Vol. 1 No. 4 (2013): CISS Insight Bimonthly News & Views, Aug - Sep 2013

Compellence in Policy: A Case Study of 2001/02 Twin Peak Crisis

Muhammad Faisal
Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
CISS Insight Journal 2013
Published October 14, 2013
How to Cite
Muhammad Faisal. (2013). Compellence in Policy: A Case Study of 2001/02 Twin Peak Crisis . CISS Insight Journal, 1(4), P43-53. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/121


During nearly seven decades of protracted and intractable enmity, the two South Asian nuclear rivals have employed various strategies, from war to coercive diplomacy, to achieve their political and strategic objectives. In the first quarter after their independence India and Pakistan engaged in three wars aimed at altering the status quo to their desired political advantage. From introduction of nuclear weapons by India on the subcontinent in 1974 till overt nuclearization in 1998 and even after that, several crises emerged and both states employed various strategies to avert a major war but took necessary measures to compel the “other” to change its behavior.

An illustration of this is the 1987 crisis that was sparked by huge Indian military exercise called Brasstacks held right at the border of Pakistan, at a time when Pakistan along with international community was involved in countering Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan responded by mobilizing its own forces, and subsequently began military exercises as well. Slowly the crisis escalated to a point just short of actual war. Eventually India retreated from its provocative stance and Pakistan succeeded in deterring India from attacking Pakistan’s territory.

Overt nuclearization of the subcontinent in 1998, has made escalation to war a risky proposition thus forcing both states to resort to coercive diplomacy and compellence as foreign policy strategies to alter the behavior of the “other”. In the prevailing status quo of “no war, no peace”, coercive strategies are being heavily employed by both states during bilateral negotiations and various crises situations to influence the “other”, and international actors. From the winter of 2001 to autumn of 2002, India attempted to coerce and compel Pakistan to end its support for cross-border infiltration into India after an attack on the Indian Parliament by terrorists on 13th December 2001.