In his recent book Line on Fire, Happymon Jacob examines the causes of local exchanges of violence across the Line of Control in Kashmir, and their impact on tensions and conflict between Pakistan and India. These violent exchanges, also referred to as ceasefire violations, are commonly seen as “mindless”, an opportunity for each side to blow off steam. However, through detailed accounts with top officials from both sides and using historical data, Jacob offers an enlightened alternative that begs greater attention from India, Pakistan and the international community. Throughout the book, Jacob challenges conventional thought for the causes behind the violations. Through his research, Jacob uncovers alternative causes influenced by political, psychological, and practical factors. Importantly, Jacob identifies autonomous military factors – “tendencies towards escalation arising from the institutional life of the military and in military culture”- which are often unacknowledged by the national military command and leadership but pose serious risks nonetheless. These factors include personality traits of local commanders, revenge firing, and the emotional state of troops along the border. By understanding the true nature of these violations, Jacob offers opportunities to manage or reduce their occurrence through reform targeting the root causes. Further, Jacob posits the snowballing effect of such violations, such that each side responds to an incident, upping the ante with each retaliation. Tit-for-tat violations escalate in intensity and have impacted overall tensions between the neighbours. Jacob highlights eight cases where these exchanges intensified tensions reaching serious military, diplomatic and political escalation. He persuasively argues that in the absence of successful diplomacy, ceasefire violations could spur military action prompting a crisis similar to Uri in 2016 or Pulwama in 2019. By identifying their potential to spark crises, Jacob correctly places ceasefire violations along LoC on the Indo-Pakistan escalatory ladder. Even after India launched an air strike in Pakistan – the first time since the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971 – the international community remained distant, likely believing Pakistan would absorb the attack, as it did in 2016 after India conducted a ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Kashmir India and Pakistan have been rife with conflict since independence. Five crises have threatened serious escalation since their nuclear tests in May 1998. And yet, with a threat ever present, Jacob reminds us, there is much we have not internalized regarding the pathways to arrive at crisis moments. Far from mindless violence, Jacob exposes ceasefire violations and autonomous military factors as the start to an escalatory pathway. The importance of understanding pathways to escalation between India and Pakistan cannot be underestimated. Most recently, the escalation that followed the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama district in Indian Occupied Kashmir seemingly took the international community by surprise. For two weeks following the attack, war mongering in India and Pakistan threatened serious military action. However, compared to crises past, the international community was far less seized by the need to ensure immediate de-escalation. Even after India launched an air strike in Pakistan – the first time since the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971 – the international community remained distant, likely believing Pakistan would absorb the attack, as they did in 2016 after India had conducted ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Kashmir. It was only after Pakistan responded by launching its own strikes and ended up shooting down an Indian MiG 21 jet that the US and other international parties seriously engaged to de-escalate the crisis moment. The international community’s miscalculation of Pakistan’s response this year was dangerous and highlights the potential for inadvertent escalation. Similarly, the unacknowledged risk of ceasefire violations to escalate a tense situation into a full-fledged crisis carries the potential for serious inadvertent escalation. In Line of Fire, Jacob brings this risk forward. By exploring the causes of ceasefire violations and their patterns towards escalation, Jacob deconstructs the Western-dominated unitary rational actor model by identifying pathways for crises prompted by ceasefire violations and autonomous military factors. Given that miscalculations of crisis moments could lead to uncontrolled escalation between nuclear rivals, it is essential that India, Pakistan and the US harness Jacob’s work to re-think their understanding of escalatory dynamics in South Asia and to develop de-escalatory mechanisms for crises prompted not just from terrorist attacks, as the past has seen, but also from ceasefire violations.