Encouraging Signs, Continuing Dangers

By Sameer Lalwani

Sameer Lalwani is Deputy Director for Stimson's South Asia program. From 2014-15, Lalwani was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the RAND Corporation. He completed his Ph.D. in political science at MIT and remains a Research Affiliate at MIT's Center for International Studies. His research interests include grand strategy, counterinsurgency, civil-military relations, ethnic conflict, nuclear security, and the national security politics of South Asia and the Middle East.

India and Pakistan have experienced numerous militarized engagements and three wars over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Of particular note is that India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear status has not resolved the security challenges of Kashmir; in fact, it has continued to be a flashpoint for open conflict between the two nuclear powers. New episodes of tension provide an opportunity for reflection on the risks of crisis escalation in South Asia.

The latest crisis episode between India and Pakistan over Kashmir emerged following months of significant unrest in the Kashmir Valley. On September 18, militants attacked an Indian Army base in the Uri sector of Kashmir, which resulted in the deaths of 19 soldiers. Arguing that the militants originated from Pakistan, India accused Pakistan of supporting cross-border terrorism. Amidst a cacophony of media voices and strategic analysts calling for an aggressive response, India began reviewing punitive diplomatic and economic options.

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