My Words are Backed by Nuclear Weapons Feb 27, 2016 23:59:41 GMT
Post by spanishspy on Feb 27, 2016 23:59:41 GMT
Preface: This timeline was originally posted on alternatehistory.com on May 17th, 2014, and is based on the Civilization series of PC games.
MY WORDS ARE BACKED BY NUCLEAR WEAPONS
On January 30th, 1948, Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Quit India Movement and the foremost figure campaigning for Indian independence from the United Kingdom, was the subject of an assassination attempt by the Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse who felt that he was favoring Pakistan during the contemporary partition of the British Raj between the Hindu and Muslim majority nations of India and Pakistan. Godse fired several shots at Gandhi, but the latter survived, alerted the authorities, and had Godse arrested.
The survival of Gandhi did not, to his chagrin, ameliorate the discontent between the members of the Indian National Congress, divided into two blocs, one led by Jawaharlal Nehru, which espoused the establishment of socialism as the official ideology of the Congress, and the other led by Vallabhbhai “Sardar” Patel, which supported a more free-market, capitalistic approach to the development of India. Gandhi, a supporter of a united and free India divided into thousands of small rural villages to provide for the people of said village, found both proposals distinctively unappealing to his vision of the Indian future.
Nehru, the Prime Minister of India and the country’s first since independence, was in favor of such rapid industrialization, and eventually broke with Gandhi over economics. “No matter how much I admire the man,” said Nehru, “Gandhi’s economic plan for this country is beyond the bounds of reality and detrimental to the growth of our country,” said the Prime Minister in a speech to Parliament.
Nevertheless, Gandhi continued to tour the country advocating for the land reform and small-scale development that he previously had touted, denouncing (albeit respectfully) the current government in regards to economic development. When India became a Republic in January 1950, Gandhi announced that he would run for Parliament for a seat in Gujarat in the elections of 1952, the next election scheduled by the new constitution.
Come 1952, Gandhi led a breakaway section of the Indian National Congress opposed to Nehru’s policies of industrialization and easily won the primary challenger to the nomination for the seat in parliament. Throughout India, Gandhi’s ideals became more popular and many similar candidates arose to support him with the intention of giving him a substantial voting bloc in the body after the elections. Nehru rapidly became worried and began a tour of the country to endorse his various supporters against Gandhi’s followers, but to no avail; when the elections were announced, Gandhi’s section of the Congress controlled Parliament, and Gandhi was now the Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
To what will forever be the puzzlement of historians, Gandhi became far less of a pacifist than he had previously been as an activist for social justice under British rule. He began massive military expenditures to increase the power of the Indian army, navy, and air force, something nobody expected but most supported. A supporter in Mumbai said “it’s not what normally comes out of him, but he’s Bapu, and I’m certain he knows what he’s doing.” It was stated by another commentator that Gandhi “had apparently been possessed by some sort of spirit, or perhaps some batlike alien from outer space.” In summary, it is generally agreed Gandhi underwent a change in heart on several issues regarding India and militarization.
Many suspect that Homi J. Bhabha, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, appointed by Nehru, persuaded Gandhi to pursue such a policy. Bhabha, an acolyte of Nehru, supported such policies and agreed with Nehru’s belief that an independent India should have its own nuclear weapons program to dissuade foreign powers from impinging on its sovereignty. Gandhi was soon convinced by Bhabha’s reasoning and the Indian nuclear weapons program was expanded in earnest. Rather than the sparse amount of Uranium in the country, the Indian nuclear program used the abundant Thorium available in the country to power their reactors and make weapons via conversion into Uranium-233, although natural uranium was used in reasonable quantities. Ballistics programs were also established, aided by Indian spies in the Soviet Union, United States, and United Kingdom. Under Gandhi, India would become one of the strongest military powers on the planet.
However, there were still the lingering territorial disputes between India and China regarding Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, as well as the Pakistani claim to Kashmir. Instability between the two parts of Pakistan, the western half with the capital in Karachi, and the eastern half, predominately Bengali in ethnic makeup, threatened to rip the fledgling nation in half. Many in India demanded some sort of retaliation against China and Pakistan in Kashmir and the other disputed territories and intervention in East Pakistan to stop the possibility of civil war. While Gandhi now sympathized with such calls, he understood that his military was not to the quality of China nor had the training to take on Pakistan, and would bide his time.
In 1954, the Republic of India detonated its first nuclear weapon in a remote section of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, shocking the world with its suddenness. They had never expected a former British colony, and quite a poor one at that, to have developed such a weapon in such short a time.
Over the course of the 1950s, Gandhi continued to be reelected, somehow surviving the toil of old age, having been born in 1869, to his seat in parliament and the office of Prime Minister. During this time, he set out the economic reorganization of the country along the lines of his small-village-based system, engaging in moderate development and the promotion of agriculture and the creation of cottage industries, increasing the GDP of India substantially and decreasing the effects of poverty within the nation. Gandhi quickly became dubbed “the Indian Franklin Roosevelt” by American commentators, or “the Indian Mao” by Chinese commentators due to this massive development; some even compared the level of Indian development to that of the Soviet Union’s rapid industrialization in the first half of the twentieth century.
In 1959, Gandhi gave asylum to the Dalai Lama, who had fled Tibet, under Chinese rule after an uprising in Tibet. Sino-Indian relations would be tense for the next three years; there were disputed territories between the two countries in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. Mao Zedong, Chairman of the People’s Republic of China’s Communist Party, insinuated that the rebellions in Tibet were caused by Indian intervention, something Gandhi fervently denied. India responded by placing several fortifications in areas of Aksai Chin (in the Kashmir region) and Arunachal Pradesh (in the eastern parts of India and on the southern border of Tibet) that were disputed between the two countries as part of his ‘Forward Policy.’
In response, Mao considered a declaration of war on India, but ultimately decided against it for the time being. Instead, Mao, seeing the need for allies against an economically and militarily strong India, took a state visit to Karachi, the Pakistani capital, to possibly form an alliance between the two countries. Pakistan and China both had issues with the current Indian government; China claimed Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh while Pakistan claimed the entirety of Kashmir, a northern region in India disputed by both countries. President of Pakistan Ayub Khan, who had come to power in a coup against the government in 1958, had been previously trying to strengthen ties between China and Pakistan, and his government happily accepted Mao’s visit. The negotiations between Mao and Khan continued into 1960, in which the Declaration of Friendship between China and Pakistan was agreed to in the Treaty of Karachi. Additionally, a defensive pact between the two nations was agreed upon and passed by the legislatures of both countries.
Such a development greatly worried Gandhi, who began sending more troops into the disputed regions although being careful to avoid a direct confrontation with either country. The years passed, and the region seemed ever poised for a war, possibly nuclear in weaponry. It became increasingly clear that war would in some way break out eventually, but Gandhi, Khan, and Mao held an uneasy peace on the Subcontinent. However, in 1961, a bomb destroyed the buildings of the Sikkim State Council. Sikkim was a quasi-independent monarch that was under Indian protection, and there was considerable debate on whether to join India as a constituent state or to remain in its current state of independence. With the deaths of the Council and amid widespread mourning, Tashi Namgyal, Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, announced new elections to be held immediately. The election resulted in the accession of several anti-Indian legislators who rapidly began moving towards Sikkim independence.
The elections were wracked by widespread allegations of voter fraud. Gandhi, in a speech to the Indian in parliament, said that the Indian government would not tolerate these “election shenanigans in Gangtok (the capital of Sikkim).” Indian forces moved into the small kingdom to restore order, backed by the Indian declaration that the former had a ‘pledge to protect’ the latter. As the controversy continued, many accused Pakistan, China, or both of backing the conflagration currently enrapturing the small mountainous kingdom. Shortly thereafter, Gandhi declared that the Sikkimese monarchy would be abolished and the country admitted as a state of the Indian Republic.
The Sikkim annexation caused many countries of the world to denounce the Indian government and Gandhi’s handling of the situation. Ayub Khan said in a speech in Islamabad that “it is time I told the world of your sins, Gandhi,” although he was somewhat vague about what these sins were. The governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and other Western nations were appalled by the violence, while the Soviet Union was quiet – they looked favorably on the end of an old monarchy and its subsequent absorption into a Soviet-friendly nation, one becoming ever more valuable after the Sino-Soviet Split of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Mao and Khrushchev were far from amicable; Mao saw Khrushchev as being too friendly and not nearly as confrontational with the West as it should be, including the latter’s insufficiently forceful response to the U-2 spy plane caught flying over Soviet territory. The Soviet Union had also had some sympathy with the Tibetan rebels against the People’s Republic, the same rebels whose actions led to the tensions with Gandhi’s India. Even though there was still a large practical cooperation between the Soviet Union and China, Khrushchev saw the necessity in finding another strong Asian ally to replace the nigh-antagonistic Chinese; India would be this new ally.
Khrushchev and Gandhi met in Mumbai to discuss the possibilities of cooperation; the two leaders subsequently announced the Declaration of Friendship between India and the Soviet Union and the Indo-Soviet Research Agreement. In accordance with the latter, thousands of Soviet experts, many previously placed in China before the Sino-Soviet Split, flooded into India to help with infrastructure and military development. A massive road and railroad network was set up by Soviet engineers and executed by Indian workers, connecting many of the small villages to the large cities. These villages often specialized in a certain commodity, such as iron, coal, or food production, and would now be able to profit much more so from their yields due to the connection with the rest of the country. These city connections drastically increased the productive capacity of India, preparing it for a theoretical war with China and Pakistan should it come to pass.
Likewise, the military was improved from decent quality to spectacular quality, rivalling that of the Warsaw Pact’s elite forces. Tanks were rearmed with the best guns and soldiers were equipped with the finest firearms from Soviet gunsmiths. Additionally, a certain elite cadre of weapons scientists with a shady agenda came to India to begin construction of a project that would not be revealed for the next few years. The Indian nuclear arsenal was reviewed and subsequently outfitted with state-of-the-art warheads and ballistics. India was now a military power and a force to be reckoned with by all, China included.
1961 segued into 1962, and tensions over Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin lurked in the consciences of all the leaders involved. This continued into the latter half of the latter year, when the world came to a terrified standstill. Soviet nuclear weapons had been found in a military base in Cuba, and the United States and its allies were desperately trying to prevent a conflict that could easily destroy human civilization as they knew it. Humanity was on the brink, and the slightest twitch could let slip the dogs of war. This twitch would happen in Arunachal Pradesh.
Previously in June, there had been a confrontation between Chinese and Indian troops at Thag La in Aksai Chin, in which there was no combat, but it nevertheless resulted in a diplomatic incident in which Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, visited New Delhi to try and defuse the crisis. The talks broke down, and war appeared imminent.
On October 20th, 1962, while the standstill over Cuba was underway, Chinese forces assaulted the Indian claims in Aksai Chin, attempting to take the Chip Chap valley, while also invading Arunachal Pradesh to take the banks of the Namka Chu River. Indian forces rapidly deployed themselves to these areas in an attempt to defend their homeland. Gandhi, in a speech to the press, told Zhou that “my words are backed with nuclear weapons. Do not trifle with us, or we will destroy you.”
However, China was not the only power which mobilized for war. Pakistan heeded the agreements in Karachi and mobilized its forces in Kashmir in an attempt to expel the Indians from the territory and enforce the Pakistani claim. Likewise, Pakistani forces stationed in East Pakistan mobilized into the far eastern parts of India, planning to meet up with the Chinese forces in Arunachal Pradesh and deny Indian access to the region. Artillery fire from East Pakistan also pelted Indian settlements in the state of West Bengal. At this critical moment, it seemed that the alliance of China and Pakistan could very well defeat the forces of India.
However, the modernization of the military under Gandhi paid off in full during this time; Indian forces were better-equipped than either China or Pakistan, and their modern armor was able to expel an incursion into West Bengal and then subsequently took the provincial capital of Dhaka, assisted by Bengali nationalists that were frustrated with being ruled by the less populated western portion of the country. These forces subsequently headed north into Arunachal Pradesh and began to expel Chinese forces from the area.
Especially intimidating to the Chinese and Pakistanis was the deployment of the fruits of the Nataraja Program, named after the form of the God Shiva which, in Hindu mythology performs a dance at the end of the universe such that the creator god, Brahma, may begin creating the universe anew. The Nataraja program’s task was the creation of large bipedal walkers designed to be able to crush tanks simply by walking on them, equipped with experimental weaponry that was powered by laser technology, pioneered only a few years beforehand by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow and subsequently investigated by the Soviet Union, which imparted such knowledge to India. The Natarajas were instrumental of pushing Chinese forces in Arunachal Pradesh back into China, where they gained, in a moment of terror, the appellation ‘Giant Death Robot,’ a name, hasty and imprecise as it was, that would grow in popularity and become the common name for the Nataraja program’s products.
The Indian forces in Arunachal Pradesh then entered China, destroying whatever opposition they could find, and then moving towards the city of Lhasa in Tibet with the intention of taking the city and establishing an independent Tibet that would be friendly to Indian interests. Likewise, Indian forces on the Western front made a drive towards Islamabad with the intent of decapitating the Pakistani government. Gandhi stated, ironically, in a press conference that “I have just received a report of that large numbers of my troops have crossed your borders, Khan and Mao.” In a complete reversal of fortunes, it looked like India would triumph over its adversaries.
But then the Indian forces were hassled by the coming of a Chinese force from the eastern part of the country which arrived via railroad in Lhasa, bogging down the invaders in Tibet. This continued for several days, in which it seemed that it was simply impossible to take Lhasa. Likewise, Indian forces had ignored the Pakistani force coming from the southern portion of the country based in Hyderabad and Karachi, as well as a force coming out of Lahore. These forces were able to push the Indians away from Islamabad. The war seemed like it would be won by the Chinese and Pakistanis. But this was not the case.
Gandhi ordered the use of the Indian nuclear arsenal on various Chinese and Pakistani cities and military facilities, causing nuclear fire to rain down upon both of those countries. In Pakistan, the cities of Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, and many others were destroyed, and in China Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and a plethora of others were met with the full power of the Indian nuclear arsenal. The world was petrified at the first usage of nuclear weapons since the end of the Second World War, and made only worse with the possibility that the war could make the Cuban situation only more exacerbated. This was correct.
Among the areas struck by Indian nuclear weapons was the Peshawar Air Station, a listening post run jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Air Force, destroyed in the destruction of Peshawar by the several bombs it required. The destruction of the American base sent the American military establishment into frenzy, thinking it was a Soviet attack, due to the recent confrontation over Cuba. The American nuclear arsenal, aimed at the Soviet Union and the other nations of the Warsaw Pact, was launched, with every missile they had preparing for doomsday.
The Soviet Union detected the American nuclear weapons and fired their own, as well as scrambled aircraft in an attempt to destroy incoming missiles. Nuclear weapons held in other countries were also fired, and the world was bathed in nuclear destruction. Great cities such as Washington, New York, London, Berlin, Moscow, Leningrad, Paris, and many others were utterly obliterated in the exchange that followed. The end of civilization seemed to be imminent, and casualties were in the hundreds of millions, utterly dwarfing the deaths of the Second World War.
This did not spare India, where the aging Gandhi was killed in a strike on New Delhi. The rest of the major Indian cities, as well as several nuclear sites, were destroyed in the ensuing calamity. Thusly, India, and the rest of the world with few exceptions (such as most of Latin America) was plunged into anarchy and warlordism.