A conversation with Dr. Sannia Abdullah on Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence

Dr. Sannia Abdullah discusses Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence strategy and emerging nuclear force posture (Atlantic Council).

On September 21, 2016 the South Asia Center hosted Dr. Sannia Abdullah, a visiting scholar at Sandia National Labs, for a conversation on Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence strategy. The discussion was moderated by Distinguished Fellow Mr. Shuja Nawaz.

Dr. Abdullah addressed the overarching security calculus upon which Pakistan’s nuclear force posture and stated nuclear doctrines are based. However, as Dr. Abdullah noted, the stated postures and polices are fluid. “With situation change, there is policy change,” Dr. Abdullah repeated throughout her presentation. Dr. Abdullah explained that Pakistan’s belief that “ambiguity strengthens deterrence” allows the country to have more response options, but also raises the potential for uncontrolled escalation during a crisis. Dr. Abdullah concluded her remarks by stating, “Full spectrum deterrence aims to upscale the risk of violence at all levels of war – to dissuade aggression.”