New Lessons Lead to New War Plans for India and Pakistan

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India believes it won the hostilities which followed the Pulwama attack in February 2019. According to New Delhi the attack on Balakot not only punished Pakistan for hosting terrorists on its soil but it set a new baseline for how to deal with future such events. Pakistan (which feels it prevailed in both the combat and diplomatic phases) faces a major reappraisal of its air defences. India’s new approach could lead Pakistan to draw some dangerous conclusions with potentially nuclear implications.

To the casual observer the Pulwama affair of February 2019 comprised a succession of small incidents between India and Pakistan over a period of 15 days; the sort of tectonic disturbances one might expect on the borders of two unfriendly powers. But, as more detail has trickled out over the subsequent five months, we can see that it was much more serious than realised at the time. It could have crucial and potentially disastrous implications for the inevitable next clash. The danger is that both countries could learn the wrong lessons from the experience.

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