As India and Pakistan develop their naval nuclear forces, some experts fear a potentially volatile maritime environment in the Indian Ocean. Over five years have passed since India succeeded in launching its first ballistic missile submarine, and Pakistan has since declared its intent to develop its own sea-based deterrent. In a new Carnegie report, Iskander Rehman argues that there is an urgent need for the two nations to develop a framework to increase transparency and mitigate conflict in future naval interactions. Will the introduction of a sea-based deterrent in India and then Pakistan exacerbate existing tensions, or conversely, serve as a source of stability in years to come? Are the lessons learned by the U.S. and Soviet navies during the Cold War relevant to this twenty-first century relationship?
Iskander Rehman was joined by Linton Brooks to discuss the new report, “Murky Waters: Naval Nuclear Dynamics in the Indian Ocean.” Carnegie’s Ashley J. Tellis moderated.
Iskander Rehman is a nonresident fellow in the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council. He was formerly an associate and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on security and crisis stability in Asia, specifically the geopolitical ramifications of naval nuclearization in the Indian Ocean.
Linton Brooks is a senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Nuclear Issues and a distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University.
Ashley Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues.