India-China N-escalation unlikely: Report

India-China N-escalation unlikely: Report

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1

An international think tank has said nuclear escalation between India and China is not only unlikely but also “unthinkable”. It, however, warned that assumptions of “parity” amid extended ranges of nuclear systems and deployments may lead to “misunderstandings and mis-signalling”.

Both countries ‘on same page’

Chinese and Indian experts share the same stance on no-first use and that nuclear escalation between the two countries is not only unlikely, but also unthinkable. — SIPRI, International think tank

Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Thursday released its report “South Asia Nuclear challenges Interlocking views from India, Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States”. It cited experts from the five countries to build an argument.

“Among Chinese and Indian experts, there was a prevailing view that they shared the same stance on no-first use and that nuclear escalation between the two countries was not only unlikely, but also unthinkable,” the report said.

The report warned that assumptions of “postural parity” may bring stability in the short term, especially when altercations were largely limited to skirmishes at the border, but in the longer term, such assumptions might lead to “misunderstandings and mis-signalling”.

The continued dominance in Indian analyses of the concept of a “two-front” threat from China and Pakistan meant that greater consideration of how deterrence would operate among these three countries, said the SIPRI report.

Emerging technologies may have a cascading effect. “Experts from India and Pakistan expressed concerns over how hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and autonomy may change the concept of deterrence,” the report said.

The report cited the February 2021 India–Pakistan joint statement on ceasefire and withdrawal of Chinese and Indian forces from Pangong Tso area in the aftermath of the Galwan clashes. It said, “Systemic problems remain that suggest the need for more flexibility.”

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