Home Contact Us
Search :

Nuclear - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3227, 30 August 2010
Towards Regional Stability: Establish an Indo-Pak Nuclear Commission
D Suba Chandran
Deputy Director, IPCS
email: subachandran@gmail.com

Between India and Pakistan, there is little understanding of each other’s nuclear capabilities and doctrines. There is likely to be an increased international pressure on both countries, as a part of the renewed efforts towards global nuclear disarmament. Both regional instability and the likely international pressure calls for an intensive dialogue and innovative approaches.

At the regional level, Pakistan does not consider India’s nuclear doctrine (especially the No-First-Use and Minimum Credible Deterrence) as credible. Rather, Islamabad in Pakistan believes that during crisis period, India will not adhere to its NFU. Besides, the NFU will result in India preparing for a second strike capability, thereby increasing its nuclear arsenals considerably. According to Pakistan, this makes India’s credible deterrence anything but minimal, besides the fact, leading to an arms race. More importantly, Pakistan today believes, that after the Indo-US nuclear deal, India will be able to amass sufficient fissile materials, enabling it to lead the nuclear arms race in South Asia, at a considerable pace, leaving Pakistan behind.

On the other hand, India believes, that its doctrine including the NFU and minimum credible deterrence, is a source of stability. A section within India even believes that the NFU actually provides the space for Pakistan, to engage in overt and covert activities, as India will not be the first use nuclear weapons. Regarding the nuclear deal with the US, a section believes, that this agreement has come up with certain military costs (besides the economic costs), in terms of opening its nuclear facilities to international inspection. India has made substantial commitments to the international organizations including the IAEA and NSG. Pakistan, however, has got a similar understanding with Beijing, without any such commitments.

At the international level, after the relative success of the NPT Review Conference 2010, one is likely to see an increased international pressure on India and Pakistan; especially relating to certain international nuclear treaties – primarily the CTBT and FMCT. The fact that it will not be easy for Obama to get the CTBT ratified will provide space for India and Pakistan to debate the CTBT or prolong the decision. Unfortunately, the FMCT does not provide that space to both countries. Despite the bold statements, it is unlikely that the two countries would be able to withstand the international pressure. Pakistan is dilly dallying with calling for a FMT (Fissile Material Treaty) instead of an FMCT. This suits India, for New Delhi can argue that it will be willing to sign the FMCT, if Islamabad is ready to do the same. Pakistan is afraid that if it signs the FMCT now, it will not be able to match up with India’s already produced fissile materials.

While the Lahore Memorandum provides space for a nuclear dialogue, and there already exists an earlier agreement on sharing each other’s nuclear installations, there is not much trust between the two countries. The reason is the lack of any meaningful and intensive nuclear dialogue, sustained over a period – either at Track-I or Track-II levels. As a part of confidence building, numerous nuclear risk reduction measures have been proposed already. Establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers (NRRCs) on the models of US-Russia has been widely discussed in the strategic circles. Undoubtedly, the NRRCs are a welcome suggestion, but are limited and negative in approach. It hopes to establish two nuclear centers, which will be technical in nature, providing details/alerts regarding nuclear dangers, accidental use and related issues.

What is needed now, at the Indo-Pak level is a positive, larger institution that provides space for continuous and intensive interaction on nuclear issues, which remain uninterrupted with other political/militant developments in Indo-Pak level. None of the major nuclear treaties at the international level are a result of casual one-off meeting, held over a period of two days. International nuclear agreements are the result of an intensive interaction, over a period of years. If India and Pakistan are to have any productive debate leading to a stable understanding, then the nuclear dialogue needs something larger than a mere NRRC, at the technical level.

This is where an Indo-Pak Nuclear Commission on the models of Indus Water Commission may be an idea worth pursuing. Indus Water Commission, created in 1960 after a prolonged negotiation, which resulted in the famous Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), provides two Indus Water Commissioners in India and Pakistan. The Indus Water Commission has met periodically ever since 1960, irrespective of wars and proxy wars, and regime changes. If the IWT is hailed as a major example, of a treaty that have survived four wars and numerous proxy wars, it is because that the Indus Water Commission never broke down, and its Commissioners never failed to meet each other. Two positive ideas from the Indus Water Commission are worth borrowing: an exclusive commission and periodic meeting, irrespective of the prevailing political climate.

The Indo-Pak Nuclear Commission, unlike the proposed NRRC should not be only technical. It could be an ideal forum for the discussion of nuclear doctrines and understanding each other’s anxieties and fears. While the NRRCs will contain two centers in India and Pakistan, the Nuclear Commission could facilitate regular meetings, alternatively in India and Pakistan. In fact, the NRRC could be the technical arm of the Nuclear Commission. Such an Indo-Pak Nuclear Commission has the potential to become a great stabilizer of nuclear relations between the two countries.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
Debak Das,
"Review: India, Pakistan and Incremental CBMs," 18 February 2013
D Suba Chandran,
"Indo-Pak Nuclear Commission: A SWOT Analysis," 11 November 2010
D Suba Chandran,
"Indus Waters Governance-V: One River, Three Dialogues," 27 September 2010
Kriti Mathur,
"Indo-Pak: Cost of the Conflict," 17 August 2010
Pia Malhotra,
"Kashmir: A Case for Watershed Management?," 19 July 2010
D Suba Chandran,
"Should India give up its NFU Doctrine?," 24 June 2010
Prof. Satish Kumar,
"A Moment of Hope or Despair in Pakistan?," 4 May 2010
Siddharth Ramana,
"The Iranian Nuclear Conference," 27 April 2010
Ali Ahmed,
"The Pro-Talks Argument," 3 March 2010
Firdaus Ahmed,
"India at 60: Acquiring Escape Velocity?," 27 January 2010

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Will the Genie Want to Go Back?

The Fall of Rajapaksa: Why Democracies Fail Strongmen

Pakistan: The Military Courts

From Kashmir to Kabul

A Fractured Mandate: The Big Picture

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Pak-Afghan Reset: Will the Taliban and al Qaeda follow?

Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues

Rise India, avoid regional pitfalls

Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?

Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?

The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Strong Leaders, Hard Issues

Pakistan: The Coup that didn’t take

Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis

Processes at the cost of peace?

Cost of Peace

Rise of Democratic Anarchists

Don’t steal the election now

Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the “Eliminate or Extradite” Approach

The Tahirul Qadri Affair

Dhaka as the Gateway to India’s Look East Policy

Modi, Sharif and the Cross-LoC Interactions

Region by Sub-regions

Civil-Military Equations in Pakistan: Que Sera Sera

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2015
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007
 2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999
 1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1900, Tel: 91-11-4100-1901, Tel/Fax: 91-11-4100-1902

© Copyright 2015, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com