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Pakistani-American Scholar on US Role as Peace Broker in South Asia

Pakistani-American scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf has examined the role of the United States in defusing South Asian crises since the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998.

In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" by Dr. Moeed Yusuf published by Stanford University Press, the author analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

It seems that Yusuf accepts the widely-held assumption that India enjoys insurmountable conventional military superiority over Pakistan. Many speculate that the difference between the conventional military strengths of the two South Asian rivals is so great that Pakistan would be forced to quickly resort to the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an Indian attack. Such assumptions and speculations are challenged by Professor Walter Ladwig of the War Studies Department at London's Kings College, Meenakshi Sood of Delhi-based Indian Army think tank called The Center for Land Warfare Studies, and other scholars.

Professor Walter Ladwig believes that Pakistan’s conventional deterrence against India in the near to medium term is "much better than the pessimists allege".  Pakistan's  NCWF (New Concept of War Fighting) developed in response to India's CSD (Cold Start Doctrine) is designed to "mount a counter-offensive even before India fires the first shot", according to Indian analyst Meenakshi Sood. Ladwig sums it up well: "Despite a growing technological edge (over Pakistan) in some areas, Indian policymakers cannot be confident that even a limited resort to military force would achieve a rapid result, which is an essential pre-condition for deterrence failure".

One could argue that Yusuf gives too much credit to the US efforts in de-escalating India-Pakistan crises. It creates the impression that brown leaders are less rational than their white counterparts in dealing with existential crises. It perpetuates the stereotype that only a select few nations in the West can be trusted with weapons of mass destruction.  It justifies the nuclear Apartheid being pursued by the United States in the form of nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).  Could it be that the author's research is heavily influenced by the fact that he works for the United States Institute of Peace which is a US government-funded Washington think tank?

Overall, Dr. Moeed Yusuf's "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" is a thought provoking book. It should stimulate serious discussion of how regional nuclear powers like India and Pakistan can engage with each other more deeply to maintain peace and stability in their neighborhood. This will require both parties, India and Pakistan, to have sustained dialog to resolve core issues like Kashmir that underly recurring crises. 

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Views: 118

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2018 at 7:31am

US and China are playing geopolitical game in Pakistan over CPEC that could determine which country becomes the next superpower


http://www.riazhaq.com/2018/09/us-china-competition-in-pakistan-cpe...

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 21, 2019 at 4:20pm

#Pakistan’s Consolidating #Conventional Deterrence: Pakistan will not be forced to retaliate with #nuclear weapons as an initial response to a limited conventional incursion by #India. #ColdStart #SouthAsia https://southasianvoices.org/pakistan-conventional-deterrence-asses...

In the case of South Asia, India’s quest to explore the space for limited conventional war below Pakistan’s nuclear thresholds has shifted the strategic debate in the region to the merits of limited aim strategies, i.e. Cold Start, that might be pursued despite Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. In response to potential Indian proactive war strategies, Pakistan has introduced the low-yield, short-range ballistic missile system (SRBMs), (HATF-IX)/Nasr, with the intention of using it as a last resort against Indian forces in the case of impending failure of conventional defenses. In this way, Pakistan has adopted a cost-effective solution to Indian proactive war strategies that complements its conventional forces, neutralizes India’s growing technological edge, and bridges the conventional disparity between the two rivals.

In response to Pakistan’s introduction of Nasr, India has begun to shift away from the traditional logic of conventional deterrence towards the use of conventional weapons and dual-capable missiles to bolster its deterrence by punishment strategy. With the aim of destroying Pakistan’s strategic and high-value assets (such as exposed Nasr batteries), India is pursuing new conventional weapon technologies to form the basis of its counterforce capabilities, including precision guided munitions, missile defenses, stand-off weapons, and cyber operations.

Pakistan’s Conventional Developments

Although Pakistan’s full-spectrum deterrence doctrine has succeeded in deterring an Indian full-scale military attack in the past, the persistent conventional imbalance and India’s revisions to its conventional doctrines have pushed Pakistan to modernize and upgrade its conventional capabilities.

Besides Nasr, Pakistan is improving its existing conventional platforms to deter (by denial) Indian proactive conventional war strategies and any potential conventional counterforce aims. To this end, it is updating its conventional strategies, conducting military exercises, improving its weapons systems, and seeking new defense partnerships. For instance, Pakistan developed an offensive-defense “Riposte” strategy after 1989. The strategy calls for a Pakistani Army strike corps to launch an offensive in an event of war, with the aim of occupying Indian-territory near border while holding back the initial hostile advances. To supplement this doctrine, Pakistan has reorganized its strategic reserves, i.e. the Army Reserve North and Army Reserve South. In addition, Pakistan’s six defensive Corps are situated in close proximity to Indian territory; these are the country’s initial defenses against Indian conventional aggression. In addition, conventional military exercises—such as Azm-e-Nau, New Concept of War Fighting (NCWF), High Mark, Strike of Thunder, and Sea Spark—are positioned to enhance the synergy of Pakistan’s three military services and combat readiness along the eastern border.

To further consolidate conventional deterrence against India, Pakistan is actively engaged in negotiations and contracts for upgrades and procurement of conventional armaments from various suppliers. Initiatives in the conventional domain such as additions to and/or modernization of its cruise missile program, air defenses, unmanned aerial vehicles, and surface and sub-surface fleet (see below table) will help Pakistan implement a limited or large-scale conventional military operation against India if the need arises by denying the Indian Air Force the ability to achieve air superiority over Pakistan. Furthermore, improvements in air defenses will enable Pakistani ground forces to conduct defensive and counter-offensive operations against Indian integrated battle groups (IBGs) or strike corps.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 28, 2019 at 1:29pm

Massive Global Cost of India-Pakistan Nuclear War

https://youtu.be/O0ZPt60sZ0s

This is TED talk by Dr. Owen Brian Toon, professor of atmospheric and ocean sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder. He's citing research he did with Professor Alan Robock, professor of climate research at Rutgers University. Here's a link to more references regarding nuclear winter:

http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 6, 2019 at 7:19pm

LESSONS FROM THE BRINK
Ejaz Haider Updated March 10, 2019 

https://www.dawn.com/news/1468744


India thought — and many experts agreed — that there was a band in which India could act militarily and punitively. That, if India were to play within that band, it would make it extremely difficult for Pakistan to escalate to the nuclear level because such escalation would be considered highly disproportionate and would draw international opprobrium and consequences. The argument was that the certainty of international diplomatic and economic isolation would force Pakistan to stay its hand and not escalate to the nuclear level.

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The banal equivalent of such a situation would be someone punching another person in a crowded bazaar and the victim, instead of keeping the fight to fisticuffs, chooses to draw and fire a pistol. Not only would such a person lose the sympathy of the crowd, he would also invite the full coercive and normative weight of the law.

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The interesting assumption in all this, and one that should not be missed is this: the first-round result. Every subsequent assumption flows from what India could achieve militarily in the opening hand.


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It is precisely for this reason that the opening round is so crucial for the aggressor, in this case India. To recap, as noted above in the list of assumptions, every subsequent assumption flows from the success of the opening round.

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what is important is not whether Indian planes came into Pakistan (original claim), whether they struck in a stand-off mode (i.e. when aerial platforms are used from a safe distance, away from defensive weapons, and use precision munitions such as glide bombs to attack a distant target without actually coming upon the target and swooping down for a bombing run) or even whether they could or could not make a hit. The important and crucial point was that India had challenged Pakistan and Pakistan needed to put an end to the “new normal” talk. Pakistan chose its targets, struck to show resolve and capability and then also won the dogfight.

Later, we are told that India had thought of using missiles to hit nine targets in Pakistan. But Pakistan readied its missiles and informed India that it will hit back. That forced India to back off. If this is true — and it comes to us from a briefing by Prime Minister Imran Khan — then it seems that Modi had nursed the idea of playing a very dangerous hand, which he couldn’t because that would have meant exchange of missiles between a nuclear dyad — a development which has remarkable escalation potential. Missilery between nuclear powers is a big no. There’s no known technology in the world that can determine whether the incoming missile has a tactical or a strategic (nuclear) warhead and that can lead to response miscalculation.

The two sides are back to the ‘old normal’ — artillery and small-arms duelling across the LoC. The attempt by an Indian submarine to enter Pakistan’s territorial waters was also deftly picked up by Pakistan Navy, with the sub forced to return. It could have been sunk but Pakistan, in keeping with its policy of not escalating, chose not to make a hit.

From here on, there’s nothing more for India but to understand the imperative of positive engagement through a sustained dialogue. The framework for such engagement is already in place. There is no alternative to talking and walking that talk. But that will not happen until we see the electoral contest in India and its results.

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At the same time, Pakistan must not underestimate India based on these limited rounds. While India could not coerce Pakistan militarily at this moment, if the growth differential between Pakistan and India continues to grow, the technological asymmetry will increase to the point where strategies of coercion could kick into play. That scenario could see very different results on the ground. For instance, India will possess the anti-access, area-denial (A2/AD) S-400 system by 2020.

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