The Nuclear Chain Binding China, India,
and Pakistan in a Tight Embrace
By Ramesh Thakur
The Cold War-era weapons governance structures are no longer fit for purpose in contemporary equations where nuclear dyads have morphed into nuclear chains. The geostrategic environment of the strategic triangle under discussion, for example, had no parallel in the Cold War, with triangular shared borders among three nuclear-armed states, major territorial disputes and history of many wars since 1947. In an increasingly polycentric global order, the dyadic nuclear arms control structure can neither regulate nor constrain the choices of other nuclear -armed states. Yet growing risks point to the urgent need to institutionalize a nuclear restraint regime fit for purpose in the Asia–Pacific. In this Policy Brief, I explore the merits of adapting the Open Skies Treaty and the Incidents at Sea Agreement from the North Atlantic to the Asia–Pacific, and, in the reverse direction, of universalizing a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy from China and India to all nine nuclear-armed states.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh Thakur is emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University; Senior Fellow, Toda Peace Institute; and a member of the APLN Board of Directors. He was formerly a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Co- Convenor of the APLN.
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