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Peace is the sole option

55 6 122

AS the tension between India and Pakistan eases, it is time to reflect on the great folly and the horrible catastrophe even a short war between them would have been. It is also necessary to realise that peace cannot be taken for granted; it will have to be secured through a properly planned campaign.

When the two South Asian neighbours embarked on a collision course, the international community became afraid of a nuclear conflict perhaps to a greater extent than the people of the two countries, especially their rulers. This was because the danger of nuclear weapons being used is greater in South Asia than anywhere else in the world.

The reason is, firstly, that unlike older nuclear powers, who could fight with conventional weapons for considerably long periods, the South Asian rivals might exhaust their conventional war capacity soon after the beginning of hostilities and come under pressure to use the ultimate weapon in their respective arsenals.

Secondly, old scenarios of nuclear war involved countries situated long distances away from each other and neither side was likely to be affected by the fallout from its use of nuclear devices. But in South Asia, whoever uses a nuclear bomb against its next-door neighbour will cause its own people almost as much loss and suffering as it might inflict on the rival party. Thus, while extolling the value of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to external aggression, the hazards of possessing them must not be ignored. That the acquisition of nuclear weapons increases a state’s........

© Dawn