Michael KreponGeneration Why’s Turn in South Asia

In societies where seniority is highly valued, it’s hard for young analytical talent to be heard, and even harder to connect across the India-Pakistan border, given the difficulties young analysts have in obtaining visas.

Retired diplomats and military officers have cornered the market of punditry on the subcontinent. In Pakistan, commentators usually defend their military’s decisions and then blame New Delhi for reluctant choices. There isn’t much in the way of second-guessing, at least in public, and especially on nuclear-related issues. For a taste of this commentary, I recommend reading Tariq Osman Haider and Shahzad Chaudhry.

Indian commentary is more lively and diverse. Some pundits critique from the Left. Others criticize their government for its lax attention to meeting national security requirements. Hawkish commentators sometimes call for a nuclear force posture on a par with China, and worry about India being perceived by its neighbors as a “soft” state. Military officers who have chafed at the bit while on active duty are free to give expression to their frustration in retirement. For a sampling of these views, I recommend reading Vijay Shankar and Arun Kumar Singh.

Having qualified for Social Security benefits and Medicare, I will refrain from complaining about the demographics of the subcontinent’s punditariat. It is, however, regrettable that most think tanks and media outlets in India and Pakistan allow few opportunities for younger analysts to express themselves. One notable exception is the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, which has an excellent forum for short pieces by younger analysts.

To help stimulate cross-border dialogue on security issues and to promote more normal and cooperative relations on the subcontinent, the Stimson Center is launching a website for a rising generation of strategic analysts. We call the website South Asian Voices: Generation Why. The address of the new site is www.southasianvoices.org. You can read about it here.

“Kyon” means “why” in both Hindi and Urdu. Stimson is calling this a website for Generation Why because talented young analysts in India and Pakistan are questioning why relations remain so strained between their countries. They deserve more of a say in their region’s future.

Stimson will host the server and website for South Asian Voices and is seeking a wide range of blog posts and comments from Indians and Pakistanis on security issues, broadly defined. The site is modeled after Arms Control Wonk, and has been designed by the Wizard of Oz behind ACW, Greg Broquard at Hexive. My colleague at Stimson, Julia Thompson, will manage the website.

We invite posts relating to current research projects, topical issues and whatever seems important to say that is relevant to security on the subcontinent. Stimson welcomes light-hearted commentary in addition to serious blog posts.

All blog posts on the website will be in English. Blog posts and comments can be submitted to authors@southasianvoices.org.

Two Indian and two Pakistani security bloggers writing for the new website will be selected each year as visiting fellows at Stimson, courtesy of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The new website is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


  1. Anjaan (History)

    There is a general recognition, both in India and Pakistan, that the seeds of conflicts in South was sown by the British, prior to the demise of the empire, perhaps as a revenge. Therefore, for any positive change to happen, continued British and American meddling in South Asia must stop. The Pakistanis must be left to deal with the people of India on their own ….. that is the only way for any positive development in the future, in South Asia ….

  2. Bradley Laing (History)

    —I hope it is important, and not just some idea I have, to ask what the fate of Syria’s nuclear program scientists will be, in this civil war.

    —I raised this earlier, and now with possible cruise missile strikes a few days away, it feels more important.

  3. Bradley Laing (History)


    Military and civilian space launches will cost nearly $44 billion by 2018, according to a Government Accountability Office report. At the same time, research and development spending is expected to decrease over the next five years.

    Procurement accounts for $28 billion, or 65 percent of the total, with the Department of Defense estimated to spend $16 billion versus $12 billion for NASA. Both DoD and NASA expect costs will increase over the next five years as the Pentagon continues its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program and NASA pays crew and resupply flight to the International Space Station. The cost figures reflect estimated inflation.

  4. Bradley Laing (History)

    —Is this as out-of-place as I think it is, Mr. Krepon?


    Belgium and USA Have Secret Nuclear Weapons Contract PDF Imprimir E-Mail
    Brussels, Sep 13 (Prensa Latina) Belgium signed a secret contract with the United States for modernizing nuclear weapons stored on its territory, according to local news reports today.

    U.S. nuclear weapons expert Hans Kristensen was quoted by Belgian newspapers as saying that the modernization process means that new nuclear bombs will replace 20 B-61 bombs that are being held at the Kleine Brogel air base.

    Those U.S.-made bombs have been stored at the base since the 1980s.

    Kristensen confirmed that European member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that hold U.S. nuclear weapons signed a 2010 agreement on the modernization of these devices.

    For that reason, the presence of those weapons in Belgium, which has never been officially confirmed by that government, could continue for decades, Kristensen said.

    A May 2011 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office revealed by the Dutch TV network KRO said that B-61 tactical bombs were the oldest in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, dating back to the Cold War.

    The Pentagon aspires to modernize those weapons before 2017, with the objective of arming its F-35 fighter planes.

    Despite opposition from citizens, NATO heads of state and government streas long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO would continue to be a nuclear alliance.

    According to Belgian news reports 240 nuclear bombs are being held in Europe, and could be launched from airplanes based in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey

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