Sunday, October 9, 2016

Follow Me on Twitter . . .

I have been on twitter for a little while and I am reasonably active.

If you'd like to drop by, I am at: @RRajagopalanJNU . . .

Saturday, October 8, 2016

India Now Controls the Escalation Ladder

Another essay published a couple of days back (October 5, 2016) by the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, on the consequences of the Indian cross-LoC strikes.


The deterrence game between India and Pakistan has changed dramatically with India’s
decision to conduct a military strike across the Line of Control (LoC). The Indian action was a
clear escalation that demonstrated that India has the upper hand to control escalation and
thus possibly deter Pakistan more effectively. This upends the escalation dynamic between
India and Pakistan because it was Pakistan that controlled escalation until now.

This change will not go unchallenged by Pakistan. Rawalpindi can be expected to probe and
attempt to undermine India’s new assertion of escalation dominance. New Delhi, therefore,
needs to be ready to cement this assertion by being prepared to play its much stronger hand,
especially in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Why New Delhi allowed a militarily weaker Pakistan to control the escalation dynamic for so
long is a mystery. The general consensus on deterrence and escalation in the region that was
focused much more on the constraints facing India than that facing Pakistan surely is one reason. This was the consequence of Pakistan’s effective use of the threat of nuclear
escalation and the fear, particularly among Indian decision-makers, that Pakistan was an
irrational actor whose nuclear threats needed to be taken seriously. This was reinforced by
India’s efforts to position itself as the more responsible player in the region, aimed at a global
audience, which might also have limited the willingness of Indian leaders to consider use-of-force options.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why This Surgical Strike Across LoC Changes Indo-Pak Nuclear Red Lines

This was written a few hours after the Indian strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir was announced by the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) at a press conference in New Delhi on September 29, 2016.  I was already writing a piece for CNN News-18 on deterrence equations across LoC when I saw the press conference.  The result was this quick essay, published on the CNN New-18 website.

The Indian decision to conduct a strike against terrorist bases across the Line of Control (LoC) has important implications for nuclear deterrence and Pakistan's so-called nuclear 'red lines'.  

Though full details of the strike are still awaited, the fact that India publicly announced it and stated that the Indian Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) had informed his Pakistani counterpart about the attack reinforces India's decision to challenge these nuclear red lines. Irrespective of whether Pakistan responds or even how it responds, the nuclear deterrence game between India and Pakistan has changed.