August 28, 2013
Iskander Rehman, Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, has been awarded the Hugh G. Nott prize (third place) for Drowning Stability: The Perils of Naval Nuclearization in the Indian Ocean, published in the Fall 2012 issue of the Naval War College Review.
Drawing on the insights from his tenure as a visiting fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi from 2011 to 2012, Rehman analyzed the ongoing shift of India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities from land to sea. With India having crossed a monumental milestone in 2009 with the launch of its first nuclear powered attack submarine, it is only a matter of time, Rehman argued, before Pakistan follows suit and formally brings nuclear weapons into its fleet.
The article examined key dynamics and motivations behind the pursuit of sea-based deterrence by India and Pakistan and pointed to China as a key enabler of Pakistan’s advancement as well as a potential future military actor in the Arabian Sea. Rehman highlighted alarming trends of this nuclearization, such as doctrinal ambiguity, dual-use systems preference and brinkmanship, which may have a destabilizing effect on the Persian Gulf region and beyond.
These developments should preoccupy not just the regional actors, but also the United States Navy as it initiates its rebalance towards the Indo-Pacific region, Rehman concluded.