Indo-Pakistani Military Confrontation
A severe Indo-Pakistani military confrontation triggered by a major terrorist attack or heightened violence in Kashmir
The threat of a serious military confrontation between India and Pakistan has increased as a result of growing violence in Kashmir and a heightened threat of terrorist activity by Pakistan-based militant groups. Territorial disputes over the Kashmir region sparked two of the three Indo-Pakistani wars in 1947 and 1965.
Although India and Pakistan have maintained a fragile ceasefire since 2003, high-profile ceasefire violations have occurred in 2014, including heavy exchanges of fire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in October. Despite hopes that India’s newly-elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would pursue peace negotiations with Pakistan, India canceled scheduled talks with Pakistan’s foreign minister in August after the Pakistani high commissioner in India met with Kashmiri separatist leaders.
The diversion of jihadi fighters from Afghanistan to Kashmir or a Mumbai 2008-style attack carried out by Pakistan’s militant proxies could trigger a severe military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed states. Having identified South Asia as an epicenter of terrorism and religious extremism, the United States maintains interests in ensuring regional stability, preventing nuclear weapons proliferation, and minimizing the potential of an Indo-Pakistani nuclear war.
However, Pakistan’s development of tactical nuclear weapons, refusal to adopt a “no first-use” policy, and continual production of fissile material enhances its capacity to wage limited nuclear war and heightens the risk that criminal groups could obtain a “loose nuke.”
- Timeline: India-Pakistan relations
- The Silent Treatment In South Asia
Michael Krepon, Stimson Center
January 7, 2015
- De-escalation of Tensions along the Pakistan-India Divide
Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, South Asian Voices
December 10, 2014
- Tensions Rising in South Asia
Bruce Reidel, Brookings Institution
November 5, 2014
- India, Pakistan and the United States
Teresita C. Schaffer, Brookings Institution
- Pakistan Is Eyeing Sea-Based and Short-Range Nuclear Weapons, Analysts Say
Tim Craig and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post
September 21, 2014
- Let's Talk About Kashmir
Jonah Blank, Foreign Policy
September 5, 2014
- India-Pakistan Relations
High Commission of India, Islamabad, Pakistan
- Kashmir - The History
Pakistan Mission to the United Nations
- Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT)
U.S. National Counterterrorism Center
- Transcript of Media Briefing by National Security Advisor on Meeting Between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
September 29, 2013
- Pakistan’s New Generation of Terrorists
Zachary Laub, CFR Backgrounder
- South Asia’s Peace Heroes
Alyssa Ayres, CFR Blog, "Asia Unbound"
October 10, 2014
- What’s in Store for Kashmir Under Modi?
Anna Feuer, guest blogger for Micah Zenko's CFR Blog, "Politics, Power, and Preventive Action"
June 19, 2014
- Teaching Notes: No Exit from Pakistan
Daniel S. Markey, CFR Teaching Module
- Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy
Daniel S. Markey, CFR Council Special Report
January 21, 2014