ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Eschewing and (Not) Manipulating Escalation

India’s unwillingness to tactically manipulate escalation makes its responses predictable and has led to strategic inertia most evident in the handling of the situation at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. The responsibility for this inertia primarily lies with the political leadership, but the military top brass also shares this responsibility.

On 7 November, at the 60th anniversary observance webinar of the National Defence College (NDC), New Delhi, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat expressed worries on the possibilities of escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), saying, “border confrontations, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict cannot be ruled out” (Pandit 2020). He had averred to similar dangers a year ago but in relation to the Line of Control (LoC), when he said, “The situation along the LoC can escalate any time. We have to be prepared for the spiraling of the escalatory matrix” (Times of India 2019). Rawat’s fears were expressed in the context of Pakistani border action teams actively supporting last-minute infiltration attempts prior to the usual winter respite in Kashmir. A year on, the LoC witnessed a significant spike in firing over the Diwali period this year.

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Updated On : 9th Dec, 2020

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