India will wipe off Pak, but at a heavy price: Report
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 15:27
  
New York: In the event of Indo-Pak nuclear war, India will emerge as the ultimate winner after wiping off Pakistan, but lose up to 500 million of its own people, a book on former US President Bill Clinton's presidential years has claimed.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning author and historian Taylor Branch claimed that the Indian leaders had portrayed such a scenario in the event of an Indo-Pak nuclear war (during Kargil conflict in 1999) to the then US President Clinton.

The portion on nuclear warfare appears in the chapter titled 'Eight Missiles in Baghdad', in which the author of the book claims that Clinton told him that New Delhi would nuke Pakistan annihilating the entire country, if anyone in Islamabad triggered the nuclear bombs against it.

"The president first scribbled a note to himself that Strobb Talbott owed him a report on his recent trip to South Asia," Branch writes in his 700-page book 'The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President', referring to the taped conversations he had with Clinton in the White House.

Talbott, now president of the Brookings Institute, served under the Clinton Administration during 1993-2001.

The book, which hit the stores today, has claimed to give an insight into the eight years of Clinton's presidency, which has not been heard before.

"He called this the one region on the globe facing a serious threat of nuclear war between two nations, India and Pakistan. Their mutual enmity was historically constant, yet chillingly erratic," Branch writes.

"In private, he (Clinton) disclosed, Indian officials spoke of knowing roughly how many nuclear bombs the Pakistanis possessed, from which they calculated that a doomsday nuclear volley would kill 300 to 500 million Indians while annihilating all 120 million Pakistanis. The Indians would thus claim "victory" on the strength of several hundred million countrymen they figured would be left over," he writes.

"But on the other side, the Pakistanis insisted that their rugged mountain terrain would shield more survivors than the exposed plains of India. "They really talk that way," Clinton sighed. "We have bad relations with both of them," he continued," Branch writes in his book.

Based on the series of conversations he had with Clinton during his presidential years, Branch says: "Locked in their arms race, India was furious that the United States had agreed to sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, and Pakistan was no less enraged that the United States refused to deliver the planes years after receiving payment."

Such transfers remained blocked since 1990 under the Pressler Amendment, which prohibited military sales to any country found to be developing nuclear weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"Even worse for the Pakistanis, said Clinton, US law obliged his administration to collect storage payments from Pakistan on its impounded F-16s gathering rust in American custody," Branch said.

"The president hoped to devise a rebate or remedy for these grossly unfair charges, which he called a diplomatic insult, but he saw no cure for the larger strategic impasse over South Asia," he said.

Clinton said the United States was trying to hold the line on a treaty that fed hostility and opportunism.

"If we didn't try to enforce the ban on nuclear proliferation, plenty of countries would rush to sell the required technologies on our example," Clinton was quoted as saying.

"As long as we did try, however, we would draw upon ourselves some of the extraordinary venom between India and Pakistan," Clinton was quoted. Branch wrote, Clinton said this issue demanded persistence. "His impression was that Talbott's trip turned up little of promise, but he wanted the details," the book said.

Bureau Report


First Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 15:27


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