Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Policy Brief No.142: Strategic Risk Management in Southern Asia

Policy Brief  No.142 - December, 2022 • By Feroz Hassan Khan

This Policy Brief identifies three key strategic risks in the tenuous strategic stability at the China-India-Pakistan trijunction. Though drivers of conflict vary in each dyad, common aspirations and history of cooperative security agreements are worthy foundations for managing future strategic risks in Southern Asia. While each state in the strategic triangle faces nested security dilemmas, new sources of instabilities are compounding the strategic trilemma. The Policy Brief proposes that the three states consider new strategic risk-reduction measures through a series of multilateral and bilateral strategic dialogues at the Track-I and Track-II levels, and establish “strategic risk-reduction centres” customised to the Southern Asian strategic environment. These centres would function as a central clearing house for all past and future agreements and act as nodal points for preventing misinterpretation or tragic incidents.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Policy Brief No.141: The China–India–Pakistan Trilemma and Accidental War

Policy Brief  No.141 - December, 2022 • By Prakash Menon

The perspective of this Policy Brief is the geopolitical contestation between China-India-Pakistan. Territorial disputes harbour the potential for conflict under the nuclear overhang between China–India and India–Pakistan. The two dyads are structurally separate but are also connected. The greater danger of nuclear war in both dyads is concealed in the inability to control escalation of conflicts that may have small beginnings but can potentially spin out of control. The paper uses Clausewitz escalation model to highlight this crucial issue. A Global No First Use Treaty is proposed and one that is possible only if the dangers of nuclear war are publicised at the global level thus forcing the hand of political leaders. This is an imperative step to free the leadership from the shackles of varied impractical nuclear strategies that are unable to answer the question: what happens after the first nuclear weapon is fired?

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Policy Brief No.139: Nuclear Disarmament and UN Reforms

Policy Brief  No.139 - November, 2022 • By Ramesh Thakur

This Policy Brief describes the journey from the prioritisation of nuclear nonproliferation in the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to the reprioritisation of nuclear disarmament in the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW or Ban Treaty). It then discusses the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global discourse over the utility and limits of nuclear weapons as a deterrent and as tools of coercive diplomacy. Finally, it addresses the question: What does all this mean for the agenda of UN reforms?

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Policy Brief No.138: The Mystery of the Nord Stream Pipeline Explosions

Policy Brief  No.138 - October, 2022 • By Ramesh Thakur

This Policy Brief, in classic thriller style, looks at means, opportunity and, most revealingly, motive of the suspects in the Nordstream sabotage. On 26 September, the Nordstream 1 and 2 pipelines were badly damaged in a deliberate act of sabotage that released huge amounts of methane gas. Almost all the Western media has pointed the finger at Russia but Moscow blames actors hostile to it. There are four plausible suspects: Russia, the US, Poland and Ukraine. Given the actors involved, the issues at stake and the impotence of the UN system caught in the crossfire of great power rivalry, an impartial independent investigation is extremely unlikely. 

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Summary Report No.135: The NPT, the TPNW and the Future of Arms Control and Disarmament After Ukraine

Summary Report  No.135 - August, 2022 • By Hugh Miall

This is the Summary Report from a June 2022 international workshop of experts and diplomats which concluded that the assumptions on which nuclear deterrence are based need to be challenged, and the dogma that nuclear deterrence will always be effective should be questioned. Held to coincide with the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, the workshop noted that civil society and like-minded states have so far worked together to make progress on the TPNW and must continue to do so. The workshop which was convened by Toda Peace Institute and the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, gave particular attention to the impact of the war in Ukraine on the perceived value of nuclear deterrence, and the relationship of the TPNW to other treaties and political alliances.