In 1999, the Indo-Pak Kargil conflict or Operation Vijay, though diminutive in scale, put India at a financial deficit of Rs.10,000 crores. And these are just the numeric economic losses which only skim the surface of devastation faced by war.

Towards the end of the second World War which began in 1939, it was estimated that the financial cost of the war was about 1.944 trillion dollars. 

On the face of it, history may declare a winning side but, as such, there are no winners when it comes to war.

While India and Pakistan stood at the brink of armed conflict, it is important for us all, as citizens of a nuclear-powered country to understand what war entails. Some may even call it a last resort but as a matter of fact it must be avoided at all cost. 

National leaders fight wars and soldiers bear the brunt. 

Based on where we stand, war could be the result of just a few verbal misfires between trigger happy chest-thumping politicians. But while figureheads and national leaders are the ones calling the shots, it is the soldiers who end up being the pawns who suffer the brunt on ground. 

The civilian population cannot even begin to grasp the magnitude of loss — be it human lives, infrastructure, finance, or machinery. 

War is a massive financial dent on the country’s economy. 

According to research, if we were to go to war today it would be a huge drain on the economy. A war that lasts a fortnight would cost the Indian economy roughly Rs 2,50,000 crore. 

And it doesn’t end there. The domino effect would put the burden of recovery on the average Indian taxpayer. 

Further, to continue the arms race and replenish the loss of human lives, medical costs, family pensions, equipment acquisition, and so on the country would need an increase in military budget. This, putting massive burden on taxpayer money to recover the resultant fiscal deficit.

The trickle-down effect goes further with the overall economic downfall of the country, increase in unemployment, and a hit to the GDP. Which entails a direct hit to the Indian currency.

According to economic research,

Countries generally abstain from investing in war-prone countries and as a result, the Indian economy is bound to suffer. 

Which means FDI/FII in the country will take a major hit, hurting the Indian financial health.

When asked about the immediate effect of an Indo-Pak war on the country, one Quora user wrote:

The immediate economic effect of war is increase in prices leading to common people to suffer. On the other hand, the government becomes compelled to raise taxes (which in turn reduces civilian spending and investment) to meet the war-induced expenses. If bombardment occurs in the war, beautiful cities as well as the infrastructure of the country collapse. Overall, a war can collapse the economy of a country.

Rebuilding the economy from there on will only be an upward climb and will set us back by several years.

While the effect of war will be massive as it is, if we were to unleash nuclear warfare, the impact would be catastrophic, to say the least. 

A full-blown nuclear conflict could, without hyperbole, create global annihilation of sorts. In his TED talk, Professor Brian Toon succinctly explains what a devastating effect a single nuclear Indo-Pak war could have on the world.

In the modern world, there is no place for war. From where we stand today we have a lot at stake. There is far too much to lose from political conflict and there are ways and means to come to peaceful consensus.

History teaches us how war may have a winning side, but at the end of the day everyone ends up a loser. Even those not directly involved in it.

Wars don’t end conflict. It, in fact, complicates it further.

And we literally cannot afford it at this point or any time in the future.