Vol. 10 No. 1 (2022): A Journal of Strategic Studies, Summer 2022
Book Reviews

Striking Asymmetries: Nuclear Transitions in Southern Asia, Ashley J. Tellis

Abdul Moiz Khan
Research Officer at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Islamabad.
CISS Insight Journal Summer 2022
Published September 26, 2022
How to Cite
Abdul Moiz Khan. (2022). Striking Asymmetries: Nuclear Transitions in Southern Asia, Ashley J. Tellis. CISS Insight Journal, 10(1), P112-115. Retrieved from http://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/222


Striking Asymmetries: Nuclear Transitions in Southern Asia, is written by Ashley J. Tellis. Ashley Tellis is a renowned scholar and has written extensively on security and strategic issues. He also worked for the US government and during his stay in the government, he was closely involved in negotiating the Civil Nuclear deal between the US and India. He has written several books including ‘Interpreting China’s Grand Strategy.’ He is presently a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His area of interest is Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Though Tellis wrote Striking Asymmetries as a report but it is detailed enough to be considered a book. It examines the changes in nuclear doctrines, capabilities, and nuclear postures of China, India, and Pakistan in recent years. There are four chapters in the book, the first three on China, India, and Pakistan, and the fourth analyzes the nuclear transitions and strategic stability in the region. At the beginning of the first three chapters, brief evolution of the nuclear programs of China, India, and Pakistan is discussed. Then, separately in each case, the evolution of nuclear doctrine – at both declaratory and operational levels – is analyzed. Moreover, the development of components that are essential for maintaining deterrence capability: such as fissile material, nuclear weapons designs and inventories, delivery systems, command-and-control arrangements, and strategic defenses are explained in detail. Furthermore, the operational posture, force employment options, and the extent of nuclear force integration with conventional forces are analyzed by the author. The last chapter takes Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani dyads as referent points and discusses the impact of recent developments on the arms race, deterrence stability, and crisis stability.