Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis Behaviour and the Bomb (Asian Security Studies)
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This edited volume explores competing perspectives on the impact of nuclear weapons proliferation on the South Asian security environment.
superiority to bear upon Pakistan, with the potential to transform Pakistan’s endemic hostility toward India. We can therefore propose a counterfactual argument with very strong nuclear optimist overtones: with nuclearization, a Brasstacks-type confrontation will never again emerge between India and Pakistan. By this we mean that nuclearization has severely curtailed the scope of India–Pakistan militarized action against each other. While future India–Pakistan conflicts could take the form of
respective conventional militaries along their common border and in Kashmir. At the same time, the presence of nuclear weapons prevented India from launching a conventional attack on Pakistan out of fear that a conventional war in the subcontinent might escalate to the nuclear level. Strategic stability was maintained by the existential deterrence created by the presence of nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan. Notes 1 These were opaque capabilities, not overt. According to Chari et al., both
This underscores the problem of maintaining political control in war, when battlefield progress can influence strategic objectives. In the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, for example, India easily attained certain military objectives, which provided the opportunity to expand the political objectives. In the view of one of India’s commanding generals at the time, New Delhi’s original political goal was to liberate only enough East Pakistani territory to allow the formation of a “free” government outside
competition unfolds. Pakistan ended up fighting for more than it initially wanted. Mission creep and unexpected opportunities expanded the field of battle. Although India’s military followed political directives from New Delhi, the dynamic of Pakistan’s incursion at Kargil must temper any assumption that political control will dominate battlefield behavior in future crises and conflicts. Finally, third parties, specifically the United States, may not always be available to help Pakistan—or, for
offensive operations (the area being more suited for infiltration), and the vastness of the area covered. Malik, Kargil, 71. 49 Malik, Kargil, 85–6. 50 Kargil Review Committee Report, 98. 51 Malik, Kargil, 105. As noted earlier in the text, Musharraf claims that India suffered “heavy casualties” in these early skirmishes, yet Malik was evidently not even informed of them. 52 Malik, Kargil, 105. 53 John Gill, “Military Operations in the Kargil Conflict,” in Lavoy, “Asymmetric Warfare.” 54