2001–02 India–Pakistan standoff
The 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff was a military standoff between India and Pakistan that resulted in the massing of troops on either side of the border and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the region of Kashmir. This was the second major military standoff between India and Pakistan following the successful detonation of nuclear devices by both countries in 1998 and the most recent standoff between the nuclear rivals. The other had been the Kargil War in 1999.
The military buildup was initiated by India responding to a terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001 (during which twelve people, including the five men who attacked the building, were killed) and the legislative Assembly on 1 October 2001. India claimed that the attacks were carried out by two Pakistan-based terror groups fighting Indian administered Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, both of whom India has said are backed by Pakistan's ISI – a charge that Pakistan denied.
In the Western media, coverage of the standoff focused on the possibility of a nuclear war between the two countries and the implications of the potential conflict on the American-led "Global War on Terrorism" in nearby Afghanistan. Tensions de-escalated following international diplomatic mediation which resulted in the October 2002 withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani troops from the international border.
On the morning of 13 December 2001, a cell of five armed men attacked the Indian Parliament by breaching the security cordon at Gate 12. The five men killed seven people before being shot dead by Indian Security Forces.
World leaders and leaders in nearby countries condemned the attack on the Parliament, including Pakistan. On 14 December, the ruling Indian National Democratic Alliance blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the attack. Home Minister L.K. Advani claimed, "we have received some clues about yesterday's incident, which shows that a neighboring country, and some terrorist organisations active there are behind it," in an indirect reference to Pakistan and Pakistan-based militant groups. The same day, in a demarche to Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, India demanded that Pakistan stop the activities of LeT and JeM, that Pakistan apprehend the organisation's leaders and that Pakistan curb the financial assets and the group's access to these assets. In response to the Indian government's statements, Pakistan ordered its military on standing high alert the same day.
The Pakistan military's information sources, the ISPR's spokesman Major-General Rashid Qureshi, claimed that the Parliament attack was a "drama staged by Indian intelligence agencies to defame the freedom struggle in 'occupied Kashmir'" and further warned that India would pay "heavily if they engage in any misadventure". On 20 December, amid calls from the United States, Russia, and the United Nations to exercise restraint, India mobilised and deployed its troops to Kashmir and the Indian part of the Punjab in what was India's largest military mobilization since the 1971 conflict. The Indian codename for the mobilization was Operation Parakram (Sanskrit: Valor).
In late December, both countries moved ballistic missiles closer to each other's border, and mortar and artillery fire was reported in Kashmir. By January 2002, India had mobilized around 500,000 troops and three armored divisions on the Pakistan's border concentrated along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Pakistan responded similarly, deploying around 300,000 troops to that region.
On 12 January 2002, President Pervez Musharraf gave a speech intended to reduce tensions with India. He declared that Pakistan would combat extremism on its own soil, but said that Pakistan had a right to Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister told his generals that there would be no attack "for now."
Tensions escalated significantly in May. On 14 May, three gunmen killed 34 people in an army camp near Jammu, most of them the wives and children of Indian soldiers serving in Kashmir. The Indian Army was angered by the attack. On 18 May, India expelled the Pakistani High Commissioner. That same day, thousands of villagers had to flee Pakistani artillery fire in Jammu. On 21 May, clashes killed six Pakistani soldiers and 1 Indian soldier, as well as civilians from both sides. On 22 May, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee warned his troops to prepare for a "decisive battle". Beginning on 24 May and lasting for several days, Pakistan began conducting a series of missile tests. On 7 June the Pakistan Air Force shot down an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle near Lahore.
At the same time, attempts to defuse the situation continued. Both Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf blamed each other for the standoff, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to mediate a solution, but in vain. Musharraf refused to back down giving many interviews on Indian and Pakistani media outlets that he was prepared for war if that was the way things needed to be. On 10 June, air restrictions over India were ended and Indian warships were removed from Pakistan's coast; Pakistan's warships soon followed suit and returned to friendly waters.
While tensions remained high throughout the next few months, both governments began easing the situation in Kashmir. By October 2002, India had begun to demobilize their troops along her border and later Pakistan did the same, and in November 2003 a cease-fire between the two nations was signed.
The standoff inflicted heavy casualties. The total Indian casualties were 789–1,874 killed. Many accidents during the mobilisation were due to the poor quality of mines and fuses Around 100 of these fatalities were from mine laying operations. Artillery duels with Pakistan, vehicle accidents, and other incidents make up the rest.
Cost of standoff
Threat of nuclear war
President Musharraf refused to renounce the use of nuclear weapons even after pressure by the international community. Whereas Prime Minister Vajpayee asserted from the beginning that nuclear weapons would only be used if the other side used them first.
As both India and Pakistan are armed with nuclear weapons, the possibility a conventional war could escalate into a nuclear one was raised several times during the standoff. Various statements on this subject were made by Indian and Pakistani officials during the conflict, mainly concerning a no first use policy. Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said on 5 June that India would not use nuclear weapons first, while Musharraf said on 5 June he would not renounce Pakistan's right to use nuclear weapons first. According to one think tank of the Pakistan government, the possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan prevented escalation to an all out war by India. In 2009, Pakistani economist Sartaj Aziz asserted that:
It was a big upset about what happened to the economy after the [atomic] tests in 1998, but was consoled that in 2002, when India mobilized half a million troops on the border after an attack on its parliament in 2001, but was finally forced to withdraw the "due to the danger of a nuclear retaliation by Pakistan....— Sartaj Aziz, defending Pakistan's decision to tests its nuclear capability in 1998, 
Development of Cold Start
After the deescalation and the substantial diplomatic mediation, the Indian government, however, learned the seriousness of the military suspension by Pakistan in the region. Adjustments and development on offensive doctrine, Cold Start, was carried out by India as an aftermath of the war.
- Indo-Pakistani wars and conflicts
- 2002 Eastern Mediterranean event
- India-Pakistan relations
- Kaluchak Incident
- Cold Start
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