Maintaining the balance of power is considered essential to stability and peace. What happens when nuclear weapons enter the equation? Petr Topychkanov, senior researcher at the SIPRI Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Program, tells Olga and Hugh that nuclear proliferation in South Asia has lessened the intensity of traditional warfare fuelled by local geopolitics. Together they explore what his findings mean more broadly for doctrines of deterrence
It’s not just new nuclear states that pose new challenges for conflict prevention. Petr weighs in on the question of how inclusive and transparent arms control discussions should be, given that to date, they have involved only Russia (and before it the Soviet Union) and the United States. Are broader talks possible, and do countries even want them? What would bring China to the table? Would France or the UK be interested? The latter, after all, has recently heightened the role of ambiguity in its nuclear policy. He also discusses how artificial intelligence, among other new technologies, is altering the nature of warfare and to what extent nuclear weapons encourage restraint in the face of these growing capabilities
For more information, read Petr Topychkanov’s latest report South Asia’s Nuclear Challenges: Interlocking Views from India, Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States (https://www.sipri.org/publications/2021/other-publications/south-asias-nuclear-challenges-interlocking-views-india-pakistan-china-russia-and-united-states).