India's nuclear-capable Agni III missile.
India’s nuclear-capable Agni III missile.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — If a war between India and Pakistan included the usage of nuclear warheads, each equivalent to a 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb, more than 21 million people will be directly killed, about half the world’s protective ozone layer would be destroyed, and a “nuclear winter” would cripple monsoons and agriculture worldwide.

Nuclear weapons represent around half the total arsenal between the two nations.

As the Indian Army further consider its armed options, and the Bharatiya Janata Party ponders a nuclear attack, even as the Pakistan Defense Minister threatens to “annihilate” India in return, the following projections, made by researchers from three US universities in 2007, are a reminder of the costs of nuclear war.

According to researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and University of California, Los Angeles, about 21 million people – half the death toll of World War II – would be killed within the first week from blast effects, burns and acute radiation in India and Pakistan.

Another two billion people worldwide would face risks of severe starvation due to the climatic effects of the nuclear-weapon use in the subcontinent, according to a 2013 assessment by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a global federation of physicians.

Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal estimated to be around between 110 to 130 warheads as of 2015, an increase from the estimated figure of 90 the country carried in 2011. India is estimated to have 110 to 120 nuclear warheads.

Talk of war began after a terrorist attack on an army garrison in the Kashmir town of Uri claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. The Indian Army said the attack was carried out by four terrorists from the Jaish-e-Mohammed group, based in Pakistan.

As many as 66 percent of Pakistani nuclear warheads are mounted on 86 land-based ballistic missiles, according to The Bulletin of  Atomic Scientists data estimates. Pakistan’s Hatf series of ballistic missiles has been developed – and is still under development – keeping India in mind.