AUTHORGanguly, Sumit / Hagerty, Devin T.
TITLEFearful Symmetry: India-Pakistan Crises in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons
PUBLISHERUniversity of Washington Press
CITYSeattle, WA

This book is a study of the relationship between India and Pakistan, particularly from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. In that time period, the two countries experienced six major crises, only one of which escalated to limited war (which was quickly settled). Initially, the authors, Sumit Ganguly and Devin Hagerty, analyze the historic and cultural underpinnings of that uneasy relationship since independence in 1947, focusing especially on the four major wars that occurred. A chapter is then devoted to each of the six crises referenced in the book’s title (in 1984, 1986-7, 1990, 1998, 1999, and 2001-2), and the authors seek to explain why those incidents did not escalate into full-scale war. Ganguly and Hagerty interpret events with three guiding propositions: the unipolarity theory, in which the United States, emerging as the dominant world power after the Cold War, interferes in affairs to maintain peace; the nuclear deterrence theory, in which fears of escalation of conflict to the nuclear level prevent full-scale war; and the conventional deterrence theory, in which the countries lack sufficient conventional military forces to successfully mount a blitzkrieg operation. The authors conclude with a chapter of lessons learned, implications, and policy suggestions for future interstate relations.

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