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Submarines with nuclear weapons bring nuclear war closer for India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan are quietly making nuclear war more likely, Both countries are arming their submarines with nukes. Vox, 
By Tom Hundley  Apr 2, 2018 “……….
The audacity of a bloody attack inside one of the most heavily secured naval facilities in Pakistan was jarring enough. Even more jarring was the source of the attack: al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the strike and praised the dead men as “martyrs.” Five more naval officers implicated in the plot were later arrested, charged with mutiny, and sentenced to death.

The Zulfiqar incident is the most serious in a long string of deadly security breaches at Pakistani military installations, from multiple attacks on nuclear facilities near Dera Ghazi Khan (2003 and 2006) and on the air force bases at Sargodha and Kamra (2007 and 2012) to the the gruesome 2014 attack on a school for the children of military officers in Peshawar that left more than 140 people dead, including 132 children.

But even if Pakistani bases have been hit before, the Zulfiqar strike is particularly alarming. That’s because Pakistan is preparing to arm its submarines and possibly some of its surface ships with nuclear weapons — which means terrorists who successfully fight their way into a Pakistani naval base in the future could potentially get their hands on some of the most dangerous weapons on earth.

The Pakistan navy is likely to soon place nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on up to three of its five French-built diesel-electric submarines. It has also reached a deal with China to buy eight more diesel-electric attack submarines that can be equipped with nuclear weapons. These are scheduled for delivery in 2028. Even more disturbing, Pakistani military authorities say they are considering the possibility of putting nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on surface vessels like the Zulfiqar.

Pakistan says its decision to add nuclear weapons to its navy is a direct response to India’s August 2016 deployment of its first nuclear submarine, the Arihant. A second, even more advanced Indian nuclear submarine, the Arighat, began sea trials last November, and four more boats are scheduled to join the fleet by 2025. That will give India a complete “nuclear triad,” which means the country will have the ability to deliver a nuclear strike by land-based missiles, by warplanes, and by submarines.

The submarine is the key component. It’s considered the most “survivable” in the event of a devastating first strike by an enemy, and thus able to deliver a retaliatory second strike. In the theology of nuclear deterrence, the point of this unholy trinity is to make nuclear war unwinnable and, therefore, pointless.

When it comes to India and Pakistan, by contrast, the new generation of nuclear submarines could increase the risk of a devastating war between the two longstanding enemies, not make it less likely. ……..

……. India and Pakistan are mortal enemies that have dozens of nuclear warheads aimed at each other. That was scary when those nukes were only on land. It’s a much scarier situation now that those nukes have been put onto submarines that move deep underwater, holding the deadliest payloads imaginable.

Tom Hundley is a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.https://www.vox.com/2018/4/2/17096566/pakistan-india-nuclear-war-submarine-enemies

 

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April 4, 2018 - Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war

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