The China–India–Pakistan Nuclear Triangle: Consequential Choices for Asian Security
Special Reports

The China–India–Pakistan Nuclear Triangle: Consequential Choices for Asian Security

The “China-India-Pakistan Nuclear Trilemma” project seeks to map the contours of China, India, and Pakistan’s nuclear relationship, identifying the key drivers of conflict, and exploring practical measures for nuclear risk reduction, crisis stability, and confidence building amongst the three countries. The project is a collaboration between the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network and the Toda Peace Institute.

Salman Bashir’s special report, posted here, was first published in the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament. Below is his report abstract:

Asia-Pacific is the new locus of global power politics. To contain the rise of China, India has joined the United States in shaping a “geopolitical” response to China’s “geo-economic” outreach. A “maritime dimension” has been added to the complex “continental” contestations between India–China, and India-Pakistan, injecting new risks of nuclear instability in the region. Responsibly managing competition is emerging as a key theme. India’s nuclear and military modernization programs are status-driven. The Indo-US defence partnership has led to a worsening of India–China relations and disturbed the tenuous strategic balance between Pakistan and India. A nuclear conflict between China and India is unlikely. Nuclear risks in South Asia remain high. Conventional imbalance and Indian bellicosity have compelled Pakistan to develop a doctrine of “full-spectrum” credible minimum nuclear deterrence.


About the Author

Ambassador Salman Bashir‘s diplomatic career spanned both multilateral and bilateral appointments at home and abroad.

He joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in February 1976. At the Foreign Ministry, he served as Desk Officer United Nations and OIC (1979 to 1980), Director United Nations, Economic Coordination and Non-Aligned Movement (1985 to1988), Director General United Nations and International Organizations (1995-1999) and Additional Foreign Secretary Asia and Pacific (2003 to 2005).

His diplomatic assignments abroad included the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies in Geneva (1980 to 1984), Director General for Political Affairs at the OIC Secretariat in Jeddah (1988 to1995), Ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania (1999 to 2003) and Ambassador to China and Mongolia (2005 to 2008).

From 2008 to 2012 he served as Foreign Secretary, before being appointed Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India (2012 to 2014).

Ambassador Bashir is an honorary member of Foreign Minister’s  Advisory Board.

Disclaimer: The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network or any of its members. The APLN’s website is a source of authoritative research and analysis and serves as a platform for debate and discussion among our senior network members, experts and practitioners, as well as the next generation of policymakers, analysts and advocates. Comments and responses can be emailed to

Image: IStock-joinstar / Sun-young HWANG.