Limited Conflicts Under the Nuclear Umbrella

Indian and Pakistani Lessons from the Kargil Crisis

by Ashley J. Tellis, C. Christine Fair, Jamison Jo Medby

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This report examines the views of India and Pakistan on the significance of Pakistan's foray into the Kargil-Dras sector in a limited war that has come to be known as the Kargil conflict. The goal of the analysis is to assess both combatants' perceptions of the crisis, with a view to evaluating the possibilities of future Kargil-like events and the implications of the lessons each country learned for stability in South Asia. The analysis is based almost exclusively on Indian and Pakistani source materials. The Kargil crisis demonstrated that even the presence of nuclear weapons might not appreciably dampen security competition between the region's largest states. However, the question remains of whether or not the Kargil war represents a foretaste of future episodes of attempted nuclear coercion if India and Pakistan believe that their nuclear capabilities provide them the immunity required to prosecute a range of military operations short of all-out war.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments

  • Initialisms

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Significance of the Kargil Crisis

  • Chapter Three

    Kargil: Lessons Learned on Both Sides

  • Chapter Four

    Options for the Future

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusion: Kargil and South Asian Stability

  • References

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

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