Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

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With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | NewsNews and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

More Federal Lies Leading to the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point faces no risk from gas pipeline, says NRC

16 April 2020

Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York State would remain protected in the unlikely event that a newly-installed 42-inch natural gas transmission pipeline that runs near it ruptures, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has concluded. However, it said Entergy should revisit the assumptions it made in its analysis.

Indian Point units 2 and 3, which are both scheduled to shut down by the end of April 2021 (Image: Entergy)

Enbridge Inc’s Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline transports 3.08 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas through 1131 miles (1820 km) of pipeline through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, connecting to the Texas Eastern Transmission and the Maritimes & Northeast pipelines. The 37.6 mile-long Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline crosses the Indian Point plant site and entered service in January 2017. The plant, located on the Hudson River, lies about 24 miles from New York City.

A 26 February directive from NRC’s Executive Director for Operations, Margaret Doane, called for a review by a team of NRC and external experts to review issues raised in an earlier NRC Inspector General’s Event Inquiry into the NRC’s 2014 safety analysis of the AIM pipeline. The team members were chosen to be independent from the previous work described in the Event Inquiry and included both NRC staff and external members with expertise regarding the concerns that were raised.

The team’s 8 April report concludes that, “even though Entergy and the NRC made some optimistic assumptions” in analysing potential rupture of the pipeline, the Indian Point reactors remain safe. The report says the pipeline was installed “using modern techniques, stringent quality standards, and construction precautions that limit the likelihood of later pipeline damage”. The team notes that, as Indian Point unit 2 is scheduled to shut down by the end of this month and unit 3 by 30 April 2021, “the risk of a pipeline rupture affecting the reactor units is very small”.

However, the report says in the event that a rupture did occur, the plant would remain protected. The plant’s safety systems, it notes, are all far from the pipeline. The team found that the robust concrete structures housing the plant’s safety-related equipment, used fuel pool, and dry fuel storage containers would withstand the heat and pressure impacts of an explosion or fire that could follow a pipeline explosion. The safety-related equipment would be able to safely shut down the reactors and maintain them in a safe shutdown condition, it said. Equipment or structures outside these buildings could be affected, but these serve as backups or alternatives to the safety-related equipment.

The team recommended that Entergy update the assumptions used in its analysis with the new information the team developed during its review. The team also recommended several improvements to NRC processes related to the conduct of technical reviews, peer review, inspection support, interagency cooperation and public petition processing. The NRC intends to hold a public meeting near the plant regarding the report when the region has sufficiently recovered from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

The Rising Iranian Nuclear Horn (Daniel8 )

Research Group Discloses Undeclared Iran ‘Nuclear Weapons’ Development Site

April 09, 2020

Radio Farda

A team of American experts says it has uncovered a previously unknown Islamic Republic nuclear weapons development site in Iran.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) called on Tehran on April 8 to acknowledge the previously undisclosed site to international inspectors.

Founded in 1993, the Institute for Science and International Security is led by former United Nations IAEA nuclear inspector David Albright.

ISIS says that it has evidence the Islamic Republic operated the nuclear weapons development facility in northern Iran until at least 2011 when it was likely destroyed as Western nations began to investigate the country’s weapons program.

“Based on documents in the Iran Nuclear Archive, seized by Israel in early 2018, Iran’s Amad Plan created the Shahid Mahallati Uranium Metals Workshop near Tehran to research and develop uranium metallurgy related to building nuclear weapons”, ISIS says.

Amad Plan refers to Iran’s alleged roadmap to developing a nuclear weapon.

“The facility was intended as a pilot plant, aimed at developing and making uranium components for nuclear weapons, in particular components from weapon-grade uranium, the key nuclear explosive material in Iranian nuclear weapon cores,” the institute disclosed.

The site was meant to be temporary until the production-scale Shahid Boroujerdi facility at Parchin was completed.

A combo photo from 2012 shows two small buildings at the suspected Parchin testing chamber have been razed (R) between April and May 2012

Parchin is a village in Hesar-e Amir area in the Central District of Pakdasht County, Tehran Province, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) southeast of downtown Tehran. In November 2011, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that it had “credible” information Parchin was used for implosion testing. The IAEA sought additional access to Parchin, which Tehran rejected.

However, ISIS believes that the key building of the Shahid Mahallati uranium metals workshop, was apparently gutted and abandoned between late 2010 and early 2011, after another Iranian nuclear facility at Fordow was uncovered near the neighboring city, Qom.

“Iran should declare this site to the International Atomic Energy Agency and allow its inspection since the facility was designed and built to handle nuclear material subject to safeguards under Iran’s comprehensive safeguards agreement,” Albright insisted in the ISIS report, adding, “The IAEA, more generally, should verify sites, locations, facilities, documentation, equipment, and materials involved in the Amad Plan activities, and urge Iran to cooperate fully in these investigations, despite their age, as part of ensuring that Iran has not continued nuclear weapons work up to today.”

Meanwhile, Albright told the Washington Free Beacon the site has not been publicly revealed earlier and it is likely Western nations had no knowledge of it prior to Israel’s seizure of the nuclear documents.

“This site may have been close to being able to make weapon-grade uranium cores for nuclear weapons, albeit no evidence Iran had any weapon-grade uranium yet,” Albright said. “But the site highlights concretely that Iran was putting in place a nuclear weapons production industry, not just a development program, and there is no evidence of its destruction.”

A view of the interior of the Fordo (Fordow) Uranium Conversion Facility in Qom, November 6, 2019

The Free Beacon cited a non-proliferation expert and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Andrea Stricker, as saying, the discovery of this new site “shows the extent to which Tehran lied to international inspectors about its past and possibly ongoing nuclear weapons program.”

Today, Tehran is closer to a nuclear weapon than previously thought,” Stricker said, asserting, “The IAEA needs to undertake a full investigation in Iran to ensure that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.”

Referring to a plethora of complications in building a production-scale uranium metallurgy plant, ISIS report says, “Overcoming these difficulties would typically call for a pilot plant, designed to develop and test critical procedures being planned for Shahid Boroujerdi, the pilot plant starting with surrogate materials, then introducing natural uranium, and later processing weapons-grade uranium, as a template for Shahid Boroujerdi.”

Most importantly, ISIS has argued, the weapon-grade uranium would be expected to be in short supply, its preciousness demanding well-tested and practiced metallurgical manufacturing procedures, the goal is to avoid mistakes and blunders potentially resulting in significant losses of expensive weapon-grade uranium.

The Rising Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

China may be conducting secret nuclear tests, State Department warns | Fox News

April 15, 2020

The State Department is concerned China may be conducting small nuclear tests in secret, possibly violating an international agreement banning such tests, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

A new State Department report on compliance with arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal earlier Wednesday, found that China may be flouting international law by conducting the tests within the northwest region of the country, using low explosive power.

The report didn’t prove any wrongdoing on the part of the Chinese, but still raised red flags.

“Some compliance concerns are raised and some findings of violations are made,” it read.

Officials wrote that China had maintained a “high level of activity” at its Lop Nur site in 2019, and could be seeking to operate it year-round going forward.

It also mentioned China’s use of explosive containment chambers, extensive evacuations at the site and lack of transparency on nuclear testing as reasons for raising suspicions.

The report went on to cite further concerns about China’s possible violation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) by engaging “in biological activities with potential dual-use application.”

The U.S. government also could not determine if China had shut down its biological warfare program, nor could it confirm if Beijing still had access to such weapons, due to its lack of openness and transparency.

China has been under growing scrutiny over its handling of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There is increasing confidence that COVID-19 likely originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses were equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on government actions and seen relevant materials revealed to Fox News.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out the Chinese government for not sharing the full story with the rest of the world.

“We know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo told “The Story”. “We know there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There is still lots to learn. The United States government is working diligently to figure it out.”

Fox News’ Bret Baier, Gregg Re, Charles Creitz and Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.

The Rising Nuclear Horns of Prophecy (Daniel)

State Department Report Highlights World’s Deadliest Weapons

Potential nuclear tests in China, a whole list of problems with Russia, and let’s not forget North Korea and Iran.

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department has released the unclassified executive summary of its annual arms control report. Foggy Bottom is required by statute to submit the report to Congress each year and the unclassified version is a distillation of longer, classified analyses that aren’t released to the public. Much of the report is usually unsurprising. But there are almost always at least a few revelations, and this year’s report is no different.

Don’t let the dry bureaucratic text fool you—the report outlines some of the most pressing security challenges Americans face today and will have to continue worrying about in the future. No interest is more vital than safeguarding the U.S. from an attack utilizing a weapon of mass destruction. And the report provides a useful overview of how the world’s most dangerous nations—from global powers such as China and Russia to rogue states including Iran and North Korea—continue to develop the deadliest weapons mankind has ever known.

Let’s start with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China advances on nukes.

Perhaps the most intriguing paragraph in the report concerns China’s Lop Nur nuclear weapons site and the possibility that the CCP has been conducting low yield tests there. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Gordon first reported on these passages on Wednesday.

The State Department claims the Chinese “maintained a high level of activity” at the site “throughout 2019” and may be preparing to operate it “year-round.” The report’s authors point to China’s “use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur, and lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities.”

Regarding the lack of transparency, Foggy Bottom reports that China has been “frequently blocking the flow of data from its International Monitoring System (IMS) stations to the International Data Center operated by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization.” This move raises “concerns regarding [China’s] adherence to the ‘zero yield’ standard adhered to by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in their respective nuclear weapons testing moratoria.”

In other words, the State Department insinuates—but does not outright allege—that the CCP may be conducting low-grade explosives tests. This obviously has potential ramifications for future nuclear weapons negotiations and international compliance monitoring.

The CCP quickly dismissed the State Department’s report. During a press conference on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, accused the U.S. of “fabricating” such issues. The U.S. has been “posturing as a judge or referee to criticize other countries’ arms control and non-proliferation measures and [stylizing] itself as a model,” Zhao sneered. He went on to portray China as the truly responsible international actor, denouncing America’s approach to diplomacy, arms control, and related matters under President Trump’s “America First” agenda. (There are many reasons to be skeptical. Among them: Zhao is the same senior official who suggested on Twitter that the U.S. Army might be responsible for bringing the coronavirus epidemic to Wuhan.)

China’s nuclear-related activities aren’t the only area of concern. The State Department reminds readers that the U.S. “does not have sufficient information to determine whether China eliminated its assessed biological warfare (BW) program,” as is required under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In past analyses, the U.S. concluded that China retained parts of its programs and never really came clean about its “offensive” biological capabilities.

Russia’s nuclear tests, chemical weapons, and nerve agents.

The U.S. thinks the Russians may be gearing up for additional low-yield nuclear tests of their own that could also circumvent the Kremlin’s notification commitments under the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, which is intended to cap the yield of such experiments and provide other safeguards. The section of the State Department’s report dealing with this issue is somewhat murky, reflecting the unknowns. Other sections are straightforward, including clear language regarding Russia’s SSC-8 SCREWDRIVER, a missile that violates the Kremlin’s previous commitments to avoid possessing, building or testing a ground-launched cruise missile “with a range capability of 500 kilometers (km) to 5,500 kilometers.”

Not all of Russia’s problematic weapons require an intermediate-range missile for delivery. The State Department continues to assess that Russia was indeed responsible for the March 4, 2018, assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal. The U.S. “certifies that Russia is in non-compliance” with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), pointing to the attack on Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who served as double agent for the British.

U.K. intelligence reportedly recruited Skripal in the mid-1990s. After Skripal’s double role was discovered, he was tried and convicted on espionage charges in his home country. He received a 13-year sentence in 2006, but the U.K. and Russians swapped spies in 2010. Skripal went to live in Britain.

That could have been the end of the story, but Vladimir Putin couldn’t let it go.

Skripal and his daughter suddenly became ill in March 2018, after they were poisoned with a suspected exotic nerve agent. They survived, but with health complications. As the New York Times reported weeks after the assassination attempt, British and American officials were “struck by the symbolism of the attack,” because there “were many ways the former spy could have been killed.” These same unnamed Western intelligence officials told the Times that they suspect Putin’s assassins knew the nerve agent would be traced back to Russia, thereby making it clear to current and former spies that the Kremlin would never forgive treason.

The State Department also got the message and hasn’t forgotten it. Foggy Bottom cites the attack on Skripal as evidence that the Russians retain “an undeclared chemical weapons program.”

Russian-supported chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The State Department also expresses “concerns regarding Russian assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic regarding the regime’s use of chlorine against Douma in April 2018.” The Syrian Arab Republic is, of course, Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which denies using weaponized chlorine. Despite Assad’s and Putin’s denials, the U.S., British, and French governments carried out punitive airstrikes on Assad’s forces after the attack.

The online world is a fever swamp with respect to the events at Douma, in part because of Russian disinformation. The Russian government has accused the U.K. of working with insurgents to stage the incident. The Russians have also alleged that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has cooked its investigatory books, even though the watchdog initially avoided assigning culpability. The latter charge picked up steam after two OPCW inspectors questioned the organization’s findings in personal writings, which were then leaked online.

The OPCW launched its own internal investigation of the matter in July 2019 and released its findings in February. The OPCW concluded that neither of the purported whistleblowers was well-positioned to offer their supposedly superior conclusions. One of the two inspectors played only a “minor supporting role in the investigation of the Douma incident” and “did not have access to all of the information gathered,” including “witness interviews, laboratory results, and analyses by independent experts.” The second inspector “never left” the group’s “command post in Damascus,” because he hadn’t “completed the necessary training required” to visit the site at Douma. He “separated from” OPCW in August 2018—that is, before the “majority” of the investigative team’s “work occurred.”

You can debate the merits and efficacy of the punitive airstrikes. The Syrian insurgency is riddled with jihadists, including al-Qaeda-affiliated groups that are not acceptable allies or partners for the West. The whole conflict is a multifaceted mess, with Assad committing non-chemical atrocities on a regular basis.

There’s little doubt in my mind that Assad and his benefactors have conducted a series of low-grade chemical weapons attacks on the Syrian population. These chemical weapon bombings didn’t begin or end in Douma. According to the new report, the State Department “assesses” that the Assad regime has used “chemical weapons against the Syrian people every year since” its accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. That accession was brokered by then Secretary of State John Kerry with the Russians in order to force the Syrian regime to turn over or destroy its entire chemical weapons program. While part of the regime’s chemical weapons architecture was accounted for, the agreement wasn’t nearly as effective as Kerry initially imagined. The State Department points to a separate chemical bombing in Kabana, Latakia, in May 2019 as another example of the ongoing campaign. The OPCW has documented still other suspected chemical weapons attacks as well.

The rogue states.

The State Department’s new report contains other observations that are unsurprising, but still worth repeating. North Korea’s ongoing “nuclear activities make clear that it also has not adhered to its commitments … to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs,” the report notes. Of course, Kim Jong-un has also resisted President Trump’s charm offensive, which is intended to cajole the North Korean leader into cooperation.

In early 2018, an elite team of Israeli spies absconded from Iran with a cache of nuclear-related research materials. In a statement of the obvious, the U.S. surmises that the Iranians “may have maintained this information at least in part to preserve technical expertise relevant to a nuclear weapons capability, and potentially to aid in any future effort to pursue nuclear weapons again, if a decision were made to do so.” The Iranians continue to block access to two suspect sites that the IAEA wishes to inspect, and they haven’t explained “particles of chemically processed uranium” that were discovered “at an undeclared location in Iran.”

The report also outlines various concerns regarding Iran’s and North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons programs, too. None of these issues are close to be resolving anytime soon.

It’s a dangerous world and this summary of the State Department’s new report only scratches the surface of some of the potentially devastating threats America and its allies face.

Photograph of nuclear-capable ICBMs in China by Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images.

US Report Challenges the China Nuclear Horn

US report hints China not abiding by nuclear moratorium

April 16, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)

China holds a military parade in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China. (Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — The U.S. State Department on Wednesday suggested that China may have conducted low-level nuclear tests despite Beijing’s assertion it has adhered to an international accord banning all nuclear explosions.

“China maintained a high level of activity at its Lop Nur nuclear weapons test site throughout 2019,” the department said in a report on arms control, pointing to “concerns” about Beijing’s adherence to the “zero yield” standard for nuclear blasts.

China is among countries to have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits countries from carrying out all types of nuclear explosive tests. But Beijing, along with the United States and other nuclear powers, has committed to pursuing a moratorium on nuclear test explosions.

The report said concerns center on China’s possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site in the far western Xinjiang region, its use of explosive containment chambers and extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur.

It also criticized the lack of transparency about China’s nuclear testing activities, alleging it has been “frequently blocking” data transmission for the international monitoring of nuclear weapon test explosions.

Meanwhile in Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated the country’s commitment to the nuclear moratorium, saying such U.S. accusations on China’s nuclear activities are completely groundless, fictitious and not even worth refuting.

“China has always conscientiously fulfilled its international obligations and commitments in a responsible manner,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a regular press briefing on Thursday, adding that the United States is the one withdrawing from its arms control and nonproliferation commitments.

“The international community should be highly alert to this dangerous U.S. trend and urge the U.S. to change its course,” he said.

The 1996 CTBT has been signed by 184 countries and ratified by 168, but it needs to be signed and ratified by 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries before it can enter into force. Eight of those states — the United States, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan — have yet to ratify it.

It’s Only A Short Time Before The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

It’s Only A Matter Of Time Before The Next India-Pakistan Nuclear Crisis

Here’s What You Need To Remember: To avoid further nuclear showdowns, Pakistan must cease sponsoring and hosting terrorist groups in stark violation of international norms. And India must create conditions for governance in Kashmir that enjoys genuine local legitimacy for both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindus.

“Tit-for-tat.” The expression evokes the petty aggressions of a long-running feud.

It also describes how two states home to one-fifth of the planet’s population edged closer to nuclear war in the space of a few days.

Two air strikes and a downed jet fighter or two later, India and Pakistan have stepped back from the brink—for now.

The fuse of this sequence of events was lit two weeks earlier on February 14, 2019, when Kashmiri local Adil Ahmad Dar rammed his car full explosives into an Indian military bus, killing forty members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force.

Dar’s parents claimed he had become radicalized after being beaten by Indian police. Afterwards, responsibility for the attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohamad, an insurgent group formed by, based in, and logistically supported by Pakistan, particularly its Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

Twelve days later at 3:30 AM on February 26, a dozen delta-wing Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force streaked towards the Line Of Control (LOC) separating Pakistani and Indian-occupied Kashmir, skimming close to the ground to mask their radar signature amidst the surrounding mountains. Four twin-engine Su-30 fighters provided escort. Further back, an ERJ-145 Netra jet with a boom-shaped radar on its back scanned the skies for Pakistani interceptors.

The Mirages reportedly released bombs on five targets corresponding to well-known JeM camps around Balakot, Pakistan. The weapons released have been variously reported as laser-guided Paveway glide bombs, Israeli-built GPS-guided SPICE glide bombs, or Indian-developed High-Speed, Low-Drag bombs.

Reportedly, Pakistani JF-17 Thunder fighters scrambled to intercept the Indian aircraft but had too little time to prevent the strike.

New Delhi claimed 300 JeM militants preparing further attacks had been killed. Pakistan claimed the bombs all missed.

This marked the first Indian air attack on Pakistani soil since a 1971 war. It was also the second cross-border “surgical strike” since Indian Prime Minister Modi has taken office. Earlier in September 2016, Indian infantry launched a cross-border raid twelve days after an insurgent attack on an Army base in Uri killed nineteen soldiers. Whether that raid had any military results was also disputed.

Regardless, Islamabad promised it would retaliate “at a time and place of our choosing” with a “surprise.”

Pakistani Major General Asif Ghafoor also conveyed that “the Prime Minister is convening its National Command Authority”—the high-level military apparatus that alone can authorize the release of nuclear weapons.

“I hope you know what the NCA means…” Ghafoor added, in case his meaning wasn’t clear enough.

This earlier article details the diverse tactical and strategic nuclear capabilities possessed by Pakistan and India. India has “No First Strike” doctrine, meaning it claims it will only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack. Pakistan, however, maintains it is willing to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional attack.

Air Battles Over Kashmir

Pakistan’s “surprise” was not long in coming. At 9:45 AM the next day, Pakistani jets surged over the Line of Control and launched laser-guided bombs at six Indian targets.

Tit-for-tat.

Pakistan claims the fighters were JF-17 Thunders jointly manufactured with China. India alleged the strike package included one or two dozen JF-17s, older Mirage IIIs, and F-16s supplied by the U.S.—the use of which against India would prove controversial.

While Pakistani spokespersons gave conflicting characterizations of the target, in fact the bombs narrowly missed Indian military bases at Krishna Ghati, Nangi Tekri, Narian and elsewhere. Pakistan claims the near misses were intentional, while India claims weapons launch was disrupted by intercepting Indian fighters.

Eight Indian air force jets (four Su-30s, two Mirage 2000s and two MiG-21s) pursued the Pakistani aircraft. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman flew his MiG-21 Bison, a 1950s-era Soviet jet with upgraded radar and weapons, across the LOC and launched a heat-seeking R-73 missile.

Simultaneously, Pakistani jets fired back two radar-guided missiles, hitting Abhinandan’s MiG-21. He successfully ejected from his stricken MiG. He was captured by Pakistani soldiers, who rescued him from a violent mob. A video of his interrogation while still bloodied was released by Pakistan, then taken down, followed by later footage suggesting improved treatment.

Pakistan maintains it did not lose any fighters, and that the kill was scored by a JF-17 of No. 14 squadron. However, India shared with media fragments from an AIM-120C-5 radar-guided missile delivered from the United States, which is only likely to have been integrated on Pakistani F-16s.

Some witnesses on the ground reported seeing two aircraft hit and multiple parachutes. On February 28, unconfirmed reports claimed Abhinandan’s missile had hit a Pakistani two-seat F-16B, whose pilot ejected with mortal injuries. However, there so far is no photographic evidence confirming a downed F-16.

Indian and Pakistani ground forces are also exchanging tank and artillery fire across the LOC, injuring and killing civilians and soldiers on both sides. Sadly, such artillery duels have been routine for decades.

Aerial skirmishes might easily have continued. Instead, on February 28 Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced he would release Wing Commander Vathraman as a gesture of goodwill. This conciliatory move was carried out the following day, and will hopefully bring an end to the current cycle of escalation.

Back from the Brink—For Now

The non-catastrophic resolution of the crisis-du-jour should not inspire misguided confidence that nuclear deterrence will inevitably prevent a war.

Recent history leaves one with every reason to believe the circumstances which caused the recent spiraling escalation are likely to repeat themselves again and again.

For one, the recent crisis made clear that resurgent nationalist and religious sentiment in India and Pakistan created popular support for conflict escalation. Terrorist attacks, air strikes and downed jets are experienced as slaps to national honor demanding violent retaliation.

Thus, Modi and Khan face a perverse risk/reward dilemma. Escalate a little, and they score a domestic political point, improving their odds of reelection. Escalate too much and mushroom clouds could start sprouting over the landscape.

Worse, Pakistan’s civilian government cannot necessarily control the violence it is accountable for. True, Pakistan hosts and sponsors JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organizations that have perpetrated brutal attacks on Indian soil, such as the Mumbai hotel attack in 2008 and the Indian Parliament attack in 2001.

But that supported is from the military and intelligence services. The civilian Prime Minister lacks political incentives to halt such activities, which are popular with powerful religious hardliner factions. Furthermore, the Pakistani military has repeatedly undermined or outright overthrown civilian leaders that cross it.

However, while Pakistan has instigated past rounds of fighting such as the Kargil War in 1999. Moreover, the current surge of violence in Kashmir, begun in 2016, originated on Indian soil with the killing of popular local rebel leader Burhan Wani. The Indian Army’s history of human rights abuses and brutal episodes of sexual violence have weakened perceived legitimacy of Indian rule amongst Kashmiri Muslims, only 3-6 percent of whom turned out to vote in recent elections.

This means neither India nor Pakistan can entirely prevent violence that could potentially lead to nuclear escalation.

To avoid further nuclear showdowns, Pakistan must cease sponsoring and hosting terrorist groups in stark violation of international norms. And India must create conditions for governance in Kashmir that enjoys genuine local legitimacy for both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindus.

Obviously, such changes run against the grain of powerful domestic political forces in both countries. But without change, attacks by Pakistani-linked groups on Indian soil are likely to continue occurring, and a rising India will grow increasingly more inclined to retaliate militarily, tit-for-tat.

If the two nations keep on taking each other to the brink time after time, one incident or another could eventually carry them over it.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This article first appeared several years ago.

Image: Reuters