Future War: What needs to be done

Published in Journal, Pak Army Green Book 2019

Prof. Dr. Tughral Yamin


In February 2019, Pakistan and India fought a short war that included aerial intrusions across not only the Line of Control (LoC) but also the international border. The Indians claim that they had sent their fighter jets as a ‘counter terrorism’ strike inside Pakistani territory to target an alleged ‘militant’ training center. This was in retaliation against the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019 in which 40 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) were blown up by a youth from occupied Kashmir. The Indians blamed Pakistan based Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) for this attack. Pakistan evened the score by shooting down at least one Indian aircraft.

This brief activity did not escalate beyond a war of words.  The Indian pilot who had ejected inside Pakistani territory was returned as an act of goodwill. Indian PM Narendra Modi used this clash to ratchet up the anti-Pakistan rhetoric to bolster his sagging fortunes and win the national elections with a landslide.

The fallout of these events proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the nature of warfare in the crisis prone South Asian region has changed diametrically. Round One went to Pakistan but this will not be the end. The Indians will no doubt spare no effort to undo the embarrassment caused to them.

This paper examines the emerging threat from a number of perspectives both military and non-military and offers a sensible solution to avoid further relapses into the crisis mode and offers suggestions for bringing peace and stability in the region.    

Keywords: Future War, conflict triggers, surgical strikes, Nuclear No First Use, cyber-offensive, crisis management 


A number of questions have been thrown up after the short military conflagration between Pakistan and India in February 2019, the most pertinent of which is what will be the shape of future war in the South Asian subcontinent, how a potential crisis may pan out and what will be the best way to manage it. The purpose of this paper is to find out answers to the following questions: What can upset the strategic apple cart in the short and the long term? What tools, tactics and strategies will be used to fight minor skirmishes or a major outbreak of hostilities under a nuclear overhang? What can be the possible means to defuse and manage crises? Are there any chances of conflict resolution between Pakistan and India?

Potential Conflict Triggers in South Asia

In the crisis prone Pak India relations, there is no shortage of conflict triggers. Most wars that India and Pakistan have fought with each other have been over Kashmir. The first Kashmir War was an impromptu affair after the partition of the subcontinent. The Hindu Dogra Maharaja of a predominantly Muslim dominant principality sought a strategic pause by offering a standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan as he decided the fate of his fiefdom. The atmosphere in Kashmir was on short fuse and a rebellion soon broke out in Poonch and Gilgit Baltistan against the tyrannical rule of the Maharaja. A ragtag bands of freedom fighters from the Frontier mounted on dilapidated lorries and carrying primitive weapons moved in to support their Kashmiri co-religionists. The tribesmen had no training in modern means of warfare and were without air cover and artillery support. Even before Nehru’s notorious aide Krishna Menon could force the Maharaja to sign a dubious instrument of accession,[1]  the Indian Army had rushed in a battalion of the Sikh regiment by air to prevent the liberation of Jammu & Kashmir.[2] Some areas were indeed liberated as a result of fragmented fighting in which initially the Pakistani Army officers fought, while they were officially on leave.

After the short border skirmish in the Rann of Kutch in April 1965, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadar Shastri followed through his threat to attack Pakistan, at a time and place of his own choosing.[3] The military offensive that he had promised came in the wake of the guerrilla infiltration into occupied Jammu Kashmir in August. This initiative was undertaken as part of Operation Gibraltar to liberate the occupied territories. The seventeen day war ended in a ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities. The 1966 Tashkent Agreement brokered by the Soviets was meant to resolve outstanding issues including Kashmir. The sudden death of the Indian Prime Minister on the last day of the parleys stymied this initiative towards a meaningful rapprochement.

The 1971 war was shaped by a number of events. After the stalemated 1965 War, the Indians realized that East Pakistan was poorly defended and very much alienated from its western wing on political grounds. The Indian leadership made a long term plan to play upon this vulnerability of a state that was physically divided and separated by a thousand miles of hostile territory. The Indian Army General Manekshaw cautioned the government against any hasty steps. He recommended a military offensive after the monsoons had ended and the rivers were no longer in spate.[4] The inter regnum was to be occupied by a prolonged civil war to weaken Pakistani forces deployed in East Pakistan. In the guise of humanitarian aid, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi let in Bengali refugees and from among them raised and equipped Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters) to fight Pakistan Army in a long drawn civil war.[5] Meanwhile, she travelled the world to advocate the cause of an independent Bangladesh and secure her diplomatic front by securing a twenty year friendship treaty with the USSR.[6] The fall of East Pakistan was the result of a well-planned diplomatic and military offensive and a sympathetic local population.

In 1984 India surreptitiously occupied the vacant area north of NJ 9842 in the Siachin Glacier. There was no moral justification for this uncalled for a piece of real state that Pakistan claimed fell within its jurisdiction as per the Karachi Agreement.  It was largely reminiscent of the Indian forward policy in NEFA in 1962. Many analysts have considered Siachin as an easily resolvable issue or a low hanging fruit that is ready to be plucked but it has fallen prey to Indian obduracy.[7] Siachin also indicates the inflexibility of the Indians to negotiate on any bilateral issue, particularly when it concerns Kashmir.

After the introduction of the nuclear deterrent in 1998, an element of strategic stability was introduced into the tense and turbulent Pak India relations. Deterrence did not break down, despite a military skirmish in the glacial heights of Kargil in 1999. Pakistani soldiers in the guise of freedom fighters infiltrated across the LoC to occupy Indian posts.[8] Senior Indian generals ignored intelligence warnings of Pakistani infiltration at their own peril and by the time they woke up, they had lost about 200 square km of territory.[9]  Belated counter attacks were launched all along the areas of the infiltration. Air and artillery were thrown in.[10] Pakistan was now handicapped because it could not use air or artillery because it had to keep up the appearance of this being an indigenous guerilla insurgency without their active support. Due to the nuclear deterrence, the hostilities remained confined to the area of operation and both countries continued to operate below the perceived nuclear threshold. The hostilities ceased after the US intervention was sought. After July 4 meeting with President Clinton, the terms of withdrawal and ceasefire were defined. Clinton clearly told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to respect the sanctity of the LoC in future.[11]

In 2001, the Indian leadership found an opportunity to mobilize and concentrate its forces along the international border for an extended period of ten months in a bid to coerce and browbeat Pakistan.[12] The cause for this aggressive posture was an attack on the Indian parliament on 13 December 2001, allegedly by Pakistan backed militants. There was a feeling within the Indian camp that they could repeat the US formula of attacking Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to defeat and destroy Al Qaeda and their hosts – the Taliban Government in Afghanistan. The Indians expected international approval of their actions and a condemnation of Pakistan’s alleged sponsorship of an act of terror given the new international frenzy against terrorism.   

After this episode, India threatened Pakistan with war in case of any terrorist sponsored attack from its territory. This kind of thinking led to the policy planners in the South Block to come up with a pro-active doctrine (PAD), more popularly known as the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). This was meant to cut long and tedious processes of mobilization to launch shallow maneuvers short of the perceived nuclear thresholds. This strategic thought became fashionable in the post the 2001-02 standoff period. The Indians received a tacit approval from their new strategic partners the US in this approach. The US made it clear that it would allow India to retaliate in case of a major terrorist attack, if it was with Pakistani involvement. However, the Indian reaction after the November 7, 2008 attack against the Indian commercial hub of Mumbai did not translate into a conventional air and land offensive. A group of raiders on a rubber dinghy had entered a held a major Indian city hostage for two days. About 200 people had been killed including American tourists and but apart from an escalation of fiery rhetoric but deterrence held. CSD was not operationalized.

This remained the pattern after a series of attacks against Indian military establishments in occupied Jammu and Kashmir until the Indians came up with what their Army Chief called surgical strikes. A series of probing attacks along the Line of Control (LoC) were successfully repulsed. The much trumpeted surgical strikes did not penetrate deep into Azad Kashmir to interdict the so-called terrorist launch pads or bases.[13]  

In the early morning hours of 14 February 2019, Adil Ahmed Dar, a Kashmiri youth, who had been beaten by security forces blew up his explosive laden vehicle against a bus carrying Central Police Reserve Force (CPRF), killing 40 of them. A group claiming itself to be Pakistan based Jaish-i-Muhammad (JeM) claimed responsibility. India took this as another opportunity for a strike back. After waiting for a fortnight after they had received a green light from the Americans, the Indian Air Force (IAF) launched a ‘counter terrorism’ strike on the tiny hamlet of Jabba in the Balakot district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province against an alleged terrorist training center. It was a botched operation. The IAF dropped their payloads in a great deal of hurry bringing a few trees down and leaving the small village seminary, their probable target intact. The next day Pakistani fighter jets first bombed ground targets as a warning and later shot down two Indian aircraft. One of the pilots, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured after he ejected and landed on the Pakistani side. The pilot was later returned to India as a goodwill measure to defuse tensions.     

In the Pak India context this latest incident is not going to be the end of a possible military engagements. As long as there is the unresolved issue of Kashmir there will be plenty of triggers to cause another crisis in the future.

Probable Tools, Tactics and Strategies for a Future War in the Backdrop of a Nuclear Overhang

Wars in 1965 and 1971 were conventional wars fought in the classical Second World War mode. The battles fought were tactical in nature and large infantry and armored maneuvers took place in textbook fashion. This form of warfare had been taught to the post-independence crop of leadership in Pakistani and Indian Staff and War Colleges. The commanders at all levels were also under the influence of the military campaigns of the two world wars that been part of their military history syllabus in their military academies and basic arms schools and formed part of their promotion examination syllabus.

Things changed drastically after the introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia in 1998 and brought about a paradigm shift in strategic thinking. The emphasis was now on deterrence and how to prevent wars from taking place. Senior officials openly indulged in nuclear signaling during the Kargil clash.[14] This was by no means the first time that nuclear signaling had been resorted too. It is a well recorded incident that Pakistani Dr. AQ Khan had told the Indian journalist Kuldip Nayyar that his country could use nuclear weapons. This warning was given in the backdrop of aggressive posturing by Indian military forces during the Brasstacks exercise in 1987. These major military drills were held to validate the strategic thinking of Indian Army Chief Gen. K Sunderji. But he was wrong footed by counter positioning of Pakistani forces in the North and slick cricket diplomacy by Gen Zia. Dr. AQ Khan’s somber warning that Pakistan could go for the nuclear option added to Pakistan’s deterrence package.[15]

In 2001-2002 the Indians massed their forces along the international border in a massive exercise of brinkmanship. The Indians expected the Pakistanis to wilt under pressure and then force them to accept demands such as a settlement of Kashmir issue on their terms.   The Twin Peak crisis saw intense nuclear signaling as each side wanted to maintain a modicum of escalation dominance. The crisis was defused after multinational corporations (MNCs) threatened to pull out of India because of a possibility of a nuclear showdown in July 2002.

After the November2008Mumbai attacks, it was expectedthat Indiawould retaliatemilitarily by operationalizing its much trumpeted CSD. During this crisis, an important commercial hub was held hostage for nearly 48 hours and 48 people had been killed. Still Indian leadership prevaricated. They were still not ready take the risk of starting a nuclear war. Cold reasoning and calculations prevented the Indians from running a nuclear risk. Any misadventure across the international border or the LoC was sure to invite a response that could have easily led up to an exchange of nuclear weapons. There were more attacks on Indian military installations in Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Uri. Indian military pondered of how to retaliate.[16] Indian Army Chief came up with the idea of surgical strikes. The idea was to strike the ‘terrorist’ bases in Azad Kashmir and to teach Pakistan a lesson. India had already started investing in their special forces in a big way and any meaningful use of airborne troops could have been bold venture. Keeping disputed territory as the theater of operation would have meant that were technically not touching the nuclear redlines. But caution again prevented the Indian Army from striking deep inside hostile territory. Perhaps they weren’t willing to accept their soldiers being killed and captured far away from home base without any reasonable chance of extricating them.  As a result the so-called surgical strikes remained mere pinpricks and were confidently repulsed. In these kinds of low intensity engagements there was no recourse to nuclear signaling.

Then came Pulwama and Indian leaders decided to play bold without invoking the N word. Aircraft were sent into Pakistani territory to take out an alleged ‘terrorist’ training center in district Balakot in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province. The target was not located in Azad Kashmir but it was a botched operations. IAF jets literally jettisoned their Israeli supplied smart spice bombs went awry as the Indians made good their escape.[17] The Pakistani response was professional and well conducted. The Abhinandan affair was an embarrassment for the Indians and they tried to make amends by desperately trying to present him as a war hero to the domestic audience. The fact remains that he was bested by his Pakistani counterparts and round One clearly belonged to the PAF pilots.

For sure this not going to be the last military engagement of its kind. So far following patterns have emerged in an India-Pakistan conflict: A. Large scale military forces have been used in classical maneuver warfare (1965 and 1971 Wars). This form of military engagement may never take place again. B. Nuclear signaling has been done intensely during times of acute crises (most notably during the Twin Peak Crisis of 2002). Both Pakistan and India are learning this art of scaring each other and its future use will be more nuanced. C. India has tried the surgical strike with little success (The Indian Army Chief claimed that his Army had carried out surgical strikes along the LoC in 2016). There is little likelihood that this form of military intervention would be done at a splendid or grand level. D. Aerial incursions of 2019 did not yield any military results, apart from the fact that it helped Modi win the elections. What then could a future battlefield look like?

It is quite evident that India wants to isolate Pakistan diplomatically. It is already doing that by maligning it as an irresponsible state that sponsors terrorism. It is aggravating Pakistan’s weak economic position by pressurizing it through forums like the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). On the military front it is spending heavily in acquiring weapons systems like the Russian US $ 5 billion S400 Air Defense system despite risking sanctions under the Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). After the poor performance of the Mig 21 Bison of the IAF on 27 February, the Indian prime minister is aggressively making a case of buying French Rafael aircraft.[18] His home minister Rajnath Singh backed him up by saying that had India had the Rafael aircraft, they needn’t go inside Pakistani airspace.[19] Singh is now the defense minister and is likely to expedite the case of inducting the Rafael jet fighters.

India is improving and enhancing its seaborne capabilities. It is currently repairing its accident prone nuclear powered and armed INS Arihant,[20] and has signed a US $ 3 billion deal to lease a third Akula I class from Russia.[21] The aim is to strengthen the third leg of the nuclear triad. It is putting a number of command and control and surveillance satellites; procuring advanced drones, building its stealth technology and cyber-warfare. It is also trying to make a more aggressive nuclear policy viz Pakistan by officially giving up its nuclear no first use (NFU) stance.[22]

By all indications, the next war will be hybrid in nature. Grounds will be prepared for diminishing the morale of the nation before delivering a coup de grâce. Towards this end, an all-out propaganda campaign will be launched to discredit Pakistan internationally. Doubts will be sown in the minds of the people to shake their faith in the state and its leadership through a torrent of fake news spread on social media. Fifth columnists will be infiltrated to pollute the minds of the disaffected people particularly the youth. Offensive cyber-warfare tools will be used to hack into computer networks to syphon off data and to disable the command and control systems. This can be followed by a major incursion across the LoC. The aim would be to settle the Kashmir issue on India’s terms. Nuclear first use can be made to pre-empt the use of battlefield nuclear missiles such as Nasr.

Managing Crises

A crisis follows a certain trajectory that can sometimes be predicted based on past experiences but sometimes it can chart unknown and erratic path. Good crisis managers constantly wargame possible scenarios during peacetime and are prepared to handle the emerging situation when the chips are down. In a slow burn situation, there are several rungs to climb before the crisis becomes full blown and slips out of control. During rapid escalation, it may just be single stride that can take countries to war. In Pakistan India case, third party mediation or arbitration has been the norm. When the first Kashmir War broke out, it was India that took the issue to the UN for the resolution of the conflict.[23] There was intensive diplomatic activity by the UN officials in the 1950s to broker a deal and to organize a referendum to determine the choice of the Kashmiris. Unfortunately these efforts came to naught because of Indian intransigence.

Another third party intervention took place, when British Prime Minister Harold Wilson persuaded Pakistan and India to go for international arbitration after the Rann of Kutch incident in 1965. A mutually agreed international tribunal was established to resolve the border issue. A verdict was reached in 1968, as a result of which Pakistan got 10 per cent and India 90 per cent of the territory.[24]   

The 1965 and 1971 Wars were also brought to an end through UN good offices. After the 1965 War, the Soviet Union played the honest broker and brought Pakistani and Indian leadership to the negotiating table in a bid to resolve the conflict.[25] After the 1971 War, Pakistan and India met bilaterally at hill resort of Simla near Delhi to sort out their problems. As a result the Pakistani prisoners of war were released and the Ceasefire Line was renamed LoC.  India claims that after the Agreement the Kashmir issue has become bilateral. Pakistan believes that this not the case and the relevant UN resolutions still remain valid.[26] At the moment India is not willing to engage in negotiations bilaterally.

The US has intervened on several occasion to mediate between India and Pakistan to defuse tensions. The role of the US has been on more than one occasion been that of firefighting and not resolving the contentious issue of Kashmir. The US role in managing India-Pakistan crises has been more prominent after the two countries became nuclear powers. The personal intervention of the US President in defusing the Kargil Crisis is quite well documented.[27] In 1962, American President John F. Kennedy had prevailed upon President Ayub Khan not to exploit the situation, when India was weak and vulnerable during their high altitude with China.[28]

After Pulwama, the angry rhetoric on both sides reached a crescendo. The suicide attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), which the Indians emphasized was an organization based in Pakistan. Officially Pakistan condemned the attack and rejected that it was in any way involved in it.[29] The incident was also condemned by the UN Security Council but it rebuffed Indian attempts to implicate Pakistan.[30]  Thereafter, India waited two weeks before launching a so called ‘counter terrorism’ strike. Ostensibly the Indians had received a green signal from the Americans for such a raid.[31] The bombing mission to the mountain hamlet of Jabba to hit a small seminary dubbed a terrorist training ground was a botched and hurried affair. The missiles failed to hit the targets. Pakistanis responded by striking in the vicinity of six high value military targets. Subsequently two Indian aircraft were shot down. One pilot was captured alive. The world suddenly woke up to the potential of war in one of the most heavily populated regions of the world. Pakistan downplayed the incident by releasing the captured pilot and braced for a war. For some weeks the situation remained tense before dust settled and India went for polls. Modi’s act tough policy against Pakistan was successful as he won by a landslide. His antics it seems were more geared towards the domestic audience than teaching Pakistan a lesson. In a hair trigger situation such as it exists in Pakistan, a repeat incidence is possible. After all India continues use artillery barrages to hit bordering villages along the LoC and stoking the separatist fires in Balochistan.

         Needless to say, Pakistan cannot afford to let its guards down and also it needs to keep friendly nations in the loop. Contingency military and diplomatic plans must be updated for any eventuality.

Resolving the Kashmir Issue

Pakistan and India cannot remain in a no war and no peace situation forever. The bone of contention is Kashmir and it is more important for Pakistan than India to resolve this issue. Proper planning for conflict resolution of a complex and convoluted issue such as Kashmir needs proper planning. A well thought out plan based on diligent homework is a must. At the moment there seems to be an absence of a cogent Kashmir policy at the official level. Important questions need to be answered in this regard such as: What should be the status of Kashmir in the future, keeping in mind the aspirations of the Kashmiris? How can the daily human rights abuses be stopped in the occupied Valley? And how can we reduce the cost of security, when the threat hasn’t receded one bit?

An out of the box solution may ease the pain for the Kashmiris and reduce tensions in the area. Gen Musharraf during his time as the President had come up with a four point formula that according to some commentators including his foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri had a reasonable chance of success. This formula had encouraged Pakistan and India to move away from their stated positions and come up with a compromise solution allowing the Kashmiris some kind of limited autonomy.[32] Like many other good intentions, this proposal also did not come to fruition.

There was a glimmer of hope during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s July visit to the US, President Trump offered to mediate or arbitrate in Kashmir – to resolve the issue that had marred the relations between the two South Asian neighbors for seventy years. Trump went on to say that Modi also wanted him to arbitrate and meditate on Kashmir. In a hurried tweet official spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs dismissed Trump’s assertion that Modi had invited him to mediate on Kashmir.[33] The foreign minister S. Jaishankar reiterated that India’s stated position on Kashmir remained unchanged and that this did not include any third party mediation or arbitration.[34] After India protested to the US State Department, the Americans agreed that it was indeed a bilateral issue.[35] But Trump’s chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow insisted that the US President hadn’t made up the story of Modi asking for his help. A week later Trump renewed his offer for arbitration/mediation on Kashmir.

Hopes, however little, were quashed, when Modi Government announced repealing the special status given to occupied under Article 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution on 6 August 2019.[36] Even, if for argument sake, it is accepted that Modi actually wanted Trump to help on Kashmir, one isn’t sure what kind of verdict he would have pushed for. mediate or arbitrate on Kashmir. It is interesting to note that after the Indian Government made known their fait accompli on Kashmir, PM Khan spoke to President of Turkey and the PM of Malaysia to seek their support. He didn’t call the Oval Office.

In any case if Pakistan really wants to resolve the Kashmir issue, it must make a strong case and prepare well. International arbitration can go either way, and Pakistan’s track at record in winning cases or getting a favorable decision is not a good one.


For most of their existence as sovereign states, Pakistan and India have remained locked in mortal combat. Given the environment of suspicion and distrust, there is always the possibility that the slightest spark can ignite a major war. Smallest provocation can be caused by a sudden spurt of enhanced artillery bombardment across the LoC, aerial or ground hot pursuits including so-called surgical strikes against alleged terrorist bases, or worst case scenario a physical invasion within the framework of CSD by making shallow maneuvers inside Pakistani territory in response to alleged terrorist activity etc. Whatever may be the causus belli, once a crisis starts building up it will be upto to the two countries to defuse tensions because third party intervention is not always guaranteed.    

Future war will most likely involve a lot propaganda and mind games. Psy Ops themes will be propagated on the social and mainstream media to lower the nation’s morale. Fifth columnist and secessionists will work against the unity of the state. Real war would only come if there is a need for that. Surgical strikes, air strikes and offensive by Integrated Battle Groups deployed along the border can take place simultaneously, in concert with a sea blockade. Cyber-attacks will form an essential part of the attack package. Pakistan can let down its guard but it also cannot ignore the fundamental question of butter versus guns. The nuclear bomb will not be able to save a hungry and impoverished nation.

War for this poverty ridden region is not an option. Sincere efforts are needed for conflict prevention. This can only be done, if both countries agree to talk. India for its own reasons is reluctant to engage Pakistan in any form of dialogue. Even if Pakistan accepts India’s contention that the Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally, a beginning has be made.  This is important because this is the only way to reduce the cost of security. For Pakistan it is of salience that it spares no effort in bringing India to the negotiating table. Perhaps a friendly nudge from big powers will help.

An environment fraught with possibility of war should be transformed into one of peace and stability, where foreign and local investors feel at ease in investing money and doing business.  To bring internal stability, Pakistan should spend money on development, particularly on its burgeoning human resource. The country has an increasingly young population, if proper investment is made on them, it would be able to boast a finished product that can recognized for their intellectual merits instead of the virulent ideologies that some of them may subscribe to.

To prevent a war and create credible deterrence, the Government needs to invest in its people. Only a strong nation can deter a foreign attack or internal dissent. To do so there is a need to declare emergency in the following areas: basic education, population planning and health, rule of law, energy, food and water security and economy. The economy must be improved or nobody is going to take us seriously. If Afghans clash with the Pakistani supporters after a limited over world cup match,[37] it is because they don’t take us seriously. Neither do the Bangladeshis because their economy is progressing, while ours is faltering. Taking loans to retire old debts can become a vicious cycle. We must learn to stand on our own two feet. We must never again go to any lending agency, whether it be the IMF or friends in the rich Arab countries. Loan is a curse that should be shunned. Loans now taken must be expeditiously repaid.

Population must be controlled and it should be provided two square meals a day so that children are neither malnourished nor impaired by stunted growth. According to a UNICEF report on children 3.4 million children in the country suffer from wasting. Wasting rates are as high as 15 per cent with 6 per cent suffering from ‘severe wasting’, well above international emergency thresholds.[38] Population is a ticking bomb and if it isn’t controlled, it will double by 2047 and the growth is going to outstrip any meaningful development gains.[39] An exploding population with food shortages and scarcity of water can be a recipe for disaster. No wars can be fought on empty stomachs.

In my calculation, if a war takes place it will not take place immediately. Grounds will be prepared to break the nation internally through incessant propaganda, international isolation and by preventing real chances of economic growth. With purse strings in the hands of the IMF and sundry donors, Pakistan is on a particularly tricky wicket. The sooner it gets off this dubious life support system, the better it would be. National sovereignty is only possible, if the country is free of fickle donors and their severe conditionalities.

It is easy to defeat an impoverished, illiterate and hungry country and the grounds for that are already being prepared. Once the internal vulnerability becomes greater than the existing security apparatus, it will be easy to strike. The example of East Pakistan is before us. The Indians were able to exploit internal differences to create hatred against the West Pakistan. They struck when the iron was hot. There can be an East Pakistan redux, if the poor and disenfranchised segments of the society lose faith in the state.


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[2] Col Bhaskar Sarkar, Defence of Srinagar 1947, Indian Defence Review, March 13, 2016, http://www.indiandefencereview.com/interviews/defence-of-srinagar-1947/ (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[3] Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui, “Ramifications of 1965 War,” Dawn, September 11, 2015, https://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=11_09_2015_118_006 (Accessed July 30, 2019).

[4] “When ‘Sam Bahadar’ confronted Indira Gandhi, Outlook, June 27, 2008, https://www.outlookindia.com /newswire/story/when-sam-bahadur-confronted-indira-gandhi/583907 (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[5] Navine Murshid, “India’s Role in Bangladesh War of Independence: Humanitarian or Self Interest?” Economic and Political Weekly,Vol. 46, No. 52 (DECEMBER 24, 2011): 53-60.

[6] Arun Mohanti, “Toasting Legacy of 1971 Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty,” Russia Beyond, August 9, 2011, https://www.rbth.com/articles/2011/08/09/toasting_legacy_of_1971_indo-soviet_friendship_treaty_12842 (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[7]Obstinacy over Siachen,” Dawn, February 28, 2016, https://www.dawn.com/news/1242372 (Accessed July 31, 2019).

[8] Nasim Zehra, From Kargil to the Coup: Events that Shook Pakistan (Sang-e-Meel Publications; 1st edition (May 17, 2018), 129-130.

[9] Rahul Bedi, “Kargil Report: More Questions Raised than Answered,” Economic and Political Weekly

Vol. 35, No. 17 (Apr. 22-28, 2000): 1429-1431.

[10] Manoj Joshi, “Kargil War: Heavily armed Pakistan-backed intruders destroy Indo-Pak peace process,” https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/india-today-archives/story/19990607-kargil-war-heavily-armed-pakistan-backed-intruders-destroy-indo-pak-peace-process-781031-1999-11-30 (Accessed July 30, 2019)

[11] Bruce Riedel, American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House, Center of the Advance Studies of India, U Pen, 4, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download ?doi= &type=pdf (Accessed July 22, 2019).

[12] P.R. Chari, P.I. Cheema and Stephen P. Cohen, Four Crisis and a Peace Process: American Engagement in South Asia (Brookings, 2007), 149-183.

[13] “Lt General Bipin Rawat: Master of Surgical Strikes,” The Economic Times, July 14, 2018, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/lt-general-bipin-rawat-master-of-surgical-strikes/articleshow/56054559.cms?from=mdr (Accessed July 30, 2019).

[14] Usman Ghani, “Nuclear Weapons in India Pakistan Crisis, IPRI Journal Vol. XII (2012): 141-142, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Usman_Ghani55/publication/329814931_Nuclear_Weapons_India_Pakistan_Crisis/links/5c1c0099458515a4c7eda853/Nuclear-Weapons-India-Pakistan-Crisis.pdf (accessed July 10, 2019).

[15] Kuldip Nayyar, Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography (Roli Books, 2012), 304-309

[16] Siegfried O. Wolf, “Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Uri – What Next,” SSOAR, 2016, https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/48613 (accessed July 10, 2019)

[17] Dev Goswamy, “SPICE-2000: Know all about the smart bomb Indian Air Force used for Balakot airstrike,” India Today, March 5, 2019, https://www.indiatoday.in/fyi/story/spice-2000-indian-air-force-balakot-airstrike-mirage-jets-1470988-2019-03-05 (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[18] Vaibhav Tiwari, “India Missing Rafale Now, Says PM Modi; Rahul Gandhi Retorts,” NDTV, March 3, 2019, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-missing-rafale-now-says-pm-modi-rahul-gandhi-retorts-2001788 (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[19] “If we had Rafael jets, we need not have entered Pakistan to attack them, claims Rajnath Singh,” India Today, March 24, 2019, https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/rajnath-singh-rafale-fighter-jets-1485473-2019-03-24 (Accessed July 29, 2019)

[20] “India Did Major Damage to a new $3 Billion Submarine by Leaving a Hatch Open, National Interest, April 13, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/india-did-major-damage-new-3-billion-submarine-leaving-hatch-open-52292 (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[21] India and Russia sign $3 billion nuclear submarine lease agreement, The Defense Post, March 8, 2019, https://thedefensepost.com/2019/03/08/india-russia-3-billion-akula-submarine-lease/ (Accessed July 29, 2019)

[22] Christopher Clarey & Vipin Narang, “India’s Counterforce Temptations: Strategic Dilemmas, Doctrines, and Capabilities,” International Security, Winter 2018/19, Vol. 43, No 3: 7-52.

[23] UN Security Council Resolution 47 is available at http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/47 (Accessed July 22, 2019).

[24] Reports of International Arbitral awards, The Indo-Pakistan Western Boundary (Rann of Kutch) between India and Pakistan (India, Pakistan), VOLUME XVII (19 February 1968): 1-576, http://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XVII/1-576.pdf (Accessed July, 22, 2019).

[25] Letter dated 24 March 1966 from the Permanent Representative of India addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Digital Library, https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/525864/files/S_7221-EN.pdf?version=1 (Accessed July 22, 2019).

[26] Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Bilateral Relations (Simla Agreement), https://peacemaker.un.org/indiapakistan-simlaagreement72 (Accessed July 22, 2019).

[27] Riedel, American Diplomacy and the 1999 Kargil Summit at Blair House. Philadelphia: Centre for the Advanced Study of India, 2002.

[28] Bruce Riedel, JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War, New York: Westchester Publishing Services, 2015, 102.

[29] “Islamabad condemns Pulwama attack, rejects charge that Pakistan is involved,” Business Standard, February 15, 2019, https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/pak-rejects-india-s-charge-on-pulwama-terrorist-attack-119021500254_1.html (Accessed July 29, 2019).

[30] “UNSC condemns Pulwama attack, rebuffs India’s efforts to implicate Pakistan,” Pakistan Today, February 22, 2019,

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/02/22/unsc-condemns-pulwama-attack-rebuffs-indias-efforts-to-implicate-pakistan/ (Accessed July 22, 2019).

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[32] Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Neither a Hawk nor a Dove, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015). 129.

[33] “India Denies Asking Trump to Mediate on Kashmir During Pakistani Prime Minister’s Washington Visit,” Gandhara, July 23, 2019, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/india-denies-asking-trump-to-mediate-on-kashmir-during-pakistani-prime-minister-s-washington-visit/30070600.html (Accessed July 25, 2019)

[34] Bharti Jain, “PM Modi made no such request, says S Jaishankar on Trump’s Kashmir remarks,” TNN, July 23, 2019, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-made-no-such-request-says-s-jaishankar-on-trumps-kashmir-remarks/articleshow/70342029.cms (Accessed July 31, 2019).

[35] Geeta Mohan, “India lodges protest over Trump’s Kashmir mediation comment on PM Modi, US clarifies it is a bilateral issue,” India Today, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/donald-trump-kashmir-mediation-comment-india-lodges-protest-1572440-2019-07-23 (Accessed July 25, 2019).

[36] Manavi Kapur, “History Reversed: The Narendra Modi government scraps Kashmir’s special status under Indian constitution,” Quartz India, August 6, 2019, https://qz.com/india/1681325/india-scraps-article-370-that-gives-special-status-to-kashmir/ (Accessed August 7, 2019).

[37] “ICC World Cup 2019, Afghanistan and Pakistan Fans Clash During Game at Leeds,” Cricket Next CWC 2019, June 29, 2019, https://www.news18.com/cricketnext/news/icc-world-cup-2019-afghanistan-and-pakistan-fans-clash-during-game-at-leeds-2209635.html (Accessed July 31, 2019).

[38] Status of Children in Pakistan, UNICEF Report 2017, 53, https://www.unicef.org/pakistan/media/596/file/Situation%20Analysis%20of%20Children%20in%20Pakistan.pdf (Accessed July 31, 2019).

[39] Ikram Junaidi, “New report says growing population likely to outstrip developmental gains,” Dawn, October 18, 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1439690/new-report-says-growing-population-likely-to-outstrip-developmental-gains (Accessed July 26, 2019).

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