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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

South Asian Security and Strategic Stability

Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
August 10, 2011



SUBJECT: Terms of Reference -- ISAB Study on South Asian Security and Strategic Stability

The ISAB is requested to undertake a study of South Asian Security and Strategic Stability.

The South Asian region is of great importance to U.S. security interests. India and Pakistan are both important partners of the United States. At the same time, terrorist groups continue to operate within the region and seek to undermine internal stability and Indo-Pak relations; and India and Pakistan have active nuclear and missile programs.

It would be of great assistance if the ISAB could examine and assess:

  • U.S. policy options for assisting Pakistan in improving its internal security and stability;
  • Current Indian and Pakistani security postures and doctrine, especially in relation to each other, and how U.S. interests (geopolitical, nonproliferation, arms control, disarmament, security) are affected by the growing role of nuclear weapons in Pakistan-India relations;
  • The impact of U.S. policy on the arms build up in South Asia and how the United States might better encourage strategic restraint by Pakistan and India, and whether there is a regional diplomatic construct that could move us forward on South Asian arms control;
  • Whether and where there are overlapping areas of agreement between the disarmament agendas laid out by the United States, by India (Rajiv Gandhi plan), and by Pakistan (calls for a strategic restraint regime), and how this could be parlayed into positive actions;
  • Whether there are areas of U.S. cooperation with either or both countries (scientist-to-scientist, military-to-military, nongovernmental, or governmental) that could usefully be developed in new and untried directions; and
  • Best practices for confidence-building and risk-reduction measures and their applicability to South Asia.

During its conduct of the study, the ISAB may expand upon the tasks listed above, as it deems necessary. I request that you complete the study in 270 days. Completed work should be submitted to the ISAB Executive Directorate no later than May 10, 2012.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will sponsor the study. The Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation will support the study. Kathryn Schultz will serve as the Executive Secretary for the study and Chris Herrick will represent the ISAB Executive Directorate.

The study will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of P.L. 92-463, the "Federal Advisory Committee Act." If the ISAB establishes a working group to assist in its study, the working group must present its report of findings to the full ISAB for consideration in a formal meeting, prior to presenting the report or findings to the Department.


 Date: 07/05/2011 Description: Ellen O. Tauscher - State Dept Image  
 Ellen O. Tauscher 

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