Between India and Pakistan, Can ‘Negative Peace’ Serve as a Strategic Good?
Attention spans in the age of social media are rather short and immediate issues almost always catch more eyeballs. As India gears up for the 2019 elections, attention will inevitably shift from recent international events to the festival of democracy. Familiar issues will be raked up, and people will forget that just a couple of weeks back two nuclear-armed belligerents engaged in direct aerial combat for the first time in history.
South Asia has survived numerous nuclear-tinged crises from exercise Brasstacks in 1987 to the latest incident that ended with India and Pakistan downing a fighter jet each. When viewing these crises cumulatively, one would be tempted to draw the conclusion that both India and Pakistan are sagacious enough to avoid an escalation spiral. Successful coexistence is, however, contingent on each surviving forthcoming crises, and only the one that hasn’t arrived yet matters. Crisis management is therefore essential, especially for India to realize its strategic potential to the fullest, by striving to take advantage of its demographic bulge, developing industrial power, and achieve economic prosperity. In that context, the now-dormant national security adviser (NSA)-level channel between the two sides could be essential to ride out such crises in the future without risking a major war.
Read the full op-ed in The Diplomat.