India and Pakistan: The Expanding Nuclear Threat

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India and Pakistan: The Expanding Nuclear Threat (57:00)
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India and Pakistan have been battling over ownership of Kashmir for more than half a century. In 1998, however, both countries shocked the world by joining the exclusive nuclear club. When violence erupted the following year in Kargil—the central region of Kashmir—an anxious U.S. report declared that this conflict "had the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between the two countries." This program explores how close each country came to nuclear weapons use at the time of the Kargil conflict based on firsthand accounts of citizens, armies, and government officials. Considerable attention is given to 9/11’s influence on the ordeal. (57 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (20)

1. Kashmir: A Nuclear Flash Point (02:35)
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India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers. They fight with each other almost daily at the border in Kashmir, a region considered a nuclear flash point where minor conflicts have the potential to escalate into nuclear war.

2. Wagah Border (01:13)

Wagah Border is the only border post between India and Pakistan which allows passage between the two countries. Guards from each nation antagonize and intimidate each other in the flag-lowering ceremony which occurs each evening.

3. India Initiates a Nuclear Arms Race (02:36)

India is home to a billion people, most of them Hindu, and is south Asia's largest nation; Pakistan separated from India in order to form a separate Muslim state. India initiated the nuclear arms race in south Asia, and Pakistan responded.

4. History of Conflict Over Kashmir (01:14)

Kashmir is a mountainous region, about half the size of France. Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan have fought over who should control the region ever since British colonial rule ended in 1947.

5. Fighting Along the Line of Control (04:12)

In 1972 the cease-fire line in Kashmir between India and Pakistan was named the Line of Control. Conflicts and firefights between armies of the two nuclear powers occur regularly along this 700 kilometer line.

6. The Kargil Conflict (02:16)

India and Pakistan were at war with each other only one year after each country declared itself a nuclear power. A report details the very real possibility that India and Pakistan were ready to use nuclear weapons against each other.

7. President Clinton Intervenes in the Kargil Conflict (05:40)

Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan visited Washington D.C. on July 4, 1999 at the request of the U.S. government. President Clinton and his advisers worked to persuade the Prime Minister to withdraw Pakistani troops.

8. Responsibility for the Kargil Conflict (03:12)

Evidence suggests the Kargil incursion was a top-secret plan by the Pakistani military which Prime Minister Sharif had not been told about. Army officials deny this charge and nobody has taken responsibility for the plan.

9. Fighting During the Kargil Conflict (02:59)

The Kargil Conflict was fought in the steep mountains of central Kashmir. It is believed that Pakistani army units crossed the Line of Control to gain a strategic advantage; the Indian army conducted a large scale counter attack.

10. The Brink of Nuclear War (03:16)

Because it possessed nuclear weapons, Pakistan's army believed it could start a conflict with India, a move which threatened to trigger nuclear strikes. U.S. military experts determined the Kargil Conflict could easily have triggered a nuclear war.

11. Accidental Nuclear War (02:40)

It is estimated that over 12 million people could be killed in a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. An expert describes scenarios in which a nuclear war between the two countries could be started accidentally.

12. India's Nuclear Doctrine (02:32)

During the Kargil Conflict India did not have a policy which dictated the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons. Immediately after the conflict, in August 1999, India released a draft of such a policy.

13. Coup in Pakistan (02:23)

Months after the Kargil Conflict, Pakistan's army executed a coup and Pakistani Army Chief Musharraf took over the government. In 2001 India's Prime Minister invited Musharraf to a peace summit but no progress was made; Pakistan continued to develop its nuclear arsenal.

14. Terrorist Training in Pakistan (02:51)

Terrorism is a widespread problem in India and in Pakistan. Under pressure from the United States following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pakistan's government tightened its grip on Islamic terrorist groups.

15. Terrorist Attack on India's Parliament (03:11)

Terrorist attacks on India increased after September 11, including an attack which killed 25 people at India's Parliament in New Delhi. India claims the attack was supported by Pakistan and deployed 700,000 troops along the border.

16. India and Pakistan Prepare for Nuclear War (02:58)

With 700,000 Indian troops deployed to its border, Pakistan denied charges it supported terrorist attacks on India and prepared to go to war. Tensions between the countries raged and both countries conducted tests of their nuclear weapons.

17. Militant Influences in India (01:52)

Powerful groups within India pressure the government to make preemptive strikes against terrorist groups in Pakistan. The sentiment is gaining support within the government and influencing debate over nuclear weapons policy.

18. India Reconsiders Its Nuclear Weapons Policy (01:43)

India has begun a debate over the need to review its "no first use" nuclear policy, which prohibits India from being first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. In 2003 India eased some restrictions in its nuclear weapons doctrine.

19. India Prepares for Terrorist Attacks (02:35)

Indian military bureaucrats simulate the decision making process that might play out in the event of a terrorist attack on the New Delhi subway system. The group playing the part of India's government considers a response involving nuclear weapons.

20. The Threat of Nuclear War Persists (02:58)

India and Pakistan have lived for decades on the brink of nuclear war with each other. The two governments are making efforts to ease tensions and normalize relations, but terrorist attacks and hardened attitudes complicate the situation.

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