my thoughts on the South Asian Nuclear Panel...| July 20, 2011
In light of the Mumbai attacks, I was looking forward to the "Ticking Time Bomb: South Asia's Nuclear Build Up." Unfortunately, I felt it added nothing substantial to what I already knew and what information is out there.
The fact of the matter is as long as Pakistan keeps receiving aide, it will continue to funnel that money towards its arms on the Indian border. As such India's use of nuclear power or the improvement of its arsenal is not going to decrease, and it should not from a security and economics purpose. While civilian nuclear power must obviously be pursued with caution (for safety, health, and environmental issues), it is highly unlikely nuclear actions will be taken against Pakistan by India. India has far too much to lose with its growing status as a world power, and Pakistan is grappling with far too much internal turmoil. The security focus must in fact shift to controlling third parties, independent and state-supported. A more targeted approach could help prevent aide from being funneled to such parties and prevent acts of incitement against India. Furthermore, India's nuclear buildup is not going to decrease or stop because of sheer profitability. While the west has enjoyed the fruits of the nuclear monopoly for the past fifty years, countries like America can and are reaping the benefits of lucrative nuclear contracts with states like India. Frankly, the current economy does not give us the option to turn down potential profit building opportunities.
What I also found discerning was the rather Pakistan-heavy panel. It seemed very one-sided in my opinion with almost all the members being from Pakistan or have strong Pakistani ties. There was only one Indian representative, so perhaps this explains why I found the discussion to be poor and uninformative. I think USIP needs to do a better job of employing diverse panels to ensure a more balanced discussion.
Anyhow, enough of my rant. It is a touchy subject to say the least, and I was disappointed with the discussion that was held. Hopefully, positive dialogue will continue between the two countries, and an uneasy peace will remain.