A MOST DANGEROUS PLACE: INVESTIGATING PAKISTAN'S IRREGULAR WARFARE CAMPAIGN IN KASHMIR UNDER THE NUCLEAR SHADOW
Hanes, Matthew D.
Sepp, Kalev I.
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For more than thirty years, Pakistan has conducted an irregular warfare campaign in Kashmir to wrest control of the disputed region from India while also leveraging its nuclear weapons capability. This approach has frustrated a decisive Indian response, precipitated multiple crises, and risked nuclear exchange. This thesis analyzes Pakistan's irregular warfare-nuclear deterrence strategy by evaluating Kashmir crises nested within three distinct periods of Pakistan's nuclear capability: de facto, overt, and advanced technology. The results suggest Pakistan has successfully employed irregular warfare under the nuclear umbrella within Kashmir, but has also incurred great cost by risking nuclear exchange, alienating the international community, and destabilizing itself through empowerment of violent jihadist groups. As one looks forward to the implications of Great Power Competition upon the Indian subcontinent, the dynamics have dramatically shifted as the U.S. and China compete for influence. While the U.S. moves closer to India, and China to Pakistan, potential polarization of the Kashmir problem presents additional nuclear escalation risks. However, emerging opportunities to leverage the global powers' common interest in preventing terrorism could prove a catalyst for South Asian stabilization. Pakistan's Kashmir strategy can also provide insights regarding how current or future nuclear-armed regional powers may choose to employ irregular warfare to optimize their influence.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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