Tagged: all-out

Kashmir conflict: Do nuclear weapons prevent all-out war?


Michael Kugelman is arch accessory for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. The angle bidding in this annotation are alone those of the writer. It s safe to say that India-Pakistan relations are about on a war footing.Saber awkward has been abreast connected in contempo weeks afterwards terrorists — from Pakistan, according to India — stormed an Indian aggressive abject in India-controlled Kashmir and dead 18 soldiers. India s home abbot denounced Pakistan as a terrorist state. Pakistan s aegis abbot threatened nuclear war.Then came Thursday, aback India claimed to accept agitated out a surgical strike beyond the bound into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The operation, according to the Indian government and military, targeted agitator launch pads and dead several dozen militants. New Delhi s abundant (and conceivably exaggerated) annual said the operation lasted four hours. If true, it arguably would accept been the best adventurous aggression assimilate Pakistani clay aback US Special Armament stormed Osama Bin Laden s compound.Pakistan angrily denied that this bang had happened, alienated that India had alone affianced in cross-border battlefront (killing two Pakistani troops) — a common accident on the airy frontier. Pakistan nonetheless vowed to undertake a forceful response if such an adventure occurred again. India has abandoned villagers from several bound areas in apprehension of accessible Pakistani retaliation.With both abandon banging the war drums, it may be appetizing to abhorrence that absolute battle isn t far away.The acceptable news, however, is that a hot war amidst the nuclear-armed nemeses charcoal an absurd prospect.Nukes are generally cited as the arch bridle to absolute war, and for acceptable reason.Pakistan refuses to accept a no first-use policy, which agency it could apparently acknowledge to India s use of accepted aggressive force with a nuclear strike. This is no abandoned threat. Pakistan, according to estimates from experts in August, has amidst 110 and 130 nuclear warheads and is declared as boasting the world s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile. Best critically, it is emphasizing the assembly of appropriate nuclear weapons, which are meant for absolute battlefield use.India, meanwhile, boasts about 100 to 120 nuclear warheads. It has no accepted affairs to advance appropriate nukes. And it has adopted a austere no first-use policy.Last year, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary declared absolutely that his country could use appropriate nukes as a acknowledgment to India s Cold Start article — a action (albeit one not yet formally congenital into Indian aggressive doctrine) that calls for bound accepted uses of force in Pakistan.Chaudhary s advertisement appropriate that India would not charge to go far to run up adjoin Pakistan s nuclear red lines. The association was that alike the bound use of force could activate a Pakistani nuclear response.And yet India s cross-border bang Thursday suggests that India has added allowance to action beneath the nuclear awning than Pakistan s threats may suggest. Additionally, as Shashank Joshi afresh noted, India staged bound cross-border raids in the 2000s. These did not arm-twist threats of a Pakistani nuclear response. (Pakistan became a declared nuclear weapons accompaniment in 1999.)In this sense, Pakistan s nuclear weapons aren t as abundant of a bridle as it may suggest. India could acceptable get abroad with added cross-border incursions that ambition Pakistani terrorists, with accessible retaliations from Pakistan that may accommodate mobilizing added troops forth the bound and, perhaps, bound accepted strikes in India. (If India were to hit Pakistani soldiers instead of militants, Pakistan s affairs of a able-bodied acknowledgment would increase.)New Delhi s no first-use action agency that Pakistan could exercise bound force in India after accepting to anguish about an Indian nuclear response. However, for Pakistan, a safer and added acceptable footfall would be artlessly sit to aback and let the anti-India alarm groups on its clay backpack out added attacks in India.All of this could cautiously appear beneath the nuclear umbrella.Additionally, there are affidavit added than nukes that absolute affairs for a hot war. First, Thursday s bang was not as escalatory as the angry address in India may accept suggested; New Delhi declared it as a one-off operation to pre-emptively avoid alarm attacks in India.Second, Washington is acceptable alive the phones with its interlocutors in Islamabad to appetite restraint. Pakistan won t appetite to accident added aid and accoutrements cutbacks from Washington that could be imposed if it retaliated militarily in a big way. Third, operational incapacities aural India s armed armament and the inferiority of Pakistan s accepted armament to India s (in agreement of authentic numbers) constrain aggressive options on both sides.The uptake? Nukes don t avert all battle on the subcontinent, but they do abbreviate the affairs of above war. Meanwhile, non-nuclear factors accord acumen for achievement that the arena will be absolved the abundant action threatened amidst all the bluff of contempo days.