Both sides are making overtures toward an agreement on restraint, and the U.N. Security Council permanent members who meet in Geneva this week to respond to the nuclear escalation are unlikely to agree on sanctions, says Dowell. "While the situation remains dangerous, the likelihood of a real nuclear arms race is doubtful," says Dowell. "India has declared a moratorium on testing, and if Pakistan refrains from testing any more missiles or nukes, this whole thing will probably blow over." Because, as those Security Council permanent members know by their own example, nuclear status, once achieved, is never surrendered.
The heat wave that has killed at least 800 Indians in the past month isn't the only thing pressing the region's leaders to cool their rhetoric: The wave of international pressure on both India and Pakistan has given those countries a mutual interest in being on their best behavior. "Both India and Pakistan now want access to the top tier of nuclear nations," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell, "and that gives them a strong incentive to behave in a responsible manner."