Enhancing nuclear stability in South Asia
The view from New Delhi
in The future of U.S.–India security cooperation
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Cooperation between the U.S. and India on nuclear stability in the region remains fairly low, and there is little prospect that it will improve dramatically in the near future. The two disagree about the intensity of nuclear instability on the region and its source. India sees the danger as stemming from Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a strategy and from its first-use nuclear doctrine. The U.S., on the other hand, is worried about the potential for escalation in a nuclearized environment. There is some shared anxiety about the problem of “loose nukes”, specifically as it relates to Pakistan and its use of terrorism as state strategy, but little beyond. In addition, there are also some common worries about Pakistan’s dependence on tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) and early nuclear escalation strategy. But it is unclear that these can lead to any viable cooperation between the two sides. Moreover, the U.S. and India have more important common strategic concerns, and nuclear stability is a hindrance to this. Limited nuclear stability cooperation might still be possible between the U.S. and India in three areas: cybersecurity related to the nuclear sector, securing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and weapons, and reducing the dangers associated with Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and policy.

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