Michael KreponLearning About Nuclear South Asia

The Stimson Center has been hard at work creating a free, open, online course on “Nuclear South Asia.” We’ve designed the course for students, teachers, strategic analysts and interested onlookers. The material is accessible, and it’s offered with the help of over sixty experts from India, Pakistan, and the United States. A promo video for the course can be found here:

We offer this course because it’s needed. There aren’t many courses available — and certainly not with so much expertise from the region and the United States. Another reason: The nuclear competition in South Asia shows no signs of stabilization.

The Stimson Center’s course can be found on Udemy with video lectures and reading materials. Step-by-step enrollment instructions are available on our website. In addition, we’ve posted some of the videos on Vimeo and YouTube.

The first two sections of the course are now available online:

  • Section 1, Introduction: Introduces key nuclear debates, walks through the course structure, and previews the various sections of “Nuclear South Asia.”
  • Section 2, Nuclear History in South Asia: Explores the origins of India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs, as well as the factors that prompted both countries to test nuclear weapons in 1998.

Our thanks go to the following experts for appearing “on tape” in Sections 1 and 2:

  • James Acton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Mansoor Ahmed, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard University
  • Rabia Akhtar, Director, Centre for Security, Strategy, and Policy Research, University of Lahore
  • Hasan Askari Rizvi, Professor Emeritus, Punjab University
  • Linton Brooks, Chief U.S. Negotiator, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
  • Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director (Publishing), India Today Group
  • Lisa Curtis, Former Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs
  • Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Robert Einhorn, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation
  • Touqir Hussain, Former Pakistani Ambassador
  • Zahid Imroz, Former Visiting Research Fellow, George Washington University
  • Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Visiting Fellow, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation
  • Feroz Khan, Former Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, Strategic Plans Division, Pakistan Army
  • Salma Malik, Professor, Quaid-i-Azam University
  • Vipin Narang, Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor of Political Science, MIT
  • George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Rajesh Rajagopalan, Professor in International Politics, Centre for International Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Robin Raphel, Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs
  • Scott Sagan, The Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
  • Naeem Salik, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Strategic Studies
  • Amy Sands, Executive Director, Research Centers and Initiatives, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary of India
  • Jayita Sarkar, Associate, Belfer Center, Harvard University
  • Deborah Schneider, Staff Director, Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, U.S. Department of State
  • Dave Smith, Former U.S. Army Attaché to Pakistan
  • Rakesh Sood, Former Indian Ambassador
  • Ashley Tellis, Former Senior Adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Moeed Yusuf, Associate Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace

Five more sections will follow, beginning in September, with lots more help from a wider circle of contributors:

  • Section 3, Nuclear Policy and Posture: Outlines the key elements of India and Pakistan’s respective nuclear doctrines and postures.
  • Section 4, South Asia and the Global Nuclear Order: Examines the “global nuclear order,” identifying India and Pakistan’s respective positions within this international regime. This section features a diverse set of perspectives on everything from the strategic rationale behind the U.S.-Indian civil nuclear deal to Pakistan’s quest to become a “normal” nuclear state.
  • Section 5, Nuclear Crises: Explains the events of the Kargil War and other recent nuclear crises between India and Pakistan. Special attention will be paid to the critical role of crisis management in averting disaster.
  • Section 6, Nuclear Risk Reduction Measures: Identifies ways that nuclear risk reduction measures help reduce nuclear dangers and reinforce strategic stability.
  • Section 7, South Asia’s Nuclear Future: Assesses what the future holds for “Nuclear South Asia” and challenges the next generation to become better analysts, scholars, and stewards of nuclear weapons.

My sincere thanks go out to all those who contributed to this unique course, and to Stimson’s in-house team: Shane Mason, Travis Wheeler, and course co-director Sameer Lalwani. Stimson is grateful for the support we have received from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Nuclear Security Administration which has made this idea a reality.

Please check it out. Your feedback would be appreciated.


  1. James Kruk (History)

    Just finished this course – thank you very much for bringing it to my attention! I find that there are very few good courses on the social sciences/international relations on self-learning sites like Udemy, but this was definitely worth the time.

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