The image shows a ballistic missile Photograph: NTB Scanpix
Research Project

Strategic stability, new technologies and the future of nuclear disarmament in Asia

2019 - 2021 (Ongoing)

This project examines the main obstacles to nuclear arms control and disarmament, focusing on Asia.

While Russia and the U.S. remain the largest nuclear powers, the rapid growth of military power in Asia makes it vital to include the region in future arms control and disarmament efforts. The nuclear-armed Asian states – China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea – are all investing heavily in their nuclear arsenals and advanced conventional capabilities. This buildup is potentially destabilizing: With intensifying rivalry between China and the U.S., as well as between Pakistan and India, the risk of an armed conflict escalating to a nuclear confrontation is increasing.

We argue that the key impediment to arms control and disarmament derives from a growing sense of threat to strategic stability among the NWS. This perceived threat is driven not only by the nuclear acquisitions of potential adversaries, but also by the introduction of advanced conventional capabilities that may threaten nuclear arsenals, such as precision-weapons, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, missile defense, hypersonic weapons, and cyber threats to command and control systems. This entanglement of conventional and nuclear arms, as well as the increasing number of actors involved, has complicated efforts at arms restraint.

The project will analyze current and future potential threats to strategic stability with a view to how best to address such challenges. It aims to produce new ideas and policy-relevant insight on how to bolster stability and promote restraint – whether through confidence-building measures, enhanced crisis communication or arms control – and foster new progress on nuclear disarmament. The project will put special emphasis on the challenges of new non-nuclear technologies, and whether and how such technologies may be included in arms control and disarmament agreements. Through cooperation and outreach with scholars, practitioners and civil society-groups, the project also aims to promote deliberation and exchange of ideas on strategic stability, arms control, and disarmament.

Funding program

The project is funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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