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A Book Review: A Normal Nuclear Pakistan

By       Message Muhammad Irfan       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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The book, A Normal Nuclear Pakistan is prepared by Toby Dalton and Michael Krepon. This research is launched by the Stemson Center. It is published in 2015. Although it has 48 pages only, yet due to the rationality maintained in it and the importance of the subject, it is very weighty volume.

The author has investigated the Pakistan's weight-age in the nuclear world order. He seems to endorse Pakistan's liaison to the order if doing so would strengthen nonproliferation norms otherwise this association is difficult due to the erosion of norms (p.5). Nonetheless, he is pessimistic on Pakistan's entry as weakening factor towards the nuclear nonproliferation norms. He cites that Indian entry caused weaknesses in the order (p.6).

On the other hand, he thinks Pakistan's exclusion would cause instability in south Asia and the nuclear order would also remain abnormal (p.6). The author agrees with the common notion that Pakistan has developed nuclear weapons for self-defense. He has unveiled that Pakistan security elites tend to rely on nuclear capacity. This is what, according to author's perspective, increase concerns in the minds of international community due to Pakistan's internal debacles (p.9). He has also highlighted the possibility of Pakistan's ability to join the order.

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He particularly threw light on the constraints that hinder Pakistan to become the member of the mainstream ancillary bodies of NPT such as NSG (Nuclear Supplier Group) P.5. He has enlisted the presence of TTP, Lashkar-i-Tayba and internal terrorism, rooted in Baluchistan as the major concerns for Pakistan's nuclear safety (p.10-11). He has also alleged "Dr. Khan's proliferation activities" (p.12) as major constraint for Pakistan's membership of NSG.

In the following section, author corroborates the Stephen P. Cohen's recommendations for "concluding civil-nuclear deal with Pakistan" in order to bring stability in South Asia and normalize Indo-Pak relations (p.12).

The international nuclear order is defined as, "the arrangements of states, based on norms about the relationship between nuclear weapons, nuclear technology and international political power and behavior (p.12)." Pakistan strives equally to join the main tier of the nuclear order. For the purpose, the author maintains that Pakistan emphasizes on the membership in wake of certain criteria (p.14).

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However, if the membership is unlikely to acquire, the author has suggested one way important for Pakistan; it should build more than sufficient nuclear capability which would in return cost heavily in subject of economic resources (p.15). He further believes that doing this would enable Pakistan to retain a powerful nuclear deterrent that would also be conducive for latter to join the mainstream and to strengthen nonproliferation norms (p.15).

On the matter of Pakistan's future of nuclear activities, the author predicts that Pakistani economy would in upcoming decades, shrink. Hence, it would be unable to sustain the nuclear competitive build up whereas India would sustain (p.17). The author explains that Indian excels in stockpiles of plutonium whereas "Pakistan is out competing Indian in fissile material for nuclear weapons by four to one" (p.20). It is also maintained that Pakistan has adopted a very different, highly competitive posture (p.21).

He is also convinced that in next years, Pakistan would be the third largest nuclear power (p.21). Similarly, he believes that Pakistan has developed panoply of nuclear weapons delivery system (p.22). Despite all the cited capabilities and strategic attributes, the author also unveils "the Islamabad's very long odds against entering the nuclear mainstream" (p.23). He is also skeptical on Pakistan sustainability versus Indian in competition which is "far bleaker for the former than for the latter" (p.23). Meanwhile, "the deterrence stability would remain remote and the more major crisis is likely to erupt, resulting in deterioration of Pakistan's as well as regional security" (p.23). Hereafter, the author suggests the relocation of resources towards nonmilitary and military needs (p.23).

Thus, he proposes that the assured destruction capability without open ended competition with India is inconceivable (p.24)." Due to financial constrains, the author is of the opinion that Pakistani leadership would face very hard budgetary decisions going forward (p.26). Accordingly, he proposes that De-link in resources would enable Pakistan to become normal nuclear state, and Indian would also be bound to follow suit (p.27).

Subsequently, there are two ways for Pakistan, according to the author, to join the nuclear mainstream. "The first is by means of commerce in nuclear technology and equipment. The second is by taking initiatives to reinforce key global nonproliferation norms" (p.28). Regarding becoming normal nuclear state, the author predicts a difficulty that the NSG pathway to nuclear normalcy is difficult for Pakistan unless the national security managers are willing to take new initiatives that alter perceptions of Pakistan's place in the nuclear order (p.29)."

In a realistic world, we live in; the author has awkwardly proposed that unilateral Pakistan steps can constrain New Delhi's choices more than by engaging in a continued nuclear arms competition (p.35)." Otherwise according to the author, Indian leadership will have rationale to expedite nuclear built-up which Pakistan cannot sustain due to financial constraints. Under the ongoing policies, the author concludes that Pakistan is unable to strengthen nuclear order (p.36). Its policy makers have to alter the policy courses. That is how it can be accommodated in the mainstream nuclear order.

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The reviewed research is a rationale analysis on the nuclear deterrence in the South Asia. It is much important particularly when the two sides are locked into clashes along the Line of Control, causing much concern in the realm of national security. This is equally useful for academia, Foreign Service, strategic departments and the students of strategic studies.


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Muhammad Irfan has authored books; (1) The Global Peace and (2) Fighting A Menace. He is an internationally recognized scholar. He has presented his papers in national and international conferences. He is also a freelance journalist and (more...)

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