Apocalypse: Portents of Nuclear Attack

20 Sep, 1999    ·   262

Wg Cdr NK Pant says Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. A Q Khan's latest utterance unwittingly reveal a veiled doomsday wake up call

Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. A Q Khan's latest utterance unwittingly reveal a veiled doomsday wake up call– the nuclear weaponised Ghauri missile fired from Islamabad and Karachi can hit New Delhi and Mumbai respectively in a matter of five minutes. Such grossly irresponsible statement attributed to Dr. Khan who holds an exalted position in the Pakistani hierarchy provides a chilling insight to the tentative targeting plan for the weapons of mass destruction assembled by him and his team of nuclear scientist form stolen designs. Pakistan has already embarked upon a vigorous plan to adapt its nuclear warheads to an unspecified number of Ghauri (nee Rodong) missiles acquired from North Korea . The western defence analysts hold the strong view that Islamabad is more likely to be the first to use nuclear weapons against India .



Amid such a grim security scenario, nuclear doctrine espoused by India 's national Security Advisory Board (NSAB) assumes importance. NSAB's doctrine not only recommends absolute civilian political control wherein only the Prime Minister or his designated successor would be authorised to press the retaliatory nuclear button but is also forthright in the policy of 'no first use'. But will this fundamentalist unpredictable neighbour provide such a chance to the Indian prime minister or the designated successor? By the time the decision for a retaliatory strike is taken, the nuke tipped Ghauri within 'five minutes of its pre-emptive launch from Islamabad ' would have annihilated the reckonable Indian decision making machinery concentrated in New Delhi in the first strike itself.



Strangely since Independence , the political rulers and the generalist bureaucracy have centralised all high echelons of governance in the national capital ignoring important aspect of the 'passive' defensive measures against a surprise nuclear strike. Even the first nuclear test by China in 1964 which had militarily humiliated India barely two years back did not act as a wake up call to the lurking nuclear threat in the coming years. the inimical and emboldened Islamic state which has fought four wars (Kargil include) with India has often indulged in nuclear sabre rattling threatening the principal Inddian metropolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai with recently acquired medium range missiles.



Of late, some of the national news papers have striven to enlighten their readers on unimaginable horrors resulting from possible nuclear strikes on India 's national and financial capitals which are totally unprepared to deal with a even low kiloton nuclear weapons. The effect of the surprise nuclear strike launched by a crazy Pakistani leadership after falling into jehad like fundamentalist trap could easily wipe off nearly a million of the citizenry of overpopulated Delhi while a similar number may be incapacitated due to effects of intense radiation out of its present populace of approximately ten million. The tremendous heat and unimaginable wind speed after the blast will cripple beyond recoginition almost everything – built up areas, communications, electricity, water supply and health services within a five kilometre zone around the epicentre. In such a horried 'the Day After' scenario, not a single building, multi storey or otherwise will remain in tact while uncontrollable destructive fires will rage in the crowed areas in the aftermath. The highly radioactive waters of the Yamuna will spread the horrors further along its course contaminating the waters up to the bay of Bengal inclusive of Bangladesh . Mumbai too will be subjected to similar doomsday havoc. The Pakistan 's genocide weapon in addition to obliterating the pulsating metropolis will cause severe storms in the adjoining Arabian Sea with radioactivity afflicting the shores as far as Aden and the Persian Gulf .



The history of the post independent India must examine the stupid ignorance of our political rulers who on the one hand had keen eye on the nuclear pie but sidelined the security aspect of the nuclear era by allowing mushrooming of government organisation in Delhi on the other. Surprisingly, the construction policies did not envisage blast and radiation proof deep basements exposing everything to the mercy of the attacker. As the result Delhi plays a permanent host to a very large number of top level political, administrative, financial, industrial, commercial, educational, scientific and military institutions which were instrumental in opening the floodgates of massive migration of job seekers to the capital endangering its nuclear age security besides straining the civic services miserably. 



The impending nuclear threat calls for a bold political decision to decongest Delhi by shifting innumerable government organisation to many smaller towns on the fringes of NCR and beyond. If government establishments move out, commercial and other institutions would automatically follow fuelling much needed developmental activity in other regions. The thinning out of the bulky centralised official machinery will certainly reduce the effect of the nuclear havoc if at all it takes place. The non nuclear fall out of this important exercise will be a cleaner, quieter, liveable and above all more secure national capital.