19 October 2011

The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

Bhumitra Chakma, The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia (London: Ashgate, 2011).

An important and critical re-evaluation of South Asia’s post-tests nuclear politics, in contrast to other books, this volume emphasises the political dimension of South Asia’s nuclear weapons, explains how the bombs are used as politico-strategic assets rather than pure battlefield weapons and how India and Pakistan utilise them for politico-strategic purposes in an extremely complex and competitive South Asian strategic landscape. Written by a group of perceptive observers of South Asia, this volume evaluates the current state of Indo-Pakistani nuclear deterrents, the challenges that the two countries confront in building their nuclear forces, the post-test nuclear doctrines of the two strategic rivals, the implications of Indo-Pakistani politics for regional cooperation, the role of two systemic actors (USA and China) in the region’s nuclear politics and the critical issues of confidence-building and nuclear arms control.

Contents: Preface; Introduction, Bhumitra Chakma; Part I Nuclear Deterrence and South Asia: Conceptual and Practical Dimensions: Two decades of minimum deterrence in South Asia: a comparative framework, Rajesh M. Basrur; The road from Pokhran II, Sumit Ganguly; The Pakistani nuclear deterrent, Bhumitra Chakma. Part II Doctrinal Developments: India’s nuclear doctrine: 10 years since the Kargil conflict, Swaran Singh; Pakistan’s post-test nuclear use doctrine, Bhumitra Chakma. Part III Nuclear Politics: Extra-Regional Linkages and Consequences: The China factor in South Asian nuclear politics, Binoda Kumar Mishra; South Asia’s nuclear deterrence and the USA, Bhumitra Chakma; Nuclear proliferation in South Asia and its impact on regional cooperation, Nishchal Nath Pandey and Bhumitra Chakma. Part IV Confidence-Building and Nuclear Arms Control: ‘I had gone to Lahore with a message of goodwill but in return we got Kargil’: the promise and perils of ‘leaps of trust’ in India-Pakistan relations, Nicholas J. Wheeler; Nuclear confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan: possible alternatives, Zafar Nawaz Jaspal; Addressing nuclear dangers: confidence building between India, China and Pakistan, Dipankar Banerjee; Nuclear arms control challenges in South Asia, Bhumitra Chakma; Bibliography; Index.

About the Editor: Bhumitra Chakma, University of Hull, UK

Reviews: ‘Pakistan and India have been on the verge of nuclear war several times in the past two decades. This book explores the complexities of their relationship with great clarity and in unparalleled depth. It will be an invaluable resource for anyone seeking accurate, detailed and up-to-date information on the nuclear balance in South Asia.’
Peter Mayer, University of Adelaide, Australia

‘The Asian subcontinent has, thus far, escaped the unimaginable horrors of nuclear Armageddon. But can the world expect this good fortune to last forever? Or does “good fortune” have nothing to do with it? This careful study explores the nuclear theory, doctrine, politics, arms control measures, and external pressures that help explain why intense national rivalries and superheated passions so far remain contained.’
Robert M. Hathaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, USA

For the CMSI volume cited, see Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, William S. Murray, and Andrew R. Wilson, eds., China’s Future Nuclear Submarine Force (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007).