By Sorwar Alam
ANKARA (AA) - A nuclear war between arch-rivals India and Pakistan could potentially kill up to 125 million people, a recent study predicted, amid heightened tensions in the region due to the ongoing lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir.
A study published in Science Advances journal Wednesday said the fatalities of such a war “could reach 50 to 125 million people” if India uses “100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150”.
As of 2019, India and Pakistan own 140 to 150 nuclear warheads but the figure could swell to 200 to 250 each by 2025, it added.
“All of India can be reached by the longest-range delivery systems. Since India has about 400 cities with more than 100,000 people, Pakistan could potentially attack slightly more than one-third of all moderate- and large-sized cities in India with its current arsenal and more than two-thirds by 2025,” read the study.
“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 does not need so many weapons to attack Pakistan,” as it is smaller in size, however, India could face higher number of fatalities as it has six times more the population in Pakistan.
“A regional catastrophe would occur if India and Pakistan were to engage in a full-scale nuclear war with their expanding arsenals.”
“India would suffer two to three times more fatalities and casualties than Pakistan because, in our scenario, Pakistan uses more weapons than India and because India has a much larger population and more densely populated cities.”
Tensions between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors have mounted following the Indian government’s move on Aug. 5 to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since then, with the government blocking communication access and imposing restrictions on movement to thwart any protests in the region.
New Delhi said that 93% of the restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency could not independently verify.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.