Nuclear Risk-Reduction Measures in Southern Asia (1998)

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India and Pakistan have now embraced the language, if not the spirit of confidence-building measures (CBMs). Government officials, media commentators and researchers now use this term frequently. In China, the language of confidence-building measures is still used sparingly, and mostly with foreigners. Over time, this, too, is likely to change.

CBM accords in southern Asia have been negotiated between India and Pakistan as well as between India and China. Implementation of agreements between India and Pakistan, however, has been spotty, at best. Hotlines installed to ensure open communication channels between political and military leaders regularly fall silent during periods of tension. This problem is particularly evident along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir, where the level of violence has grown appreciably in recent years. Both countries claim that a 1991 accord banning airspace incursions by military aircraft is periodically violated. In contrast, implementation of Sino-Indian CBMs has proceeded in a more professional manner, but the pace of progress has been quite slow.