05 December, 2020

Bomb That Bombed

Post-Kargil, the theory of nuclear deterrence has to be qualified

Bomb That Bombed
"Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world, roll back its anti-India policy, especially with regard to Kashmir...any other course will be futile and costly for Pakistan".
L.K. Advani on May 18, '98

Brave words those. A year later the statement stands rubbished, exposed for what it was-an empty threat by the home minister of an openly declared nuclearised country. The "futile and costly" exercise launched by Pakistan is actually turning out to be quite costly for India in human and material terms. So, what happened to the nuclear bomb that was supposed to act as a deterrent? Wasn't that the threat held out by Advani: that a nuclear India could put Pakistan in its place? And foreclose the chance of hostilities erupting?

If anything, going openly nuclear has perhaps restricted India's choice in escalating the Kargil situation into a full-scale war. India has a clearly articulated no first use (nfu) policy. But Pakistan, which is inferior in terms of conventional arms, has rejected the nfu...



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