Ms. Khushbakht Shahid is pursuing a degree in Strategic Studies at the National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad.

DOI: http://DOI Number

Keywords: recessed deterrence, strategic stability, nuclear posture, security, nuclear weapons, South Asia


The effectiveness of a state’s nuclear deterrent relies greatly, on its nuclear posture and nuclear-use doctrine. For years, the doctrines and postures adopted by India and Pakistan were able to prevent a nuclear exchange between the two, but as India seems to be shifting away from its posture of recessed deterrence, towards the pursuit of a ready arsenal, this will have serious implications for South Asian strategic stability. Using qualitative methods of analysis, this paper explores how India’s recessed deterrence posture will be effective in strengthening deterrence stability between India and Pakistan and how a ready arsenal will be counterproductive for regional stability, potentially creating a security dilemma and arms race between the two nuclear states. Due to the lack of comprehensive data on both states’ nuclear postures, the research is limited mainly to analysing available literature from secondary sources and official statements. Most of the existing literature studies recessed deterrence broadly, however, the paper analyses the importance of recessed deterrence specifically as a determinant to ensure stability between India and Pakistan, especially in light of India’s recent doctrinal developments.

First Published

June 25, 2023

How to Cite

Khushbakht Shahid, “Critical Appraisal of Recessed Deterrence in South Asia”, Regional Studies 41, no. 1 (Summer 2023): 3-20


Volume 41, Issue 1