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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.144 - December, 2022 • By Rakesh Sood

Policy Brief No.144: Managing the China, India and Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma: Ensuring Nuclear Stability in the New Nuclear Age

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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.

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