The strategic landscape of South Asia, and indeed of Asia at large, changed dramatically in 1998 and 1999. With the reciprocal testing of nuclear weapons in 1998 and medium range ballistic missiles in 1999, India and Pakistan emerged from the world of threshold nuclear status to an overt posture as nuclear weapon states. The Kashmir crisis of mid-1999 made clear that the new status each claimed did not remove the danger of war, but certainly increased the stakes if war occurred.
A number of important strategic issues are raised by these dramatic events. This paper will attempt to examine the implications of this new posture for each country and for the region. First and foremost, the decisions to test nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles were a product of each individual state making a sovereign decision about its national security needs. Both have made clear for a number of years that their attitudes toward nuclear weapons-and by default, toward nuclear non-proliferation-will not be directed by outsiders. The test decisions cannot be undone and it now falls on both countries to decide what strategies will best serve them, and what obligations they must now assume. They must now reevaluate, if not discard, any assumptions they may have harbored about the stability of deterrence and the unlikelihood of conflict once nuclear weapons were brought out into the open. Issues such as strategic planning, weaponization, deployment, and command and control, which heretofore were relegated to the back burner, may no longer be deferred.
What comes next, therefore, is just as important as the nuclear and missile tests. Neither India nor Pakistan has a ready model to examine for guidance about how best to function in a nuclear deterrent relationship. Some analysts look to the US-USSR Cold War confrontation for parallels or examples, but India and Pakistan's geographical proximity, history of direct conflict, and lack of alliance buffers makes their situation quite different-but whether for better or worse remains to be seen. Others argue that India and Pakistan will restrain their competition and do little more than maintain minimum capabilities in order to assure 'recessed" or "latent" deterrence. China, watchful and critical of India's actions, is unlikely to make significant changes over the near term, but may have to reevaluate its own strategic posture, which could make it more difficult for India to define what a "minimum capability" entails.
Sir Michael Howard said that deterrence rests on a combination of accommodation and reassurance, not on nuclear threats alone. The May 1998 tests certainly made the nuclear threats manifest, but did not prevent the outbreak of conflict in May 1999. The reciprocal missile testing of early 1999 underscored the threat each posed, but again did little to prevent conflict from erupting. The elements of reassurance and accommodation must now also be brought to center stage, as they will be at least as important as threats in ensuring national security.
Reassurance and accommodation will involve diplomatic steps that heretofore might have been unnecessary. It will mean each side must engage in a dialogue with the other in the absence of trust, in the knowledge that each must continually monitor what the other does, and in fear that no defense is available to prevent the other from launching a devastating nuclear attack. In this environment, New Delhi and Islamabad will need to find ways to convince each other that each is secure, not just that each is threatened; the relationship must be one of coordination and mutual dependence, not just conflict.
National Security and Stability
Acquiring an overt nuclear capability may force both India and Pakistan to reexamine a number of issues which might have been delayed or deferred under conditions of nuclear ambiguity. One important issue is the question of how a nuclear capability, regardless of its configuration, meets the country's broad security needs; a more narrow issue is whether or not to weaponize and/or deploy nuclear forces; a third important question involves the need for command and control.
Strategic planning and nuclear capability
On the basis of their own pronouncements, India and Pakistan took the step to test nuclear weapons in order to enhance security in what they consider to be an insecure region. In April 1998, India's Defense Minister George Fernandes spoke darkly about the menace from China; Pakistan's Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan was equally apprehensive in his assessment of India, even before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began the nuclear test series on May 11. The BJP evidently long ago concluded that an overt nuclear posture was necessary to confront the Chinese threat, and virtually the whole of Pakistan's defense structure, from conventional to nuclear capabilities, has been a response to the perceived threat from India. Both have presumably concluded that this overt nuclear posture will enhance security, and reduce the likelihood that war will break out and that they will be targeted with nuclear weapons, if it does. [See table 9.1]
Indian and Pakistani strategists alike have argued that nuclear weapons have only been used in the past in situations of nuclear asymmetry-where one state has nuclear weapons but the other does not. Some Indian analysts argue that in situations of nuclear asymmetry, a nuclear armed state may "blackmail" another, i.e. threaten a non-nuclear state without fear of retaliation. By this reasoning, India remained subject to Chinese blackmail, an unstable relationship which needed to be corrected with an overt nuclear posture. Similarly, once India had tested, Pakistan became subject to Indian blackmail, an unstable relationship which also had to be corrected with some in kind response. The nuclear tests in May presumably corrected the asymmetries and instabilities.
These assumptions about the utility of nuclear weapons in redressing security imbalances should not go unchallenged, especially in light of the BJP's initial indication that it would conduct a thorough strategic evaluation of India's defense needs. Rather than evaluating the utility of nuclear weapons as part of India's defense structure, however, the BJP quickly conducted tests, which stacked the strategic deck before the Strategic Defense Review (SDR) could be conducted. The BJP had also announced that a National Security Council (N SC) would be formed. It was presumably to be the function of this organization to conduct the SDR, and to evaluate what India's strategic needs were. By testing nuclear devices somewhat precipitately, the question of whether or not nuclear weapons were even necessary was made moot. It was left to the NSC to determine how the nuclear devices already tested fit into a strategic review whose conclusion might otherwise have been that nuclear weapons would ill-serve India's needs. The result is that those elements within India which benefit from the nuclear tests-what Itty Abraham calls the strategic enclave-have already dictated the terms of the debate.
Short-circuiting such an important issue should be avoided in the future by ensuring that a variety of points of view are represented. It is not at all clear that an overt policy serves India's strategic needs better than the ambiguous option policy, but it is now too late for argument. Even if India wanted to reverse course, Pakistan has been energized to such an extent that neither side will find it easy to back away from its new status. Whether Western countries recognize India as a nuclear weapons state or not, Pakistan does, and will continue to treat India accordingly regardless of what government holds power in New Delhi.
Pakistanis believe that their strategic calculations are somewhat simpler, at least on the surface. Pakistani historians and political analysts argue that Pakistan's vulnerability was made evident in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India, and made it necessary to balance its dependence on outside sources for military assistance and to take steps on its own to counter India's conventional superiority. In 1965, many Pakistanis felt that the U.S., when it cut off military assistance to both India and Pakistan during their August-September war, failed to honor its commitments under the terms of the U.S. -Pakistan defense agreements of the 1950s. Then in 1971, both China and the U.S. stood by and watched as India carved Pakistan into two parts, playing midwife to Bangladesh. This line of argument conveniently overlooks Pakistan's internal dislocations and failed policies, but nonetheless undergirds Pakistan's fairly consistent strategic argument that only an independent nuclear capability will (a) remain under Islamabad's exclusive control and (b) deter India from "finishing the job" it began in 1971. Described in these terms, Pakistan feels that it cannot afford to be seen as inferior to India or cowed by Indian behavior. Thus, at every technical turn, Pakistan will attempt to match any Indian development.
Islamabad's external focus, with its preoccupation on the need for nuclear deterrence, overlooks important internal issues which may prove to be more threatening to Pakistani security than any threat posed by India. The events leading up to the 1971 war provide a cautionary tale for Pakistan. It was not grievances with India which either forced or allowed-depending on one's point of view-India to exploit Pakistan's weakness. Rather, it was Pakistan's inability to resolve its internal ethnic problems which created conditions of insecurity.
Pakistan again faces extremely difficult internal challenges: in Karachi with the disenfranchisement of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM); in the Punjab with sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'a; in Azad Kashmir with terrorist forces who may not respond to Islamabad's agenda; and throughout the country with the influence of the Taleban's success next door in Afghanistan, a success many credit Pakistan with enabling. Nuclear weapons will not solve any of those problems. For some, nuclear weapons provide a unifying symbol of Pakistani statehood, but just as the unifying symbol of Islam was by itself insufficient to hold the state together in the 1970-1971 crisis, so too will the symbol of nuclear weapons be insufficient to hold the country together. Vast economic reforms and social programs will provide a much sounder basis for national security than nuclear weapons, whose utility in serving the security needs of Pakistan is connected entirely to events in the past which were essentially domestic in nature. It may well be that Pakistan's nuclear capability will keep India at bay, but that capability will have no effect on the internal dislocations and failed social policies which again threaten to tear Pakistan asunder.
Weaponization, Deployment and Stability
After the Pakistani tests, some scientists were quick to claim that the nuclear devices were already "weaponized" and ready to go on missiles. Less was said in India on this score, but in any case, certain questions now ought to be addressed by both sides. What does weaponization mean? Would the steps involved in weaponization increase or decrease stability? Is deployment desirable? What measures will enhance stability? Since the goal in developing nuclear capabilities presumably is to deter rather than to compel, what steps should be taken or avoided to increase stability and to ensure that war never breaks out? Did the overt nuclear posture calm the Kargil crisis once it erupted, or did the confrontation occur because nuclear weapons had been brought into the open? Not all of these questions can be answered here, but the need to address them cannot be avoided by strategic planners in New Delhi and Islamabad.
Although the starting point of weaponization is conceptually and physically different from the end point of deployment, a gray area exists where the two merge. It is also clear that a range of command and control mechanisms would have to come into play as a state moved from the basic step of testing a nuclear device toward more technically complicated measures. By way of definition, weaponization can be thought of as the process of developing, testing, and integrating warhead components into a militarily usable weapon system. Deployment can be defined as the process of transferring bombs and/or warheads to military units for storage and rapid mating with delivery systems at military bases.
The first necessary step in weaponization therefore is to design and test a weapon, which both India and Pakistan now claim to have done. The next steps grow increasingly complicated and call for extensive government integration and direction: ensuring that the nuclear devices are accident-proof; designating a delivery vehicle for the tested device; developing the arming, firing, and fusing mechanisms for the weapon; conducting environmental and delivery tests to ensure that the weapon system could survive harsh and diverse conditions; developing handling procedures for the weapon components; assigning responsibility for the weapon systems with respect to storage, physical protection, and delivery; and training the responsible personnel. Perhaps in peacetime, but more likely in time of crisis, it might be deemed necessary to deploy the weapons. This might involve mechanically preparing the delivery vehicles, transporting the weapons (or weapon components) to a staging site, final assembling of weapons, mating weapons with delivery vehicles, and delegating the authority to fire.
Based on the foregoing description of this process, it would appear that neither India nor Pakistan has taken steps to weaponize or to deploy their nuclear capabilities. Indeed some analysts argue that these steps need not take place and will not take place, because both sides desire only recessed or latent deterrence-for India against China and Pakistan, and for Pakistan against India. Restraint with respect to weaponization and deployment would help to stabilize crises and ensure that nuclear weapons were not used without authorization. Given the lack of any established pattern of high level communication or crisis management in a nuclear environment between and among these states, it might be highly destabilizing to take some of the weaponization steps. The boundary between a "just-in-case" capability and a "ready for use" capability becomes difficult to distinguish as weaponization proceeds. When a country slides into a commitment to prepare weapons for use, it creates enormous uncertainties about intentions and may accelerate the pace of competition while undermining the basis for reassurance and accommodation. All sides would benefit from having a very long fuse on their respective nuclear capabilities should a crisis arise or conflict worsen. Avoiding the heightened readiness associated with weaponization would ensure that when tension rises between the two sides, neither is in a position to take sudden action.
This is all the more true with respect to deployment issues. During a crisis, stability is increased if final assembly has not been completed, if last-minute wiring remains undone, and if weapons are not already mated to delivery vehicles. Avoiding deployment would improve safe handling during periods of high tensions, extend the time available for negotiation, reduce the negative influence of inadequate real-time intelligence, and maintain executive control at all times. Public brandishing of the nuclear capabilities places heavy psychological burdens on executives; the best assurance against early or unauthorized use of these capabilities and the best way to reduce stress is therefore to avoid weaponization and deployment.
Command and Control
Beyond showing restraint regarding weaponization and deployment, it is not clear what steps, if any, either state has taken to create command and control mechanisms to reinforce the kind of stability which nonweaponization and nondeployment would create. China's nuclear program has a lengthy history, and includes established command and control mechanisms. Both India and Pakistan have organizations whose responsibility, though somewhat unclear, appears to include at least rudimentary command and control. India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) claimed responsibility for the nuclear tests, and may now be responsible for the stewardship of India's nuclear capability. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) jointly claimed credit for Pakistan's tests, but overall supervision of Pakistan's strategic planning (and therefore its nuclear capability) may fall under the Combat Development Directorate (CDD). [See Tables 9.2 and 9.3]
An extensive discussion of command and control can be found elsewhere, but it is worth reiterating that an important value in constructing such control modalities is that they send the message both in peacetime and during crises that the central authorities-with whom negotiations to end a crisis or to provide reassurance will be conducted-remain in full control of the nuclear capability. A balance must be struck between preparing for the possibility that deterrence will fail (in which case each state will want to be sure it is able to respond), and maintaining civilian political control over the weapons and their delivery vehicles. If deterrence fails, it is in no state's interest to have the result be indiscriminate nuclear attacks on the enemy. At the same time, no side wants nuclear decision making to fall under the purview of groups-such as the military or the scientific community-who are either not legitimate authorities or who lack the broader perspective that political leadership requires. The issue of command and control therefore brings into question the role of the military in both India and Pakistan, as well as the role of their respective scientific communities.
India's uniformed services apparently continue to be excluded from strategic decision making and from nuclear issues. The services have recently proposed that a National Command Authority be established as a high level command institution, with a National Strategic Nuclear Command reporting to it and comprised of military and technical personnel. Whether this proposal ever is accepted remains to be seen. Pakistan's military already appears to play a central role in developing overall strategy through the CDD. Having now moved from a covert to an overt nuclear status, it may be all the more important that the management of nuclear capabilities not be excessively compartmented, in order to ensure against accidental or unauthorized use. Keeping the military ignorant does not insure against unauthorized use. It only guarantees that if and when nuclear capabilities are handed over to military units-in a crisis, most likely-they will be no better prepared to use the weapons than they would be to avoid using them. Even though the probability of untoward or unexpected action is low, the consequence of failing to prevent it is immeasurably high in a nuclear environment.
Although India appears to have chosen to exclude the military, which may increase risks in a crisis, it does have a centralized and coherent scientific community with important responsibilities. Indian analysts have questioned that scientific enclave's accountability and direction, but not its focus. In contrast, Pakistan has evidently involved its military in strategic planning, but has a scientific community apparently at odds with itself, which may create similar risks. As noted above, both the PAEC and KRL claimed responsibility for the nuclear tests and both are competing in the missile development area as well. Competition between the two institutions, as well as personal animosity, has flared into the open in the past. Some coherence must be imposed by Islamabad on these competing bureaucracies to ensure central control in time of crisis.
Sources of Insecurity
The decisions by India and Pakistan to test nuclear weapons gave prominence to the role of deterrence in addressing their security needs. The sources of insecurity which drove the nuclear programs may also be susceptible to reassurance and accommodation, however, and should be examined with that in mind.
Sources of Insecurity The internal cohesion of the Pakistani state, coupled with the continuing dispute over Kashmir, have created important insecurities in the modern history of the subcontinent. Pakistan's historic concerns about India date from the reluctance on the part of many Indian nationalists in 1947 to support the partition of the subcontinent. Although by now it is rare to hear Indians question that historic fact, the rise to power of the BJP alarms many in Pakistan. The BJP's support for Hindu nationalism awakens memories of the turbulent origins of the two states, and reinforces Pakistanis' sense that India is insensitive to the rights of minorities, Muslims included. On India's side, most analysts argue that the existence of Pakistan and the fact of partition are unquestioned realities, while they point to India's constitutional and statutory defense of ethnic and religious minority rights (especially Muslims and in kashmir) as ample evidence of India's fundamentally democratic approach.
Memories of the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 also continue to create insecurities for many Pakistanis who fear that India will exploit its internal weakness to further destabilize it. Although most Pakistanis acknowledge that the insurrection and disruption within East Pakistan in the late 1960s and early 1970s was created by Pakistan's own policies, many analysts continue to argue that India took advantage of this internal dislocation and may do so again. Indians respond that Pakistan's internal policies in 1970-71, which sent ten million refugees into India, created threats to India's own delicate internal fabric and were tolerated for many months before action was taken.
In any case, so it is argued in New Delhi, the shoe is by now on the other foot as Pakistan continues not only to support insurrection within Jammu and Kashmir but to foment war along the Line of Control (LOC), as was made evident by the Kargil battles in mid-1999. Pakistan insists that the Kashmir dispute can only be resolved when the international community honors the United Nations (UN) resolutions of the 1950s which call for a plebiscite within the state after armed forces have been withdrawn from both the Indian and Pakistani sectors. It is rare that Indians and Pakistanis agree on how to interpret the UN resolutions, and still more rare to find agreement about how to resolve this issue peacefully.
India's concerns with China tend to receive less attention internationally, and indeed within India as well. But it cannot be forgotten that a war was fought in 1962 over border disputes which remain unresolved. Furthermore, conservative Indian strategic analysts are alarmed by a variety of Chinese actions which, as they see it, portend a more aggressive and militant Chinese foreign policy in the future. China's rapidly expanding economy, nuclear weapon modernization effort, naval expansion, attitude toward the Spratly Islands, coziness with Myanmar, arms acquisitions from Russia, willingness to fire lethal missiles over Taiwan, and lack of democratic process all conspire, in the view of some Indians, to make China a serious threat to India's long term interests. Against this background, nuclear weapons presumably offer to redress India's insecurities.
For its part, China professes not to understand Indian concerns, and argues that Sino-Indian border discussions had been proceeding favorably before the BJP assumed power. In any case, China's initial reaction of regret at India's tests appeared to be more connected with the challenge India's tests presented to the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), rather than with the challenge they presented to Chinese security. The Sino-Indian dispute over the McMahon Line, which describes their de facto border, is an issue which, in Beijing's view, is "left over from history" and should not result in armed conflict.
The point in recounting this history is not to assign blame or to seek vindication, but to recognize that the problems between India and Pakistan and India and China have not been eliminated. The sources of past conflict continue to be part of the South Asian landscape. As noted above, however, that landscape was transformed in 1998 by the overt display of nuclear capabilities. The power of the weaponry each side now brandishes has changed by orders of magnitude, yet the potential sources of conflict remain the same.
Some strategic analysts-K. Subrahmanyam in particular-argue that the creation of this capability now makes conflict less likely, as all sides are deterred from hostile acts that could lead to war. As evidence, Subrahmanyam points to the decision by Pakistan to fire on demonstrators on its own side of the LOC to prevent their storming into Indian Kashmir, and to the reluctance of Indian leaders to authorize military pursuit into Pakistan Occupied, or Azad Kashmir. Alternately, analysts like Sumit Ganguly note the problem of the stability-instability paradox, where robust deterrence at the strategic level raises not only the threshold for low-intensity conflict, but the risk of unintended war. Local terrorists may assume that national governments are prepared to tolerate low-level conflict in a nuclear environment, and may therefore escalate their actions with the result that state-to-state relations are worsened and tensions increased.
Until the origins of the 1999 "war-like situation" become more clear, it will be difficult to prove either argument. Did Pakistan refrain from going further because it fears escalation? Did local forces create the crisis to insert their own voice into the decision making process? Regardless of which argument one subscribes to, however, in an environment of overt nuclear competition the stakes of either side being wrong are so great that enormous new burdens are placed on the leadership in India and Pakistan. In an environment where nuclear weapons may be available on both sides, neither New Delhi nor Islamabad can afford to make policy on the assumption that deterrence will always work or that the lid on low-intensity conflict will never blow.
The critical feature that must supplement the new nuclear status is a sustained, institutionalized dialogue. A nuclear confrontation is different because neither side can afford to suffer the consequences if the dialogue fails. The other side to deterrence is defense, and in a world where defense is unavailable against nuclear-armed missiles, it is all the more incumbent on national leaders to keep dialogue open. The point is not that India and Pakistan or India and China must agree, but rather that if they choose to forgo dialogue, contentious though it may be, the issues not only will persist but the consequences of their flaring out of control contain enormous dangers for which none are prepared.
Reassurance and Accommodation
The next steps that must be taken to establish a basis for dialogue involve providing some form of reassurance and accommodation. A number of confidence building measures have been proposed over the years, and a few have been adopted, but an air of impatience and frustration tends to greet this issue as India and Pakistan in particular talk past each other. The option of falling back on nuclear threats runs serious risks, however, so all sides may want to consider areas where they could perhaps reassure the others about their insecurities, while considering how to accommodate some of the other's concerns. The most prominent concerns, as noted above, involve Kashmir specifically, border disputes in general, and internal national cohesion.
Following the near-disastrous Kargil gambit, it would be reassuring to India if Pakistan were to announce that it opposed terrorism in all its forms and supported a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute. In this vein, Pakistan could announce that it was ceasing all logistical and training support to all Kashmiri forces operating within Azad Kashmir, and take meaningful enforcement steps to back that commitment. Pakistan's leaders are extremely sensitive to Kashmir issues, and politicians would risk losing votes by appearing to "abandon" Kashmir. At the same time, however, those within Pakistan who feel that they can interminably bleed India by supporting cross-border terrorism should not be allowed to dictate the terms of Pakistan's policy on Kashmir. The longer Pakistan's elected leaders allow (or support) such activities, the more Pakistan's other domestic problems will fester. Allowing the practice of cross-border terrorism to dictate policy effectively legitimizes the behavior, and Pakistan simply cannot afford to support a policy in Kashmir which, if applied within Pakistan's borders, would threaten the integrity of the state. The current government's failure to make good on what may have been unwise promises to rename the Northwest Frontier Area Pakhtunkhawa, coupled with the breakdown of its alliance with the MQM in Karachi, makes it and Pakistan as a whole all the more vulnerable if the government fails to condemn external interference elsewhere.
For its part, India could accommodate Pakistani concerns, which are directed at the welfare of Kashmiri Muslims. A clear commitment to draw down forces within the state in response to reduced terrorist violence would benefit the weary people who have suffered for a decade. A reduction in chauvinist and confrontational rhetoric would also help, though Pakistan should be reassured by the BJP's decision not to attempt to force through a conservative Hindu social agenda since it assumed power. In the changed nuclear environment, however, it is not unfair to ask for more, and a clear statement from New Delhi that it respected and supported Pakistan's internal integrity would provide reassurance to Islamabad on this sensitive point.
Regarding border issues, India could reassure China that its nuclear demonstration was not intended as New Delhi's own way of "blackmailing" China by reiterating that it is committed to the peaceful settlement of the border dispute. Although some conservative Indians argue that the border discussions were less productive than advertised, the principle of negotiation ought to be reinforced, especially following Defense Minister George Fernandes' belligerent statements directed at China, Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee's indiscreet letter citing China as the reason for India's insecurity, and for the nuclear tests themselves.
The types of reassurance suggested above may be offered, but they are likely to be lost in the noise if not made in an institutionalized form. It could therefore reinforce all parties' commitments to the principle of settling their differences by peaceful means if multilateral institutions were established which codified and raised the status of reassuring statements. It might be useful therefore if standing committees were established to discuss Kashmir and border disputes, and if the well established principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states were reinforced. Eliminating indiscriminate firing across the LOC, reducing inflammatory propaganda, providing media access, and safeguarding human rights could all be referred to standing committees in order to provide an ongoing forum for the airing of grievances. In a more general sense, it is important to segregate the causes of conflict in Kashmir from the new nuclear capabilities. Thus it is incumbent on India's and Pakistan' 5 political leaders to address the dangers associated with their recent arms developments forthrightly. The logic of minimum deterrence is insufficient to ensure that war is avoided. When the nuclear programs were kept under a cloak of ambiguity, tacit measures may have been sufficient to provide reassurance. With these programs out in the open, tacit measures must be replaced by more focused and unambiguous dialogue.
Beyond the role of reassurance on standing disputes, however, lies the question of how to cope with the overt nuclear confrontation created by the tests. Regardless of what else happens, it is extremely important that India and Pakistan in particular engage in some kind of discussion to maintain political control over the scientific and military accomplishments demonstrated in May. (Sino-Indian dialogue should not be ignored, but the nuclear dangers in this relationship still lie somewhere in the future.) After the tests, scientists in both countries may be proud, and military leaders may feel renewed confidence, but political leaders have an increased burden to keep the peace. Peace will not be kept if scientists are encouraged or allowed to develop more and better technical capabilities, while the military's understandable tendency to engage in worst-case thinking has historically produced incomplete analyses of a country's threat environment. Simply stated, political leaders must assert their authority over single-issue bureaucratic actors.
Although joining international regimes is no substitute for direct dialogue, it is salutary that India and Pakistan have declared unilateral moratoria on further testing. In addition, both must engage in good faith negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on fissile material controls. This too is not a substitute for direct dialogue, but it is demonstrative of their mutual seriousness of purpose. It would be even more helpful if they now agreed to a moratorium on the production of fissile material while the negotiations proceed. Here they may both pose objections to the extent that they feel that their supplies are inadequate to serve their strategic needs. Again, however, it is important that the scientific and military enclaves not dictate the terms of the debate even before it is engaged. Both India and Pakistan have said they seek only a minimum deterrent. Toward that end, they should be prepared to accept controls on their own fissile material production in order to avoid each side chasing some impossible answer to the question "how much is enough?" The South African model should be emulated, where tight controls were placed on the scientific community and parts for only seven weapons were actually constructed. India and Pakistan's political leaders can assert their authority over civilian scientists to ensure that debate over the merits of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty is not hijacked like the nuclear testing debate.
With their nuclear and missile tests, India and Pakistan have concentrated the world's and their own attention on a key aspect of security. That aspect alone does not guarantee the security of either nation, a point made clear in the USSR and South Africa, where economic and social security were far more important than military security. It is also clear that nuclear deterrence does not prevent all forms of conflict, as made evident by the Kargil confrontation. Having decided to emphasize military security, however, India's and Pakistan's nuclear threats must now be complemented by enhanced diplomatic engagement between India and China on one side, and India and Pakistan on another. India can certainly take a leading role in this arena, just as it did with the nuclear test series it began in 1998.
In addition to the broad conclusion that nuclear threats must be accompanied by reassurance and accommodation, a number of specific points also emerge:
- Weaponization of nuclear capabilities would increase crisis instability and should be avoided
- Deployment of nuclear capabilities would be highly destabilizing under any circumstances
- Military and scientific research and development must be guided and controlled by political decision makers to avoid isolated bureaucratic enclaves from hijacking decision making
- In the new nuclear environment which has not eliminated conflict in Kashmir, both sides should commit to resolve that issue without recourse to arms
- Nuclear "blackmail" cannot substitute for diplomatic dialogue on contentious territorial and other disputes
- Nuclear capabilities will not solve domestic ethnic and sectarian conflicts which must be addressed with respect for minority rights
- Nuclear threats must be accompanied by bilateral discussions across a range of issues, such as:
a) missile research and development
b) military to military relations
c) crisis communication centers
d) scientific exchange and cooperation
The world is made less safe with the addition of new nuclear-capable nations. India and Pakistan would argue that, to the extent this is true, their incremental addition pales in significance when compared with the arsenals of the five declared nuclear-weapon states. But the burden of responsibility is a consequence of technical capability, not of stockpile size or nuclear tests. Countries like Japan, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have every bit as much technical capability as India and Pakistan. Yet, they have concluded that their national security, and international security, are best served by forgoing developing or maintaining that capability. India and Pakistan have drawn different conclusions, however. They now bear the added burden of ensuring that these new capabilities are never used.