I really appreciate the efforts of those sitting at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and managing the movement of the Doomsday clock. If we look at the history as recorded on their website the maximum that the clock moved away from the doomsday midnight was 17 minutes in 1991 when the Cold War officially ended. It is interesting to look at the movement of the clock which is meant to sensitise the world leaders and scholars to take necessary actions in order to avoid the collective human disaster. In 1960 it was at 7 minutes and in 1963 at 12 minutes short of the doomsday. Probably the experts who manage the movement of the clock were on leave or busy in other important things that they could not adjust the clock. Something serious was happening in 1962 when the USSR and USA were moving up on their alert levels to use nuclear weapons during the Cuban missile crises. It is a well-known fact that the world had never come so close to the brink of nuclear war as in Oct 1962. Understandable, as back then many things were different and acceptable, but not now.

The clock clicked to 3 minutes short of doomsday in 2015 because of USA and Russia embarking on massive programs to modernize their nuclear triads—thereby undermining existing nuclear weapons treaties.

The interesting issue is not what the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has to say about the Doomsday clock, but few others who are flirting with strange narratives of nuclear war as if they are eagerly looking for it. They are trying to blame Pakistan and defending an innocent India as a victim of Pakistan’s insane hegemonic ambitions. There are others also who stand shoulder to shoulder with this team of experts predicting the nuclear stock piles of Pakistan to become world third largest in a short while. I think they are quite well informed about the large Indian nuclear program, operating since long, much earlier than Pakistan which has produced huge stocks of weapon useable materials. They are quite reassured that Indian will never use these materials for weapons making because India is a responsible country and will follow all norms as it did in the past. India just mistakenly diverted the nuclear fuel acquired for peaceful purposes to military use and unknowingly tested a nuclear device in 1974, and later dubbed it as a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE). Again in 1998, just by accident India conducted nuclear tests twice in a row on 11 and 13 May, which it never wanted to. However it was non-other than Pakistan that provoked this innocent little responsible country by reacting in the most irresponsible manner and detonated much larger and more lethal nuclear weapons which have destabilised the entire region. Now the entire world, especially the sole policeman, is trying to regain the lost balance that it eagerly desires to establish in this region in favour of its loving strategic partner.

The same love affair was seen in the past too when in 1974 US Secretary of Defence Hennery Kissinger came to Pakistan to inform the then government that they should accept the new situation that has emerged after the nuclear test of India as fate accompli and learn to live with it. Quite disappointingly this never happened and Pakistan could not oblige this friend who is always trying to become a master.

If we look at a recently published article at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, “Nuclear battles in South Asia”, we find an interesting story of a doomsday scenario. It has been highlighted that armies of Pakistan and India are practicing for nuclear war on the battlefield. Now India is practicing its proactive strategy in the southern deserts along the borders but Pakistan is not practicing any such drills and procedures. In fact it doesn’t need to. The Pakistani position has been misquoted and gives the wrong impression that Pakistan is interested in nuclear war.

The foreign secretary statement was a quite reasonable position when he declared that: “Our argument is, when you are a nuclear power, you do not create spaces for war. War is no more an option. We have plugged the gap India had created. We have the right to do so.” I think, if we view this position quite objectively, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists needs to move the clock away from doomsday. It was quite disturbing when in the same article it was highlighted that the Indian army is searching for strategies and capabilities as a way to use military force against Pakistan. We need to decide fairly that the Doomsday clock needs to click on Pakistani or on Indian action and then make arrangements to stop that.

It is highly important for us that scholarship be devoted collectively to promote peace in the region and be used for unnecessarily exploring strategies and scenarios to justify the use of force that may trigger war at any level or of any kind.