Limited war under the nuclear umbrella : an analysis of India's Cold Start doctrine and its implications for stability on the subcontinent
Rhodes, Quinn J.
Kapur, Paul S.
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In May 1998, both India and Pakistan detonated nuclear devices, adding new complications to an already volatile security environment. In the years since these tests, the Indian subcontinent has been the site of one war in 1999 and numerous other military confrontations, the biggest occurring in 2001 and 2002. The majority of these conflicts have risen from attacks in India and Kashmir carried out by non-state actors based in Pakistan. India thus faces a compellence problem in which it wants to force Pakistan to stop its perceived support of these actors, and yet it can only do so to a limited extent for fear of nuclear retaliation. India's answer, following the 2001/2002 military standoff with Pakistan, is the Cold Start doctrine, a strategy of limited war under the nuclear umbrella. This thesis examines the efficacy of the Cold Start doctrine in the context of three major areas: Pakistan's principal-agent dilemma, historical escalation problems on the subcontinent, and domestic Indian civil-military and inter-service rivalry issues. Based on the findings regarding these areas, this study will show that Cold Start is not the answer to India's compellence problem. Rather, cooperation to combat a common foe is a more practical solution than mutual antagonism.
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