The Second Nuclear Age

Reducing Risk for the People of South Asia
13 March 2007
>>Download PDF (216 KB) In the hopeful period following the end of the Cold War, genuine fforts were made to push back the deployment and use of nuclear arms,and some real progress was made.Yet, in recent years, the world has lapsed into a Second Nuclear Age.Backed by rhetoric from the Bush administration on "tactical nukes", missile defence and pre-emptive strikes, many regions in the world are today entangled in a new arms race. Prospects are especially grim in the South Asian region, where two nuclear powers - Pakistan and India - are constantly but one step away from a nuclear war. In the context of this conflict, the theory of deterrence is not only insufficient, but faulty or missing security measures could trigger unwarranted or unintentional scalation into a global catastrophe. There is an acute need therefore to put in place nuclear risk reduction measures without losing sight of the ultimate need for nuclear disarmament. This requires practical steps being taken by both sides, which in turn requires a certain level of trust. In light of the renewed talks between India and Pakistan, after a two year stand off, a new opportunity may be opening up where such steps could be discussed. This Briefing paper offers practical proposals as to what these might be.
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