As if the world did not have enough conflicts to handle, Pakistan and India are adding to the tension. While experts rule out a full-scale war between the nuclear-armed neighbours, we take a look at what might transpire if Pakistan and India decide to let their emotions rule over logic and go to war.
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Pakistan and India will both target major cities to hurt the economy and damage the country’s capability to sustain war. A naval blockade of ports will harm trade and prices will go up. The stock markets will also take a hit, resulting in withdrawal of foreign capital.
Trade and aid sanctions will follow as regional and international cooperation will dwindle in the wake of the conflict. According to an estimate, the war will cost India Rs50 billion per day and will also raise its fiscal deficit by 50%. Pakistan too will need to reallocate its meagre resources to keep the war machinery running. Even after the conflict has ended, a great amount of money will be needed to cover for damages both tangible and intangible.
Social and political cost
Given our fragile social fabric, a Pakistan-India conflict will give rise to extremism in both the countries. Muslims in India and minorities in Pakistan can come under attack as a result of the war hysteria.
Pakistan’s fight against terrorists within the country will also be affected as more troops will now be defending the eastern border and this might give room for terrorism to resurface strongly.
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Use of modern weapons will cause severe damage to the infrastructure, hurting the crucial systems of transportation, communication, health and education. If the conflict prolongs, there will also be human displacement which will put an additional burden on the economy.
As it usually happens with all tragedies in Pakistan, the war will also weaken the democratic institutions in the country and increase the influence of the establishment.
Cross-border trade, sports and travel will also be victims of the war. While official trade numbers aren’t very high given the actual potential, a great amount of smuggling goes on between the two countries; our cricket relations may not be good but there are several other sports Pakistanis and Indians face each other in and while tourists visiting families across the border find it difficult to travel anyway, patients and pilgrims have always been facilitated. All this will be at stake if Pakistan and India go to war.
In initial stages of the conflict, diplomats in both the countries will likely be harassed in violation of the privileges they enjoy as part of global agreements. The conflict will also mean increased pressure from the international community and possible isolation which could result in trade and aid sanctions.
As death, injuries and disabilities are part and parcel of wars, public health will deteriorate in the wake of an Indo-Pakistan conflict. However inadequate, healthcare segment in Pakistan is capable of managing emergencies due to the history of terror attacks. But if the war goes on longer and medical facilities are also directly destroyed, health problems will be another worry for the authorities in both countries.
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The time before, during and after the conflict will also cause psychological distress and with energies and resources focused on defending the country and then rebuilding it, mental health will likely be ignored. This could have serious problems in the future.
Worst case scenario
If the warring countries go nuclear, millions of people will die due to blasts, burns and radiation. This could also have a negative impact on border territories as winds can carry the fatal effects across national boundaries.
Ecological damage and change in weather pattern could put two billion people worldwide at risk of severe starvation due to dent in crop yields in the subcontinent. This can later spiral into social unrest of great magnitude. Also, due to particulates in the atmosphere, sunlight will decrease and air quality will worsen in the affected region.
Information gathered from various news stories and research reports
Courtesy : Express Tribune