Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.

Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.

The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”

Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.

One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.

The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.

“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”

The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.

Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”

The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.

The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.

Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.

“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”

New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:

Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.

Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.

New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.

Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.

The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.

Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.

Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.

In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

Trump Opens the Door for Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

Trump Opens the Door for a Deadlier Arms Race, and the Danger of ‘Limited’ Nuclear War

More recently, it is rumoured that the US is for the first time in decades. Administration sources suggest, without evidence, that Russia and China are already conducting low yield nuclear tests, to justify their possible shift of position. It is also suggested that the threat of new nuclear testing, which would violate the de facto compliance by all nuclear powers (except North Korea) of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996, would give the US leverage to force Russia and China to trilateral talks to hash out a new agreement.

For Trump, the moves are driven by personal preference – he gets more headlines; a geopolitical great game; material gain to arms firm donors to his re-election campaign; a sop to the Republican leadership; encouragement to his far right nationalist unilateralists; and gives his voters something to shout about. And he can call Joe Biden “soft on China” – “Beijing Biden”.

It’s win-win politics, for him. The only problem is that the fate of the world then rests on unilateral American decision-making.

Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics at City, University of London, a visiting professor at LSE IDEAS (the LSE’s foreign policy think tank), and visiting fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.

Dr Atul Bhardwaj is an honorary research fellow in the department of international politics at City, University of London. He is the author of  India-America Relations (1942-62): Rooted in the Liberal International Order (Routledge, 2018)

The Australian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Deal for US to store weapons at Tindal was made years ago

Chris McLennan

June 3 2020 – 10:48AM

TOUCH DOWN: United States Air Force 90th Fighter Squadron Commander Lieutenant Colonel David Skalicky and Wing Commander Andrew Tatnell at Tindal in 2017.

Several residents have questioned the Katherine Times on the building of magazines at Tindal.

What ordnance the magazines might contain is being kept secret.

The weapons storage areas and a new jet “fuel farm” at Tindal have been planned for more than a decade as part of joint training programs between the US and Australia.

While COVID-19 restrictions have stopped most joint exercises this year, the Tindal base’s runway is being extended so KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport can use it and it can accept bigger US military aircraft like B-52 Stratofortress bombers.

Other “joint initiatives” for Tindal are also being planned, a Defence Department spokeswoman said.

The United States Naval Facilities Command Pacific has announced a $15.01 million contract for the building of earth covered magazines at Tindal.

The magazines “will be used by the US in accordance with Force Posture Agreement”, the spokeswoman said.

“The project will construct two Earth Covered Magazines and a production area that will include a munitions assembly conveyor shelter to support United States and Australian military joint training activities.”

In a prepared statement late last week, the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific announced the building program.

“The NAVFAC Pacific Team is excited to extend our strategic partnership with the Australian Government and US Air Force three hours south of Darwin to the city of Tindal,” NAVFAC Pacific operations officer Capt. Tres Meek said.

“United in purpose, we will deliver increased warfighting capability through our trusted construction community in the defense of freedom. Let’s start building!

“This Asia-Pacific Resiliency project provides adequately sized, structurally sound, and safe munitions storage capacity in the form of earth covered magazines.

“This project supports plans outlined by the bilateral United States/Australia Force Posture Agreement and enables Bilateral Enhanced Air Cooperation missions.”

The Force Posture Agreement is a post ANZUS military treaty signed between the US and Australia in 2014 following an announcement made during the visit of then US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November 2011.

Then PM Gillard said: “… we have agreed (to) greater access by US military aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force facilities in our country’s north. This will involve more frequent movements of US military aircraft into and out of northern Australia.”

More than $1.6 billion is being spent upgrading Australia’s premier air base in the north just outside Katherine in the NT.

“It will mean that we are postured to better respond together, along with other partners in the Asia Pacific, to any regional contingency, including the provision of humanitarian assistance and dealing with natural disasters,” Ms Gillard said.

The Force Posture documents sate: “With full respect for Australian sovereignty and the laws of Australia, United States Forces and United States Contractors shall have unimpeded access to and use of Agreed Facilities and Areas for activities undertaken in connection with this Agreement. Such activities may include: training, transit, support, and related activities; refuelling of aircraft; bunkering of vessels; temporary maintenance of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; temporary accommodation of personnel; communications; prepositioning of equipment, supplies, and materiel; deploying forces and materiel; and such other activities as the Parties may agree.”

In regards to what the Tindal magazines might contain.

“Procedures on what capabilities visiting forces may or may not have in Australia is covered by government procedures,” the Defence spokeswoman said.

“Defence will continue to comply with government interpretation of Australia’s obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and the non-proliferation treaty.”

Building of the Tindal magazines are expected to complete by February 2022.

Russia Ready For A First Nuclear Strike

Putin endorses ‘first strike’ if Russia faces non-nuclear attack 

By Ap 18:54 02 Jun 2020, updated 01:42 03 Jun 2020

• Policy allows Russia to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike

• The document appears to send a warning signal to the US

• It offers description of situations that could trigger use of nuclear weapons

President Vladimir Putin has endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

By including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation, the document appears to send a warning signal to the US.

The new expanded wording reflects Russian concerns about the development of prospective weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons.

President Vladimir Putin has endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure. Above, Vladimir Putin pictured today

In line with Russian military doctrine, the new document reaffirms that the country could use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that ‘threatens the very existence of the state’.

But the policy document now also offers a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons.

They include the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies and an enemy attack with conventional weapons that threatens the country’s existence.

In addition to that, the document now states that Russia could use its nuclear arsenals if it gets ‘reliable information’ about the launch of ballistic missiles targeting its territory or its allies and also in the case of ‘enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces’.

By including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation, the document appears to send a warning signal to the US. Pictured above, a Russian Blackjack bomber

The reference to a non-nuclear strike as a possible trigger for nuclear retaliation reflects longtime Moscow concern about US military plans.

The buildup of conventional forces near Russia’s borders and the deployment of missile defence assets and space-based weapons are among the threats identified by Moscow in the new document.

US-Russia relations are at post-Cold War lows over the Ukrainian crisis, the accusations of Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential election and other differences.

Amid the tensions, the Kremlin has repeatedly voiced concern about the deployment of US and allied forces in the Baltics and Nato drills near Russia’s borders.

Russian officials have cast the US-led missile defence programme and its plans to put weapons in orbit as a top threat, arguing that the new capability could tempt Washington to strike Russia with impunity in the hope of fending off a retaliatory strike.

In 2018, Mr Putin revealed an array of new weapons that he said would render US missile defence useless.

They include the Avangard hypersonic vehicle capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and making sharp manoeuvres on its way to target to dodge the enemy’s missile shield.

The first unit armed with the Avangard entered duty in December.

Another doomsday weapon that Mr Putin has mentioned is the nuclear-armed and atomic-powered Poseidon underwater drone capable of causing a devastating tsunami near an enemy coast.

Its tests are continuing.

Last year, both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The only US-Russia nuclear arms control agreement still standing is the New Start treaty, which was signed in 2010 by then-US president Barack Obama and then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

The pact limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.

Russia has offered to extend the New Start, which expires in February 2021, while the Trump administration has pushed for a new arms control pact that would also include China.

Moscow has described that idea as unfeasible, pointing at Beijing’s refusal to negotiate any deal that would reduce its much smaller nuclear arsenal.

Russian diplomats said the Avangard could be included in the New Start if it is extended.

They also voiced readiness to open talks to discuss the Poseidon and other new weapons along with prospective US strategic assets.

In a call with members of his Security Council over the weekend, Mr Putin warned that the New Start treaty is bound to expire, but ‘the negotiations on that crucial issue, important not just for us but for the entire world, have failed to start’.

Israel Razes Homes Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Jerusalem home demolitions ‘ethnic cleansing’: Hamas

GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has decried Israel’s policy of house demolition in East Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing”.

“The increasing path of house demolitions in Jabel Mukaber in southern East Jerusalem aim to expel our people under false excuses,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanua said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This policy [of house demolitions] is a crime that cannot be ignored,” he said.

On Monday, Israeli authorities ordered a Palestinian family in Jabel Mukaber to demolish their home, citing a lack of permit.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem are forced to build without permits due to refusal of the Israeli Municipality to grant them building permits.

More than 1,900 Palestinian homes have been completely demolished in Jerusalem by Israeli forces since 1967, according to Palestinian figures.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.

The Newest Weaponry of the Pakistani Horn

5 Pakistani Weapons That India Is Afraid Of – Latest Military Equipment

June 2, 2020

These Are 5 Pakistani Weapons That Makes Indian Army Afraid Of Pakistan

Pakistani Chinese friendship goes a long way. There is no doubt about that. But it goes way deeper than what the arch-rival India thinks of it to be. Pakistani Army, for a long time, has decided to come out of the support of the United States to have its stock of weaponry for the crisis and the support of the country. This is why they took to Chinese suppliers almost two decades ago for the mass production of weapons. Since then, China has been the major supplier of weapons that Pakistani armed forces use to defend the borders. Today we have 5 Pakistani weapons that frighten India and it is doing its best to match Pakistani firepower.

One of the main reasons the Indian army is afraid of Pakistan is that we have a combination of ammunition from Russia, the US, and China. If the military concerns are ever to be raised at that level, Indian knows it won’t be easy for them to take Pakistan head-on.

Let’s take a look at these 5 Pakistani weapons that frighten India:

Nuclear Weapons

Who doesn’t know Dr? A.Q Khan and the role has played to make Pakistan self-reliant on the nuclear weapons only? Before he successfully launched a nuclear missile, Pakistan was depending on the US for its nuclear weapons. However, the acquisition and the capability to produce nuclear weapons has given Pakistan an edge over the others.

In Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program, China has played a significant role in supporting development. As per resources, China is the one to provide Pakistan with warhead designs, uranium, and missile components.

JF-17 Fighter Jet

The JF-17 Fighter Jet is the multirole fighter of the Pakistan Air Force. It has replaced the American F-16Cs. It has air-to-ground and air-to-air multiple munitions alongside air-launched cruise missiles. It is a budget aircraft, but it brings modern war technology to the table.

When compared with the Indian counterparts of the US30s, this aircraft is a tough component with its steady range. It is the military production of Pakistan and China, which alarmed India and they set on to create their fighter jet, which has yet to see the light of the day.

HQ-16

The Pakistani military, previously being dependent on PAF, acquired HQ-16 for its protection. It is used for the defense of the ground formations. It has a vertical launch technique with containerized missiles.

Al-Khalid Tank

The Al-Khalid Tank or VT-1A is another joint project between China and Pakistan. The new, unique design, panoramic commander’s sight, a 125mm gun, and thermal gunner’s sights all make this tank one of the most capable in the region.

The bulk of the Indian tank forces is comprised of T-72Ms and Al-Khalid Tank can outrun them in the war.

Multiple Rocket Launcher

They first arrived in Pakistan in 2008 – the A-100 MRL is one of the deadliest artillery systems on the ground. If they are static, they tend to wipe out entire units on the field. India also has the same launchers from Russia.

These rocket launchers are a key part of the opening strategy of the deterrence conflicts between India and Pakistan.

The Threat of the Pakistani Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Forget Russia, Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons Are A Real Threat

June 2, 2020, 5:00 AM MDTHere’s What You Need To Remember: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nuclear weapons, are seen as an asymmetric means of offsetting India’s advantage in conventional forces. Even if a Pakistani Army offensive into India fails and the Strike Corps counterattacked, tactical nuclear weapons could blunt their spearheads, ideally halting them in their tracks. 

Of all the countries in the world, just nine are believed to have developed nuclear weapons. One member of this exclusive club is Pakistan, a country that occupies a unique strategic position on the Indian subcontinent. An ally of the United States and China and archenemy of India, Pakistan has developed a nuclear arsenal to suit its own particular needs. Unusually among the smaller powers, Islamabad has developed an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons designed to destroy enemy forces on the battlefield.

Pakistan began developing nuclear weapons in the 1950s, but the country’s nuclear program accelerated in the mid-1970s after the detonation of “Smiling Buddha”, India’s first nuclear weapons test. Enemies since the end of the British Raj in 1947, India and Pakistan fought again in 1965 and 1971. In Pakistan’s view as long as India was the sole owner of nukes it could engage in nuclear saber-rattling and had the ultimate advantage.

Experts believe that Pakistan has between 150 and 180 nuclear bombs. It’s not clear when the country first had an operational, deployable weapon, but by the mid-1990s it had weapons to spare. On May 28, 1998, in response to a series of Indian nuclear tests, Pakistan detonated five devices in a single day, with a sixth device two days later. Four of the devices detonated on the 28th were tactical nuclear weapons, with explosive yields in the subkiloton (less than 1,000 tons of TNT) to 2-3 kiloton range.

Tactical nuclear weapons, also called nonstrategic nuclear weapons, are low-yield (ten kilotons or less) nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield. Unlike larger, more powerful strategic nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons are meant to destroy military targets on the battlefield. Tactical nuclear weapons are meant to be used against troop formations, headquarters units, supply dumps, and other high-value targets.

Tactical nuclear weapons are important to Pakistan’s defense posture. Pakistan has a gross domestic product of just $305 billion, about the size of the state of Indiana. Pakistan has an active duty army of 767,000. Although the majority of the force is infantry, a substantial portion is fully mechanized with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, attack helicopters, and anti-tank missiles.

India has a GDP of $2.597 billion, an active army of 1.2 million, and greater amounts of equipment of every category. The Indian Army is larger by every metric, and in many cases fields larger numbers of qualitatively superior equipment–particularly tanks. In an all-out ground war, the Indian Army would almost certainly prevail. The Indian Army is sufficiently large that until 2004 it envisioned blunting a Pakistani ground offensive and then launching a counterattack with three “Strike Corps” of three divisions, all highly mechanized and each including at least one armored division.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nuclear weapons, are seen as an asymmetric means of offsetting India’s advantage in conventional forces. Even if a Pakistani Army offensive into India fails and the Strike Corps counterattacked, tactical nuclear weapons could blunt their spearheads, ideally halting them in their tracks. 

Pakistan has an unknown number of tactical nuclear weapons, but we can get an idea of how many exist by counting delivery systems. A report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists claims that the country has approximately 20-30 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles designed to carry the NASR/Hatf-9 short-range ballistic missile. The TEL is a four-axle vehicle that can carry two or more NASR missiles. Assuming each TEL is armed with two NASR missiles with a single warhead each, Pakistan has somewhere in the area of 60 tactical nuclear weapons, or approximately one-third of its arsenal.

NASR is a solid rocket fuel missile with an operational range of just 43 miles. As the Bulletin report points out, short-range rules out using the weapons against meaningful targets in India, meaning they are more likely defensive weapons to be used against Indian Army units in Pakistani territory. This could also imply that the weapons are of very small explosive yield, as no country would want large nuclear explosions on its own territory.

One interesting question is that, given the fast-moving nature of modern warfare and the slow-moving nature of modern political decision making, Pakistan has already chosen target zones to launch against should Indian tanks roll into them and would delegate launch authority to the Army in times of war. If the political debate starts once the tanks arrive, the TELs could be overrun by the time a decision is made. Very small warheads would also have a very small area of effect, and a delay of just minutes could cause even a nuclear explosion to miss a battalion or more of tanks on the move.

Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons, while intrinsically unsavory, are at least defensive in nature. Unfortunately, given the number of times India and Pakistan have gone to war over the last eighty years, their use is theoretical than those of most countries. The use of nuclear weapons by one side could rapidly escalate to the use of larger, strategic weapons against populated areas by both sides.

Could Pakistan and India both give up their nuclear arms? Pakistan’s reliance on tactical nuclear weapons to offset weakness in conventional weapons will make it hard for Islamabad to divest itself of its nuclear arms. Once nuclear weapons are acquired it becomes extremely difficult to un-acquire them, and Pakistan will be no exception.

Kyle Mizokami is a writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and The Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. This article first appeared in April and is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters.