The Nuclear Balance in South Asia

The Nuclear Balance in South Asia

  • 21 May 2003

The lecture discussed the issue of nuclear balance in South
Asia during the 2002 May/June period; wherein relations
between India and Pakistan plummeted to their lowest
level in thirty years. As India mobilized its troops and
Pakistan responded in kind, fears of conventional war
increased dramatically. Exacerbating the fear of conflict
was the reality that both sides were equipped with nuclear
weapons and neither could determine with any certainty
at which point the other would be prepared to use them.
War was narrowly averted, although it took a full year
for relations to improve. In the current more auspicious
climate, it is possible to reflect upon how and why the
situation between the two countries developed as it did.
The nuclearization of South Asia has a long history,
dating back to soon after independence. On both sides,
it acquired a momentum that has been driven by internal
forces rather than by external security concerns. Even
the nuclear tests undertaken by India were only partially
linked to security concerns over China and Pakistan.
Arguably, India did much to reduce and compromise its
own security by opting to develop a nuclear capability.
Since 1971, India had enjoyed an overwhelming
conventional superiority over Pakistan and relations with
China had thawed markedly. Pakistan has now offset
its increasing conventional inferiority with a discernible
nuclear capability, which leaves India uncertain as to the
possible implications of conventional war.

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LECTURER

Wednesday 21 May 2003

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Wednesday 21 May 2003

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