India Becomes A Nuckear Threat

India could launch ‘preemptive’ nuclear strike against Pakistan if threatened, says expert

PTI

India could launch a preemptive first strike against Pakistan if it feared a nuclear attack was imminent, reversing its well-known no-first-use policy, according to a leading nuclear strategist.

This first strike, however, will not be aimed at urban centres and conventional targets but against Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal. The strategic assessment is in clear contrast to New Delhi’s ‘no-first strike’ policy of 2003.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at a conference on nuclear policy hosted by Carnegie, a think tank, on Monday, according to the Hindustan Times.

India would launch “a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons,” Dr Narang said.

He explained that policy-makers in New Delhi decided to go for the nuclear option to ensure that “India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction”.

New Delhi declared the ‘no-first strike’ policy, undertaking not to start a nuclear war in a neighbourhood packed with nuclear actors such as China and Pakistan.

Narang said he was not basing the assessment on fringe extreme voices such as those of Bharat Karnad or retired Indian Army officers frustrated by the lack of resolve they believe their government had shown in multiple provocations.

This assessment, he said, was based on what he learned from no less than a former Strategic Forces Command C-in-C Lt Gen B.S. Nagal and from the highly respected and influential former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

“We may be witnessing … a ‘decoupling’ of Indian nuclear strategy between China and Pakistan. The force requirements India needs to credibly threaten assured retaliation against China may allow it to pursue more aggressive strategies — such as escalation dominance or a ‘splendid first strike’— against Pakistan,” Dr Narang said.

The MIT expert argued that the conventional wisdom that a nuclear war in South Asia could start with a terrorist attack from Pakistan may no longer be valid.

Relations between the neighbours are at the lowest ebb since the attack on Indian military base of Uri in occupied Kashmir last year. Following the attack, India claimed to have carried out ‘surgical strikes’ against militant launch pads in Kashmir, which were denied by the government, as well as the military.

However, in February, both countries extended a bilateral pact, dealing with reducing the risk of nuclear weapon-related accidents including a war, for a period of five years.

India Will Change Its No First Nuke Policy (Revelation 8)

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy: Expert

Misil+India+PRITHVI-2

During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.

WASHINGTON: India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan if it feared that Islamabad was likely to use the weapons first, a top nuclear expert on South Asia has claimed.

The remarks by Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before a Washington audience was though a negation of India’s stated policy of ‘no first use’.

During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.

He said India “may” abandon the policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan if it believed that Pakistan was going to use nuclear weapons or most likely the tactical nuclear weapons against it.

But, he pointed out, India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.

“India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction,” Narang said.

He said this thinking surfaces not from fringe extreme voices or retired Indian Army officers frustrated by the lack of resolve they believe their government has shown in multiple provocations, but from no less than a former Commander of India’s Strategic Forces, Lt Gen BS Nagal.

It also comes perhaps more importantly and authoritatively, from the highly-respected and influential former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon in his 2016 book ‘Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy’, the nuclear strategist said.

“Serious voices, who cannot be ignored, seem to suggest that this is where India may be heading, and certainly wants to head,” Narang said.

“So our conventional understanding of South Asia’s nuclear dynamics and who, in fact, might use nuclear weapons first and in what mode may need a hard rethink given these emerging authoritative voices in India who are not content to cede the nuclear initiative to Pakistan,” he said, adding that this would mark a major shift in Indian strategy if implemented.

“In short, we may be witnessing what I call a ‘decoupling’ of Indian nuclear strategy between China and Pakistan.”

Sameer Lalwani, senior associate and deputy director South Asia at the Stimson Center, an American think-tank, said Narang’s remarks challenged the conventional wisdom of South Asia’s strategic stability problem.

Based on recent statements and writings of high-level national security officials (serving and retired), Narang argued that India may be exhibiting a “seismic shift” in its nuclear strategy from ‘no first use’ to a preemptive nuclear counterforce allowing for escalation dominance or a “splendid first strike” against Pakistan, Lalwani said.

Sweden Prepares For Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

Sweden preparing nuclear fallout bunkers across the country amid fear of Russian war

War preparations come as Nordic country reintroduces military conscription

NUCLEAR war shelters are being readied in Sweden to prepare for a surprise Russian attack, according to reports.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has reportedly been ordered to carry out a review this year of bunkers the coming weeks as the Scandinavian country also reintroduces military service.

Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia

Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia to protect as many as seven million people

A system of 65,000 bunkers was established in the Cold War to protect the population from nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

According to MSB, the bunkers currently protect against blast and radiation as well as chemical or germ warfare.

With a distinctive logo, they can easily be located by civilians seeking shelter.

But with fears growing over threat posed by Vladimir Putin and his resurgent Russia they are being reviewed to make sure they are ready.

Russian military drills in the region have raised fears among neighbouring nations that an attack could happen in the coming months.

Civil defence measures are therefore being stepped up, especially in the Island of Gotland where Sweden has already re-opened a garrison.

Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reported that Mats Berglund had ordered a review of the island’s 350 civilian bunkers.

Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign

Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign

The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports

The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports

The Nuclear Winter (Revelation 16:10)

Nuclear Famine

Daryl Williams

EnvironmentScience

(Image via en.wikipedia.org.)

Daryl Williams discusses a recent scientific report in which the devastating global impacts of a small nuclear conflict, including “nuclear famine”, are outlined.

THE COLD WAR is over, the Berlin Wall has fallen, nuclear warhead numbers have declined significantly — so the threat of nuclear catastrophe has passed, right?

Well, sadly no.

In fact, things may be more dangerous today than at the height of the Cold War.

Computer simulations of the indirect climate effects of even a “small” regional nuclear exchange indicate that the whole world would still be imperiled.

A recent 16-page scientific paper, ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a ‘regional nuclear conflict‘, by Mills, Toon, Lee-Taylor and Robock, outlines the horrific unexpected consequences. Once you boil down the “science-speak” it paints a bleak picture – via an “Earth system model” which includes atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics and interactive sea ice and land components – which we should do everything we can to avoid.

It deserves far more attention than it has received and its findings should be informing our foreign, defence and emergency management policies. In summary, the scenario it simulates is as follows:

Firestorms in India and Pakistan from a “small” regional conflict and nuclear exchange would inject 5 Tg (or one million tonnes) of black carbon (smoke, soot, dust) into the stratosphere which spreads globally.

The black carbon heats the stratosphere (by up to an amazing 80 degrees C) and cools the lower atmosphere and surface (by 1.1 degrees C in the first four years, down to 1.6 degrees in the fifth year, slowly rising to 0.25 to 0.5 degrees 20 years later). The colder surface temperatures reduce precipitation by 6% globally for the first five years and still by 4.5% one decade on.

Oh, and hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis would be incinerated to death … but let’s concentrate on the long-term climate repercussions.

Source: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000205/full

The heating of the stratosphere caused by the black carbon produces a dramatic loss of ozone (30% to 45% at mid-latitudes for the first five years, 50 to 60% at northern high latitudes) giving ‘a global ozone loss on a scale never observed‘.

It is the combination of dramatic extended drops in surface temperatures termed ‘the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years’ and precipitation with a dramatic increase in UV radiation.

That spells big trouble for Earth in the form of

widespread damage to human health, agriculture, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.’

That is,

‘…combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies and could trigger global nuclear famine.’

As well, ‘… the average growing season is reduced by up to 40 days throughout the world’s agricultural zones over these five years’. The increased UV-B radiation would reduce plant height, shoot mass and foliage area, damage DNA and significantly increase insect losses. A 16% loss of ozone could reduce phytolankton levels in the ocean by 15%, resulting in a loss of seven million tons of fish per year.

Change in frost-free growing season in days for (a) January to December in the Northern Hemisphere and (b) July to June in the Southern Hemisphere. Values are 5 year seasonal ensemble averages for years 2–6, experiment minus control. (Source: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000205/full.)

The report also states:

‘The combined effects of elevated UV levels alone on terrestrial agriculture and marine ecosystems could put significant pressures on global food security.’

And yet, I didn’t read anything about this in the 2016 Defence White Paper or in any plans by Emergency Management Australia. Why not?

The above effects are globally averaged figures. Regional extremes can be worse. Large areas of continental landmasses would experience significantly greater cooling than average:

Winters (JJA) in southern Africa and South America would be up to 2.5 degrees C cooler on average for 5 years … [and] … most of North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East would experience winters (DJF) that are 2.5 to 6 degrees C cooler … and summers (JJA) 1 to 4 degrees C cooler.

Which is worse than any volcanic winter in the last 1000 years. There would be significant regional drying over the Asian Monsoon region, including the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, as well as the Amazon, the American South-East and Western Australia — which would be 20% to 60% drier.

All from a “minor” nuclear exchange  between India and Pakistan. Amazing, no?

Given the consequences found and the quality of the work (state-of-art climate model with stratospheric chemistry included) it is hard to understand why governments, the media and most of all, the public ignored its findings.

The report gives no estimates of death tolls but suggests they would be huge.

Another report, ‘Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk?’ by Dr Ira Helfand, puts

‘ … the number of people potentially threatened by [nuclear] famine at well over two billion.’

And this may be conservative, as possible cascading effects from social breakdown, disorder, military actions, migration upheavals don’t seem to have been considered.

In terms of probability (one in 100 year chance?) times impact (hundreds of millions dead, collapsed world economy, radioactive fallout), this problem dwarfs all other natural and man-made disasters.

Sadly, public awareness of nuclear famine seems minimal. The handful of videos on YouTube on the subject have very few views. For instance, the video Nuclear Famine by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has had only 8490 views while Nuclear Famine – a Billion People at Risk by Physicians for Social Responsibility has had only 314 views … over three years!

We need to be more aware and if enough people make the effort, perhaps we can put these serious problems on the map and hopefully progress towards a nuclear-famine-free world.

As Winston Churchill said:

“The Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of science, and what might now shower immeasurable blessings upon mankind may even bring about its total destruction. Beware, I say: time may be short.”

Nuclear Winter Is Unavoidable (Revelation 8:10)

(updated 11:37 09.12.2014)

Scientists from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research said even if a small scale nuclear war broke out in one region of the world, the entire planet would be at risk, as the planet would experience falling temperatures, less precipitation and reduced sunlight, among other grave consequences.

VIENNA, December 9 (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — In the event if a nuclear war breaks out in one region of the Earth, the entire planet would suffer grave consequences, characterized by falling temperatures, less precipitation and reduced sunlight, Mike Mills, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Sputnik Tuesday.

“Even if the nuclear war happened in one part of the planet – India and Pakistan – the whole globe would be affected by the temperatures dropping, precipitating dropping, sunlight dropping and also the amount of harmful ultra-violet would increase, because of the ozone layer,” Mills said on the sidelines of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.He described a scenario where after an initial explosion cities would be engulfed by giant firestorms, like those seen during World War II – in Tokyo and Hiroshima.

“And this would produce a tremendous amount of smoke. We looked at a scenario in which India and Pakistan each used 50 of the smallest nuclear weapons, the size used on Hiroshima – on each other’s cities. Researchers estimated this would produce about 6.5 million tons of smoke, black smoke that would absorb a lot of sunlight,” the atmospheric scientist said, citing results of his research.

Heat from the sun would encourage smoke from the fires to rise up into the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is. Since weather features like rain do not occur this high up in the atmosphere, the smoke could not be simply washed away by rain, like it would lower down. Thus it could remain in the stratosphere for years, absorbing sunlight, preventing it from reaching the surface of the Earth. As a result, temperatures at the surface would drop and precipitation patterns would be affected. This in turn would have an impact on agriculture and ecosystems, leading to reductions in crop production, which in turn could give rise to a global famine.

Mills pointed out that as long as countries possess nuclear weapons, it is not a question if they will be used, but when.

“You know that governments change, and relations between countries can change; and as long as we possess the ability to annihilate each other and pose this catastrophic risk to the survival of our species and others on the planet, if we gave as long enough time, they would be used, eventually. Right now there is an increasing number of countries with nuclear weapons and that increases the risk of conflict between different nuclear armed states exponentially,” Mills told Sputnik urging to reverse that.

He stressed that nuclear powers are not doing enough to eliminate nuclear weapons. For instance, the new START treaty signed in 2010 between the United States and Russia, did not consider the climatic consequences of nuclear war. Mills pointed out the need to raise awareness about the risks of a nuclear winter, as in his view, greater awareness would put more pressure on governments to push for disarmament.“You really can’t ignore the impact on humanity of that kind of a war, and if someone were to say – well, we don’t care what happens to human beings after nuclear war, we have to question that kind of leadership whether it is coming from the military or diplomats,” Mills said adding that the well-being of society should be at the forefront of international leaders’ minds.

The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is taking place on December 8-9 in Hofburg Palace in the Austrian capital. Its aim is to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. According to the conference’s organization committee, over 16,000 nuclear warheads still exist, many of which are on “high alert”.

Strengthening the Russian Nuclear Horn

Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Attack Submarine Ever Is Almost Ready for Sea

Dave Majumdar
March 15, 2017

Russia is set to launch its second Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine on March 30. Called Kazan, the new vessel is an upgraded Project 885M design that is in many ways much more capable than the lead ship of the class, K-560 Severodvinsk.

“Kazan is expected to be rolled out and put afloat on March 30,” a Russian defense source told the Moscow-based TASS news agency.

The Russian Navy will take delivery of Kazan in 2018. Once the vessel is operational, she will be the most formidable enemy submarine that the U.S. Navy has ever faced. “It’s probably the most capable nuclear powered submarine out there fielded by a potential adversary,” Center for Naval Analyses Russian military affairs specialist Michael Kofman told The National Interest.

Indeed, Kazan is expected to be substantially improved over her older sister, the Severodvinsk. The vessel incorporates new technological developments that have emerged since Severodvinsk started construction in 1993. Kazan also incorporates lessons learned from testing the older vessel.

“The 885M is really the first ship of the class,” Kofman said. “The 885M is intended as a substantial improvement, based on the lessons learned from the lengthy development, construction, and testing process for the original 885.”

The Project 885 vessels are a departure from previous Soviet and Russian submarine designs. Unlike older Soviet vessels, the Project 885 submarines are multimission boats similar in concept to American vessels like the Seawolf or Virginia-classes.

“[Severodvinsk] is Russia’s first truly multipurpose submarine,” Michael Kofman and Norman Polmar wrote in the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings journal. “The Severodvinsk is capable of antisubmarine, antiship, and land-attack missions. Among the more interesting features are a large bow sonar dome for the Irtysh-Amfora sonar system and an amidships battery of eight vertical-launch cells that can carry 32 Kalibr (SS-N-27/30 Sizzler) or Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) cruise missiles. These antiship and land-attack weapons are particularly significant after Russian surface ships and submarines fired long-range mis­siles into Syria in 2016.”

Russia plans to build a total of seven Project 885M submarines—Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm are currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyards on the White Sea port city of Severodvinsk.

Meanwhile, Russia is planning on developing a follow-on class of attack submarine that would hunt U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines. According to the authors of that article, “Now in development is a new Russian ‘hunter-killer’ submarine. This SSN will have the primary role of countering Western SSBNs. The new SSN is probably a significant program, but very little is known about it other than construction is slated to begin in the near future.”

The Russians undoubted have the technical skills to develop an extremely formidable new class of attack submarines. The question is does the Kremlin have the financial wherewithal to fund another expensive new defense project.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Preparing For The Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

THE FEDS ARE SPENDING MILLIONS TO HELP YOU SURVIVE NUCLEAR WAR

AUTHOR: MEGAN MOLTENI. MEGAN MOLTENI SCIENCE DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03.14.17

Last week, as tens of thousands of US and South Korean soldiers gathered at a base in Iwakuni, Japan for an annual joint military exercise, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles from Pyongyang into the sea off Japan’s northwest coast. In a world where the US is headed by a Twigger-happy political neophyte and the risk of a Cold War reboot looms larger with each Wikileaks disclosure, this demonstration wasn’t just an empty display of dictatorial propaganda. It was a reminder that the nuclear threat is still alive and well.

But even if you’ve taken a decades-long break from stocking your fallout shelter, the federal government hasn’t. Over the last ten years the US has poured millions of dollars into technologies and treatments it hopes to never have to use, but could, in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. From assays that measure radiation exposure to cell therapies that restore dwindling blood cells to liquid spray skin grafts, government officials are now far better equipped to deal with diagnosing and treating people if the unthinkable were to happen. And the next generation of treatments are being funded right now.

In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services established the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise to coordinate federal solutions to large-scale public health threats, including the nuclear one. Pretty much every agency you can think of is involved—CDC, NIH, FDA, DoD, DHS, USDA, VA, and OEM, among others. But in terms of nuclear countermeasures, three programs nested within HHS do the bulk of the heavy lifting.

The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is the first stop; it runs clinical and preclinical trials for promising technologies. Then there’s the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority—Barda—which is basically a taxpayer-backed investment firm that develops these potential drugs, vaccines, treatments, and supplies and ushers them through FDA approval. Finally there’s Project BioShield, which Barda uses to contract with companies when their products are almost ready, ensuring a national market. To date, the program has acquired 12 products related to a nuclear blast or reactor meltdown, some FDA-approved, some still in late stage development, but all destined for the Strategic National Stockpile, the CDC-managed backup supply of drugs and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency. And each class of products addresses a different part of the threat.

The first is diagnosis. When a person is exposed to high levels of radiation, unpaired electrons careen around their cellular machinery, breaking DNA and causing damage to every organ, including the bone marrow. This means you can’t generate new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, so you can’t fight off infections or coagulate your blood. People usually don’t start feeling the effects of acute radiation syndrome for 24 to 48 hours, but damage to their cells’ DNA starts almost immediately. Which is why you need a reliable diagnostic device; following a nuclear event, people who feel well might actually be in danger, and people who weren’t exposed will want treatment just to be safe.

So using Project BioShield, Barda has acquired two diagnostic devices, known as biodosimeters, to tell the difference. One works by measuring gene expression, the other by visually analyzing cell nuclei. “In the event of a nuclear event, the countermeasures we’ve procured will be precious resources,” says Joe Larsen, acting director of Barda’s division of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasures. “We’re going to end up with a lot of worried well demanding treatment, and we can only afford to treat people that need it.”

That treatment, at least right now, consists of injections of immune-boosting cytokines, developed for cancer patients to restore depleted white blood cells lost during radiation treatments or chemotherapy. Project BioShield has acquired three such cytokine treatments—but, Larsen notes, they won’t work for about 20 percent of people. For them, the only option will be bone marrow or cord blood transplants, which come with the extra obstacle of having to be matched with a donor. So Barda is now looking for cellular therapies that don’t require any donor matching to their portfolio—a universal treatment. “That could shore up gaps in our initial capability to treat radiation.” And they’ve got at a few promising options coming down the pipeline.

Barda recently signed a $188 million contract to develop a stem cell therapy produced by California-based Cellerant Therapeutics, which restores white blood cells in leukemia patients who’ve had theirs taken out by chemotherapy. The cells are cryopreserved and shelf-stable, important features for a stockpile item. But the treatment is focused on white blood cells, and radiation exposure doesn’t limit itself to the immune system’s front-line fighters.

To that end, NIAID is funding clinical trials for a placenta-derived stem cell treatment developed by an Israeli company, Pluristem, that has shown the ability to restore all three blood cell lines—red and white blood cells, as well as platelets—in animal models. Like Cellerant’s, the treatment comes cryogenically frozen along with a thawing device to deploy it easily in the field. The cells stay viable on liquid nitrogen inside their canisters, so you don’t have to worry about losing them if the power goes out. From their injection site, the placental stem cells sense stress signals in bone marrow tissues, and send more than 20 signaling molecules to repair and restore their functions. The company isn’t testing efficacy in humans, for obvious reasons. But Pluristem says their animal studies showed close to 100 percent survival rates with the treatment, compared to 30 percent without.

Arik Eisenkraft, who began working on an ARS application for Pluristem’s technology following the Fukushima disaster, isn’t surprised that a potential solution to nuclear radiation would come out of a place like Israel. “We live in a world of imminent threats, not theoretical ones,” he said. “Even though we don’t have the same budgets and the same scope of institutes, what we do have is a real sense of urgency.”

Neither Barda nor Pluristem could confirm whether or not a contract is somewhere in their future. But the agency did say it was looking at all the options. And with Barda’s budget cut by $160 million last year and an uncertain future for disaster preparedness funds in a Trump administration, there’s no time like the present for some urgency of their own.

India Nuclear Horn Goes Supersonic

India test-fires supersonic cruise missile

Pakistan has already urges world to check Indian conventional, nuclear arms build-up
India on Saturday test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is ‘capable’ of carrying a warhead of 300kg, from a test range along the Odisha coast, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The cruise missile was test fired from a mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha at about 11.33am, the news service quoted unnamed officials of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as saying. “It was an ‘excellent’ launch and a great success,” they said.

The PTI reported that the supersonic missile was capable of carrying a warhead of 300kg. “The two-stage missile, one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the army and navy, while the air force version is in final stage of trial,” the officials said. The Indian Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles.

On Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in Islamabad that India’s massive arms build-up and testing of inter-continental ballistic missiles was a source of concern for the region. However, Pakistan would not indulge in the arms race, he said. “Pakistan will maintain minimum deterrence capability to safeguard its national security,” he said.

“India’s massive arms buying spree, making it one of the top arms importers in the world, was driven by its desire for regional hegemony and global power status,” he said. On the other hand, Pakistan had been compelled to acquire and maintain a deterrent capability to ensure its national security, he said, adding that Pakistan never wanted to engage in any kind of arms race, nuclear or conventional.

Several international reports and independent observers had drawn attention to the rapid expansion in India’s capability to produce fissile material for military use, which had been made possible by the 2008 NSG waiver granted to India without appropriate non-proliferation safeguards and the subsequent nuclear deals struck with different countries.

In February, the Foreign Office urged the international community to check Indian conventional and nuclear arms build-up that had caused strategic anxiety in the region. “With conventional weapons balance already disturbed, India’s nuclear weapons build-up has dangerous proportions to tip the strategic balance and endanger peace of the region and beyond,” he said.

The Nuclear Truth (Revelation 15)

Nuclear reality: Former U.S. chief scientific officer gives his take on world’s nukes

Ashley Collins | ashley.collins@naplesnews.com; 239-213-60292:44 p.m. ET March 8, 2017

Nuclear weapons can wipe out an entire city and kill millions. That power shouldn’t be taken lightly. Yet, several countries, including Iran, Pakistan and North Korea, continue to actively engage in creating and testing nuclear weapons. North Korea just test-launched four ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan Monday.

According to Dr. John Psaras, former chief scientific officer with the U.S. Department of Energy, the threat isn’t something to ignore. He spoke to more than 150 curious individuals at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples late last month during the annual “Progressive Voices Speak Out” lecture series.

His lecture — the fourth in the series — honed in on, “Nuclear Weapons in the Wrong Hands – Terrorism, Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.” Other lectures in the series touched on the new presidential administration, rise in sea levels and the 2016 presidential election.

Psaras, now retired, dedicated more than 25 years to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In order to explain the current nuclear weapons situation, Psaras started off with its origin.

The nuclear age began in 1945; the year the U.S. tested a nuclear bomb in New Mexico, and dropped a uranium bomb over Japan’s Hiroshima, and a plutonium bomb over Nagasaki towards the end of World War II.

“Plutonium, to give you an idea, is roughly about, pound for pound, three times more vile than uranium,” Psaras said to the audience.

Ashley Collins

During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race. At the peak of the war, the U.S. had more than 30,000 nuclear device units, Psaras added.

“Russia had almost double that amount. So we could have blown the world 100 times over with that power,” he said.

In order to quell the use and testing of nuclear weapons, an international treaty called Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was born in 1968, and was extended indefinitely in 1995.

The treaty recognized the U.S., Russia, United Kingdom, France and China as nuclear-weapon states, and according to the Arms Control Association, legitimized those states’ arsenals. However, not all states’ agreeing to the treaty have stuck by the treaty’s rules. North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 and has tested nuclear devices since. Iran engages in secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms.

To date, there are still about 15,000 nuclear warheads worldwide, with more than 90 percent belonging to the U.S. and Russia, according to Psaras.

However, he added, all eyes should be on countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistan not only has a weak government, but is the Islamic world’s sole nuclear weapons state.​

“In those instances you could have a situation where somebody may be able to steal a nuclear device… In the event that they do try to actually hit anybody, either ourselves or alternately our allies, we are ready, having anti-ballistic missiles located strategically in both Southeast Asia as well as Europe and the Middle East,” Psaras said.

He added that while he isn’t sure what the new presidential administration plans to do against nuclear weapons, it should be placed in high priority.

In a February interview with the Reuters news agency, President Donald Trump said he wants a world free of nuclear weapons, but if it can’t be, the United States should be “at the top of the pack.”

The lecture series concluded March 8 with Brendan Fischer, associate counsel with the Campaign Legal Center, speaking on the role of gerrymandering and voter suppression during the 2016 presidential election.

The congregation’s Rev. Tony Fisher hopes participants take action based on the information learned from the series.

“What we learn in these lectures hopefully just doesn’t sit in our brains and make us feel good that we’ve heard it. But that it motivates us to turn around and go out and do something in the wider world,” Fisher said to the audience.

Russia Prepares For Nuclear War

Russia NATO War: Moscow Deploys Nuclear Missiles In Europe, Subsonic Weapons At Sea

BY TOM O’CONNOR @SHAOLINTOM ON

03/08/17 AT 4:06 PM

A top U.S. military official accused Russia of breaking its commitment to a decades-old arms treaty Wednesday by deploying a new land-based, nuclear-capable cruise missile in Europe. The remarks came days after the Russian military announced it was arming its nuclear submarine fleet with new supersonic cruise missiles to modernize its naval forces.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva said Russia’s SSC-8 cruise missile threatens Washington’s allies in NATO and warned Moscow intentionally is using it to put pressure on its neighboring foes. He echoed sentiments raised last month by U.S. officials who called Russia’s developing and testing of the weapon a violation of the “spirit and intent” of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to eliminate such short- and intermediate-range missiles. Selva said the renewed missile activity could threaten regional stability at an already tense period in relations between NATO and Russia.

“The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” Selva said, without mentioning whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead or not, Reuters reported.

The news came two days after Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yori Borisov announced Monday that Moscow’s navy would be equipping its Project 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines with 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles, the Diplomat reported. The move was reportedly part of a greater effort to update the country’s naval capabilities, something Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pledged to do last month.

Both NATO and Russia have undergone massive military escalations in recent months with each side accusing the other of provocation. Since Moscow annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, Russia’s European neighbors increasingly have become concerned about their national sovereignty and have looked toward the U.S. to bolster NATO’s military forces, which it did under former President Barack Obama. Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump has expressed less enthusiastic views toward the U.S. commitment to NATO as well as the 2010 New START agreement through which Russia and the U.S. agreed to limit their nuclear weapon arsenals.