This report examines the views of India and Pakistan on the significance of Pakistan_s foray into the Kargil Dras sector in a limited war that has come to be known as the Kargil conflict. The goal of the analysis is to assess both combatants_ perceptions of the crisis, with a view to evaluating the possibilities of future Kargil like events and the implications of the lessons each country learned for stability in South Asia. The analysis is based almost exclusively on Indian and Pakistani source materials.The Kargil crisis demonstrated that even the presence of nuclear weapons might not appreciably dampen security competition between the region_slargest states. However, the question remains of whether or not the Kargil war represents a foretaste of future episodes of attempted nuclear coercionif India and Pakistan believe that their nuclear capabilities provide them the immunity required to prosecute a range of military operations short of allout war.
This report presents the results of a quick-turnaround study con-ductedby RAND at the request of the U.S. government in the monthsleading up to the November 2000 presidential election in the UnitedStates. The study was intended to support a variety of internal re-viewsand briefings that took place around the time of the election.The broad purpose of the study was to understand how India andPakistan viewed the significance of the Kargil conflict, what lessonsthey drew from this conflict, and the implications of those lessons forfuture stability in South Asia. Consequently, this report is not an all-sourcedocument: it has deliberately avoided the use of all U.S. gov-ernmentaldocuments and for most part many other open-sourceAmerican materials as well. Instead, the source materials used arealmost exclusively Indian and Pakistani.Since the significance of the Kargil conflict as appreciated in Indiaand Pakistan is a complex matter, with many different and oftenconflicting strands of opinion, this report focuses mainly on captur-ingthematically the dominant ideas circulating in the subcontinenton this issue. As a result, not every view pertaining to Kargil isrecorded and, further, many nuances and variations on the mainthemes recorded here are excluded unless judged by the authors torepresent viewpoints that ought to be of interest to policymakers inthe United States.It was initially intended that the lessons learned by India and Pak-istanin regard to Kargil would be published separately, but the inter-estingsymmetries in the perceptions of the two sides that werediscovered during the course of the research and interviewsultimately justified a unified publication.This report is by no means intended to be the final word on Indianand Pakistani assessments about Kargil. In fact, it explicitly repre-sentsan early view of this issue, since Indian and Pakistani judg-mentsmay themselves evolve with time. As official documents onthe conflict come to light, more systematic research on some ofthe key issues touched on in this report-the genesis of the conflict;the character of the operations; the perceptions, judgments, anddecisions of the national leaderships; the significance of nuclearweapons; and the role of outside powers-will be possible, and moreconsidered conclusions may be derived. Until that time, however,this preliminary assessment is offered for public consumption in thehope that it will contribute to a better understanding of the problemsof stability in South Asia.The information cutoff date for the material used in this report wasMarch 2001. No effort has been made to update the analysis to ac-countfor events occurring after this date, for two reasons. First, anyeffort of this sort risks being overtaken by events, and second, updat-ingthe study would not have advanced the original objective of theU.S. government, which was to assess Indian and Pakistani percep-tionsin the aftermath of the Kargil war rather than to provide real-timeanalysis of changing India-Pakistan relations. Consequently,this analysis serves as a benchmark permitting the reader to assesshow India-Pakistan relations have changed subsequent to our evalu-ation.The research described in this report was conducted within RAND'sNational Defense Research Institute (NDRI). NDRI is a federallyfunded research and development center sponsored by the Office ofthe Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, thedefense agencies, and the Department of the Navy.About the Author:
Ashley Tellis (Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago) is a senior policy analyst at Rand with expertise in South Asian security and defense matters, Asian interstate relations, and the theory and practice of international affairs. His current research examines nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction and the future of U.S. security strategy in Asia. C. Christine Fair (MA South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Phd in Progress) is an assistant policy analyst at Rand. Jamison Jo Medby (California State University, Northridge. Northridge, CA Master of Arts, Political Science) is a researcher at Rand.
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