India Pakistan: The Upcoming Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India Pakistan: The Coming War

Feb 10, 2018

Photos of grieving women and old men hugging the casket soldier killed on the Jammu and Kashmir border skirmish are appearing on the front pages of newspapers almost every day. Dressed in battle fatigues and bullet proof jackets, Indian army jawans and personnel of the Border Security Forces are constantly moving through border hamlets and paddy fields to take position to fire across the border. Devastation is visible all around — blood stains on the floor, broken windows, injured animals and splinter marks on the walls. By mid -January this year (2018) a chain of hamlets and towns along the Indo-Pak border in R.S.Pura sector have become empty. Over 40,000 villagers have abandoned their homes to escape heavy shelling by Pakistani forces. The BSF had fired over 9,000 rounds of mortar shells across the Jammu IB in the last few days as part of “pinpointed” retaliatory action against this “unprovoked” firing from across the border. In Nichal village in Samba district, an old man waiting to receive body of his son felled by Pakistani bullets appealed to Prime Minister to either engage Pakistan in dialogue, or engage it in a full-fledged war to get lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has virtually frozen all high-level contacts with Pakistan and vowed to continue doing so until Islamabad stops providing all logistical support for the anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir. There is no indication that Mr. Modi is going to change his stance in near future.
Bilateral relations between India and Pakistan has been virtually reduced to soldiers firing at each other across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. During 2017 there were nearly 860 hostile military actions on the Indo-Kashmir border. According to information in the first month of 2018 there were more than five incidents of exchange of fire every day on the Jammu Kashmir border. Earlier this month, the Press Trust of India (PTI) cited a report from Indian intelligence sources that claimed 138 Pakistan military personnel were killed in the preceding year in “tactical operations and retaliatory cross-border firings” along the LoC. The same sources put the death toll of soldiers on the Indian side at 28. Both militaries are known for boasting of enemy fatalities, while downplaying casualties on their own side.

In retaliation of heavy Pakistani firing and shelling that killed Border Security Force Constable K.K. Appa Rao, Indian army in August 2017 had initiated “Operation Arjun”, which targeted farms and residences of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers and retired Pakistani Army officers. An official document accessed by IANS revealed that “Operation Arjun” continued till September 24, with the BSF using small and medium arms as well as aerial weapons, causing heavy casualties and damage on the Pakistani side. According to reports, in January 2018, Indian side has fired around 9000 rounds of mortar shells across the international border in Jammu as part of “pinpointed” retaliatory action against this “unprovoked” firing from across the border.

With both sides accusing the other of “unprovoked firing” across the Line of Control (LoC) the situation is on a knife’s edge. These violations in the Jammu and Kashmir region are significant as these compound bilateral military, political, and diplomatic tensions. These have the potential to escalate into bigger military engagement in the aftermath of terror incidents.

Since late 2008, India-Pakistan “comprehensive peace dialogue” has been in limbo. However, till 2016 the incidents of violation of ceasefire were about 300 per year. On September 28, 2016, India responded to the Uri attack by mounting surgical strikes on militant bases. After the “surgical strike” the incidents of ceasefire violations have increased exponentially. The cross border firings spread to the international border in Punjab as a result of which villages on both sides of Punjab had to be evacuated. The US endorsed India’s Sept. 2016 “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan. While India asserts terrorist infiltration from Pakistan is the primary cause for cease fire violations, Pakistan claims that the outstanding bilateral disputes are the issue. Even if terrorist infiltration were to end, there is no certainty that the ceasefire violations would end. The situation is complicated by the new military belligerency which is behind the massive rise in the cease fire violations during last year.

A further consequence of Washington’s downgrading of relations with Pakistan in favour of India, is that it has emboldened the Indian ruling elite in its dealings with Pakistan. Seizing on the deterioration in US-Pakistani relations, General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Indian on January 12, 2018, issued a warning to Pakistan. He said that Indian forces were ready to call Pakistan’s ‘nuclear bluff’ and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responded the next day, with his own warlike message. He said, Indiana army chief’s statement “Amount to (an) invitation for (a) nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah [God willing].” Earlier in the day, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had also responded to the Indian army chief’s ‘nuclear bluff’ assertion by warning that India will be given a befitting response if they engage in any misadventure.

Pakistan has been stockpiling strategic nuclear weapons for several years. There are reports that recently it has deployed tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons as its first line of defence against any large-scale Indian invasion or impending invasion. Pakistan claims that Indian has been planning attack them under its “Cold Start” strategy.

Pakistan has long viewed Afghanistan as vital to giving it “strategic depth” in its rivalry with India. Washington’s promotion of India as a major player in Afghanistan is exacerbating tensions in the region. Trump administration’s encouragement of India has helped expand the Indo-Pakistan strategic conflict onto Afghan soil. It has emboldened Afghanistan which, has adopted an increasingly hostile and aggressive policy towards Islamabad.

Islamabad frequently accuses Indian intelligence of working in tandem with Afghan intelligence to foment terrorist attacks inside Pakistani territory, including by supporting the separatist insurgency in Baluchistan.
The Pakistan claims that US government’s efforts to upset the “balance of power” in the region has forced them to deploy tactical nuclear weapons and expand its military-strategic ties with Beijing. With the US government providing India access to its most advanced weapon systems, and Pakistan moving to strengthen its strategic ties with China, the region is increasingly being polarized into rival Indo-US and raising the danger that a war between India and Pakistan could draw in the world’s great powers.

As we have seen in the past, when India and Pakistan dialogue process on key disputes is under way, cease fire violations go down. When the governments stop talking to each other, and bilateral tensions go up, the forces deployed on the line of Control, gain autonomy and local factors tend to have a dramatic influence on ceasefire violations. Instead of resuming bilateral dialogue, which is the only way disputes can be resolved, both governments have adopted unsustainable militarist approach which has the potential of engulfing the region in a larger war, which would cause massive bloodshed and enormous damage to both countries.

The fear that under the BJP rule, India will be increasingly drawn into US imperialism’s game plan for extending its hegemony over this region to counter China’s growing economic and military power is real. The USA has always fought their wars in other people’s territories bringing utter devastation to the people and the economy. That continuous localized military clashes, can lead to large-scale war is an established historic fact. We have become so used to this perpetual cycle of instability and constant confrontations, along the Indo-Pakistan border that we have lost sight of the inherent danger that these confrontations pose to peace in South Asia. As a result, despite our best efforts, the next big war in the Asia-Pacific, like most military conflicts, may come as an apparent surprise when we least expect it. For what is clear is that the current instability in the Asia-Pacific cannot endure indefinitely.
The present confrontation and jingoism has to stop, it harms lives of people on both sides. There is grave concern that after 70 years of independence a large proportion of the populations of both countries are still steeped in poverty, hunger, disease and homelessness. It is incumbent that the concerned citizens of both countries lead the way by giving a joint call emphasizing the absolute need for the two countries re-establish the relations that existed at the end of last century or beginning of this century when both governments were talking to each other. The dialogue should however not be limited to politicians, the armies or bureaucrats. Civil society organisations of both the countries must be a party to the dialogue as they alone will persuade the states to alter their course.

The author is a renowned human rights and peace activist, author and regular contributor of leading journals and news magazines in India, Nepal and Pakistan.

East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Posted:

WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.

A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.

The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.

In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.

A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.

Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.

The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.

Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.

“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.

“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.

“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.

Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.

At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.

“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”

Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.

The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.

The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.

The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.

In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.

At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”

Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.

Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.

“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”

The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.

Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.

A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.

“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”

An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.

The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.

Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.

It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.

The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.

People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.

In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.

Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.

“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.

“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”

___

Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

Russia Strengthens Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat

Russia’s Pacific Fleet is slated to receive four Project 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines (SSGN) upgraded with 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles by 2021, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on February 6.

“We have discussed this issue today and we believe that the year 2021 is a realistic term,” Borisov told journalists while visiting the Zvezda Shipyard, owned by the United Shipbuilding Corporation, in the Russian Far East, TASS news agency reports. The deputy defense minister did not reveal additional details.

Nevertheless, it appears to be unlikely that all four Project 949A subs will be ready for service by 2021.

As of 2017, only two subs of the class—the Irkutsk and the Chelyabinsk—are being retrofitted at the Zvezda shipyard and the upgrade program has already encounter multiple delays. In 2015, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it will retrofit its entire operational fleet of eight Project 949A SSGNs for an estimated $180 million per boat.

Last year, Borisov said that overall up to four SSGNs could be modernized, which, next to new weapons systems includes upgrades of the subs’ navigation and support systems. “This work is under the current state program (…),” he said in March 2017. “The Irkutsk submarine is modernized now, and it is due in 2021, now we consider modernization of another three submarines under the future state program for 2018-2025.”

The status of a third submarine of the class, the Oryol, which caught fire during maintenance work 2015, remains unclear. Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 now foresees the upgrade of six Project 949A SSGNs over the next nine years. The upgrades are expected to extend the service life of the subs by 15-20 years. Around 40 to 60 percent of Russia’s submarine force is estimated not to be operational.

As I reported in March 2017:

Project 949A subs, built between 1985 and 1999, are primarily designed to attack U.S. carrier strike groups and coastal targets in the event of a conflict. They are the largest cruise missile subs currently in service in Russia. The Russian Navy is currently operating two Project 949A subs in its Northern Fleet and five with the Pacific Fleet.

Displacing around 24,000 tons (submerged), Project 949A subs can carry up to 24 P-700 Granit (NATO designation: SS-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles.

The SSGNs new primary weapon system, the 3M-54 Kalibr, is a stand-off supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with an estimated range of 270 to 410 miles. The subs could also be fitted “with a land-attack version of the weapon system, dubbed Kalibr 3M14T and 3M14K (NATO designation: SS-N-30A), with a substantially larger range estimated between 1,000 and 1,500 miles,” I explained elsewhere.

Shaking Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

 

[NY] Minor Earthquake Rattles Westchester CountyDid You Feel It? Minor Earthquake Rattles New York’s Westchester County, Dozens Report Feeling Tremor

Published at 7:35 AM EST on Feb 7, 2018 | Updated at 6:04 PM EST on Feb 7, 2018

A small earthquake rattled parts of Westchester County early Wednesday, federal data confirms.

The minor, 2.2-magnitude quake hit about 5 kilometers north northwest of Lake Mohegan, at 6:14 a.m., federal data says.

The federal earthquake tracker indicates it got reports about the quake from about 69 people. One woman from Cold Spring and a man from Yorktown Heights both called News 4 to report feeling the tremor.

The quake didn’t appear widely felt, though. Most reports on Twitter were from people asking if anyone else had felt it. No injuries were reported, nor were there any indications of damage.

India Fires Another Nuclear Missile (Revelation 8)

For the second time in just a week, India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has test launched a short-range nuclear capable ballistic missile as part of its annual training cycle to test the combat readiness of the Indian Army’s missile forces.

The Prithvi-II tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile was test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha on February 7, according to defense sources speaking to local media.

The Prithvi-II, purportedly randomly selected from the Indian Army’s existing stockpile, was launched from a transporter erector launcher. The test was overseen by the SFC and the defense ministry’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

“The missile trajectory was tracked by radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations by the DRDO along the coast of Odisha,” defense sources said.

All test objectives were reportedly met.

The single-state, liquid fuel missile, developed by DRDO in the 1990s and early 2000s under the so-called Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, was first introduced into service in 2003. It has an operational range of around 350 kilometers and can alternatively be armed with a 500-1,000 kilogram conventional or nuclear warhead.

The missile was also test fired in November 2016 and June 2017.

The February 7 missile test follows the test firing of an Agni-I short-range nuclear capable ballistic missile on February 6. According to defense sources, the launch was a “complete success.” The Agni-I has an operational range of 700-900 kilometers and can carry a 1,000-kilogram conventional or nuclear payload.

The Agni-I was last successfully test fired in November 2017.

Both the Agni-I and Prithvi-II are part of the missile arsenal India maintains to uphold its nuclear warfighting doctrine of credible minimum deterrence. As I explained: “India has a No First-Use (NFU) policy and keeps its nuclear warheads de-mated from the actual missiles. India is estimated to possess 120-130 nuclear warheads.”

This January, the SFC also tested India’s most advanced nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V, as I reported:

The Agni-V, a three-stage solid fueled missile, has an approximate range of 5,500-5,800 kilometers [the exact range remains classified], and can carry a 1,500-kilogram (3,300-pound) nuclear warhead. India has reportedly also been working on multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) for the Agni-V in order to ensure a credible second-strike capability.

While shorter range nuclear capable missiles are designed to deter Pakistan, the Agni-V missile is being developed to field a credible nuclear deterrent against China.