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The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) hosted a webinar on “Prospects for Managing Risk in Nuclear South Asia” on Monday, 14th March 2022. This webinar aimed to identify how current engagement efforts can be enhanced to better manage nuclear risks among the nuclear weapons states (NWS) in the region. In addition, the webinar explored how non-nuclear weapon states like Sri Lanka can play a role in non-proliferation and disarmament efforts at regional and global level.
Dr. Dayantha Laksiri Mendis, Executive Director of the LKI delivered the introductory remarks. The webinar featured Amb. A.L.A. Azeez, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva; Dr. Manpreet Sethi, Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Airpower Studies (CAPS); and Dr. Tong Zhao, Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In Amb. A.L.A Azeez’s presentation, he highlighted the contribution Sri Lanka has made in the realm of global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. Specifically, Amb. Azeez pointed out the efforts of Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala, and Justice Christopher Weeramantry in advancing normative and legal frameworks on nuclear weapons.
Dr. Manpreet Sethi provided a comprehensive overview of the region’s nuclear challenges and detailed the strategic rationale behind India’s nuclear doctrine. Dr. Sethi also emphasised the need for greater awareness of the potential effects of the use of nuclear weapons even among non-nuclear weapon states such as Sri Lanka.
Dr. Zhao, in his analysis detailed China’s nuclear modernisation drive and how great-power politics and geo-strategic competition is fuelling such activities. All three panellists highlighted the dangers of the entanglement of non-nuclear with nuclear capabilities including emerging technologies such as cyber warfare.
The subsequent discussion moderated by Mr. Malinda Meegoda, Research Associate at LKI, focused on the importance of both China and India maintaining their nuclear ‘No first use’ policy, the sustainability and the future of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the merits and shortcomings of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).