Limited Conflicts Under the Nuclear Umbrella

Limited Conflicts Under the Nuclear Umbrella: Indian and Pakistani Lessons from the Kargil Crisis

Ashley J. Tellis
C. Christine Fair
Jamison Jo Medby
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 108
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1450usca
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  • Book Info
    Limited Conflicts Under the Nuclear Umbrella
    Book Description:

    This report examines the views of India and Pakistan on the significance ofPakistan_s foray into the Kargil-Dras sector in a limited war that has cometo be known as the Kargil conflict. The goal of the analysis is to assessboth combatants_ perceptions of the crisis, with a view to evaluating thepossibilities of future Kargil-like events and the implications of thelessons each country learned for stability in South Asia. The analysis isbased almost exclusively on Indian and Pakistani source materials.The Kargil crisis demonstrated that even the presence of nuclear weaponsmight not appreciably dampen security competition between the region_slargest states. However, the question remains of whether or not the Kargilwar represents a foretaste of future episodes of attempted nuclear coercionif India and Pakistan believe that their nuclear capabilities provide themthe immunity required to prosecute a range of military operations short ofall-out war.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3229-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. SUMMARY
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. INITIALISMS
    (pp. xv-xv)
  7. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    In the spring of 1999, the world slowly came to know of Pakistan’s foray into the Kargil-Dras sector in a limited war that has come to be known as the “Kargil conflict.” (India’s military response to this Pakistani adventure was codenamed OPERATION VIJAY.) Although the “real” reasons for Pakistan’s prosecution of the Kargil war cannot be discerned with any certainty right now, a variety of Pakistani writings and public statements suggest that Islamabad likely had several motivations: a desire to redeem itself after its humiliating defeat in the 1971 war with India; India’s occupation of the Siachen glacier; a desire...

  8. Chapter Two THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE KARGIL CRISIS
    (pp. 5-28)

    The Kargil crisis had several layers of significance for both Pakistan and India, and generally these were very different for the two countries. For Pakistan, Kargil was significant primarily for the following reasons:

    While Pakistan appears to have concluded that Kargil-like¹ operations are not legitimate in the current international environment, violence in the form of low intensity conflict (LIC) continues to be seen as a legitimate tool for attaining political objectives.i

    Kargil was yet another example of the failure of Pakistan’s grand strategy. In Kargil, as in the 1965 and 1971 wars, Pakistan failed to comprehend that the international environment...

  9. Chapter Three KARGIL: LESSONS LEARNED ON BOTH SIDES
    (pp. 29-60)

    Our analysis elicited very different lessons learned for India and Pakistan. In the case of Pakistan, most of the lessons learned are strategic rather than operational or tactical in the military sense. This is in part because the open-source reporting of the operation generally denied the presence of Pakistani regulars, which necessarily precluded any open discussion of war-fighting lessons learned.¹ Generally, Pakistan does not have a rich tradition of open accounts of its military operations, which stands in some contrast to India’s more robust private—though not official—publishing industry on political-military affairs.

    For Pakistan, the apparent lessons learned from...

  10. Chapter Four OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
    (pp. 61-76)

    India and Pakistan are confronted by different futures as far as Kargil-like scenarios are concerned.

    Militarily, Islamabad can only afford to attempt calibrating the heat of the insurgency. This is the best of the poor choices available to Pakistan and is likely to be emphasized in accordance with the political circumstances of the day.

    Diplomatically, the peace initiative remains with India. Pakistan can only persist in its offer to participate in peace talks at any time, place, or level and pursue the benefits to its public image that may accrue from these efforts.

    In light of its failed grand strategy...

  11. Chapter Five CONCLUSION: KARGIL AND SOUTH ASIAN STABILITY
    (pp. 77-84)

    What impact has Kargil had on South Asian stability? This chapter seeks to answer this question briefly by revisiting earlier RAND work on deterrence breakdown in South Asia that was undertaken in 1994.¹ That work argued that in the foreseeable future, South Asia would experience a condition of “ugly stability”—that is, the persistence of unconventional conflicts—because conventional wars of either unlimited or limited aims had become either prohibitively costly or beyond the easy reach of both India and Pakistan for purposes of national policy. Further, owing to the presence of nuclear weapons, India and especially Pakistan would be...

  12. REFERENCES
    (pp. 85-92)