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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate, Security and Peacebuilding: Challenges and Opportunities Across Scales: Workshop Report

Summary Report  No.145 - December, 2022 • By Volker Boege

This is the Summary Report of a workshop under the title of ‘Climate, Security and Peacebuilding: Challenges and Opportunities Across Scales’, hosted by the Toda Peace Institute, Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Wellington, New Zealand, on 27 and 28 October 2022. The workshop addressed challenges and opportunities across scales, from the local to the international, acknowledging that the effects of climate change generate challenges to peace and security across multiple scales and dimensions of societal life, from the everyday security of community members in rural environments to geo-political stability in regional-international contexts. This Summary Report aims to identify the key issue areas and focus on selected findings and insights from the workshop, based on the key notes, presentations and discussions in the various sessions.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Managing the China, India and Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma: Ensuring Nuclear Stability in the New Nuclear Age

Policy Brief  No.144 - December, 2022 • By Rakesh Sood

This Policy Brief identifies the challenges of the new nuclear age in terms of multiple dyads and triangular relationships and examines the relevance of the existing deterrence model. How will nuclear deterrence work in a non-bipolar world? Is the answer in terms of reducing equations to multiple dyads or trilemmas or strategic chains? What should be the objective of arms control in a multiplayer set up? Is the existing vocabulary of deterrence that originated in a bipolar Cold War context holding up in today’s world? This paper seeks to explore these questions in the context of the China, India and Pakistan trilemma.  A short account of the China–India and Pakistan–India rivalries, its sources, similarities and differences is presented, along with attempts made so far to address the risks through bilateral agreements and understandings. Finally, future possibilities for dialogue to manage nuclear risks, bilaterally, trilaterally and in a larger setting are examined.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The China–India–Pakistan Nuclear Triangle: Consequential Choices for Asian Security

Policy Brief  No.143 - December, 2022 • By Salman Bashir

This Policy Brief examines the wider regional and global geopolitical entanglements of China, India and Pakistan and prospects of promoting regional stability and avoidance of nuclear conflict. Asia is now the fulcrum of global power politics. This complicates the quest for building regional stability, harmony and prosperity. To the conflictual ‘continental’ dynamics of China, India and Pakistan, the US Indo-Pacific strategy has inserted a ‘maritime’ dimension with ‘land and sea’ and ‘geo-politic and geo-economic’ connotations. India is a lynchpin of the US Indo-Pacific strategy and the choices India makes will determine the trajectory of India–China and India–Pakistan relations. India aspires to a global power status that requires it to outmatch China and dominate South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan is concerned over Indian conventional preponderance that poses a threat to its security.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

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

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?