Hindu Nationalism Playing The Nuclear Game
By Hussain Khan, M.A. (Tokyo)
According to an article by Chidanad Rajghatta in the Times of India, Pakistan cannot stay beyond 72 hours, if Indian Navy blocks Pakistani ports, India abrogates Indus Water Treaty and Indian military starts an all-out attack. The writer further says that India may lose a few cities by Pakistani nuclear attack, but the massive nuclear retaliation from India will destroy whole of Pakistan.
But the writer has read an article in the Atlantic Monthly by Peter Landesman, in which a long conversation with a Pakistani retired Brigadier Amanullah is quoted. It suggests that the said Brigadier, under an unclear attack from India, is ready to accept his own death and that of all his or other children or adults living in Pakistan.
The writer interprets this spirit of accepting death is prevailing among Pakistanis because they have no future, even if they remain alive in a poor and wretched country like Pakistan. According to the writer, desperate and hopeless people of Pakistan do not mind dying, but the hopeful people of India would want to remain alive to realize the dreams of their bright future.
Only for this reason, he advises Vajpai to exercise restraint in initiating war against Pakistan, despite the fact that India may win it within three days.
That is the way how Westerners and Indians look at death. But Muslims have a concept of martyrdom. They are not afraid of death. The said Brigadier has shown the same spirit. If he, his children and millions of other Pakistanis die due to the nuclear attack of India, they all believe they will be martyrs for an Islamic country and will be having a comfortable life in heaven.
Such advice of restraint against the military adventures of Vajpai are also forthcoming from different other Indian quarters as well for several other reasons. V.R. Raghavan, a former Director General of Military Operations, writes in Hindustan Times, “In the age of high technology warfare, it would have been perfectly feasible to have raised the ante on war by other means, instead of a military demonstration on the border in the fashion of medieval monarchs.
He further writes, “Terrorism is the instrument against which no country, irrespective of its military power, has found a deterrent response. Terrorists on the other hand easily succeed in making the strongest government look incapable of protecting its citizens. Terrorist acts, even as they are perpetrated against innocent civilians, are in fact directed against governments. The double pincer of loss of credibility with their public and the need to act with strength makes governments rely on the military instrument to the exclusion of others. All governments are prone to the risk of acting with haste on military matters and regretting the consequences at leisure.
“Israel finds itself in that situation as much as Great Britain did 50 years ago in Kenya, Malaysia and Borneo. Indonesia found its match in East Timor. The US finds itself a target of terrorism even after it has forced a change of regime in Afghanistan. India found the right answers to terrorism in its troubled North-east but is still searching for ways to end it altogether. The conclusion is clearly that the war against terrorism needs to be fought with much more than the military instrument.
his is what Musharraf is also lamenting that he could not stop terrorism even in his own country. In his television address to the nation, he says, “We ourselves are victims of terrorism. There was the recent attack on a church in Islamabad, and soon after the suicide attack in Karachi which killed a number of French nationals. We did not blame India for these. How he can be held responsible for terrorism in a foreign country like India.
Therefore he asks for the evidence. India has nothing to offer. It is just a stunt to blame Pakistan to achieve some domestic political ends, as Steve Coll, managing editor of The Post, has described it in the following words: "But India's Hindu nationalist politicians, supported by deep public anger over terrorist attacks on Indian targets, may not be fully sold.
Ailing and in the last hours of a career devoted to remaking India through religious-nationalist fervor, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is writing the conclusion to his political legacy. Two years ago, reaching out to Pakistan for peace talks, Vajpayee styled himself as an Indian Nixon in China. When his attempt failed, he returned to the martial rhetoric of his party's electoral campaigns. On Wednesday, Vajpayee thundered that India's army should prepare for a "decisive battle" and promised "a new chapter of victory" over Pakistan. “For months, with elections looming, India has been using its war cries in an attempt to coerce progress on the ground in Kashmir.
The insurgency has become India's bleeding wound, draining its treasury, tying down its army, soiling its reputation and constraining its global ambitions.
Vajpai's party lost last few state elections and other elections are looming ahead. He has to follow the call of his party to support Hindu nationalism, which stands for the acquisition of greater military capability and nuclear weapons. Two Indian scientists, M V. Ramana and A. H. Nayyar, living in America, write in “Scientific American “Domestic developments added to the pressure. India witnessed the rise of Hindu nationalism. For decades, parties subscribing to this ideology, such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had espoused the acquisition of greater military capability--and nuclear weapons. It was therefore not surprising that the BJP ordered nuclear tests immediately after coming to power in March 1998.
In another article in a mouthpiece of “The Hindu M.V. Ramana writes about another protagonist of Hindu nationalism, i.e. RSS, “The Rashtraiya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has never hidden its desire to use nuclear weapons against Pakistan.
“During the Kargil War, Panchjanya, the RSS mouthpiece, proclaimed: "The time has come again for India's Bheema to tear open the breasts of these infidels and purify the soiled tresses of Draupadi with blood.
Pakistan will not listen just like that. We have a centuries-old debt to settle with this mindset. It is the same demon that has been throwing a challenge at Durga since the time of Mahammad bin Qasim. Arise Atal Behari! Who knows if fate has destined you to be the author of the final chapter of this long story? For what have we manufactured bombs? For what have we exercised the nuclear option?"8 Given such exhortations, if a military officer sympathetic to the RSS is authorized to use nuclear weapons, then the possibility of his launching a weapon against Pakistan
cannot be ruled out.
Unfortunately, these advocates of the Hindu nationalism do not realize how dangerous a game they are playing for the rise of their ideology.
According to a report published in Washington Post based on an American intelligence assessment, a full-scale nuclear exchange between the two rivals, India and Pakistan could kill up to 12 million people immediately and injure up to 7 million, Pentagon officials say.
Even a "more limited" nuclear war as measured in number of warheads wound have cataclysmic results, overwhelming hospitals across Asia and requiring vast foreign assistance, particularly from the United States, to battle radioactive contamination, famine and disease, officials said. "The humanitarian crisis that would result would be so great that every medical facility in the Middle East and Southwest Asia would be quickly overwhelmed," one Defense Department official said. "The American military would have no choice but go in and help with the victims and to clean up." “….estimate also postulated that the nuclear weapons would explode on the surface and not in the air; such "ground bursts" dig up tons of soil and spread the poisonous, radioactive debris over a large area.