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Thinking the unthinkable!

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1405
  1. Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta (, Husein Lalji Dewraj professor of paediatrics and child health,
  2. Samiran Nundy, consultant gastrointestinal surgeon
  1. Aga Khan University, Karachi 74800, Pakistan
  2. Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi 110016, India

    Preparing for Armageddon in South Asia

    News p 1412

    The unthinkable has actually happened. Over a span of barely four years, the subcontinent and its military and political leadership seem to have moved seamlessly from an obtuse nuclear capability and a doctrine of nuclear deterrence to the present state of nuclear weaponisation.1 As a million soldiers face each other across the volatile line of control and the border between India and Pakistan, the arguments have shifted from no use of nuclear weapons to their potential use in the event of conventional war, to the current state of actual deployment. To a large extent the numerical superiority of the Indian army and air force translates into a no win situation for Pakistan in the event of a conventional conflict. Faced with the potential of humiliation and dismemberment in such a scenario, a nuclear first strike becomes a frighteningly real possibility.2

    The debate and outcry on this reckless brinkmanship in South Asia has remained confined to the peace groups, and the vernacular press has largely been jingoistic and indifferent to the disastrous consequences of nuclear war. While …

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