Vol. 4 No. 2 (2016): CISS Insight Quarterly Journal, June 2016

War Termination under Nuclear Overhang: A Case Study of India – Pakistan Conflicts

Mr. Majid Mahmood
Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
Published June 27, 2016
How to Cite
Mr. Majid Mahmood. (2016). War Termination under Nuclear Overhang: A Case Study of India – Pakistan Conflicts. CISS Insight Journal, 4(2), P 01 - 09. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/77


Why do wars last as long as they do? What can an initiator expect when it starts a war? Theories of endogenous war termination show that duration and outcome is closely related to the willingness to make concessions on war aims, and that this willingness is itself determined by warfare. Leaders can, and often do, modify their demands as they update their beliefs about the strength of the adversary, its resolve, and the costs of compelling it to make concessions. They revise war aims as the expectations about the military outcome rise and fall with battlefield developments1. However, in the standard empirical specification of the problem; it is assumed that war aims are exogenous to fighting.

How are wars brought to an end? Historians, military strategists and foreign affairs experts tend to neglect this question and often the discussion surrounds the questions of how war begins. Bennett and Stam (1996) provide the first rigorous empirical investigation of the determinants of war duration by taking into account both political and military variables2. They find that imbalances in military forces lead to shorter wars as do permissive terrain. This framework will be used in this article to analyze the potential conflict between India and Pakistan under a nuclear overhang andhow an armed conflict might unfold between the two nuclear-armed neighbors and how it will affect war termination discourse.