahab

ZQ Oct 31, 2015 09:29pm

@Not enemy please tell this to Moodi and the racist party who is attacking innocent people with black ink and beating them up.... Where is there progressive India!!

AW Oct 31, 2015 09:47pm

it is absurd to even think of war. Pakistan and India need friendship, peace, trade and cultural collaboration between them and soon. Both countries should allow the people of Kashmir to establish their own free state. India and Pakistan should withdraw their armies as well as their jurisdiction from the territories of Kashmir which they are currently occupying.

Masood Husssain Oct 31, 2015 10:01pm

Fail to understand the sentence"Nukes may win a war for us but at the cost of losing Pakistan".apart this sentence i stand against ant sort of war with our neighbour.

OSAMA bin NAEEM Oct 31, 2015 10:02pm

@WiseMan well Said ! We are Proud of all THE great Sub continent Minds !

independentthinker Oct 31, 2015 10:03pm

It is unfortunate that both countries are spending millions - (money that can be better used for more important purposes - such as health care, education, etc.) on military build up, when the nuclear war is unwinnable and as Dr. Hoodbhoy said, we can be a lot stronger if our economy is strong, rather than military. It saddens me our leaders cannot understand this simple logic.

Changez_Khan Oct 31, 2015 10:34pm

Well Balanced article. I personally strongly believe that neither Pakistan nor India will use any kind of nuclear warheads against each other in case there is any war which I believe there will NOT be any.

ashutosh mishra Oct 31, 2015 10:38pm

Absolutely, to all averments made by the author!!!!

tajkhattak Oct 31, 2015 10:44pm

@Krishna what a sane advice but who will heed

brightonrodeo Oct 31, 2015 10:47pm

Both nations should read this wonderful article. Well written reality of the time. God bless you.

Mohammed Daud Oct 31, 2015 10:49pm

Bravo HoodBhoy! Maturity comes with the passage of time and experience. India Pakistan should by now be matured enough not to prepare for a final round of war, but get ready to serve their poor under-nourished population. If UK, France, Germany the old traditional rivals can join hands for their economic developments why not India and Pakistan where there are several things in common.

umer ahmad Oct 31, 2015 10:56pm

actually you have touched the extremes and the manifestations of what could be a proposed death for both the subcontinent giants , India needs to understand that a hostility will only take india and pakistan to stone ages. The perfect scenario as already delineated by you , which should be followed keeping the autonomy and sovereignty of both the countries.

Muzamil Khan Oct 31, 2015 11:31pm


Shiv Sena is not Modi's party.

UKumar Oct 31, 2015 11:37pm

@Factual China is main threat to India with China claiming large part of India. China is nuclear power.

Badar Nov 01, 2015 12:01am

A well written and balanced article.

Pakistan's potential use of NASR is not designed to 'win' any battle but to deter our enemy. If enemy plans to slice Pakistan like Salami (Cold Doctrine), should we wait and welcome them with open arms? I did not notice any solution by the learned Doctor on that issue. NASR's induction itself should be enough for any one in Indian leadership to think twice before moving even a truck towards Pakistan. Else its their decision...

Its India who routinely sponsors terrorism in Pakistan and not the other way around. India has never been able to provide any 'proof'in any Pakistani's involvement in 26/11. They even refused Pakistani investigators to meet alleged killer Kasab

Pakistan has shown great restraint by not taking any action against Indian state for its official sponsorship in Samjhota Express episode. India still has not hanged any of those terrorists belonging to its own Army (Col Prohbit any one)?

Super Raj Nov 01, 2015 12:08am

Excellent. He who lives by the gun dies by the GUN?

sajid Rafique Nov 01, 2015 12:23am

A nuclear war can be avoided if both sides co operate . Presently , both sides are saber rattling and behaving foolishly .

sandeep Nov 01, 2015 12:58am

great and brave analysis sir!!

I. Khan (Can) Nov 01, 2015 01:03am

Both India and Pakistan may be nuclear power but their border guard look so weird and funny when they are competing to raise their legs as high as possible in the parade. Instead they should have a boxing ring and get even by punching each other out one at a time

anonymous Nov 01, 2015 01:31am

With Pakistan's policy of first use, it would harm Pakistan if they did resort to it. Even if India does not retaliate in terms of nuclear action, the rest of the influential world on which Pakistan depends economically and otherwise, would quickly send Pakistan in to a corner for a very long time. Obviously, that is a very dear price to pay for that action. The admission of having a policy of first use, by itself, has a price to be paid - it does not come for free.

anonymous Nov 01, 2015 01:33am

@Pakistani :: unfortunately you do not see this, but your most harmful enemies are within, and not outside.

Kings of aces Nov 01, 2015 01:36am

@Ajay Parghi same views here. Kashmir should be an independent state. No india nor pakistan interfere in there matters after independence. Thats the only peaceful solution of kashmir.

Madhu Nov 01, 2015 01:40am

Very good article Dr. Hoodbhoy! Its very Naive on the part of Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry to talk about Nuclear weapons and threatening to use first. I live and work in USA and i feel very sick and embarrassing to explain if someone ask about India/Pakistan enmity. I totally agree with the author, empowering nation economically should be the aim of these so called power spectrum!!

Awaaz jordaar Nov 01, 2015 02:50am

Concur, very well written.

P Setra Nov 01, 2015 03:06am

What happens to the civilian population in the areas under nuclear attack? No problem?

mike Nov 01, 2015 03:35am

@Anany It does.

Narinder Singh Parvana Nov 01, 2015 04:37am

When countries go on war then the only aim of war is victory. During war there is no such thing like proportionate retaliation. If one country chooses to use a very small nuclear weapon the other will definitely use a bigger nuclear weapon to claim superiority. The end result will be a massive destruction on both sides.

Shinjitsu Nov 01, 2015 04:40am

Great article I am filled with pride as I read this article. We have brilliant minds in Pakistan ensuring sense and sanity in this crazy world.

Fried Chillies Nov 01, 2015 04:48am

As much as any peace loving individual, group or government want to avoid the nuclear option the strength that deters a potential attack by either country against the other is ability to annihilate absolutely. Such a strength has made America a powerful nation. It's economy powers were bought out by China by way of treasury bonds. Yet while holding the economic strings of America China can't do squat about it. Respect only comes through strength and strength unfortunately does not lie is ability to do good to another. It's such a pity but its true

Sivaram Pochiraju Nov 01, 2015 05:37am

Very sensible article. Nuclear war will never take place since those making such nonsensical statements do understand the dangerous consequences but stupid war of words will certainly take place because people indulging in such things are undoubtedly stupid.

As already mentioned by me in some other article, Pakistan government's policy against India has caused miserable damage to the innocent Pakistanis and still continuing. Unfortunately the government and military of Pakistan doesn't realise it because innocents are getting killed and not those that matter.

Ajith Doval Nov 01, 2015 05:44am

In the nuclear war, nukes are the only winners.

Ravi Singh Nov 01, 2015 05:57am

Sensible article .

The Morning Star Nov 01, 2015 06:08am

Let's play Cricket.

Khan Nov 01, 2015 06:26am

@rohit But brother statistics are different, listen your leaders ,media and past many many wars you fought with china how many times you fires bullets towards china every time its Pakistan hurts by your bullets . Its need to change election campaign is based on Pakistan hatred , Brother these are bitter realities.

Agha Ata Nov 01, 2015 06:28am

No amount to nuclear bombs can protect a country from being attacked, but what one can do after being attacked does make a difference. If the enemy knows that after we attack, our enemy is surely going to bomb our country, that's something that would protect one's country.

So the number of atomic bombs doesn't matter at all. One bomb is enough.

Oberoi P Nov 01, 2015 06:35am

@lafanga India claiming back ancestral lands taken away by invaders is not unreasonable. However, nukes are not the solution.

S P Sharma Nov 01, 2015 07:12am

The best article, by our own bro from across the border. Hope the right wing leaders, who are at the helm in our country understand this and even the fact that religion, which is a matter of personal faith or beliefs cannot divide us who are destined to be one in at least after may be even 2 centuries.

P Setra Nov 01, 2015 07:17am

@R S Chakravarti The effect of that remains to be seen. Modi has been too quiet after a chain of intolerance incidents.

s.khan Nov 01, 2015 07:23am

The column is admirable for a plea to sanity but steeped in idealism. Pakistan faces a dilemma with huge military imbalance in India's favour. If Pakistan were to discard its nuclear programme,India will emerge more powerful and dictate policy in the sub-scontinent on issues like water sharing and Kashmir. India uses China as an excuse for military build up with the approval and support of the west. in 10 years India would spend 1/2 Trillion dollars on military which Pakistan can't match. As a practical matter Pakistan has to count on nuclear weapons for deterrence.Disarmament will be ideal but it has to be mutual. In future if Indo-Pak relations become friendly along the line of US-Canada relations, nuclear weapons can be discarded. in the meantime pragmatism has to trump idealism.

Ghaznavi Nov 01, 2015 07:28am

while the author and most on then commentators in agreement with him enjoy their liberties no one seems to even consider Kashmiris as equal humans!!! What about the Kashmiris???? What is the authors suggestion for this nation under Indian and Pakistani occupation? There cannot be and will not be any peace in the region without setting Kashmir free!

Rohit Nov 01, 2015 07:49am

Professor Sir, I am a big fan of yours. I wish I get a chance to visit you some day and talk to you or rather listen to your views on life and matters concerning it. Thank you for the article. Enjoyed reading it with the sunday morning tea in Bangalore. Also, congratulations dawn for keeping the comment section clean and dignified. One can see the quality of the comments here.

shyam Nov 01, 2015 08:22am

cant imagine people can stoop this low for there own benefit

Raheel Nov 01, 2015 08:30am

Sensible very sensible , why this can't be understood by all. For what we do not have and will never have we are loosing what we have and what shall cherish .

From USA, S.A. Hyder, Ph.D. Nov 01, 2015 08:49am

@Must read this.. What a wishful thinking !!

Onkar Parmar Nov 01, 2015 09:43am

Pervez Hoodbhoy Sir, You'r my Hero, when I have to choose one from the 2 countries combined. I wish all the top political and military leadership in both countries read your article and understand the TRUTH. Next, I praise Parvez Mushraf as well, for having spoken a truth. When a truth is known but is not spoken, it can only lead to most dangerous situations, leading to delhishima and lahoresaki!

adventurer Nov 01, 2015 09:44am

Nuke war is it a child's game - it is a cowardly attack? A country's might comes from its economic power as the writer has rightly pointed out.

Set aside Kashmir and eradicate the terror outfits and concentrate on economic growth and for it first and foremost is peace.
Let peace prevail.

Sudhir Neyalasinger Nov 01, 2015 09:45am

@lafanga Akhand Bharat was a line that RSS used to throw long ago. I doubt anyone in India is interested in adding on to the problems we already have by acquiring more territory.

Sayyidah Fatimah tuz Zahrah Nov 01, 2015 11:25am

Eloquent and advisory :) A must read for Pakistan and India's civil and military leadership :)

Sudhir K Sharma Nov 01, 2015 12:18pm

Sir, I am highly impressed by this article by Dr Hoodboy. I feel India should keep on talking with Pakistan so that moderates are not silenced by Hardliners. Pakistan Army not only has a responsibility of protecting country but save it from any mess likely to arise out of misunderstanding. India is nearly 6 times bigger with large resources. No need to compare the two.

If Pakistan can soften its stand on Kashmir for say 5 yrs and not send any proxies in India, both our countries would become at least good neighbours if not friends.

kaly Nov 01, 2015 12:26pm

I think time has come for common people of both countries to say their leaders that enough is enough, stop all these nonsense, better spend these amount for education, roads, health care. This madness is not good for anyone.

Taimoor Nov 01, 2015 12:37pm

It needs to be understood that our "Tactical Nukes" are a defensive weapon. Where they will not be tactful if we go for an offensive. However, the Cold Start Doctrine, is an offensive strategy. We need to understand that the military and political personal of our country are not buffoons (they may act like one) and understand the danger nukes impose. However, if push comes to shove and the integrity of Pakistan is under attack, we may not have any other option than to use the weapons we spend billions of Dollars on. We can not fight India and that is a given, however, if threat is imposed we are left with no choice. As far as ensuring that our land is not used for external threats, we ARE working on that. It took us 20 years, with our amazing policies, to get where we are today and thinking that we can be cleansed with the menace with a couple of years is a bit impractical. We also need to understand that the threats posed to us are as much internal as they are external.

Taimoor Nov 01, 2015 12:46pm

As far as building up our economy is concerned, we need to focus on education by cutting down the military expense. We have put our energy fighting a war which is destabilizing our country. Our policies have brought us where we are today, but we have started to realize how messed up they were (even the military); and the credit for that goes to India's Modi government which has achieved heights of recognition from foreign countries. We have realized if India keeps on growing with the pace they are (which they will) , and we remain with our policies , we will be economically crushed. We may end up going to India in a couple of Decades for AID. The policies are corruption we are strangled by are soon releasing it's grip. A glimpse of that is the recent LG Poll elections. We need to set our minds straight, individually and as a nation. Where people in and outside Pakistan do not see any hope, I, however see a ray of light which will lead to prosperity.

subcontinent Nov 01, 2015 02:02pm

The article read of yours is one of the best written and the most persuading. The truths of war and the aftercome of the mini-nuclear war is rightly depicted in the article. I am sure that no one who belongs to the motherland of subcontinent will stand for nuclear conflict. This can be the end of our centuries of history, culture, religion, festivals, and identity. To be sure, this is not the win-win game. As Islam states, "Killing a one person means the killing of whole humanity." So, even if one dies either on the western or eastern subcontinent, it will be the death of whole humanity. Sometimes being a human is far better than being nationalist.

Reader Nov 01, 2015 02:03pm

Does Pakistan or India really think they fight a nuclear War???.

khanm Nov 01, 2015 04:52pm

It is simple and elementary there are no looser nor winners in Nuke wars..

Arslan Nov 01, 2015 04:54pm

Question is: would India not wage a war on Pakistan had it not for Pak's nuclear weapons? India has twice breached International borders, who is going to stop it doing so again without the threat of nuclear retaliation?

Raj - Indian Troll Nov 01, 2015 05:04pm

Pakistan has better intellectual minds ( Sir Pervez Hoodbhoy, Hassan Nisar ji, Tarek Ali, Terek Fateh and many more ) . . . humble, polite logical self critical and good listener - and lastly there maturity level . . which is of-course matched with their knowledge - is absolutely missing on the Indian "so called intellectuals" who just play with their "seculari card" to hide their intellectual hollowness.

Imtiyaz Nov 01, 2015 05:10pm

Mr hoodbhoy another anti pakistan stance what about the attacks india launches no mention of that, you and similar coackroaches need to be crushed from pakistani society for ever

Amze Pakistan Nov 01, 2015 09:10pm

I completely disagree with analysis! First of all you are presenting a pacifist ideology which was prevalent among the intellectuals of the 70s and 80s. The world has changed and you still cling to those old ideals, and at the same time present them as rationale thoughts! People with far greater intellect (like Oppenheimer and Einstein) helped create the first atomic bomb and they weighed on every moral and ethical aspect of the issue. This issue has been discussed thoroughly. With your rationale Pakistan should not only get rid of its deterrence capabilities but also knives and sticks, because they too might present danger to our snake like neighbor. Simple Game theory is at play here, and idealistic wishful thinking is simply absurd.

SKD Nov 01, 2015 09:30pm

Sound analysis. Nobody can win a nuke war.

Jups Nov 01, 2015 09:42pm

Sir, I am a big fan of your rational and logical thinking. People who talk of Nuclear war do not realize, as you rightly say - the aftermath. Especially when we have the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine already at play. A tactical strike will be met with a 10 Kilo ton strike, Areas affected by such an atrocity will be uninhabitable for hundreds of years. People of Hiroshima & Nagasaki are still suffering from WW-II nuclear strikes. I hope sanity prevails and jingoistic scaremongering is stopped.

Ghaznavi Nov 01, 2015 10:35pm

Avoiding solution to Kashmir issue is like ignoring the elephant in the room. Kashmiris can't be made hostage to nucliarzation of south Asia. Kashmiris were sold to Dogra slavery by the infamous treaty of Amritsar and centuries later they are still being treated as goods by Indians and the Pakistanis. Going through this article it looks like the authors attitude is no different. Why is the author silent plight of Kashmiris?

Azhar jamil Nov 02, 2015 12:03am

Sensible lines needs attention of sensible leadership.Which is need of time,for the regional prosperity.

NE Nov 02, 2015 12:15am

A nuclear war will definitely solve the Kashmir conflict. How? There will be no people left alive to claim the territory. Chances are, even Kashmiri people will be wiped off. For those who will be alive, they won't be able to grow food or even go to the now empty areas because of radiation, which would probably be there for 100s of years. What will we do of the land where we can't even stand?

ram Nov 02, 2015 12:21am

Appreciate the wisdom of the writer. "respect is earned through economic rather than military strength". India and Pakistan should compete in economic development and innovation and not in who could destroy better.

khan321 Nov 02, 2015 12:55am

People of India and Pakistan let their leaders know that leave this madness or go to home please. We don't want war with each other rather we want love. Let us solve all our problems including terrorism(terrorists are also taking the advantage of our mistrust and the hatred our leaders have spread). Kashmir problem can be also solved if we both are sincere and solve it according to the wishes of all Kashmiris on both sides. Make our borders easy for travel - business and general movement. Long live both INDIA and PAKISTAN - let other countries who want us to fight and hate each other suffer.

Abdul Muqtadir Nov 02, 2015 01:32am

Very wise and full of wisdom article. Pakistan GHQ should pay attention to these advises. I am shocked to see the civilian leadership, the Foreign Office falling in line with the Jingoist views. Please pay attention to Economy, stop begging, and develop internally. We already lost 1/2 of Pakistan with the Military approach.

Imtiaz Faruqui Nov 02, 2015 05:33am

Make Love not War.

Chanakya Nov 02, 2015 07:30am

Spot on, Sir. Always admire and respect you for staying brave and sensible. There are only few sane minds around in a drought hit region for sanctity. May god bless you long life.

Steve Nov 02, 2015 10:49am

There are no winners in a nuclear war. Both the governments should understand this.

It should be noted that in 1960s the US had conducted war excercises, replicating a full blown nuclear war with the erstwhile USSR. The outcome of the exercises was baffling for the US administration, with several hundred million dead on either side, military command and control & establishment reduced by a factor of 1000, and entire continent turning unhabitable.

India & Pakistan would do well to learn from what US had learned over 50 years back. It is needless to say, the level of political and civic maturity in the sub-continent is less today even when compared to US-USSR 50 years back.

What do we want? A nuclear war over a small area like Kashmir which renders the entire subcontinent unhabitable?

SANJEEV KUMAR YADAV Nov 02, 2015 11:27am

Wonderful article. Full of wisdom and sanity.

IND Nov 02, 2015 12:12pm

very well written article with practical scenarios. Hope the decision makers of both countries will consider this.

Omar Khayyam Nov 02, 2015 12:29pm

Another brilliant article from Dr. Hoodbhoy.

Sujay Nandi Nov 02, 2015 01:15pm

Rightly hammered Mr. Pervez and very well written. This is not only applicable for Pakistan and India but any country who are counting their nuclear warheads to measure the so called superiority but at the cost of what....their own peril. A simple comparison in this aspect, it takes a single bullet on head to perform suicide so what if I have 6 or 12 or 28 it doesn't matter and is useless....

Muhammad Arif Nov 02, 2015 01:54pm

The piece of writing is an excellent one, it in fact would help to rethink about our future plans.But is is directly depend upon that how India responds because after all we just try innovations in order to counter India...

Muhammad Arif Nov 02, 2015 01:58pm

It is the dire need of the hour to develop such kind of liberal approach from both sides.I think there is no such hatred from the the common man of both sides.It is just created through media.Both governments should take positive initiation in order to bridge this gulf.

bhpradipta Nov 02, 2015 03:48pm

I really appreciate your column SIR. May such voice increase in great number in both sides to finally give hate a break!

pardeep Nov 02, 2015 05:46pm

sensible words!

Shash Nov 02, 2015 06:39pm

This is MAD ( Mutually agreed Destruction ) ness. Once Nuclear war starts , the attitude will be, I will go down and will take you also to abyss.

One suggestion is its better no one talks or even think of N-word