What if India attacks?

The history of wars between Pakistan and India demonstrates that due to close proximity of borders and militarily active Line of Control (LOC), any attack or violation of Pakistan’s airspace and territory has met the very serious military response from Pakistan. Therefore, it is very complex to deconstruct the idea of a full-fledge Indian invasion. However, the current military buildup in IOK has presented serious threats to Kashmiri people and Pakistan’s territorial integrity, hence the risk of a war is real.

A country can attack its rival but the major concern is what it can accomplish and is it ready to withstand a counterattack? In the case of India, its superiority in conventional weaponry makes sense that it could sustain offensive for a longer period of time. But Pakistan’s posture is primarily defensive. Despite its lesser manpower and resources in a counterattack, it will remain fierce in its defensive offense. Indians will have to pull a lot of effort to penetrate into Pakistani territory.

If India attacks Pakistan unprovoked, it will cost its goodwill at the world stage. One of the technical points for India to attack Pakistan is to lift its curfew from IOK.  People will come out to protest against the Indian government. India will target those innocent Kashmiri protestors. There will be a massacre in Kashmir which will create unrest in the region. India will allegedly blame Pakistan just like Pulwama attack. Unfortunately, Pakistan will be left with no choice but to retaliate.

India cannot penetrate through the international borders unless there is a major violation from the Pakistani side. India will have to make a choice to attack the Line of Control (LoC). If India attacks LOC terming it as a surgical strike, Pakistan would definitely retaliate by using all means at its disposal.

Despite the fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan made all kind of overtures, opened the Kartarpur corridor but India using rhetoric to negatively engage Pakistan at diplomatic and military fronts. Pakistan should avoid and avert all Indian traps that may lead to a larger conflict in South Asia. It is assessed that India will escalate the ladder, in order to push Pakistan to a limited war where Pakistan has a disadvantage in terms of the number of forces and conventional weaponry. Conversely, Pakistan has a subtle policy of nuclear threshold and thus India will continue to guess about retaliatory strategy and operationalization of strategic resources by Pakistan. On the other hand, India may also not risk a nuclear confrontation because this scenario will take India back to the stone age, meaning by, losing most of it if not all the industrial progress that she made in the past four decades. Considering the risks of a nuclear war, China, Russia and most importantly the United States supporting a peaceful bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and India.

To conclude, if the UN fails to prevent Indian brutalities against Kashmiri people, a false flag operation in IOK and subsequently a scenario such as 26 Feb, can occur in which India violated Pakistan’s airspace, which culminated in destruction of three Indian fighter jets and capturing of a pilot. The question that what if India attacks again can be answered in a simple expression, i.e. Pakistan will respond in coins and the confrontation may expand. It is contented that strategic sense will prevail and India will release 8 million Kashmiris and provide them with the basic human rights and protection of life.



Strategic assessment is often confused with intelligence analysis of foreign forces and international trends. The major difference is that strategic assessment is an analysis of the interaction of two or more national security establishments both in peacetime and in war, usually “ourselves”, and a potential enemy. It is the interaction of the two belligerents that is the central concept, not an assessment of one side alone.


In historical analysis, it is possible prior to the outbreak of past wars to observe what the highest level of leadership on each side did to “assess” the outcome and nature of the war that was coming. In fact, a widely praised explanation for the causes of war is precisely that strategic assessments were in conflict prior to the initiation of combat–one side seldom starts a war knowing in advance it will lose. Thus, we may presume there are almost always miscalculations in strategic assessments of varying types according to the nature of the national leadership that made the assessment.

In retrospect, it is often easy to discern the sources of errors in strategic assessment. For example, it is a mistake to examine static, side-by-side, force-on-force comparisons of numbers of weapons and military units without analysing the way these weapons and units would actually interact in future combat. It is another mistake to fail to define correctly who will be a friend and who a foe in wartime, so the question of international alignments or alliances cannot be ignored.

Another error is to deduce incorrectly from an opponent’s peacetime training exercises, published military doctrines, and peacetime military deployments what may be the way forces actually conduct themselves in combat, especially in a war of many months or years that goes beyond the original plan of war that was drafted at the outset: the longer a war, the more time for factors involving the entire national society and economy to be brought into play and the less important the initial deployments, doctrines, and plans become.


Professor Stephen Peter Rosen of Harvard University has presented a set of examples of these errors. For example, between August 1939 and June 1940, the U.S. Navy senior leadership strategic assessments of the adequacy of the military capabilities of the United States paid little attention to how a future war might unfold. It mainly satisfied U.S. Navy peacetime criteria using “simple comparisons of the number of U.S. Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy ships . . . no sense of the possible wartime interaction between the two fleets let alone between the two nations.” The static use of counting numbers and units was at fault in the French military assessment of a potential German attack in 1939. In the broadest definition, “strategic assessment” implies a forecast of peacetime and wartime competition between two nations or two alliances that includes the identification of enemy vulnerabilities and weaknesses in comparison to the strengths and advantages of one’s own side. According to Professor Rosen, “The military theoretician Carl von Clausewitz probably deserves credit for being the first to try to delineate the general character of net assessment at the level of national military interaction.”  

One section of Clausewitz’ book On War asks a simple question: How can the national leadership know how much force will be necessary to bring to bear against a potential enemy? Clausewitz replies, we must gauge the character of . . . (the enemy) government and people and do the same in regard to our own. Finally, we must evaluate the political sympathies of other states and the effect the war may have on them.

Clausewitz warns that studying enemy weaknesses without considering one’s own capacity to take advantage of those weaknesses is a mistake. Clausewitz emphasizes the importance of identifying the enemy’s “centre of gravity,” a feature that if successfully attacked, can stop the enemy’s war effort. Assessment requires considering the potential interaction of the two sides. According to Clausewitz, “One must keep the dominant characteristics of both belligerents in mind.”


An insightful set of seven historical examples of strategic assessment from 1938 to1940, produced for the Office of Net Assessment, allows for the comparison of the styles of strategic assessment practiced in Britain, Nazi Germany, Italy, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, and Japan. A number of “lessons learned” are relevant to any effort to understand how the Chinese leadership conducts strategic assessment of its future security environment. Marshall specified four categories of strategic assessment:

  • Foreseeing potential conflicts
  • Comparing strengths and predicting outcomes in given contingencies
  • Monitoring current developments and being alerted to developing problems
  • Warning of imminent military danger.

Sun Tzu proclaimed full confidence in the “calculations” he made in “the temple” before hostilities. “Modern net assessment follows Sun Tzu’s principles, if not his confidence in outcomes. The important allusion is to ‘the temple’ and the role of faith.”

The main problem was how to frame assessments, particularly with regard to political-military factors such as who were the potential threats and potential allies, and what international alignments would be vital to the outcomes of future wars. Purely military issues were how to weight different types of combat power, especially new concepts of operations like tactical air power in the Blitzkrieg or the role of submarines.

Errors and successes came from answers to large framework questions of what to include, what to ignore, and how to “think about” the military balances that form the security environment.


There is an intense secrecy every other country’s national security matter, but comparisons with other nations’ processes of strategic assessment can increase comprehending of how regional and major powershave conducted strategic assessments of the security environment? Strategic Assessment Division (SAD) will present majorlessons learnedduring different national styles of making strategic assessments. By viewing US, India and China in comparative perspective, it may be possible to understand better how US deals with its assessment problems.