Second Strike: Explaining Sea-based Deterrence in South Asia

by Amina Afzal Submarine-based nuclear capabilities are considered the most survivable leg of a nuclear triad. While conventional submarines are constrained by their fuel requirements and limited underwater endurance, nuclear powered submarines have greater endurance and enhanced tactical and strategic capabilities. Both a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) and a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) are nuclear-powered,…

Deterrence Stability in South Asia: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

India and Pakistan’s seaward nuclearization has received great scholarly attention off late. The thrust of recent literature on the issue focuses on whether an at-sea deterrent has bolstered deterrence stability or aggravated chances of an outbreak of a crisis with escalatory potential. While proponents of a sea-based nuclear force argue that it will augment second-strike…

Deterrence Stability In South Asia: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

In a 2014 article titled “To Sea or Not to Sea: A Nuclear Triad in South Asia,” I had argued that nuclear weapons at sea would help strengthen deterrence stability in South Asia–quoting Professor Mario Carranza, the article highlighted that acquiring a second strike capability would ensure “stability of the balance of terror.”  In light of recent developments…

Hot take on Elections 2018: Towards a New Pakistan?

By Amina Afzal The July 2018 election has been criticized for being engineered in favor of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, of being contested under China’s shadow, and for bringing religion to the fore of Pakistani politics. Yet the nation chose to exercise its right to elect a new government and cast their votes notwithstanding the terrorist attack in Quetta and despite the…

Why Pml-N Is No Favorite To Win Pakistan’s Election

By Amina Afzal In Pakistan, both the establishment and ethnic, nationalist, religious, and regional parties have played important roles as kingmakers, helping shape electoral politics, and will continue to do so in the upcoming general elections. Provincial strongholds are also an important factor influencing elections, as is evident in Punjab—the electoral success of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz…

The ball is in India’s court

by Amina Afzal Pakistan-India relations are defined as much by cricket as they are by conflict. Mirroring the political tensions between the two countries right now, the relationship between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is also at its lowest. Amid growing tensions, the Asia Cup…

The On Again-Off Again Alliance

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s recent visit to Washington came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s decision to suspend security aid to the country earlier this year.  Although visits to and from Washington highlight the importance of a continued relationship, bilateral relations have been characterized by their on again,…

Politics, economics and nuclear deals

by Amina Afzal Originally published in Tribune French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to India coincides with the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster seven years ago. However, this will have no effect on proposed talks about a nuclear agreement between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and France’s EDF on six nuclear reactors.…

India’s Export Control Regime: From Possible Proliferator to Responsible Nuclear State?

By Amina Afzal On December 7, 2017, India became the 42nd member of the Wessanar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime that promotes greater transparency and responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual- use goods and technologies. In another significant development India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June…