US varsity research studies possible war scenario.
New Delhi: A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could kill 50-125 million people in weeks — which is more than the death toll during all six years of World War II — and it will be followed by global mass starvation, according to a study published in US.
The study looked at a scenario of war that may occur between India and Pakistan in 2025.
“If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centres and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg (teragram ) of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield,” said a study by University of Colorado Boulder and Rutgers University.
The study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, said that the smoke from these nuclear blasts will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. “Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35 per cent, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation (rainfall) by 15 to 30 per cent, with larger regional impacts,” it said.
The recovery will take more than 10 years. The fires started by nuclear explosions could cool Earth’s climate so much that agriculture would fail globally.
“The net primary productivity will decline 15 to 30 per cent on land and 5 to 15 per cent in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities,” it said.
The study estimated that Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45 kilotons values to a few hundred kilotons.
However, the study said that neither Pakistan nor India is likely to initiate a nuclear conflict without substantial provocation.
“Unfortunately, the two countries have had four conventional wars (1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999) and many skirmishes with substantial loss of life since the partition of British India in 1947. Therefore, the possibility of a conventional war becoming nuclear is of concern,” it said.
During WWII, it is estimated that about 50 million people were killed, not considering those who died from disease and starvation over 6 years.
The study said that India has nuclear-capable aircraft including Mirage 2000H and Jaguar IS/IB, with ranges up to 1850 km. India has four types of land-based ballistic missiles that have been deployed with ranges up to 3200 km and two others that are under development with ranges up to 5200 km. The range of these missiles allows India to reach all of Pakistan now, as well as all of China when its new missiles are deployed. India also has one deployed ship-based ballistic missile and two submarine-based missiles in development. “Since Pakistan has about 60 cities with more than 100,000 people, India could potentially attack each moderate- or large-sized city in Pakistan with two nuclear warheads using its current arsenal and four warheads if its arsenal grows to 250 weapons by 2025,” said the study.
It said that Pakistan has produced tactical nuclear weapons for use on battlefields to counter the conventional weapons advantage of an invading Indian army.