Limited Wars in South Asia

G D Bakshi

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India’s continuing failure to devise credible conventional military responses to Pakistan’s asymmetric provocations has seriously eroded the credibility of its deterrence. This could invite a serious escalation of the jihadi sub-conventional assault on India. It is not possible to fight a purely defensive campaign against an asymmetric war and prevail. The adversary can simply vary the targets of attack ad infinitum. Costs have to be raised for the aggressor by taking the war to his territory with proactive military responses that preempt such attacks rather than defending every possible target or carrying out legal enquiries post-strike. There is an urgent need therefore, to fashion an Indian Doctrine for Limited War that is credible, usable and ensures escalation dominance. To that extent, this study addresses a vital and urgent need. It is based on an empirical study of the South Asian experience of Limited War and relies heavily upon insights from India’s recent military-historical experience. It examines the evolution and rationales for Indian concepts of fighting a Limited Conventional War against a nuclear backdrop. It is based primarily on a current literature survey and a purely analytical and non-experimental approach. It relies on published and unpublished sources as well as interviews/interactions with the military leadership involved in the formulation of these concepts. It is an essential reading for academics, policy-makers, defence personnel and scholars of strategic studies in general.

G D Bakshi Maj Gen G D Bakshi SM, VSM (Retd) is a graduate of the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned in the 6th Battalion of the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles in 1971 and is a highly combat experienced officer who commanded his Battalion, Brigade and Division in live combat environments in J&K. He holds a Masters degree in Defence Science and an M.Phil in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. He taught for three years each at the Indian Military Academy Dehradun and the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington. He has done two tenures at the prestigious Directorate General of Military Operations at New Delhi. He commanded his unit in action in Kargil and was awarded the Vishist Seva Medal in 1991. From 2000 to 2002 he led a Brigade in Counter Terrorist Operations in the Kishtwar Sector of J&K and was warded the Sena Medal. As a Maj Gen, he subsequently commanded Romeo Force in intensive Counter Terrorist Operations in the most active Rajouri – Punch Sector. He taught at the National Defence College, New Delhi, for 2 years before his retirement. He was thereafter with the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation. He is currently Deputy Director (Research) with the Vivekananda International Foundation. He is an Associate Member of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and is a prolific writer on matters military. He has authored 16 books and written several papers for prestigious defence journals.

 

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