Nuclear Weapons

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  • Conventional War in the Presence of Nuclear Weapons

    Nuclear weapons cannot obviate wars, but can change its complexion and influence the manner of its conduct. In order to keep nuclear weapons from entering into real warfare, it is important to intelligently judge an adversary's nuclear thresholds and to calibrate one's own conventional strikes. For India, the exploration of this space is particularly important in order to deny Pakistan a free hand to indulge in sub-conventional conflict even as it holds the threat of an all-out nuclear war against an Indian conventional response.

    May 2009

    Prospects for Nuclear Risk Reduction in Southern Asia

    The earliest years of offsetting nuclear weapon capabilities between rivals can be the most harrowing. India and Pakistan have certainly followed this pattern. But over time, rivals can moderate their competition, especially with regard to nuclear weapons. Formal arms control treaties, like those negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union, are unlikely for southern Asia. India and Pakistan can, however, employ tacit agreements, confidence-building, and nuclear risk-reduction measures to allay mutual concerns over nuclear weapons.

    May 2009

    Reflections on the Kargil War

    The Kargil conflict can be categorized as a 'limited war'. It was initiated by Pakistan to achieve mixed military and political objectives, but made important misjudgments that doomed the enterprise to failure. The questions discussed in this article are: why was India surprised; why did both countries observe such great restraint; did the Kargil conflict have a nuclear dimension; and is 'limited war' a viable concept with nuclear deterrence obtaining in South Asia. It also argues that the Kargil conflict was an exception, in some dimensions, to the 'stability-instability paradox'

    May 2009

    Nuclear Weapons and India-Pakistan Relations: A Complementary Comment

    Nuclear weapons deter by the possibility of their use, and in no other way. Although US and Soviet arsenals became grotesquely excessive in both numbers and diversity in the late 1960s, by the later 1908s there had been very extensive reductions in both numbers and types. NATO's collective doctrine had accepted that the only sen-sible role for its nuclear weapons was for war-termination. Western governments had increasingly accepted the idea of sufficiency, recognizing that notions of nuclear supe-riority were vacuous.

    May 2009

    Nuclear Weapons and India–Pakistan Relations

    India-Pakistan relations are best understood as an example of nuclear rivalry, in which nuclear weapons both exacerbate and limit hostility. In all such relationships, the minimal possession of nuclear weapons suffices to deter. Both India and Pakistan have adopted a minimalist posture, yet their strategic thinking tends to be inconsistent, which makes them vulnerable to needless expansion. This essay points to the conceptual basis for an optimal doctrine.

    May 2009

    Nuclear Weapons and War

    The November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that shook the world again had tangible links to the security and intelligence establishment of Pakistan. The emergent situation is forcing the policy-making community to take appropriate action so that the culprits are brought to justice and the elements sponsoring the terror attacks in India are adequately deterred. Several options were being exercised and explored for the purpose. As the Pakistani Government is undertaking only cosmetic and deceptive steps to ward off international pressure, the world and India appear far from convinced.

    May 2009

    Pakistan’s Strategic Thinking

    Fellows' Seminar
    February 27, 2009
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    A.Q. Khan’s Acquittal

    Though anticipated, the timing of the Islamabad High Court’s verdict to release disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan from house arrest has surprised many, since it came days before the first ever visit by Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Zardari government has tried to play safe by citing this as a decision taken by an ‘independent’ judiciary. Such arguments are, however, unlikely to find many takers.

    February 20, 2009

    Iran Enters the Space Arena

    One year ago, in February 2008, Iran launched a sounding rocket into outer space to mark the opening of its first space centre. This rocket essentially belonged to the ‘category’ of instrument-carrying crafts. Such crafts are designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during their sub-orbital flight. Within a year, on 3 February 2009, Iran successfully launched its first domestically manufactured satellite "Omid" (Hope), which was carried into space by the home-built Safir-2 space rocket.

    February 20, 2009