Hoax Put India and Pakistan on Brink of War

A prankster put India and Pakistan on the brink of war. That this is possible demonstrates just how fragile that relationship is. That it didn’t escalate, though, tells us something important, too.

India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee (R) listens to a question as his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi watches during a joint news conference in New Delhi November 26, 2008. Qureshi is on a four-day state visit to India. REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA)

India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee (R) listens to a question as his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi watches during a joint news conference in New Delhi November 26, 2008. REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA)

See my New Atlanticist essay, “Hoax Tests India-Pakistan Relationship” for more.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mithras says:

    Joyner-
    Why do you implicitly credit the story as told by either the Pakistanis or the Indians? I’m not saying they’re definitely lying, but the circumstances raise the possibility. I find stunning the claim that the Pakistanis abandoned whatever procedures are in place to verify a caller’s identity – stunning to the point of implausibility. About 48 hours into the attacks, they decided the situation was so dangerous that they discarded their SOPs. Right. And their immediate response to this apparent catastrophic threat was not to initiate additional contacts with elements of the Indian government, but to involve the Americans.

    The intent of Pakistan lying would be to engender fear of a nuclear attack in order to blunt India’s response to any connection it finds between the attackers and Pakistani intelligence.

    It’s less likely, but still possible, that India is lying about not making the phone call. I tend to believe them more because I can’t come up with a motive for them to make threats and then deny it.