The most barbaric war amongst religions was neither the Crusades nor the thirty-year war between the Protestants and the Catholics, but rather the war between the Muslims and the Hindus in the 20th Century. When India was under British control, their quarreling was relatively quiet. However, these two religions feared each other more than they had feared the colonizers. Hindus under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, and Muslims under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah waged their own struggle for independence from the British. When the time for liberation was near, the Muslims sought a separate sovereignty from the Hindus, who formed the majority of the population. When the British finally left India in 1947, thus brought the birth of two separate nations: India and Pakistan. But with the departure of the British, the two new-born nations became sworn enemies. Hindus in Pakistan fled to India for their lives, and millions of Muslims in India fled to Pakistan. This was, by far, the largest immigration of people in history. The two religions have nothing in common, and consider each other cults. The two nations consider each other as critical threats to their existences. When India and China went to war over their borders in 1962, Pakistan quickly joined China, and this led to a fruitful relationship later on. In the midst of this conflict, the Soviet Union allied with India to counter the Chinese. And to prevent the spread of communism, the United States poured military support on both India and Pakistan. However, the truth of the matter was that both nations were intent on building up their arsenals to fight each other rather than keep communism at bay.


Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi

In 1974, India tested its first nuclear weapon, joining the nuclear club. Prime Minister Gandhi stressed that their nuclear arsenal was built for defense and peace, but there was no use. As soon as Pakistan learned of this fact, they began to work on their own solutions. For the next twenty years, they used Kashmir as a proving ground for each others’ military forces and continued to develop their nuclear arsenals. India conducted an underground nuclear testing in May 1998. Pakistan followed suit shortly. The international community realized that the conflict between India and Pakistan has gone far enough but they weren’t able to do anything. China was criticized for supporting Pakistan’s nuclear program. But criticism was unseen in the respective countries’ sentiments. Citizens of the two nations rejoiced because their nations were finally armed with nuclear weapons. Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State expressed a strong discontent. When the US attempted to impose sanctions on the two nations, India and Pakistan accused the Americans of hypocrisy.


The nuclear competition between India and Pakistan placed the entire Indian subcontinent in threat of a nuclear war. Not only did it bring about drastic policy changes, but it threatened the safety of the Earth. When visiting India in 2006, President Bush spread the logic that India did not attempt to proliferate nuclear weaponry, and their nuclear armaments not only supports the constant development of democracy and a free economy, but keeps China in check as well.¬† US Senate did not complain much about India when they accepted India’s nuclear war plans in November 2006. Same thing happened with Pakistan as well. As a result, the nuclear powers increased from¬† 5 to 7.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed into place in March 1970 to stop the increase of nuclear weapons. The original signatories of the NPT were the United States, United Kingdom, Russia (Soviet Union), France, and the People’s Republic of China. However, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear testing in 1974 and 1998 respectively. Israel is presumed to have nuclear weapons in its arsenal, and is recognized as a nuclear power. On April 11, 2006, Iran self-proclaimed its place as a nuclear power. On October 9th, 2006, North Korea successfully tested its nuclear weaponry, but was ignored by the United States, who deemed North Korea unworthy of having the status as a nuclear power.


Despite the constant pressure placed upon North Korea by South Korea, US, Japan, and China, North Korea held its third nuclear test on February 12th. Experts estimate that North Korea has both short- and long-term strategic objectives. In the short run, North Korea aims to hold weapons considerably more powerful than that of South Korea, and in the long term, seeks to be recognized as a nuclear power by the US and continue peace talks along the same level. Some experts carefully suggest that North Korea’s nuclear testing in 2006, 2009, and this February will reinforce its status as a de facto nuclear power, using India and Pakistan as an example. But one thing is certain: all experts agree that there is no chance that the US will recognize North Korea as a nuclear power. They reached the consensus because North Korea’s actions alone is shaking the foundation of the NPT treaty. But Chuck Hagel, the nominee for the Secretary of Defense referred to North Korea as a “de facto nuclear power.” Perhaps, US’s policy for North Korea will start under the pretense that North Korea has nuclear weapons. North Korea’s advantage in negotiation will increase no matter what. North Korea will use its nuclear armament as a tool to negotiate directly with the United States, demanding a peace process first, then denuclearization.

Categories: Column / Opinion
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