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Nuclear Strategy in the Modern EraRegional Powers and International Conflict$
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Vipin Narang

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159829

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159829.001.0001

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(p.55) Chapter Three Pakistan
Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era

Vipin Narang

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes and tests the sources of Pakistan's nuclear postures. It shows that the country's choices, and the timing of its shift from a catalytic to an asymmetric escalation posture, are best captured by optimization theory, illustrating how exogenous changes to a state's security environment and alliance options can trigger a shift in nuclear postures. Born into and out of war, Pakistan has always perceived an existential threat from its larger neighbor India. Since 1971, Pakistan has been on a desperate quest to acquire and operationalize a nuclear weapons capability to deter Indian conventional power. As its uranium enrichment program was reaching critical thresholds to enable the weaponization of the program, Pakistan relied on a catalytic nuclear posture which used the credible threat of nuclear escalation to compel its then-patron, the United States, to intercede on its behalf in crises with India.

Keywords:   Pakistan, India, catalytic nuclear posture, asymmetric nuclear posture, security environment, alliance options, India, nuclear threat

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