Four Crises and a Peace Process

Four Crises and a Peace Process: American Engagement in South Asia

P. R. Chari
Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema
Stephen P. Cohen
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 252
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    Four Crises and a Peace Process
    Book Description:

    India and Pakistan, nuclear neighbors and rivals, fought the last of three major wars in 1971. Far from peaceful, however, the period since then has been "one long crisis, punctuated by periods of peace." The long-disputed Kashmir issue continues to be both a cause and consequence of India-Pakistan hostility. Four Crises and a Peace Process focuses on four contained conflicts on the subcontinent: the Brasstacks Crisis of 1986-1987, the Compound Crisis of 1990, the Kargil Conflict of 1999, and the Border Confrontation of 2001-2002. Authors P.R. Chari, Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, and Brookings senior fellow Stephen P. Cohen explain the underlying causes of these crises, their consequences, the lessons that can be learned, and the American role in each. The four crises are notable because any one of them could have escalated to a large-scale conflict, or even all-out war, and three took place after India and Pakistan had gone nuclear. Looking for larger trends of peace and conflict in the region, the authors consider these incidents as cases of attempted conflict resolution, as instances of limited war by nuclear-armed nations, and as examples of intervention and engagement by the United States and China. They analyze the reactions of Indian, Pakistani, and international media and assess the two countries' decision-making processes. Four Crises and a Peace Process explains how these crises have affected regional and international policy and evaluates the prospects for lasting peace in South Asia.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-1386-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Strobe Talbott

    The partition that accompanied the end of the British Raj in 1947 created two newly independent states that today account for almost 1.3 billion people, about one-fifth of all mankind. But India and Pakistan spent the next quarter century in a more or less permanent crisis that has escalated into three major wars—in 1947, 1965, and 1971. When fighting erupted again near the border town of Kargil in the Himalayas in 1999, the stakes were higher than ever, since both countries had tested nuclear weapons the year before.

    Tensions have flared more recently as well, especially in 2001–02....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Fifteen Years, Four Crises
    (pp. 1-12)

    Sometimes events move so rapidly that no one has time to be surprised. That was the case in South Asia in the years between 1987 and 2002. Developments were rapid and unpredicted—perhaps unpredictable—coalescing in what seemed one long India-Pakistan crisis punctuated by periods of peace. The crises approached serious proportions on four occasions: during India’s “Brasstacks” military maneuvers (1986–87), increased turmoil in Kashmir (1990), the Kargil conflict (1999), and a subsequent border confrontation (2001–02). Each could have escalated to large–scale conflict. Each was also linked, in one way or another, to the introduction of nuclear...

  7. CHAPTER TWO South Asia’s Crises
    (pp. 13-38)

    South Asia has had more than its share of crises and wars, their causes ranging from national identity and irredentism to mutual meddling in each other’s politics, the unfinished business of a botched partition, and conflicting territorial claims. Some, as discussed later in this book, were affected by India’s and Pakistan’s gradual nuclearization. Also notable, few of the major clashes were of a bilateral nature; the United States, in particular, played a steadily increasing role as a conflict manager, attempting to defuse crises and bring the wars to a quick conclusion. These and other factors make for a complicated crisis...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Brasstacks Crisis of 1986–87
    (pp. 39-79)

    Launched in November 1986, Brasstacks was a year-long Indian military exercise that sparked a three-month crisis. Part of the military’s triennial program of such exercises, it came hard on the heels of the 1982 and 1983 mini-crises described in chapter 2. Although it did not lead to war, it helped accelerate India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear programs.¹

    Many Pakistani officials were alarmed by the scale and scope of the Brasstacks exercise, especially in view of its proximity to the India-Pakistan border and positioning of Indian forces in a way that suggested they might be able to bisect Pakistan. During the South...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Compound Crisis of 1990
    (pp. 80-117)

    Only three years after Brasstacks, India and Pakistan were once again at odds, this time in a rapidly changing and complex environment. The cold war had just ended, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were disintegrating, and the Persian Gulf was on the verge of instability. Closer to home, Indian-administered Kashmir was in ferment following a crackdown on militants and kidnappers of the daughter of India’s home minister (she was later freed in exchange for the release of jailed separatists). Equally significant, both countries had new and untested governments, each faced with an assortment of escalating domestic problems. Not...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Kargil Conflict
    (pp. 118-148)

    Three months after the Lahore Summit of February 1999, the armed forces of India and Pakistan clashed along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Kargil-Dras region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (map 5-1). This was a small war, but with numerous casualties and global interest in its outcome. The crisis atmosphere was heightened by concern that it might expand geographically from the remote vastness of Kargil to the rest of Kashmir or across the international boundary, or that it might escalate to higher levels of violence, even a nuclear exchange.

    Initially, a force of Pakistan army paramilitaries...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The 2001–02 Border Confrontation
    (pp. 149-183)

    On December 13, 2001, at around 11:40 a.m., as the Indian parliament was in an uproar over a report on emergency purchases undertaken for the Kargil operations, shots rang out in the Parliament House complex. The standoff that ensued between the Indian security forces and those who had attacked the complex was broadcast in real time on major television stations. It involved multiple explosions and the exchange of hundreds of rounds of fire, and left twelve dead.

    Once the government of India concluded that Pakistan-based terrorist groups were responsible and Pakistan refused to take action against them (Islamabad claimed that...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Peace and War in South Asia
    (pp. 184-222)

    Despite some underlying similarities, each of the four crises examined in this book was unique in its story and logic. Together, they highlight several key policy and strategic issues, particularly the changing nature of the rivalry between India and Pakistan, the impact of their different political systems on crisis behavior, the influence of the international community, and the complex relationship between the crises and nuclear weapons.

    Crises are usually defined as short-term events. The Brasstacks, 1990, and Kargil crises took place over a matter of weeks; the 2001–02 crisis lasted almost a year. Yet even the prolonged crisis of...

  13. Appendix: Methodological Note
    (pp. 223-224)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 225-244)
  15. Index
    (pp. 245-252)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-254)