Going Tactical: Pakistan’s Nuclear Posture and Implications for Stability Proliferation Papers, No. 53, September 2015
For decades, the Asian security environment has been characterized by multiple strategic rivalries with cascading effects.
Due to its competition with China, India modernizes its armed forces, thus reinforcing its conventional advantage over Pakistan. In the subcontinent, geography, military imbalance, the legacy of past conflicts and infiltration of extremist groups considerably weaken strategic stability. To strengthen its deterrent capability against its stronger neighbour, Pakistan faces significant challenges in developing a conventional response to perceived threats from India. Islamabad thus committed to a “full spectrum” build-up of its nuclear forces, which includes the development of tactical nuclear weapons. As Cold War experience informs, far from simply strengthening its deterrent vis-a-vis India, this move poses numerous operational dilemmas for Pakistan. The ongoing regional quantitative and qualitative arms race combines with continued political tensions between India and Pakistan to create a worrying strategic dynamic in South Asia.