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In Their Own WordsUnderstanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba$
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C. Christine Fair

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190909482

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190909482.001.0001

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Pakistan’s Creeping Jihad and Expanding Nuclear Umbrella

Pakistan’s Creeping Jihad and Expanding Nuclear Umbrella

(p.45) 3 Pakistan’s Creeping Jihad and Expanding Nuclear Umbrella
In Their Own Words

C. Christine Fair

Oxford University Press

To complement and enable its advances at the lower end of the conflict spectrum, Pakistan also strategically acquired nuclear weapons. We now know that Pakistan had a crude device around 1983-4, if not earlier. As Pakistan became increasingly confident of its nuclear capabilities, it was more emboldened to use its proxies in India, secure in the belief that India would be unable to punish Pakistan militarily. Consequently, Pakistan's adventurism in India became bolder through the use of state-sponsored proxies, but also through Pakistani security forces masquerading as militants in the 1999 Kargil War. Until the reciprocal nuclear tests by India and then by Pakistan in May 1998, scholars used a term introduced by McGeorge Bundy, "existential deterrence," to describe the deterrence that seemed to exist between India and Pakistan. Given the opacity and uncertainty surrounding the two countries' programs, the mutual deterrence calculation of India and Pakistan did not rest on "relative capabilities and strategic doctrines, but on the shared realization that each side is nuclear-capable, and thus any outbreak of conflict might lead to a nuclear war." This chapter outlines the dual trajectories of Pakistan's development and deployment of Islamist proxies and nuclear weapons.

Keywords:   Pakistan nuclear weapons, Proxy war, Pakistan army, Existential deterrence, Nuclear overhang

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