Changing Nature of Deterrence: The Challenge of Asymmetric Threats

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


National Security, Vivekananda International Foundation, Volume 3, Issue 2, p.213-231 (2020)



In spite of massive reduction in the nuclear weapon holdings in recent years, both Russia and the US hold impressive quantities of nuclear arms. Other nuclear weapon (P5) countries hold relatively limited number and some of them (France and UK)have not added significant numbers. Some of the late entrants in Asia continue to increase their arsenal in significant ways. New weapon systems, geopolitics (including nature of governments, leadership and economic disparity), unsettled borders, non-state actors, technology proliferation, lack of progress in disarmament, etc., are all contributing to the erosion of deterrence and strategic stability factors. As a result, in the world today, there are many unsettling factors, which are not only impacting the nature of deterrence but are also influencing the stabilizing/destabilizing criterion.