For nearly three months in the summer of 1999, India and Pakistan fought what became known as the Kargil conflict. With Pakistan recently joining India as a nuclear power, the conflict played out against a backdrop of fear that it could lead to nuclear war. Yet the fighting largely remained contained, stopping short of escalating to a broader conventional or even nuclear war.
At the same time, the way the conflict unfolded highlighted Pakistan’s reliance on proxies in the contested border region, a reliance that had grown in the decades since India first developed its nuclear weapons. As such, it provides a valuable case through which to explore the stability-instability paradox—an international relations theory that sees large-scale conflict between two states made less likely by nuclear weapons but irregular warfare consequently more likely.
On this episode, hosts Ben Jebb and Matt Moellering are joined by two guests to examine the stability-instability paradox and the India-Pakistan rivalry. Professor Sumit Ganguly is a specialist on the contemporary politics of South Asia and a distinguished professor of political science at Indiana University. Dr. Tricia Bacon is an associate professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs. They explore South Asia’s regional security dynamics and the way nuclear weapons impact the creation, evolution, and implementation of irregular warfare strategies in the region.
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