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The Kargil Conflict

By patton45 Nov 08, 2005 1719 Words
The Kargil Conflict
In recent situations, U.S. dissuasion has been more effective. During the Kargil conflict, from May to July 1999, U.S. diplomacy was a critical factor in the Indian decision to limit the fighting to one isolated sector of the Line of Control in Kashmir. When Pakistani troops crossed the line in the early months of the year, India had the option of opening new fronts elsewhere in Kashmir or, potentially, along the international border with Pakistan proper. The decision not to expand the conflict horizontally or vertically was New Delhi's, but Washington's influence helped to reinforce Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's preference for a limited operation to restore the Line of Control rather than open-ended war with the inherent potential for nuclear escalation. This new U.S.-Indian interaction during Kargil was founded on a relationship that had been painstakingly constructed since the early 1990's, highlighted by the intensive dialogue between Indian Minster of External Affairs Jaswant Singh and American Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. It was still a fragile and uncertain relationship in May 1999, but it gained strength during the crisis as the U.S. Administration clearly and publicly increased the pressure on Pakistan to withdraw its troops, while carefully ensuring that India's leaders were apprised of U.S. actions and perceptions. At the diplomatic climax of the conflict, for example, when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was meeting with President Clinton on the 4 th of July, the U.S. President telephoned Vajpayee several times to brief the Indian leader on the progress of the talks.[19] In its campaign to urge restraint on New Delhi, Washington was also successful in orchestrating approaches by other capitals, recognizing India's legitimate security interests but stressing the international importance of holding the combat to a limited, manageable level. Based on objective analysis and a conscious effort to enhance bilateral ties, U.S. support during the Kargil crisis was instrumental in introducing an unprecedented degree of trust and openness into U.S.-India relations. The 2001-2002 Crisis

The improved relationship with India paid handsome dividends for U.S. policy three years later as Washington and the rest of the international community strove to help defuse the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan crisis.[20] In the tense atmosphere following the September attack on the United States, a costly October suicide bombing at the Kashmir Legislative Assembly, and the war in Afghanistan, terrorists assaulted the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 while it was in session, sparking national outrage and the largest military mobilization since the 1971 war. Though complicated by the importance of Pakistan to Coalition combat operations in Afghanistan and the presence of a small number of American troops in Pakistan, the U.S. Administration, in coordination with other governments, embarked on a diplomatic effort to dissuade India from engaging in military retaliation with unpredictable and potentially catastrophic consequences. Centered around personal diplomacy by Secretary of State Colin Powell and highlighted by presidential phone calls, the U.S. dissuasive campaign restored a degree of stability after a trip to the region by Powell in January 2002 and a conciliatory speech by Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf. Neither side, however, demobilized, and a brutal attack on an Indian Army family housing area in May brought the two countries to the brink once more. Personal diplomacy was again the centerpiece of the American approach: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage both traveled to New Delhi and Islamabad in early June when tension was at its height. This time the dissuasive impact of the U.S. message was reinforced by public disclosure of U.S. casualty estimates in the event of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange and a State Department announcement authorizing the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and dependents from U.S. diplomatic missions and urging other American citizens to depart or defer travel.[21] This combination of techniques had the desired effect, creating enough space for the two antagonists to back away from conflict once Armitage announced a Pakistani pledge to renounce cross-border infiltration into Indian Kashmir.[22] Hundreds of thousands of troops remained deployed along the border until October, however, and Washington remained focused on the potential for renewed confrontation. Indeed, Powell and Armitage each made yet another trip to the two capitals (Powell's third visit since October 2001) to stress the importance of normalized India-Pakistan relations. The crisis passed with successful state elections in Indian Kashmir in October 2002. Conclusion

The record of U.S. dissuasion efforts in India-Pakistan crises is decidedly mixed, but examining it in detail highlights several points relative to future policy planning: •First, personal diplomacy at very senior levels is the most effective tool in reducing tensions and promoting stability. •Second, personal interaction at the highest echelons of the Indian and Pakistani governments must be supplemented by a carefully constructed public diplomacy strategy and integrated with economic measures. •Third, Washington 's dissuasion is most effective in South Asia when it acts in close coordination with other key governments, particularly China, Russia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Diplomatic approaches that appeal to Indian and Pakistani self-interest, that emphasize the unpredictable consequences of conflict, and that assist the two sides in finding alternatives to military action (including face-saving measures where appropriate) offer the best chances of success. •Fourth, military forces, if employed, must be used cautiously and judiciously with clear recognition of potential long-term costs to U.S. bilateral relations and future effectiveness in the region. However, routine military-to-military interaction programs in advance of crisis can help shape the local environment to reduce the likelihood of confrontation and build solid bilateral ties to key actors in the Indian and Pakistani governments as an integral piece of the larger U.S. bilateral relationship with each nation. •Finally, the significance of Washington's relations with New Delhi and Islamabad cannot be overstated. As shown most dramatically by the dialogue between the U.S. and India in 1999 and 2002, a robust web of bilateral connections based on trust and transparency provides the most promising foundation for potential U.S. dissuasion in South Asia. Analyzing the U.S. role in India-Pakistan crises through the lens of an expanded definition of "dissuasion" thus illuminates the past and points towards future policy options. This brief review indicates that there is much to be gained from deepening the examination of the four cases cited above and from broadening research to include such situations as the 1987 and 1990 India-Pakistan crises. For more insights into contemporary international security issues, see our Strategic Insights home page. To have new issues of Strategic Insights delivered to your Inbox at the beginning of each month, email ccc@nps.edu with subject line "Subscribe". There is no charge, and your address will be used for no other purpose. References

1. The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent those of the Department of Defense, the National Defense University, or any other U.S. government agency. 2. Joint Staff/J-7, "An Evolving Joint Perspective: US Joint Warfare and Crisis Resolution in the 21st Century," 28 January 2003, 60. 3. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002, 30. Also see Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review, 30 September 2001, IV; and Department of Defense, Annual Report to the President and to the Congress, (Washington DC: U.S. Government, 2002), 17-18. 4. National Security Strategy, 10.

5. Joint Staff/J-7, "An Evolving Joint Perspective," 5 and 10. 6. Quoted in Dennis Kux, India and the United States : Estranged Democracies (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1992), 239. 7. State Department memo for Secretary of State Rusk, 1 June 1965, in The American Papers ed. Roedad Khan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999), 11. 8. State Department telegram to New Delhi, 2 September 1965, in Kux, Estranged Democracies, 236. See also Dennis Kux, The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies ( Washington DC : Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2001), 160. 9. Neither side expanded the war to East Pakistan, but this was a result of their own calculations, not any U.S. dissuasion policy. 10. Kux, Disenchanted Allies, 159-60.

11. Embassy Rawalpindi telegram to State Department, 30 April 1965, in Khan, 3-5. 12. State Department cable to Islamabad, 24 March 1971, in Kux, Disenchanted Allies, 186. 13. Nixon note, 2 May 1971, in Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1979), 856. 14. Kux, Disenchanted Allies, 190-202.

15. Nixon statement to senior advisors, 11 August 1971, in Kux, Disenchanted Allies, 195. 16. Kissinger, 912.
17. Led by the USS Enterprise, this naval task force "was to scare off an attack on West Pakistan" and to "have forces in place in case the Soviet Union pressured China" (Kissinger, 905), while demonstrating U.S. support for China's allies in Islamabad at a time when Washington was trying to establish a new relationship with Beijing. See John H. Gill, An Atlas of the 1971 India-Pakistan War (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2003), 64. 18. J. N. Dixit, Across Borders: Fifty Years of India 's Foreign Policy (New Delhi: Picus, 1998), 109-10. 19. William J. Clinton, My Life ( New York : Knopf, 2004), 864-65; Strobe Talbott, Engaging India ( Washington, DC : Brookings, 2004), 154-69. 20. In September the U.S. lifted the sanctions that had been imposed on both countries following their nuclear tests in 1998; and the U.S. renewed bilateral defense talks with India in December before the attack on the Parliament. 21. State Department Daily Press Briefing, May 31, 2002.

22. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher referred to this as "President Musharraf's commitment to the United States to stop infiltration across the line of control permanently" during the June 7, 2002 State Department Daily Press Briefing. Among other Washington statements at this time, the President announced on June 5, 2002, "The United States expects Pakistan to live up to the commitment to end all support for terrorism" (President Speaks to Leaders of India and Pakistan, Statement by the Press Secretary, White House, June 5, 2002).

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