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  • Fred Cohen
    India and Pakistan: Crisis Management and Warfighting Styles The defense analysis field consists of two types of analysts. One gravitates to organizations
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1 5:01 PM
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      India and Pakistan: Crisis Management and Warfighting Styles

      The defense analysis field consists of two types of analysts. One
      gravitates to organizations like Orbat.com. He studies the nuts and
      bolts of defense. He is diffident in expressing his opinions: the more
      he learns, the harder it becomes to generalize. The other sort has no
      inclination, patience, or capability for real research on the subject,
      but loves to pontificate about Big Issues. So you have people who know
      what they're talking about, but don't want to talk; and people who do
      not know what they are talking about, but want to talk.

      If academics in general know little about defense issues, given the lack
      of importance of India and Pakistan, we are even more vulnerable to
      lectures by people who know little about the region.

      You editor is going to make a few generalizations. Anyone unhappy with
      any of them can write in, and he will try and explain better.

      In the past 55 years, we have a large base of data to draw from. India
      and Pakistan have engaged in open, declared war in 1947-48, 1965, and
      1971. They have engaged in limited fighting in 1965 (Rann of Kutch) and
      1999 (Kargil). They have been engaged in an insurgency/CI situation
      continuously between 1987-present; some date it as 1989-present. There
      have been any number of mobilization crises: there were two in the 1950s
      (your editor does not have his notes at hand), there was
      Brasstacks/Trident in 1986-87, there were two crises that could have led
      to war in the late 1980s, there was the Siachin War of 1984-today, there
      was the winter 2001-02 mobilization, and of course, the present

      There is a discernable pattern in all these crises.

      1. Extreme Caution Before Going to War Both sides are exceptionally
      hesitant to cross that final red line between peace and war. Pakistan
      because it is the weaker and has more to lose if things go wrong, India
      for many reasons we can discuss another day. The proof of this is that
      India has been under Pakistani attack for 15 years and has never

      2. India has Initiated Hostilities Twice Once was in 1971. Because of
      various reasons, the capability gap between India and Pakistan was the
      widest it has ever been; even then, India laid the ground by years of
      covert action in East Bengal, and could take advantage of Pakistan's
      Civil War. India still took eight months to prepare the diplomatic and
      military field before attacking, and still went in only for a limited
      war with limited aims. A more typical Indian action is Siachin 1984:
      whatever the original aims, India limited itself very strictly to
      grabbing a few hundred square kilometers of No Man's Land.

      3. Pakistan has Attacked Four Times Pakistan initiated hostilities in
      the Rann of Kutch, Kashmir in 1947-48 and 1965, and in Kargil 1999. In
      two cases it kept its aims very limited. Kutch was a brigade action
      against a few border posts. Kargil was a grab of a few hundred square
      kilometers that India vacated every winter. Kashmir 1947-48 and 1965
      were bold moves with big stakes. The circumstances were so unusual that
      we'd need much more time to discuss them; in any case, no one is talking
      of Pakistan starting a war at this time.

      4. Demonstrated Warfighting Behavior Is Also Exceptionally Cautious
      Both sides have repeatedly shown on the battlefield that they operate
      with extreme caution and much thought. There are any number of
      break-points at which the situation can be deescalated without

      5. Both Sides Quickly Accept International Intervention A fundamental
      tenet of Indo-Pakistan strategic doctrine is that international
      intervention will bring hostilities to an early end: early as in days
      and weeks. Kashmir 1947-48 was the sole exception, for many reasons.
      Siachin and Kutch do not count because they were true sideshows and both
      sides carefully avoided escalation: India in 1965 and Pakistan in 1999.

      Because of the above reasons, people in India and Pakistan are perfectly
      calm even as the west, and the US in particular, whips itself into a
      frenzy about an imminent war. The US is hopelessly guilty of assuming
      India and Pakistan think like the US does. In fact, Washington is badly
      aggravating the situation even as it says it is trying to calm things.
      This entire situation would not have arises had Washington not jumped in
      - we'll discuss this day after tomorrow.

      United States analysts are relying on two untenable assumptions to
      justify their war scares.

      First, they assume that one side or the other will do something rash
      because both sides lack accurate intelligence on the other, and each
      fears the other may gain an advantage by striking first. Bosh, twaddle,
      and sewage. This is America talking, not India and Pakistan, and it's
      because of such talk that to this day many in the 3rd World and Europe
      are frightened of America than of the Soviets in years past, and Iraq
      today. A knowledgeable reader is sure to bring up the events of the
      late afternoon of December 3, 1971, but this is yet another issue we'll
      have to discuss later. It has no relevance to the present situation.

      Second, they assume that any conflict could escalate to a nuclear
      exchange. Incredible as it may seem to Americans, when they talk like
      this, the average Indian or Pakistani is not slobberingly grateful that
      wise America is concerned to see the bad kids don't get into trouble.
      The typical reaction in the subcontinent is far too rude to repeat in a
      family-oriented website like ours. What Americans need to see - and
      some in Washington do see it - is that President Musharraf's nuclear
      threats are not directed at India but at Washington. The Indians and
      Pakistanis are acting unconcerned not because they are stupid,
      uneducated natives who don't know what damage a nuclear warhead
      inflicts. They are acting unconcerned because even if the two came to
      blows - and we'll discuss tomorrow a likely course if that happens -
      they know the war will not escalate.

      This is because neither side has open-ended objectives. India simply
      wants to make Pakistan pay a price for sending terrorists - they are
      freedom fighters to Pakistanis - into Kashmir. It does not want to
      destroy Pakistan, or even to take back Kashmir. Pakistan has till now
      paid no price at all for the Kashmir insurgency. Quite the reverse: a
      casual back of the envelope calculation shows that Pakistan is spending
      one dollar to make India spend a thousand dollars in Kashmir. That the
      Indians have allowed this happens proves only what venal and corrupt
      leaders it has, but that's another matter. Pakistan simply wants to
      continue the insurgency. These are not issues of national survival that
      require any talk of nuclear weapons. They especially do not need to be
      placed in a US intellectual framework that had little merit even for the

      Diplomacy versus Conflict - the real Middle East War

      From our colleague Richard M. Bennett of AFI Research.

      There are a stream of uncorroborated and at times fanciful reports
      emanating from the Middle East that would suggest that the United States
      has a new found interest in rescuing Israel from an impasse over
      Palestine that military action alone is incapable of solving. The
      increasing urgency felt in Washington has led to bringing Egypt back
      into the negotiations as a major player and promoting certain
      Palestinian leaders considered largely untainted by close involvement in
      the Intifada or Islamic terrorism as either potential replacements for
      Yasser Arafat or as a balance to his remaining power base. Egypt is a
      natural partner for Israel in any attempt to defuse the Palestinian
      uprising, particularly as Cairo is in a position to control events in
      the Gaza Strip and restrict the activities of Hamas, while it also has a
      long-term interest in the demilitarization of the Sinai--Negev region
      with an eye to tourism and other economic development.

      The position of Saudi Arabia remains less clear as although the recent
      Saudi peace plan was heavily touted by both Riyadh and Washington and
      may indeed have opened certain minds to a dialogue, the Saudi
      Governments long term aims may conflict with the present
      US-Egyptian-Israeli round of talks. Saudi Arabia and particularly its
      intelligence service are openly competing with Iran for influence and
      have gained considerable control over certain operational aspects of
      Hamas, based predominately in the Gaza Strip. It has also become clear
      that large numbers of Chechen fighters have been relocated to the Middle
      East and will operate effectively as a Saudi asset in the ongoing
      conflict in the region.

      Secret negotiations between the US Government and other Middle Eastern
      states such as Syria and Iran have been under way for some time and
      intermediaries are reported to be working on a face-saving plan to
      defuse the situation in southern Lebanon to allow for the withdrawal of
      Iranian and Syrian forces and thereby avoid a major confrontation
      between Hizbollah, its main supporters and an increasingly restive
      Israel.Washington quite rightly recognizes that a major Israeli assault
      on the Beka'a Valley could well lead to a regional war that would
      probably fatally derail any US plans for the invasion of Iraq.

      Washington may rethink war on Iraq

      Those plans are already firmly on the back burner for now as
      Intelligence reports suggest that Saddam Hussein will strongly resist
      any attempt to overthrow his regime and may indeed now have the weapons
      at his disposal to cause unacceptable levels of destruction to the
      invading forces and Iraqs nearest neighbours, including the vital oil
      producing areas of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. The United States Defence
      Department has also signalled that a major rethink of the
      over-optimistic claims originally being made about the size of force
      needed for a successful invasion and indeed the timescale is long

      A more realistic view of the military options in the region may now
      allow Washington to ease Russia back into the area as an important
      influence. Moscow needs hard currency from massive arms deals with
      Syria, Iraq and Iran and in return for Washington's acceptance of
      Russia's newly restored and potentially dominating position in the area
      it would be expected that President Putin would exercise his new found
      influence to persuade those countries to abandon or at least greatly
      scale down their support for terrorism and open hostility to Israel.

      Such a scenario would indeed allow Washington to claim that democracy
      had won a major victory over international terrorism by means of cleaver
      diplomacy without risking the political embarrassment of large numbers
      of bodybags arriving at Andrews Air Force Base. Perhaps it is too much
      to hope that Washington will be adept enough to grasp the opportunity to
      win the War on Terrorism by statesmanship and exerting its economic and
      diplomatic influence, rather than by outright bullying and military
      action alone. It is true that both methods must run in parallel and
      that ultimately the military sanction may be the only one that works,
      but there are many potentially effective paths open to victory before
      President Bush need rely on the use of armed force as the only possible
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