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Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a closed market, Srinagar, India, March 5, 2019 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

The Latest India-Pakistan Standoff Raises the Stakes for Future Crises

, Thursday, March 7, 2019

It is far from the first flare-up between India and Pakistan in recent years along the Line of Control, the de facto border in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. But the still-unfolding crisis there, which was sparked by a suicide bombing last month that killed 40 Indian soldiers in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, points to troubling new trend lines in how future conflicts could unfold between these nuclear-armed neighbors.

Every recent crisis—from the Kargil War in 1999 and the so-called Twin Peaks incident in 2001 to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and India’s 2016 “surgical strikes” on Pakistan—began with a provocation emanating from the Pakistani side that was, to varying degrees, attributable to its government or military. In the latest standoff, the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the car bombing in Kashmir; its leader allegedly ordered the attack from a Pakistani army military hospital where he is receiving palliative care. In the aftermath of such provocations, Indian leaders have always faced difficult choices about how to respond without triggering a dangerous military escalation that could ultimately result in the use of nuclear weapons. ...

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