“Nuclear Submarines in South Asia: New Risks and Dangers”
Article by M.V. Ramana,
Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security
and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues
School for Public Policy and Global Affairs
The University of British Columbia
Zia Mian and A.H. Nayyar,
Program on Science and Global Security
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Published by the Journal of Peace and Nuclear Disarmament
June 11, 2019
ABSTRACT: The South Asian nuclear race is moving to sea, with India’s government announcing that it has successfully put nuclear weapons at sea, and evidence suggesting that Pakistan is preparing to do so. This article traces India’s decision to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, some armed with nuclear weapons, and the debate in Pakistan on the utility of nuclear-armed submarines and the possible acquisition of nuclear powered submarines. The article then reviews the global history of submarine accidents, especially those where nuclear-powered submarines were involved, and looks in particular at the consequences of a potential naval reactor accident where radioactivity might be released into the environment. Such naval reactor accidents constitute a major but unappreciated challenge associated with the deployment of nuclear submarines in addition to new pathways for escalation to nuclear war that are more widely recognized.
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Professor M.V. Ramana, Ph.D. is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School for Public Policy and Global Affairs, The University of British Columbia.