Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal – the fastest growing in the world – raises concerns on many grounds. Although far from the scale of the Cold War, South Asia is experiencing a strategic arms race. And the more weapons there are, the more potential for theft, sabotage and nuclear terrorism. Worries that Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons technology might again be transferred to nuclear aspirants have not been expunged. Being outside the nuclear club makes it harder to ensure nuclear safety. Of gravest concern is the potential for a nuclear war, triggered by another large-scale terrorist attack in India with Pakistani state fingerprints, as in the 2008 Mumbai atrocity, this time followed by an Indian Army reprisal. Lowering the nuclear threshold, Pakistan has vowed to deter this with newly introduced battlefield nuclear weapons.
Mark Fitzpatrick evaluates each of the potential nuclear dangers, giving credit where credit is due. Understanding the risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear accidents, Pakistani authorities have taken appropriate steps. Pakistan and India have devoted less attention, however, to engaging each other on the issues that could spark a nuclear clash. The author argues that to reduce nuclear dangers, Pakistan should be offered a formula for nuclear legitimacy, tied to its adoption of policies associated with global nuclear norms.
‘Mark Fitzpatrick provides a very well-informed, comprehensive, balanced and fair picture of the Pakistani case. I learnt more from his insightful analysis than anything else I have read on the subject.’
Hans Blix, Director General Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency
‘Fitzpatrick breaks from the common, one-sided Western assessments of Pakistan’s nuclear programme by carefully examining its drivers and the regional security dynamics that impelled its evolution. He boldly – and correctly – identifies the issues that need to be addressed to establish deterrence stability in South Asia.’
Maleeha Lodhi, former Pakistani envoy to the United States and the United Kingdom