Escalation Control and the Nuclear Option in South Asia (2004)

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When nations with deep grievances acquire nuclear weapons, tensions increase and their crises become more nerve wracking. It is therefore not surprising that India and Pakistan are traversing a very dangerous passage marked by periods of intense confrontation. Offsetting nuclear capabilities on the subcontinent have made crisis avoidance and conflict resolution more imperative, but also more difficult to achieve.

Nuclear crises are repetitive in South Asia because their outcomes are not decisive, the contestants learn different lessons from close calls, unsatisfactory outcomes are not acknowledged, and new ventures are not foreclosed. Until a process of reconciliation is underway, the next crisis always waits in the wings.