Policy Brief 14 – The Urgent Need for Nuclear Risk Reduction in Asia

  • Aug 30, 2014

The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full briefing.

In Asia, the expansion and modernization of nuclear weapons programs is occurring against a backdrop of rising strategic tensions, doctrinal dissonance, weak command and control systems and a worrying absence of crisis stability mechanisms. As a result, the potential for deadly miscalculation leading to nuclear use is growing. In particular, the nuclear rivalry between India and Pakistan, and tensions between the US (plus its allies in North East Asia) and China demand our attention. Ambiguities and competing ideas about nuclear deterrence among these nuclear-armed adversaries make it more likely that a conflict that begins as limited and conventional could spiral into a full-blown nuclear exchange. Despite these dangers, there is a high level of nuclear complacency among international elites and the general public.

Urgent steps are needed to improve communication channels, raise awareness of nuclear dangers, foster cooperative approaches to security and increase support for nuclear disarmament.