CREATING A CONSTITUENCY FOR UNILATERAL NUCLEAR RESTRAINT IN PAKISTAN: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

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The last few years have revealed an increasing trend of ‘vertical proliferation’ in the South Asian

region. Recent revelations about quantitative and qualitative developments in the nuclear and

missile inventories of India and Pakistan indicate a higher likelihood of an impending nuclear

arms competition in the region. If the disintegration of the Soviet Union set any precedent, it

suggests that an arms race would be to the detriment of Pakistan’s national security. First,

nuclear weapons do not prevent proxy wars and therefore may not improve the quality of a

state’s security; second a large number of nuclear weapons cannot help a state prevent its

disintegration from within; and third a nuclear arms competition amongst the two protagonists is

to the detriment of the state which, like Pakistan, has a lesser ability to absorb undue pressures

on its fragile economy. Yet Pakistan is increasing both its fissile material stockpile and its

dependency on nuclear weapons and public discussion about unilateral arms control or nuclear

restraint is negligible.

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Sadia Tasleem