Nuclear Plant Still Open Before the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

CORTLANDT, NY — A strike at the Indian Point nuclear power plant continues to be averted, for now. Negotiators agreed before midnight Thursday to continue talks.

The workers in had initially voted to strike when the contract expired, at midnight Wednesday, and then both sides agreed to a 24-hour extension for negotiations.

As of Friday morning, a union described an agreed-to break in the talks. He also used the occasion to aim some barbs at Entergy, the owner of the plant.

“The Union was ready to go but management needed some beauty sleep, while its appointed “negotiators” and their overlords in Louisiana ignore the impact of their inaction on the fate of the working men and women who safely operate and maintain a nuclear power plant and on the communities they serve in New York State,” Local 1-2 President James T. Slevin said early Friday morning in a press release. “I guess in Entergy’s case, it’s management is more concerned with its own comfort than resolving the problems it has caused by its attacks on the welfare of Entergy’s own employees. For our part, Local 1-2 is used to working round the clock and was prepared to do so tonight.”

Slevin said he hoped and expected that talks would resume later Friday.

An Entergy spokesman said only that negotiations were continuing.

Indian Point, which provides up to a quarter of the electricity for New York City and Westchester County, will cease operations in 2021 under an agreement reached a year ago between Entergy and the principal forces seeking its closure, New York State and environmental watchdog Riverkeeper.

The union represents operations, radiation protection, chemistry and maintenance workers at the plant. It is seeking a new contract through 2022. One of its goals is to keep the experienced nuclear plant workers on hand during the shutdown process.

Australia The Next Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

 

A heavyweight trio of Australia’s strategic and defense policy analysts has opened a debate on the possibility of Australia acquiring nuclear weapons. Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith documented the increased strategic risk to Australia based on a critical assessment of China’s capabilities, motives and intent.

Paul took that further in The Australian, canvassing the idea of investing in capabilities that would reduce the lead time for getting the bomb to give us more options for dealing with growing strategic uncertainty. North Korea’s nuclear advances and diminishing confidence in the dependability of US extended nuclear deterrence add to the sense of strategic unease.

Andrew Davies inferred Hugh White’s support for the idea and implied that both Paul and Hugh had been too coy to take their analyses to the logical conclusion. Hugh has been the preeminent Australian analyst advocating an independent recalibration of our position vis‑à‑vis the China–US tussle for strategic primacy in the Asia–Pacific.

In reply, Hugh politely, gently but firmly rejected the implication that he’s a closet supporter of Australia taking the nuclear weapon path. He neither advocates nor predicts that Australia should or will go nuclear. He professes uncertainty about the role of nuclear weapons in shaping Asia’s emerging strategic landscape, highlights the importance of getting the decisions right on conventional capabilities first, and points to the choices and trade-offs that would then have to be made between the security benefits and risks of a weaponized nuclear capability.

Who will call out the nuclear emperor for being naked? Nuclear weapons haven’t been used since 1945—Hiroshima was the first time and Nagasaki the last. Their very destructiveness makes them qualitatively different in political and moral terms, to the point of rendering them unusable. A calculated use of the bomb is less likely than one resulting from system malfunction, faulty information or rogue launch.

On the other hand, the non-trivial risks of inadvertent use mean that the world’s very existence is hostage to indefinite continuance of the same good fortune that has ensured no use since 1945.

Curiously, Hugh, Paul and Andrew don’t explore the roles that nuclear weapons might play, the functions they would perform, and the circumstances and conditions in which those roles and functions would prove effective. This is a crucial omission. The arguments I canvassed in a review of the illusory gains and lasting insecurities of India’s nuclear weapon acquisition apply with equal force to Australia, albeit with appropriate modifications for our circumstances.

In short, the nuclear equation just does not compute for Australia.

Consistent with the moral taint associated with the bomb, the most common justification for getting or keeping nuclear weapons isn’t that we’d want to use them against anyone else. We’d only want them either to avert nuclear blackmail or to deter an attack. Neither of those arguments holds up against the historical record or in logic.

The belief in the coercive utility of nuclear weapons is widely internalised, owing in no small measure to Japan’s surrender immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet the evidence is surprisingly clear that the close chronology is a coincidence. In Japanese decision-makers’ minds, the decisive factor in their unconditional surrender was the entry of the Soviet Union into the Pacific war against Japan’s essentially undefended northern approaches, and the fear that the Soviets would be the occupying power unless Japan surrendered to the US first. Hiroshima was bombed on 6 August 1945, Nagasaki on 9 August. Moscow broke its neutrality pact to attack Japan on 9 August and Tokyo announced the surrender on 15 August.

There’s been no clear-cut instance since then of a non-nuclear state having been bullied into changing its behaviour by the overt or implicit threat of being bombed by nuclear weapons.

Tensions Increase Before the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir Two civilians and an Indian soldier were killed and twenty more wounded in the latest ceasefire violations in the border villages of Jammu region in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said.

State police Chief Shesh Paul Vaid told Al Jazeera that the two civilians, including a 52-year-old woman, were killed in fresh shelling by Pakistani side in RS Pura sector in Jammu region on Friday morning.

“One Border Security Force (BSF) trooper has also been killed in the shelling which continues since night,” Vaid said, adding that twenty civilians were also wounded.

On Thursday, an Indian soldier and a 17-year-old girl were killed in RS Pura and Arnia sectors of Jammu region, officials said, taking the death toll to five in twenty-four hours from the Indian-side.

Despite a 2003 ceasefire, India and Pakistan regularly trade fire across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), the military demarcation between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of aiding fighters in crossing the LoC to attack Indian targets. Pakistani has been denying the charges.

Since Friday morning, the soldiers of two countries traded heavy gunfire in RS Pura and Ramgarh sectors along the border, officials said, amid the growing tensions between the two neighbours.

“The heavy shelling started from Pakistani side at night,” one official told Aljazeera.

An official said that Pakistani troopers violated ceasefire by resorting to indiscriminate firing at Indian positions in several sectors of the border. The fresh tension on the border has caused further turbulence in the relations between India and Pakistan.

This is the third exchange of fire between the two countries in this sector in past three days, officials said.

The Jammu and Kashmir police in a statement said that Indian forces are retaliating to the firing from Pakistan.

Following the latest shelling, the officials said that the schools in the area were closed.

The latest exchange of fire started after Pakistan accused Indian forces of killing four of their soldiers near the de facto border.

Despite a 2003 ceasefire, India and Pakistan regularly trade fire across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), the military demarcation between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of aiding fighters in crossing the LoC to attack Indian targets. Pakistan has denied the charges.

The hostilities increased between India and Pakistan since December last year after both accused each other of killing soldiers on either side.

In September 2016, India claimed to have launched “surgical strikes” on bases used by armed groups in Pakistan-administered Kashmir to fight Indian security forces. Pakistan denied any Indian soldiers were ever on Pakistan-administered soil.

Since independence in 1947, the two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, which both countries claim in full.

The LoC has remained volatile in the last year. According to official figures, 860 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops were reported in 2017, compared with 221 the year before.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, and most support the rebels’ cause against Indian rule, despite a decades-long military crackdown to fight dissent.

Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with Pakistan.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown. India maintains roughly 500,000 soldiers in the territory.

How Trump Will Exit the Iran Deal

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Iran deal won’t survive beyond May 2018, sanctions expert says

Natasha Turak

The Iran nuclear deal is on life support and on a trajectory for collapse, many policy experts believe, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s current continuation of sanctions relief.

Trump agreed to waive sanctions on the Islamic Republic in mid-January as part of the 2015 nuclear pact, but pledged that this time it was the country’s “last chance”, threatening a U.S. walkout.

“I am very concerned that it will not survive May 2018. Mr. Trump has set an unreasonable list of demands out that I do not think any realistic European or Congressional agreement could satisfy,” Richard Nephew, program director at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told CNBC. Nephew served as the lead sanctions expert for the U.S. State Department negotiating with Iran from 2013 to 2014.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed by all five United Nations Security Council members and Germany in 2015, allowed the lifting of international sanctions on Iran in exchange for compliance with restrictions on its nuclear program. The U.S. president is required to recertify it every 90 days or leave its fate to Congress.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified Iran’s compliance, Trump continues to deride the agreement, calling for more sanctions on the Islamic Republic particularly for its ballistic missile program and human rights abuses, which were not part of the JCPOA. Trump announced on January 12 that if Congress and the deal’s European signatories did not fix the deal’s “disastrous flaws”, the U.S. would withdraw.

“The simple reality is that Trump hates the JCPOA even as he doesn’t understand it,” Nephew said. “And though his advisors are attempting to get him to think about it more pragmatically, their perennial struggles don’t auger well for its survival.”

President Donald Trump vowed to end the Iran Nuclear Deal while on the campaign trail. He has continued to criticize Iran as president, though he has refrained from condemning Russia, although both countries support Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

Trump’s demands would require altering the original parameters of the deal. They include adding punitive measures for missile tests and regional activity, and amending “sunset clauses” that currently allow certain conditions to expire after a number of years. EU leaders and Russia have urged the U.S. to respect the integrity of the original arrangement.

However the president may not like the deal, however, he cannot legally end it without consensus from its other signatories, notes Pat Thaker, regional director for the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “None of [them] have shown real appetite for a renegotiation of its terms, and have instead lobbied Trump to keep it,” she told CNBC. “This will not change.”

National security community vs. Trump

Much of the diplomatic and national security community in Washington breathed a sigh of relief when Trump agreed to extend the deal on January 12. “It is the national security bureaucracy that ought to be credited,” Nephew said, naming National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis as key figures who emphasized to Trump the risks inherent in dropping the JCPOA. “It addressed a very real problem in a very real and verifiable way, when we were looking in the face of either an Iranian nuclear weapon or war.”

Critics of the deal disagree, arguing that continued economic relief only empowers the country’s nuclear weapons pursuits and reward a regime that has ramped up its missile testing in recent months.

Newly-imposed U.S. sanctions unrelated to the deal target 14 individuals and groups in Iran’s military and judiciary, and have little effect on the country’s economy. But any moves to curtail economic relief for the country will kill the deal for the Iranians and prompt a comeback for hardline anti-western forces in government, analysts say. Nephew notes that any externally-imposed nuclear requirements, like a cap on the number of permitted uranium centrifuges or enriched uranium, could do this.

“If they challenge Iranian economic access, then I think they could very well contribute to hardline aggressiveness toward Rouhani, of which the JCPOA would be just an example.”

Not all policy wonks have handed down such a negative prognosis. James Jeffrey, a former deputy national security adviser during the second Bush administration, told Politico the JCPOA can continue under Trump’s new demands.

“Trump is leaving the door open to staying in the agreement if France, Germany and the UK work with Washington,” he told the magazine.

Iran may also choose to stay in an effort to diplomatically isolate the U.S., said Ryan Turner, senior risk analyst at Protection Group International. But practically, he told CNBC, “the deal may collapse after that regardless.” The current uncertainty alone will likely see many investors rethink their interest in Iran.

In mid-January, European leaders issued statements in defense of the agreement, with the EU’s top diplomat saying it “made the world safer and prevented a potential nuclear arms race in the region.”

Robert Litwak, director of international security studies at the Wilson Center and a member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council, said whether the deal would live or die past May is hard to say, but that the choice will be difficult and walking away has serious downsides.

“If the United States unilaterally withdraws from the nuclear deal it would isolate Washington,” Liwak told CNBC. “It would change the dynamic from the United States and the world versus Iran to Iran and the world versus the United States.”

Sixth Seal: New York City (Revelation 6:12)

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(Source: US Geological Survey)

New York State Geological Survey

Damaging earthquakes have occurred in New York and surely will again. The likelihood of a damaging earthquake in New York is small overall but the possibility is higher in the northern part of the state and in the New York City region.Significant earthquakes, both located in Rockaway and larger than magnitude 5, shook New York City in 1737 and 1884. The quakes were 147 years apart and the most recent was 122 year ago. It is likely that another earthquake of the same size will occur in that area in the next 25 to 50 years. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in New York City would probably not cause great loss of life. However the damage to infrastructure – buildings, steam and gas lines, water mains, electric and fiber optic cable – could be extensive.

Earthquake Hazard Map of New York State

Acceleration of the ground during an earthquake is more important than total movement in causing structural damage. This map shows the two-percent probability of the occurrence of an earthquake that exceeds the acceleration of earth’s gravity by a certain percentage in the next fifty years.

If a person stands on a rug and the rug pulled slowly, the person will maintain balance and will not fall. But if the rug is jerked quickly, the person will topple. The same principle is true for building damage during an earthquake. Structural damage is caused more by the acceleration of the ground than by the distance the ground moves.

Earthquake hazard maps show the probability that the ground will move at a certain rate, measured as a percentage of earth’s gravity, during a particular time. Motion of one or two percent of gravity will rattle windows, doors, and dishes. Acceleration of ten to twenty percent of gravity will cause structural damage to buildings. It takes more than one hundred percent of gravity to throw objects into the air.

India Now Has an ICBM

India successfully test-fires a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile

The long range ballistic Agni-V missile is displayed during the full dress rehearsal for the annual Republic Day parade 2013 at Rajpath on January 23, 2013 in New Delhi, India.

Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India successfully launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday.

The nuclear-capable Agni-V ICBM was fired from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha at around 9:53 a.m. local time (11:23 p.m. ET on Wednesday).

India’s Defense Ministry said the test was a “major boost” to the country’s defense capabilities.

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The same missile has been tested five times over the past six years, with the most recent test prior to Thursday’s launch coming in December 2016. That test prompted exasperation from two of New Delhi’s most important continental rivals, China and Pakistan.

Relations between China and India deteriorated significantly in 2017, following a protracted border dispute in the western Himalayas. And given the world’s two biggest emerging economies are both equipped with nuclear weapons, observers were fearful of escalating geopolitical tensions.

‘Bring India down a peg’

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that India has around 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, while China is believed to possess around 270. Pakistan’s military stockpile is thought to be within the region of 130 to 140.

Pakistan has repeatedly expressed concern over India’s development of ICBMs.

Shailesh Kumar, senior analyst for Asia at Eurasia Group, wrote in a blog post Friday that Pakistan’s biggest priority was to “bring India down a peg.”

Meanwhile, Kumar said the U.S. had a natural interest in “building India as a regional power, in part to counter China, and has advanced the U.S.-India strategic partnership and furnished New Delhi with the latest defense technology.”

Russian Horn Enlarges Her Nuclear Weapons (Daniel 7)

A recently released Pentagon document has confirmed the existence of a new nuclear weapon being developed for the Russian military. This new intercontinental, nuclear-armed undersea autonomous torpedo is rumored to be the most powerful nuclear weapon developed by any nation in decades.

The weapon, dubbed “Kanyon” by U.S. Defense officials and “Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6” by the Russians, is often referred to as a nuclear torpedo, though it may be more appropriate to consider it an autonomous submersible, or undersea drone. Estimates based on intelligence gathered primarily through media leaks in Russia itself claim the submersible weapon is about 5.5 feet wide and 79 feet long, capable of covering thousands of miles beneath the sea undetected to standby for detonation near coastal cities. The vessel is said to have a maximum speed of 56 knots and be able to travel continuously at depths exceeding 3,280 feet below the surface. The platform’s range is a supposed 6,200 miles, meaning when deployed by Sarov-class Russian Navy submarines, the Kanyon can secretly reach any coastal city in the world.

The Kanyon’s stealth and autonomy aren’t what has caused some experts to refer to it as a “doomsday” weapon however – it’s the 100 megaton payload.

To better appreciate just how massive the destructive capability presented by Russia’s Kanyon submersible is, consider that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was approximately 16 kilotons. It’s detonation laid waste to the city and killed between 90,000 and 146,000 people, and was equivalent to approximately 16,000 tons of TNT.

A single megaton, however, is equivalent to a thousand kilotons, or one million tons of TNT. Kanyon’s 100 megatons, then, is the destructive equivalent of parking 100,000,000 tons of dynamite just off of the American coast, accompanied by radioactive fallout that would bar a human presence in the affected region for a century, particularly because the payload is rumored to be “salted” with an additional radioactive isotope, Cobalt-60, which would increase the weapon’s fallout potential as an area denial measure.

The detonation would also almost certainly cause a tsunami of irradiated water that would flood further into the coast that the bomb itself may potentially reach.

If these rumors are true, “Kanyon” is twice as powerful as the most powerful nuclear weapon ever even tested (Russia’s Tsar Bomba), and would easily circumvent most existing American nuclear defensive measures, as they are primarily focused on aerial and orbital attacks via nuclear-tipped missile. Aegis, THAAD, and the GMD missile defense systems would be left helpless to defend population centers if Russia launched a nuclear attack on the United States using a fleet of Kanyon submersibles, rather than their latest and most powerful ICBM also in development, the aptly named, Satan II.

Although reports of the Kanyon platform have emerged in Russian media on at least two occasions, until recently, it was widely considered to be propaganda. The Pentagon’s acknowledgement of the platform in internal documents, however, seems to suggest that their intelligence has verified the existence of the weapon.

Feature image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Saudis Align with Babylon the Great (Daniel 7)

Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. PHOTO: AFP
By News Desk

Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the United States (US) and Israel is “certainly a betrayal” of the Muslims, Al Jazeera reports.

Iran’s supreme leader made the comment at a conference attended by parliamentary representatives from Islamic countries on Tuesday, in Tehran, according to a statement published on his official website.

Talking about the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Khamenei said that the Holy City was “undoubtedly” the capital of Palestine, adding that Washington’s move “will not bear results”.

Is war likely between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Khamenei also accused Saudi Arabia of helping the US and the “Zionists”.

“This is certainly a betrayal of the Islamic Ummah and the Muslim World. We are ready to act brotherly even with those among the Muslims who were once openly hostile to Iran,” he said.

“The world of Islam, with such a large population and plenty of facilities, can certainly create a great power within the world and become influential through unity.”

“The warmongering among the world of Islam must be stopped and we should not allow that a safe haven be created for the Zionist regime,” he added.

Saudis and Iran trade insults at conference on ‘positive agenda’

Regional rivals

Iran, a leading regional power, and Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, are dueling for influence in the Middle East, where they support opposing sides in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

US President Donald Trump said, on a visit to Jerusalem last year, that a shared concern about Iran was driving many Arab states closer to Israel.

An Israeli cabinet minister said in November that Israel had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran in a bid to increase pressure on the Tehran government.

This article originally appeared onAl Jazeera

Antichrist’s Men Reject New Iraq Government (Rev 13:18)

This file handout picture released by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office on July 9, 2016 shows him with army generals and members of the counter-terrorism forces in the capital Baghdad

by Frances Martel17 Jan 2018

Iraqis are scheduled to go to the polls in May, where Abadi will face off against his predecessor, the disgraced Nouri al-Maliki.

Abadi announced the creation of a “Nasr” (“Victory”) coalition heading into May’s election on Sunday including the Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU). Some of the most notorious militias that form parts of the PMF, including the terrorist organization Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”), announced their support for Abadi that day.

The Nasr coalition is necessary because Maliki and Abadi are members of the same Shiite Islamic Dawa party. While Abadi, as Prime Minister, is technically “chairman” of the party, Maliki is its leader and will use the party to promote his own candidacy. Rather that host a primary election, the Dawa Party announced that no candidate will use its name and both men will run on separate tickets.

On Wednesday, the PMF officially announced they would leave the Nasr coalition “out of objection to the inclusion of other groups.” The Kurdish outlet Rudaw notes that this was the reason given by “one Hashd official” but “contradicted by the head of the coalition.”

“Due to some unwanted people joining the coalition of Nasr, we decided as the coalition of Fatih [PMF] to withdraw from the coalition,” spokesman Karim Nuri told Rudaw.

Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of the coalition and head of the Basr militia, part of the PMF denied the claim and cited “technical reasons” for revoking their endorsement, instead. The Kurdish outlet Bas News suggests that Amiri make be seeking a coalition with Maliki, while Kurdistan 24 warns that Amiri, whose PMF have declared the United States an enemy, may want the post for himself.

While the loss of the PMF is significantly damaging to Abadi’s political aspirations, his attempt to leverage PMF support to his benefit did alienate another major player in Iraqi politics, the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr has rejected Iranian incursions into Iraqi politics and sought closer ties to Saudi Arabia. In response to Abadi’s PMF coalition, Sadr issued a statement saying he was “baffled” and expressing “condolences to my struggling and patient nation due to the despicable political agreements that pave the road for corrupted individuals to come back.”

The Saudi news outlet al-Arabiya reported on Wednesday that Abadi is apparently seeking to restore ties to Sadr in light of the collapse of his coalition. Asharq al-Awsat quoted an official in Sadr’s camp saying, however, that any coalition between the two “remains difficult.”

Al-Arabiya also claims that reports suggest that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force chief, General Qasem Soleimani, had a hand in disintegrating the coalition. While Soleimani has reportedly been spotted aiding the PMF, al-Arabiya does not corroborate its claims that he was involved in the politics of the coalition.

When Abadi announced that the PMF would support him on Sunday, the union seemed logical, as Abadi had legalized the PMF, turned them into an official wing of the Iraqi military, and set them loose on the Islamic State in Mosul. Once the PMF had concluded their operations against ISIS in the nation’s second-largest city, they invaded Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory in Kirkuk with Abadi’s blessing. The PMF have since caused a major internal migration crisis as the city’s Kurds were forced to flee.

Late last year, Rudaw published a video appearing to show a PMF fighting hanging a photo of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a government building in Kirkuk.

Other than Abadi, Amiri, the head of the PMF, would be the most favorable national leader for Iran, Kurdistan 24 contends. The outlet contends that Abadi’s collapse could help another politician, the pro-Kurdish former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Hovering Closer to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Nuclear war clouds hovering

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

THE Indian civil and military leadership’s irrational war-mongering could have disastrous consequences for the subcontinent in particular, and the South Asia in general. The flirtation with ‘nuclear bluff’ and ‘surgical strikes’ only thicken the nuclear war clouds hovering over the region. The Indian ruling elites misperception to strike Pakistan with impunity is an erroneous and perilous conclusion. The Indian military elite is deliberately increasing tension with Pakistan to convince the Indian parliamentarians that Indian Army requires more funds in the forthcoming defense budget. On September 6 2017, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat indirectly demanded more funds for military modernization. He stated: “War is very much in the realm of reality.” He added, “believing there will no war – as some are akin to – affects the modernization of forces. Such thinking affects budgetary allocation.” Subsequently, the Indian army drastically increased fire on the Line of Control to conceal its failure in the Indian occupied Kashmir and also to qualify its demand for increasing Indian army budget.
Realizing that sooner budget session will start in New Delhi General Bipin Rawat once again attempted to draw the attention of his government towards the Army. On January 12, 2018, he stated: “We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff.” Perhaps, it’s an appropriate tactic for securing finances for the modernization of the Army, but an absurd and destabilizing statement for the strategic stability in South Asia. The alarming reality is that General Bipin is failing to realise the repercussions of his misreading Pakistan’s nuclear weapon capability and too much confidence in India’s cold Start Doctrine. His jingoistic statement is a tantamount to an invitation for a nuclear war. Islamabad gave a befitting response. On January 13, 2018, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif cautioned: “Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, In Sha Allah [God willing].” ISPR spokesman warned that India must not remain in illusion: “Should they wish to test our resolve, they may try and see it for themselves. We have a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from east. But we believe it’s a weapon of deterrence, not a choice.” These statements confirm that Pakistani armed forces are prepared to thwart any kind of the Indian armed forces military adventurism.
Since February 2000, the Indian strategic pundits have been contemplating to chalk out a military doctrine and modernize their ham-fisted armed forces to bleed Pakistan in a limited conventional war. The desire to acquire military ability and capability that could allow India to operate below Pakistan’s actual nuclear threshold(s) resulted in colossal spending on the modernization of the Indian armed forces. So that in a military operation the Indian armed forces could be able to give surprise and beat Pakistani border forces and capture territory within a limited time before the arrival of Pakistani main offensive and defensive formations. The critical examination of India and Pakistan’s conventional forces balance reveals that the conventional asymmetry between the nuclear-armed belligerent neighbors is not so much that it guarantees either side an outright victory in a limited war as well as total war. Nevertheless, India’s continuous increase in defense budget and mega military hardware purchases from the foreign defense contractors generates an impression that Indian armed forces might have advantage in war in the near future.
India has also been transforming its nuclear doctrine. It has shifted its nuclear posture from a ‘massive retaliation’ and ‘No-First-Use’ to one based on first-strike. Therefore, its nuclear posture is in a preemptive mode. The abandoning of no first-use and development of missiles defense shield incites Indians military elite to conduct surgical strikes. Indeed, these developments are perilous for the regional security. To conclude, it’s impossible for the Indians to alter the strategic equilibrium between India and Pakistan. It’s because, the latter is not ignorant of former’s military modernisation. Though Islamabad is not matching the Indian conventional military buildup, yet it is gradually advancing its nuclear arsenal. Hence, the Indians ‘nuclear bluff’ or ‘surgical strike’ approach only increases the probability of nuclear catastrophe in the region.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.