Can Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers Be ‘Normalised’?

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, Vol. 57, No. 1, Feb-March 2015, pp.117-132

Arundhati Ghose, Adjunct Faculty, ISSSP, NIAS, Bangalore

Manpreet Sethi, ICSSR Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

Survival CoverMark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, is among the latest to hazard solutions to Pakistan’s nuclear dangers and myriad other problems. In his Adelphi book, Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers, he identifies four specific dangers presented by Pakistan’s nuclear programme: the potential for nuclear use; for a nuclear arms race; for nuclear terrorism; and for onward proliferation and nuclear accidents. After an assessment of each danger, he proffers three recommendations, among them the ‘nuclear normalisation’ of Pakistan, defined as offering the country a nuclear-cooperation deal ‘akin to’ the one given to India in 2008.

Is Pakistan indeed amenable to external inducements in the nuclear arena? Does it merit inducements? More importantly, if the West were able to offer them as part of a quid pro quo, would that change the basic drivers of Pakistan’s nuclear policy? If not, could any offer from the West prompt Pakistan to alter its nuclear-weapons trajectory to the satisfaction of the non-proliferation community? Based on the available evidence, it would seem that Fitzpatrick’s answer to these questions is overly simplistic.

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