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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.141 - December, 2022 • By Prakash Menon

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

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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?

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