31 Events

Seminar - Open to the Public

India and Nuclear Asia: Forces, Doctrine and Dangers

Thu., Apr. 11, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Frank O'Donnell, Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Naval War College

The speaker will detail the arguments of his recent book, India and Nuclear Asia: Forces, Doctrine and Dangers. The book explores the post-1998 evolution of Indian nuclear thought, its arsenal, the triangular rivalry with Pakistan and China, and New Delhi's nonproliferation policy approaches. The speaker argues that emerging trends in all three states are elevating risks of regional inadvertent and accidental escalation. These include the forthcoming launch of naval nuclear forces within an environment of contested maritime boundaries; the growing employment of dual-use delivery vehicles; and the emerging preferences of all three states to employ missiles early in a conflict. These dangers are amplified by the near-absence of substantive nuclear dialogue between these states, and the growing ambiguity of regional strategic intentions. To mitigate these trends, the speaker recommends that the three states initiate a trilateral strategic dialogue, and that India institute a strategic defense review to resolve the growing ambiguities around its conventional and nuclear deterrence and improve public confidence in them.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Co-Sponsored by Project on Managing the Atom

India test-fired its surface-to-surface nuclear capable Agni-I (A) ballistic missile off Abdul Kalam Island in its eastern state of Odisha on 6 February 2018.

Wikimedia CC/Tasnim News Agency

Seminar - Open to the Public

India's Search for Deterrence: Nuclear Subcultures and Policy Choices

Thu., May 17, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Frank O'Donnell, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

This seminar will first discuss how the requirements of Indian deterrence, as perceived by New Delhi's strategic elite, have evolved since 1998. It will next detail the characteristics of two "minimalist-political" and "maximalist-operational" schools of thought within Indian nongovernmental strategic elite discourse, and how their comparative influence has changed over time. The seminar will reconstruct the policy options developed by this strategic elite as it faced each nuclear policy juncture and demonstrate how a numerically dominant option in each discourse provides a reliable proxy indicator for the subsequent official strategic decision. It will conclude with an exploration of how this approach can inform scholarly understanding of current and potential future Indian nuclear policies.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Fuel Cycles, Fissile Materials and Force Postures: A Case Study of Pakistan

Wed., Mar. 1, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

This seminar will analyze Pakistan's existing and projected nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and their effect on the country’s nuclear posture. Pakistan has been producing HEU since the mid-1980s and following the commissioning of the first production reactor in 1998, the country has expanded its plutonium production and reprocessing capabilities to meet the needs of a credible deterrent, comprising twelve types of ballistic and cruise missiles—which now form a strategic triad. While these capabilities have been progressively built over four decades and are modest in comparison to emerging capabilities in the region, Pakistan is viewed as having the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal. Resource constraints and the requirements of maintaining a credible conventional deterrence, coupled with the evolving threat spectrum will determine the future direction and scope of its strategic force posture.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Pakistan's Nuclear Quest: A Bureaucratic Politics Perspective

Thu., Mar. 3, 2016 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

This seminar will examine the causes and consequences of Pakistan's nuclear decision-making in terms of bureaucratic politics and how it impacted the choices made in the acquisition of nuclear capability and shaped the country's nuclear policies, posture, and strategic beliefs.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

event

Seminar - Open to the Public

Regaining Lost Pride: The Impact of Status Claims on Nuclear Policy

Wed., May 20, 2015 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

At 10:00 AM on May 20th, Sven-Eric Fikenscher will present an MTA Seminar, titled "Regaining Lost Pride: The Impact of Status Claims on Nuclear Policy." This presentation will enquire into the meaning and implications of status-seeking in the nuclear realm. The status-seeking notion is a particularly contentious one, since there is not even a consensus in the literature on whether status-seekers are prone to proliferate (as most first-generation analyses point out) or likely to exercise restraint (as the majority of more recent studies claim). Fikenscher will argue that a country’s nuclear policy is shaped by a government’s claimed level of importance and its perception of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The more the nuclear non-proliferation regime is perceived to undermine a government’s claims to greatness, the more likely that government is to pursue a nuclear weapons program. The theoretical model’s explanatory power is being tested in the context of India’s nuclear tests and overall test ban policy. Coffee and tea provided - open to the public!

Seminar - Open to the Public

Conventional Postures After Nuclear Acquisition

Wed., Apr. 15, 2015 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

Do nuclear weapons allow states to avoid costly conventional arms-races? Building on evidence from Pakistan and other nuclear-armed states, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow Ahsan Butt will argue that states will practice such "substitution" only under limited conditions: when they are satisfied with the territorial status-quo, and their primary security challenges can be deterred by nuclear weapons.