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AT Indo-Pak Proves Deterrence (Kargil)



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AT Indo-Pak Proves Deterrence (Kargil)




US intervention, not nuclear weapons prevented Kargil escalation.


Mistry ‘9  (Dinshaw, Associate Prof. Pol. Sci. and Dir. Asian Studies – U. Cincinnati, Security Studies, “Tempering Optimism about Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia”, 18:1, InformaWorld)

The Kargil crisis eventually ended not because India’s military was deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear forces and so refrained from expanding hostilities. Instead, the crisis ended because of U.S. diplomatic efforts on 4 July, which gave Pakistan a face-saving way to withdraw its troops from across the Line of Control. American bureaucrats and diplomats viewed the Kargil conflict with concern from the moment it began in May; they feared that if India responded strongly to the intrusion by militarily escalating, then a conventionally weaker Pakistan would quickly use its nuclear forces. Accordingly, they formulated a diplomatic strategy that stressed the sanctity of the Line of Control and that called upon Pakistan to withdraw before India initiated a major war. 29 On 4 and 15 June, President Clinton called Prime Minister Sharif to urge Pakistan to pull out of Kargil. Clinton also called Prime Minister Vajpayee to seek Indian restraint. American diplomacy intensified after 17 June when President Clinton received a letter from Prime Minister Vajpayee that explained how media images of Indian soldiers in body bags were raising public pressure on Vajpayee’s government to attack Pakistan. Clinton then sent two emissaries to Pakistan—General Anthony Zinni, head of the U.S. Army’s Central Command, and Gibson Lanpher, deputy assistant secretary of state. 30 Zinni and Lanpher met with Pakistan’s army chief Pervez Musharraf on 24 June and then with Prime Minister Sharif and Musharraf on 25 June. American diplomatic efforts at this time did not end the Kargil crisis, but they opened a critical line of mediation for both parties, a line which was used in July to end the crisis. Prime Minister Sharif called President Clinton on 2–3 July and met him on 4 July, seeking ways to end the crisis.


Absent US intervention, Kargil escalation was probable.

Mistry ‘9  (Dinshaw, Associate Prof. Pol. Sci. and Dir. Asian Studies – U. Cincinnati, Security Studies, “Tempering Optimism about Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia”, 18:1, InformaWorld)

If Washington had not given Pakistan a way to withdraw its forces in July, two outcomes were possible. One outcome could have involved India reversing the intrusion in a few weeks. Indian sources reported that India’s military recovered some 75 percent of the area of intrusion, including the important Tiger Hill enclave on 4–7 July, and India could have quickly evicted the remaining intruders thereafter. 34 Further, in hindsight, Pakistan’s position on the ground appeared weaker than the military establishment assumed. Thus, one outcome could have resulted in the Kargil crisis ending after India evicted the intruders. In this case, a non-nuclear factor—Indian military gains on the ground—would have been responsible for ending the crisis, which therefore still tempers the optimists’ case. Further, even if we accept this outcome, a thorough test of deterrence optimism would have to consider the question of how India would have responded if it had not been able to reverse the intrusion quickly and without incurring high casualties. A second possible outcome involved a situation where India would have continued to take high casualties and may not have been able to quickly reverse the intrusion. In early and mid-July, Pakistan’s military could have continued to fight in Kargil for two reasons: it still held key posts in Indian territory, and it was unwilling to unconditionally withdraw from these positions. On the first point, in its own assessment, Pakistan’s military still held more than half the area of the original intrusion at the time of the withdrawal decision. 35 Illustrating Pakistan’s strength on the ground in mid- and late July (after the temporary cease-fire from 12 to 16 July), Pakistani forces still held and skirmished with Indian troops over several strategic positions. These included Point 5353 in the Dras sector, which was the highest feature in the area and enabled Pakistani forces to direct artillery fire on the Srinagar-Leh highway; Bunker Ridge and Ring Contour in the Dras sector; Point 4925 and Zulu Spur in the Mashkoh sector; and Area Saddle in the Batalik sector. 36 Indian and Pakistani troops also clashed at Points 5220, 5590, and 5720 in the Turtok sector until early August. 37 Second, in the absence of the U.S. exit strategy in July, Pakistan’s military was not willing to withdraw from territory it still held, especially not without some U.S. role in ending hostilities or Indian concessions. Illustrating this, during meetings with General Zinni on 24–25 June, General Musharraf did not agree to a unilateral withdrawal and instead linked a Pakistani withdrawal to reciprocal steps by India or to U.S. involvement in Kashmir. 38 Owen Bennett-Jones accurately describes the military’s unwillingness to end hostilities. “Sharif wanted a way out but it was far from clear how he could extricate himself .... The Pakistanis’ strength on the ground helps explain why so many in the military establishment resented the order to pull back.” 39 In short Pakistan’s military could have held on to positions under its control. During and after the mid-July cease-fire, it was still laying mines, counterattacking Indian troops in a few instances, and even reinforcing some positions on a small scale; troop reinforcements from the Rawalpindi corps started reaching the mountains toward the end of June and had hostilities continued in July, they would have helped consolidate Pakistani positions. Pakistan’s military would thereby have continued to inflict casualties on Indian forces seeking to retake these positions. If the conflict thus dragged on in July, there was a strong possibility that India would have widened its parameters despite nuclear signals from Pakistan. These signals included the display of Ghauri missiles. As Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh observed, “We did see certain degree of movement near Jhelum where the missiles, the Pakistan missiles are, and we saw them moving towards redeployment.” 40 Another signal involved deterrent threats by Pakistani leaders. 41 On these nuclear signals, Pakistani officials maintained that the movements of missiles were only a precautionary operational maneuver and that local-level commanders were following standard operating procedures of protecting missiles in a situation where opposing conventional forces were mobilizing. 42 U.S. officials have noted that missile movements were not defensive: U.S. analysts had examined and discounted the defensive aspects. 43 Regardless of whether Pakistan’s missile movements were a dispersal or a deployment, at least some policy makers in Washington and New Delhi interpreted them as a nuclear warning. Thus, Indian defense minister George Fernandes asserted that Pakistan issued nuclear threats in late June and early July, and Washington’s own assessment was that on 3 July, there was “disturbing evidence that the Pakistanis were preparing their nuclear arsenals for possible deployment.” 44 Despite Pakistan’s nuclear signals, India’s military was making preparations for a wider war. First, the Indian Navy had concentrated its forces in the Arabian Sea and was ready to blockade Pakistan’s ports—during the crisis, India’s navy gradually increased the pressure on Pakistan in eight stages. 45 Second, and more significantly, the Indian Army undertook a major military build up, deploying artillery and tank units and strike and reserve formations along the Western border with Pakistan. The army leadership visited every corps headquarters on the western front to discuss and lock in operational plans; the army redeployed its strike and reserve formations; it stocked forward logistics bases in accordance with military plans; and, beyond the deployment of these main army units, an amphibious force (108th Infantry Brigade) was moved to the western sector. In response, Pakistan’s director general of military operations expressed concern about this Indian deployment of troops and armor on the western sector.
Kargil disproves deterrence optimism. India would have escalated without US intervention.

Mistry ‘9  (Dinshaw, Associate Prof. Pol. Sci. and Dir. Asian Studies – U. Cincinnati, Security Studies, “Tempering Optimism about Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia”, 18:1, InformaWorld)

It should be clarified that Indian political leaders were cautious about crossing the Line of Control and international border. Any such attack would have involved a request by the army chief to the political leadership and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) as well as an explicit decision by the political leadership to violate the border. 50 Yet India’s military came close to making such a request in mid-June (when India had not recaptured much territory), and a cross-border attack would also have been possible in July had the crisis not eased. In July, one main non-military alternative to resolving the crisis (bilateral India-Pakistan diplomacy) had faltered, and if U.S. diplomacy had also faltered, Indian military escalation was quite possible. By then, as noted above, India’s army had made extensive military preparations for cross-border action, and its leaders were prepared to authorize major operations into Pakistan if they encountered high casualties and a worsening tactical situation. Thus, the tactical military situation on the ground, rather than Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent, was the main determinant shaping India’s ultimate decisions on expanding military hostilities in July. In summary, non-nuclear factors related to American diplomacy were primarily responsible for ending the Kargil crisis in July 1999. Had these factors not been present and had other conflict resolution mechanisms such as India-Pakistan diplomacy remained unsuccessful, hostilities would have continued. If such hostilities resulted in heavy Indian casualties, India was likely to have expanded military operations despite nuclear signals from Pakistan. India’s initial military operations were planned in the Kashmir sector across the Line of Control; India’s political elites and interlocutors repeatedly informed international leaders about this possibility. Thereafter, depending on Pakistan’s response, and the tactical situation on the ground, operations could have expanded to other sectors along the international border—India’s military had mobilized and was prepared for large-scale military operations in these sectors. These points temper the optimists’ case that nuclear deterrence was the main factor that ended, and would have prevented escalation of, the Kargil conflict





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