Nuclear Posture and Technology Trends in South Asia and Ways Ahead

Author: Stefanovich, Dmitry1

Published in National Security Journal, 01 March 2022

DOI: 10.36878/nsj20220301.11

Download full PDF version – Nuclear Posture and Technology Trends in South Asia and Ways Ahead (349 KB)


The dynamics of nuclear posture and weapons technology development in South Asia are diverse and rapidly shifting. Without real measures to manage these, the situation can spiral out of control. Threat perceptions and misperceptions among the leadership of South Asian nuclear weapon states affect doctrinal and force posture shifts in the nuclear domain. Moreover, third parties play an increasingly important role in these dynamics. There is an impetus for creating and implementing risk reduction and arms control measures to address these various factors and their impact on nuclear posture and technology development.

Keywords: South Asia, nuclear weapons, strategic stability, arms control, nuclear
proliferation, emerging technologies


In the broadest sense, South Asia is often considered a focal point of numerous nuclear weapons-related challenges that suggest the potential for nuclear use.1 This assessment is based on three key factors. First, the region is marked by bilateral nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan, which is affected by various third parties. Second, the region is beset by ‘frozen’ conflicts and territorial disputes, including those involving non-state actors. Third, the region is impacted by the general degradation of global and regional security in the 21st century. In light of these factors, this essay will explore nuclear posture and technology trends to offer some suggestions of first steps towards finding solutions in South Asia, including recommendations based on experiences from other parts of the world.

1 Mr Dmitry Stefanovich is a Research Fellow in the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAS).