India is well prepared to counter the ill effects of nuclear attacks on the country, parliament was informed Monday.
"The Armed Forces Medical Services have not expressed any apprehension regarding their preparedness for handling the ill effects of nuclear attacks in the country," Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
"The ill effects of any nuclear attack are multifaceted, the handling of which will require involvement of a large number of agencies including the Armed Forces Medical Services," the minister stated, adding: "Such preparedness is a continuous process keeping in view the threat perception."
Detailing the measures that had been taken, Antony said a number of quick reaction teams in the Indian Army and quick medical response teams have been established for "immediate initial response".
Other measures include identification of service hospitals in the metros of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, and one hospital in each state and union territory as associated medical institutions.
These hospitals will perform multifarious functions like handling mass casualties, training of physicians and paramedical staff, and organising training capsules and workshops in specialised institutions to reinforce the training of health professionals, Antony said.
The chances of a nuclear war breaking out on the subcontinent, however, are extremely remote, defence analysts said, pointing to the discussions on nuclear confidence building measures India and Pakistan are engaged in as part of their composite dialogue process.
The talks also cover measures to reduce the risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.
"As of date, given the situation in Pakistan, the chances of a nuclear conflict on the subcontinent are very, very remote," strategic affairs expert Air Marshal (retd) Ashok Goel told IANS.
"Pakistan is in great turmoil today as it has never been. Today, Pakistan is under the direct control of the US. In such a situation, I would not be surprised if its entire nuclear arsenal is also under direct US control," he added.
Goel also did not foresee any threat from China.
"There is no threat from China militarily. Thus, by no stretch of imagination can there be the threat of a nuclear strike from China," he maintained.