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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports
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.
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?
Policy Brief No.140 - November, 2022 • By Raushan Zhandayeva and Rachael Rosenberg
This Policy Brief explores the January 2022 Kazakhstan government shut down of internet access for several days while enacting a violent crackdown on initially peaceful protests which were triggered by hikes in fuel prices. It examines Kazakhstan’s internet and media landscape, the (re)actions of civil society and the state, and the factors that set the stage for this extreme act of digital repression, which created a disturbing precedent for the country and the Eurasia region more broadly. The paper concludes by briefly exploring the potential implications for Kazakhstan’s governance, economic development, and collective memory nearly a year on from the events.
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?
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.