from Center for Preventive Action

Terrorism and Indo-Pakistani Escalation

Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 6

January 13, 2010

Contingency Planning Memorandum
Contingency Planning Memoranda identify plausible scenarios that could have serious consequences for U.S. interests and propose measures to both prevent and mitigate them.

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Terrorism and Counterterrorism



Conflict Prevention

Nuclear Energy


India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future, an event that would jeopardize important U.S. security interests in South Asia. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Daniel Markey examines the factors that would condition India’s response; the consequences of Indian military retaliation and Pakistani counterretaliation for the United States; and Washington’s policy options for preventing and containing the crisis. Markey concludes that a terrorist attack is unlikely to trigger a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. He argues that U.S. efforts to prevent an Indo-Pakistani crisis should combine a range of counterterror tactics with measures that increase Washington’s ability to limit escalation by either side.