- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Experts Launch Dialogue on U.S.-Pakistan Relations

In April, a Belfer Center delegation met with former Pakistani nuclear officials in Istanbul, marking the start of a track 1.5 dialogue. The talks focused on two important goals: strengthening strategic stability in South Asia and improving U.S.-Pakistani bilateral relations. The meeting came at a time of transition for both countries—the new administration in Washington, D.C., is still formulating its South Asia policies, while Pakistan’s National Command Authority (NCA), which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, is undergoing changes within its own offices.

Participants discussed a number of issues, including the state of strategic stability in South Asia, pathways that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons, fissile material production in South Asia, nuclear security policies and practices of each country, and trends in the overall U.S.-Pakistani relationship. Participants identified areas of possible cooperation to strengthen the bilateral relationship, and steps that could contribute to regional peace, security, and stability.

The Belfer Center’s Gary Samore welcomed attendees to the first day of meetings, along with Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, former Director General of the NCA’s Strategic Plans Division. The U.S. delegation also included Belfer Center Senior Fellows Gen. James Cartwright and William Tobey, the International Security Program’s Steven Miller, and the Project on Managing the Atom’s Matthew Bunn and Martin Malin. Mansoor Ahmed, a Belfer Center post-doctoral fellow, joined the meetings as part of the Pakistani party.

The Pakistani group included: Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, former Secretary of Defense; Zamir Akram, Ambassador and former Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva; and Syed Muhammad Ali, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies.

The two-day workshop served as the first of a series of meetings aimed at generating publications on strategic issues and policy proposals for both the U.S. and Pakistan. The delegations plan to continue their discussions.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

"Experts Launch Dialogue on U.S.-Pakistan Relations." Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (Summer 2017).


Gary Samore

Steven E. Miller