Nuclear proliferation in South Asia: security in the 1980's

Author/s (editor/s):

Ram Rajan Subramanian

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 26

South Asia as a region can no longer be de-linked from developments in South West Asia and the Persian Gulf because of the strategic significance of Pakistan. Pakistan's security therefore will be a crucial determinant of the stability of the region. India is a medium power with the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons and even deliver them by sophisticated aircraft such as the Jaguar and MiG-23/ Pakistan is attempting to attain a nuclear weapons capability, which according to some western intelligence sources will be achieved sometime in the 1980s. The Reagan administration in the United States is choosing to ignore Islamabad's nuclear weapons capability owing to its strategy for the Persian Gulf.

Dr Subramanian argues that Pakistani acquisition of even an 'evanescent' capability will force Indian re-thinking. He examines scenarios for atomic warfare in the region and proposes that an effective command, control and communications (C3) should be built to deter nuclear war on the sub-continent.

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