Nuclear war could kill 12 million, says US estimate
Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday May 28, 2002
Twelve million people could die in the first day of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, and many more would die from the fallout according to a US intelligence estimate reported yesterday.
According to the assessment, completed last Thursday, even a "limited" nuclear exchange would cause so many casualties that the region's hospitals would be overwhelmed and the rest of the world would be obliged to mount a huge relief effort.
"The humanitarian crisis that would result would be so great that every medical facility in the Middle East and south-west Asia would be quickly overwhelmed," a Pentagon official told the New York Times.
The US officials quoted by the newspaper appeared be wildered and deeply apprehensive about the rising tensions in Kashmir, believing that both sides had gone beyond the normal limits of sabre-rattling.
Assuming a nuclear exchange in which India and Pakistan hurled their full arsenals at each other, the estimated death toll would lie between nine and 12 million, with injuries ranging from two and seven million, not counting those killed in urban firestorms or by fallout.
The US keeps its estimates of each side's nuclear stockpiles classified, and estimates differ wildly. Jane's defence experts believe that Pakistan may have up to 150 warheads, and India 250. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates the Indian arsenal as up to 40 nuclear weapons, and the Pakistani stockpile as up to 20.
UN resolutions on Kashmir
Pakistan government's site on Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir government website
Kashmir Information Network
Times of India
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002