WASHINGTON - A major terrorist attack in India might lead to a large-scale military assault on Pakistan, which then could lead to a nuclear war in one of the world's most populous regions, the US Congress was told.
Two US experts on South Asian affairs - George Perkovich and Ashley Tellis - presented the doom's day scenario before a Senate panel earlier this week.
The US Senate and the House of Representatives held a series of hearings this week to consider the Obama administration's budget proposals for 2016.
While debating the US State Department's proposals for foreign aid, lawmakers invited senior US officials - including Secretary of State John Kerry - and think-tank experts to explain the administration's foreign policy.
During one of these hearings, the two experts argued that Pakistan might use nuclear weapons against India if the latter launched a large-scale military assault in retaliation for a major terror attack from across the border.
"South Asia is the most likely place nuclear weapons could be detonated in the foreseeable future. This risk derives from the unusual dynamic of the India-Pakistan competition," said Mr Perkovich, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Mr Tellis of the same institute urged the United States to use its influence to preventing a terrorist attack.
"Other than this, there is little that the United States can do to preserve deterrence stability between two asymmetrically-sized states where the gap in power promises to become even wider tomorrow than it is today," he said.