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Vol. I No. 1 (2023): Strategic Perspectives, Winter 2023

Entanglement of Deterrence: Risk of Inadvertent War in South Asia

Dr. Rubina Waseem & Dr. Ansar Jamil


The acrimonious relationship between the nuclear rivals of South Asia has led to three full-scale wars and several limited crises in the region of South Asia. In the contemporary era, scholarly work is depicting the possibilities of risk escalation in Pakistan- India crisis resulting from the surgical strike of India intended to exert pressure on the conventional forces of Pakistan. The threat of war has been multiplied by the growing vulnerabilities of nuclear and conventional assets. There is a need to review the enabling command, control, communication, and intelligence (C3I) capabilities – and advanced non-nuclear weapons that are presumably intended to deter the enemy. The basic framework of this research is the deterrence theory and critical analysis of the advanced technologies and its impact on the South Asian nuclear rivals is being assessed. Interestingly, in issuing this threat – non nuclear attacks on the nuclear forces and C3I capabilities could be catastrophic not only for conventional war but could directly spark a nuclear war. These assets include satellites used for early warning, communication, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); ground-based radars and transmitters; and communication aircraft. The key focus in avoiding these catastrophic consequences is that it is now possible to consider attacks on the enemy’s C3I or its conventional/nuclear forces (whether they belong to Pakistan or India) as a deliberate attempt. The article draws an empirical claim that the inadvertent war and the risk of its escalation between Pakistan and India have become more severe than before and is increasing significantly in the future prospects.

Key Words

Deterrence, C3I, Entanglement, Disruptive Technologies, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), South Asia

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