The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that India’s military has detailed plans for a limited war against Pakistan. The level of detail obtained by the CSM’s reporters (and leaked by the Indian military) is remarkable:
Within the first 48 hours, India is expected to attack the Neelam Valley Road across the Kupwara sector in Indian-held Kashmir, says an Indian Air Force officer involved in the planning. The Indian Air Force will try to destroy an important bridge over the Jhelum River which connects Pakistan with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. But “Indian action will attract heavy Pakistani punishment,” says General Mehta (an Indian military analyst).
What, no timetable? Well, actually, there is:
Indian military sources say India has secretly told the US and Britain that it will wait two weeks to see if international diplomatic pressure halts infiltration of Islamic militants into Indian territory. “This could be easily verified by monitoring [radio and telephone] intercepts,” says Ret. Major Gen. Ashok Mehta, an Indian military analyst. If infiltration does not significantly drop, a senior Army official says India plans a 10-day assault in Kashmir. “It will be like Kargil [the 1999 war between India and Pakistan],” says Mr. Mehta. “The military action will be predominantly infantry led and intensively supported by the Air Force.”
The running theory as to why the Indian government is letting this stuff leak is that they are trying to threaten Pakistan into clamping down on cross-border terrorism. Stephen Cohen of the Brookings institution is quoted in the CSM piece: “They are threatening to use force to compel another country to alter its behavior. In this case, their target is both Pakistan and the US, and they are compelling the US to put pressure on Musharraf to rein in cross-border terrorism.”
This makes sense as an analysis of the Indian military’s motivations. Does the policy itself make sense though? I’m more than a bit skeptical. Sounds a lot like a game of chicken where neither side is going to blink…