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Indian Grand Strategy Toward Pakistan Draft work Presented at IDSA International Workshop on National Security Strategy, December 2010 Not to be cited without permission. Vipin Narang Assistant Professor MIT Department of Political Science MIT Security Studies Program IDSA Workshop

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Indian Grand Strategy Toward PakistanDraft work Presented at IDSA International Workshop on National Security Strategy,December 2010Not to be cited without permission

Vipin Narang

Assistant Professor

MIT Department of Political Science

MIT Security Studies Program

IDSA Workshop

23 December 2010

indian objectives
Indian Objectives
  • Stable Pakistan that does not export terrorism to India
  • Democracy Irrelevant
  • Friendship Irrelevant
three scenarios
Three Scenarios
  • An increasingly stable Pakistan with stronger civilian institutions
  • An increasingly failing Pakistan which loses sovereignty
  • Status Quo: Pakistan as a cyclically stable competitor which nettles India
scenario i democratization
Scenario I: Democratization
  • Unlikely
    • Democratization is a bloody process (Collier et al)
    • The ‘activation energy’ is too high, pathway is undermined by landmines along the way—e.g. Army’s extraction of rents
    • Prerequisite is a dominant moderate middle class; would theoretically induce stability in the relationship
  • If it ever materialized, grand strategy is easy: engagement (model: US-Canada?)
    • Frees India to focus on domestic development, growth
scenario ii increasingly anarchic
Scenario II: Increasingly Anarchic
  • Not out of the realm of possibility
  • Characterized by:
    • Acute unpredictability
    • Increased militancy at home and abroad
    • LeT unleashed
    • SIMI and IM as a fifth column
scenario ii increasingly anarchic1
Scenario II: Increasingly Anarchic
  • Implications for India
    • Unpredictability is the worst state of affairs for growth and security
    • Pakistan Paradox: India is most affected by this possibility but in worst position to do anything about it
    • Level of violence and threat of nuclear use on Indian soil could be intolerable; no legitimate retaliatory options
  • Grand Strategy
    • Buck Pass? Hope US feels as threatened and acts.
    • Retrenchment and Fortress India? Lockdown borders.
scenario iii status quo
Scenario III: Status Quo
  • Most likely scenario
  • Characterized by:
    • Predictable unpredictability
    • Periodic bouts of exported terrorism, emergence of veto players when Pakistan feels embattled or to thwart peace processes
    • Indian conventional military paralysis
scenario iii status quo1
Scenario III: Status Quo
  • Implications for India
    • Military options will remain limited under threat of Pakistani threat of asymmetric nuclear escalation
    • Intelligence and law enforcement key security pillars
  • Grand Strategy: Hard Balance, Soft Buckpass
    • Ostrich or Owl strategy? Indifference and Defensive Realism
    • Muddling through, managing frustration
matching means to ends
Matching Means to Ends
  • Current Discrepancy: Pro-active strategy, aka Cold Start
    • If it does not deter Pakistani sub-conventional attacks, what end does it serve?
    • “Who’s on First?”
    • Diplomatic coercion aimed at US or realistic options?
    • Destabilizing conventional and nuclear balance
matching means to ends1
Matching Means to Ends
  • Leveraging India’s advantages in economic power and stable democratic system
  • Avoid being sucked into ‘bait-and-bleed’ strategy
  • Afghanistan
    • Acknowledging reality of Pakistani paranoia and thus superior will and capability in Afghanistan
    • But make life difficult by ratcheting up costs through non-military assistance and plausibly deniable strategies