Friday, 23 December 2011
“China and the Emerging World Order: Is Peaceful Rise Possible?”
“Developing countries like India need to be cautious about China not only because of issues such border conflict, but in the context of its behaviour in multilateral forums,” says Amb. Sreenivasan, the Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council. He was inaugurating one day Colloquium “China and the Emerging World Order: Is Peaceful Rise Possible?” organised by the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University in association with the DC Books, Kottayam today.
According to Mr. Sreenivasan, the prevailing notion that China is the champion of the developing countries is contestable given its double face on crucial global issues. The latest case is the Durban summit on global climate change where the Chinese position amounted to hiding behind India. He said that it only helped harden the West’s position. Mr. Sreenivasan also said that a similar situation exists on the question of the expansion of the UN Security Council. While supporting the case of expansion, it does not appear to be favouring the entry of India, though this is not openly said, he said.
Prof. Rajan Gurukkal, Vice-Chancellor, said that the increasing spatialisation within the country in the name of faster industrialization has resulted in serious social dislocations which might not help a peaceful rise of China possible in the years to come.
According to Prof. T. V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS), Canada and the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, “the rise of China is occurring without an active balance of power coalition being formed against it. China has been rapidly emerging as the lead economic power and it is also modernizing its military strength. Although China has touted its policy as “peaceful rise” it is unclear why affected regional states in Asia-Pacific have not yet formed active balancing coalitions in response to it. They have instead increased economic interdependence with China and included it in many regional institutional frameworks such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Even the most affected states, India and the U.S., have pursued a hedging strategy by forming only a limited strategic dialogue/partnership in response to China’s rise, he said.
Prof. Paul observed that “the essential basis of “peaceful rise” strategy of China is not to upset the international order too strongly, but to use economic instruments to achieve global power status. Deepening trade with all major powers and regional states, especially Western countries has been the main component of this strategy. Chinese scholars and political elite claim that China has no intention of challenging international order, but would like to emerge as a major market for the world by using capitalist instruments of trade and investment. Chinese officials now call this strategy, ‘peaceful development’ to avoid any criticisms of hegemonic ambitions. Others have argued that China’s reaction to US predominance involves a combination of acquiescence, competition and low level resistance.” This is because despite being rising power, China “is still substantially weaker than the U.S.” In the context of the rise of China, affected countries are “pursuing a hedging strategy based on engagement and soft balancing. This is because the rising power’s position and military behaviour are of concern but do not yet pose a serious challenge to the sovereign existence of other great powers; the rising power is a major source of public goods in the economic area which cannot easily be replaced; and second ranking states do not have the political will or military wherewithal to pursue a highly confrontational hard balancing strategy.”
Prof. Paul said that “the rising power cannot easily retaliate as the balancing efforts by others are not overt or directly challenging its power position with military means. These constraints on responding to China’s rise have been astounded by the fact that China has adopted two of the critical variables of liberal peace, economic interdependence and international institutions, but has rejected the third pillar, democracy. This democratic deficit on China’s rise creates great uncertainly for Asian neighbours and the US because China’s intentions are not easy to gauge.” Although current interactions are benign, states have to assume that they may not remain so in the future when China acquires more economic and military capabilities. Even if China proclaims that it is a peace-loving nation and that it has a ‘peaceful rise strategy’ other countries have to take this Chinese line for granted as they have little direct contact inside the Chinese decision-making centres, especially the PLA. States in Asia, despite their long-standing rivalries with China, have responded with a multiple set of strategies in this uncertain phase of Chinese rise. These strategies are hedging, engagement, and soft balancing. In many respects, these are strategies relying on non-coercive means and they buy time to the affected states.”
Speaking on China’s use of education as a soft power tool, Prof. Jane Knight, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada said that higher education in China is becoming an important political actor in the knowledge based society. As such, education is gaining currency as a relevant ‘soft power’ tool used to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of China. Looking at three key issues related to Confucius Institutes located in universities around the world and dedicated to increasing appreciation of Chinese language and culture, the academic mobility - the attraction of international students, programmes and foreign university branch campuses to China, and the development of a regional Asian identity, Prof. Knight said that it is “prudent to acknowledge China’s potential to use higher education, research and culture as soft power strategies.”
Disagreeing with the thesis that peaceful rise of China is not possible, Sri. Venu Rajamony IFS, Joint Secretary, Multilateral Institutions, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, said that both India and China have shown tremendous collective capacity to address their bilateral issues though the number of issues might have multiplied over years in a given international context. He, however, said that there are no fundamental differences between the people of India and China and that sustains the dynamism of current relationship. Both countries are now engaging each other on a practical mode of interdependence in a globalised world and hence the chances of a war between the two are very remote, Mr. Venu said. He agreed that there are areas of disagreement and competition between the two, but that should not lead us to be pessimistic. We can, however, “keep our powder dry,” Mr. Venu added.
Prof. V. Suryanarayan, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Asia Studies, Chennai and Vice Adm. (Retd.) Vijay Shankar, Former Commander in Chief, Strategic Forces and Defence Services Staff College also spoke. Prof. Raju Thadikkaran, Director, SIRP welcomed the audience. Prof. K.M. Seethi introduced the activities of the chair and Biju Mathew proposed vote of thanks.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University is organizing a one day Colloquium “China and the Emerging World Order: Is Peaceful Rise Possible?” on Friday, 23 December 2011 in association with the DC Books, Kottayam. It will be held at 10.30 a.m. at the DC Auditorium, Kottayam.
The Colloquium will be inaugurated by Ambassador. T.P. Sreenivasan, Vice-Chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council and Prof. Rajan Gurukkal Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rajan Gurukkal will Chair the function.
Prof. T.V. Paul, K.P. S. Menon Chair and James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University, Canada, Prof. Jane Knight, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada, Sri. Venu Rajamony IFS, Joint Secretary, Multilateral Institutions, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and Prof. V. Suryanarayan, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Asia Studies, Chennai and Vice Adm. (Retd.) Vijay Shankar, former Commander in Chief, Strategic Forces and Defence Services Staff College, Higher Command College and the National Maritime Foundation are panellists.
Friday, 16 December 2011
“Regions fail to transform into peaceful communities,” says James McGill Professor
“Knowing when and how a region transforms into sustained peaceful or conflictual order is of utmost importance for crafting appropriate policy initiatives,” says Prof. T. V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and James McGill Professor, Canada and the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University. Prof. T.V. Paul was delivering a K.P.S. Menon Chair Special Lecture on “Regional Transformations,” at SIRP today. According to Prof. Paul, “from a practical standpoint what is significant is the failure of many regions and sub-regions to transform into peaceful communities after the end of the Cold War. In some regions, the earlier trend toward greater cooperation and peaceful order have not been progressing all that well, following the initial enthusiasm of the post-Cold War years,” Prof. Paul said.
Prof. Paul observed “emphasis on systemic forces can impart some value to an analysis on regional order, but often international relations scholars neglect the sub-systemic and internal sources of order.” He said that a good example is the end of the Cold War and its differing impact on various key regions of the world. For instance, South Asia and West Asia saw less impact of the demise of the Cold War for regional peace, while Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia witnessed the resolution of some conflicts and strengthening of regional institutions. This is because the main sources of regional conflict in South Asia and the West Asia may have little to do with systemic rivalry, although superpower activism aggravated or affected the dynamics of conflict and cooperation in these regions. In fact the processes occurring within these regions themselves seem to affect the larger international system, often disproportionately. “The regional powers such as Israel or Pakistan are not simple bystanders of great power politics in their regions; they attempt to asymmetrically influence the major power system often in their own distinct ways. In regions such as Southeast Asia, regional states have actively pursued (and somewhat successfully) strategies of enmeshing great powers and a “complex balance of influence,” he said.
Prof. Paul also said that “economic links among states alter the states’ incentives and hence their actions and interactions. National economies may be linked in various ways, including trade in goods and services, investment, borrowing and lending, and guest workers. We have many theoretically grounded reasons to believe the theory that trade causes peace which has much empirical support. In an era of globalization, “states seem to have little choice but to continue reducing their external economic barriers.”
Mr. M.V. Bijulal presided the session. Prof. K.M. Seethi, Prof. A.M. Thomas, Prof. Mathew Kurian, Dr. C. Vinodan, Rajesh, and others spoke. Prof. Paul will continue his special lecture on 22 December on the theme “Higher Education in North America.”
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
“Geo-strategic curse sustains Pakistan as a garrison state,” says K.P.S. Menon Chair Professor
“Pakistan has been facing a geo-strategic curse in South Asia due to its location and the willingness of its elite to play geopolitical games,” says Prof. T. V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada and the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University. Prof. T.V. Paul was delivering a K.P.S. Menon Chair Special Lecture on “Pakistan: Explaining the Garrison State” at SIRP today.
According to Prof. Paul, “Pakistan’s geo-strategic role has benefitted the military but obviously hurt the ordinary people of Pakistan.” Prof. Paul termed this as “geostrategic curse” similar to “resource curse” that economists have identified as the cause for the tardy development of some oil-rich countries. Despite periodic ups and downs in their relationship, Pakistan continued to be a key US ally since the mid-1950s. Pakistan’s participation in geopolitical competition brought billions of dollars and modern weapons to the country. The military and political elites who gained materially from this interaction had little reason to innovate in respect of the country’s economy or political order or initiate policies to extract internally from the semi-feudal landlord system. Foreign support was largely sufficient to wage war externally and create a garrison state internally. Thus, Pakistan became a rentier state, living off its external benefactors. “The American policymakers, in fact, preferred the Pakistan army to the country’s ramshackle group of political parties as they found the former to be the most reliable partners in their various geopolitical conflicts over the years,” Prof. Paul said.
Prof. Paul observed that “the military-bureaucratic elites have little corporate incentive to develop a liberal economic or political order that would undercut their paramount position in the Pakistani society.” Similar to oil-rich sheikdoms’ “resource curse,” geopolitical prominence inflicts a “curse” on a semi-feudal state with an intense national-security approach. Prof. Paul said that experiences have shown that “countries that are endowed with abundant natural resources often need not become successful economies let alone democracies. The reason is that the elite have little reason to innovate or engage in social reforms in order to obtain more resources for the population.”
He pointed out that Pakistan is one of the world’s lowest tax collecting states. Much of the rich including the political elite doesn’t pay any taxes in Pakistan. Quoting reports, he said that “out of more than 170 million Pakistanis, fewer than 2 per cent paid income tax, making Pakistan’s revenue from taxes among the lowest in the world, a notch below Sierra Leone’s as a ratio of tax to gross domestic product.”
Prof. Paul noted that a key effect of the “geostrategic curse” is the tendency to continue on the same path of easy money. The military, as beneficiaries of the rentier state attributes of the Pakistani economy, i.e. living off rents from external actors for security cooperation, exhibits a dearth of interest in transforming the society let alone improving the extractive and integrative power of the state. He said that a garrison army in a semi-feudal developing country is especially “prone to self-perpetuate its existence by inventing myths about national security threats and over a period of time becoming the core national actor in both the political and economic realms.”
Speaking on the internal situation, Prof. Paul observed that the civil society in Pakistan should have the power and inclination to demand new or refined institutions and continuously defend such institutions for democracy and development from onslaughts by the military. A weak civil society can simply perpetuate the existing system of uncertainty. He, however, said that the “Pakistani social classes, especially the middle and the working classes, are too weak to wage a social revolution that would overthrow the garrison state and generate a true democratic order.” Pakistan’s transformation will take place only if both the strategic circumstances and the ideas and assumptions that the elite hold change fundamentally. In a highly globalized world, a traditional “garrison state is fast becoming an anachronism.” A pragmatic-minded elite and a tolerant and liberal civil society are essential for transformational change without which the purpose of the state becomes too narrow and out-of-date, he noted.
Dr. K.M. Seethi presided the session. Prof. A.M. Thomas, Mr. Bijulal, Dr. C. Vinodan, Thomas Mohan, Asok Alex, Sudheep and others spoke. Prof. Paul will continue his special lecture on 16 December on the theme “ IR Theory and Regional Transformation.”
Friday, 9 December 2011
“‘Nuclear abolition’ agenda under consideration by the Obama Administration,” says Prof. T.V. Paul
“In a dramatic shift in the US policy, the Obama administration is seriously considering the question of nuclear abolition, a major change from the George Bush era when Washington adopted a posture that allowed for the expansion of nuclear use and thereby, challenging the tradition of non-use or the taboo against nuclear use,” says Prof. T. V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada and the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University. Prof. T.V. Paul was delivering a K.P.S. Menon Chair Special Lecture on “Is Nuclear Abolition Possible?” at SIRP today.
Prof. Paul said that the “key driving forces behind the change of mind for the US administration are both “structural and normative.” The normative predispositions of President Obama who has been known for his position in nuclear abolition and the officials in the non-proliferation arena that he has assembled “seem to prefer radical steps in nuclear disarmament direction.” Contained in the structural perspective are two arguments based on the notions of ‘great equalizer’ and ‘great nuisance’ as a result of the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional actors.
According to Prof. Paul, “the nuclear powers view their nuclear possession as status symbols, although over the years, this notion seemed to have eroded, partly because of the difficulties in using nuclear weapons as instruments of compellence or coercion.” The acquisition efforts by regional challengers are complicating the unequal nuclear order and it is indeed the main basis for the structural argument. Nuclear possession by weaker regional powers can act as a source of “a great equalizer” of major-minor power relations and thereby blur the distinction between major and minor powers. The expectation that the most destructive weapon is the exclusive preserve of the major powers is challenged by this development.
Prof. Paul observed that “a revisionist new nuclear power could be emboldened to engage in a highly ambitious strategy in a regional theatre.” Pakistan’s initiation of the Kargil offensive in 1999 (less than a year after conducting its nuclear tests) and its continued support of asymmetric war against India point to this phenomenon. A revisionist state—be it driven by ideological or territorial goals—can believe that nuclear weapons guarantee its existential security and that the adversary would not have the capacity to respond militarily to its provocations. “The biggest fear with Iran is that it may accentuate its revisionist tendencies in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region and engage in ideological revisionism vis-a-vis neighbouring states that are weak by themselves to defend. The Iranian leaders’ rhetorical statements about their intentions and capabilities and objectives toward neighbouring states have been taken for their face value by regional states, in particular, Israel,” he said.
Prof. Paul argued that from a structural perspective, “a fully verifiable, comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament treaty may be very difficult to obtain, even if persuasive normative arguments can be made.” Nuclear zero is a “highly ambitious agenda” and President Obama himself agrees that complete nuclear disarmament may not happen in his lifetime. He said that there are powerful domestic stakeholders in all nuclear weapons states. A major question is whether the political elites in these countries do possess sufficient capacity to shake the power of these well-entrenched forces?
Prof. Paul suggested that political conditions have to be created for an effective denuclearization strategy. Proponents of global zero need to pay more attention to politics as this is not just a pure normative or technical issue. They may also need to work hard to resolve enduring conflicts that generate propensity among some states seeking nuclear weapons. The most feasible outcome from the current efforts would be a further depreciation of nuclear weapons in world politics and placing them in the backburner only to be kept as an option if rivalries develop and if new technological breakthroughs do not address the security/insecurity problems of the 21st century.
Dr. C. Vinodan presided the session. Prof. A.M. Thomas, Prof. Mathew Kurian, and others spoke. Prof. Paul will continue his special lecture on 14 December on the theme “Pakistan: Explaining the Garrison State.”
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
“South Asia to address the role of China in the realm of nuclear proliferation,” says K. P. S. Menon Chair Professor
“Nuclear doctrines in South Asia are complicated by the trilateral nature of relationships involving India, China and Pakistan,” according to Prof. T.V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada and the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University. Prof. T.V. Paul was delivering a Special Lecture on “Nuclear Doctrines in South Asia and Implications for Peace” at SIRP today.
Prof. Paul said that the Indian nuclear doctrine has to take into account China’s doctrine and deployment policies which affect the way Pakistan formulates its doctrine. Stability is more problematic in this environment given the strong military relationship between Pakistan and China and the concerns it generates in India. He pointed out that both India and Pakistan are at the early stages of “nuclear learning.” They have “ambiguous nuclear doctrines and face major challenges arising from instability on both internal and transnational fronts.” The ambiguous doctrines add to the mixture of security problems South Asia faces, he said.
Prof. Paul forewarned that the Pakistani nuclear policy is leading to a highly destabilizing doctrine due to the short response times involved in crossing the nuclear threshold. Nuclear weapons have been perceived by the Pakistani elite as a “great strategic equalizer” in its relationship with India. In that sense, deterrence seems to be the main purpose of the Pakistani nuclear capability. However, in Pakistan’s case both doctrinal and command and control issues suggest a lack of clarity in the purposes that nuclear weapons are expected to serve, generating severe stability related concerns. There seems an overambitious agenda here for the expansion of nuclear weapons to meet a large set of national goals. He said that many a terrorist groups within and outside Pakistan would probably want to see nuclear weapons used between the two states. “In a situation like the 2008 Mumbai attacks India may respond conventionally, and if Pakistan resorts to nuclear attack using theatre missiles, the whole notion of deterrence could fly in the thin air. The involvement of non-state actors in the deterrent relationship has made deterrence very complex for South Asia, a fact that Pakistani planners seem to be oblivious to or want to deny.” He also said that the possibilities for miscalculations and inadvertent escalations are huge in the strategic scenario of the two states in a crisis situation. Prof. Paul suggested more confidence building measures to prevent miscalculated or inadvertent escalations. More importantly, terrorist groups should be placed under tighter controls in preventing their bids to upset stability in the region. He reminded that Pakistan has a major responsibility in this regard given the vulnerabilities it is facing on multiple security fronts. Until that happens, “the complexity of South Asian deterrent relationships is likely to remain at a higher level than most other regions of the world today,” he said.
Dr. A.M. Thomas presided the session. Prof. K.M. Seethi, Prof. Mathew Kurian, Rajesh Kuniyil, Bijose and others spoke. Prof. Paul will continue his special lecture on 9 December on the theme “Is Nuclear Abolition Possible?”
Friday, 2 December 2011
2 December 2011
“India set to become a ‘soft power’ leader in world politics” says Prof.T. V. Paul
“India has a great opportunity to become a global leader in the arena of soft power,” according to Prof. T.V. Paul, Director of the McGill University Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada who has been appointed as the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University. Prof. T.V. Paul was delivering a Special Lecture on “India as a Soft power” organised by the Chair today.
He said that soft power, based on intangible indicators such as culture, civilization, literature, philosophy, institutional involvement, diplomacy, political organization, and state capacity, has emerged as an important factor in the globalizing world for a country seeking higher status and influence. India, with its unique cultural and civilisational strengths has tremendous assets in the soft power area, yet to be fully harnessed effectively. Its multi-ethnic culture, peace generating civilizational values (including religious and philosophical ideals), and the unique art forms and literatures are perhaps the core of this soft power asset mix. More importantly, key values and institutions that contemporary India possesses have great promise for managing multi-ethnic societies, especially in the developing world. These arise largely from four institutional structures that first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru helped to establish in India: democracy, secularism, federalism, and the 3-language formula, according to Prof. Paul.
He pointed out that as the 21st century advances, India is slowly making use of its soft power assets, assisted by the increasing attention it is being paid by the global media and the scholarly world. He also said that soft power without hard power is a chimera and that they should not be seen in oppositional terms, especially for an aspiring global power. However, Prof. Paul reminded that the possession of soft power resources does not automatically make a country powerful in the world stage. It is when power assets are translated into influencing the behavior of other states then one can say power is materialized. The translation of assets into influence requires well-calibrated national strategies that assess and reassess one’s abilities in the changing global context and make timely policy adaptations. The current era of deepened globalization offers a powerful window of opportunity for emerging powers such as India to actualize their soft power resources more effectively. As India’s hard power capabilities, especially in the economic and military realms have accelerated following its economic liberalization since 1991, and it has made increasing efforts to acquire a global power status, it is high time to revisit the value of soft power resources as tools of grand strategy and foreign policy for this emerging power. What soft power does is that it gives legitimacy and credibility to a state’s leadership role in the world, and more effectiveness to the exercise and wielding of its hard power resources, he said.
Prof. Paul concluded by arguing for increased use of global communication networks and seeking the assistance of the extensive Indian diaspora for channeling and disseminating India’s soft power assets. One critical source of soft power dissemination is the diaspora. India is well-endowed in this area. Despite earlier skepticism of the value of the diaspora, today Indian expatriates have emerged as a key source of disseminating India’s culture, values and other soft power assets in the global arena. Many of the Indian arts, music, and dances are kept alive in these diaspora communities. Second and third generation Indians increasingly are yearning for knowledge and understanding of their roots. Many are returning to India for employment purposes. This trend is likely to continue as the advanced industrialized countries suffer possible economic downturn for a long period of time. However, in order to fully tap this resource, India needs to court the young second generation diaspora and those approaching retirement who may have the wealth and time to promote Indian ideals. Prof. Paul also said that harnessing soft power resources effectively would require India to become a more equitable and efficient society, and a global economic power, a state whose society transforms into a more egalitarian value system and an economy that commands a major share of the global wealth, especially global trade and investment.
Earlier, Dr. Rajan Gurukkal, Vice Chancellor, inaugurated the Lecture series. Dr. Raju Thadikkaran Director of SIRP welcomed the audience. Dr. K.M.Seethi, Professor and Coordinator of the K.P.S. Menon Chair presided the session. Mr. Justin Joseph proposed a vote of thanks. .Prof. Paul will continue his special lectures up to 23 December.
Prof. T. V. PAUL, James McGill Professor of International Relations in the department of Political Science at McGill University, Canada has been appointed as the honorary professor at the K.P.S. Menon Chair for Diplomatic Studies, School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University for the academic year 2011-12.
Prof. Paul has been working as the Director (Founding) of the McGill / University of Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS). Prof. Paul specializes and teaches courses in international relations, especially international security, regional security and South Asia. With 12 books to his credit (all published through major university presses) and 45 journal articles or book chapters Paul has emerged as a leading International Relations scholar.
Prof. Paul was born in the Indian state of Kerala (Mevellor, Kottayam District) on November 10, 1956 and his early education was at institutions in Kerala. He completed his Masters in Political Science from Maharajas College, Ernakulum (affiliated to Kerala University) in 1980 and then worked as a journalist for the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency in New Delhi from 1980 till 1985. During this period, he completed his MPhil from the School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University. From July 1985 till July 1986 he spent a year at the University of Queensland, Australia, as a research scholar. In July 1986 he was admitted to graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from where he completed his PhD in Political Science in June 1991. In September 1991, he began his teaching career at McGill University where he was appointed as an assistant professor, promoted and tenured to associate professor in 1995, and full professor in 2000. In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious James McGill chair, instituted in the name of the university’s founder. He has been a visiting professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California (2002-03), visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs (CFIA) and the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies (1997-98), and a senior visiting affiliate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey (2002-2003). Paul served as the Director of the McGill University-University of Montreal Research Group in International Security (REGIS) & Coordinator of the South Asian Regional Cooperation Academic Network (SARCAN), both he co-founded. In October 2009, he helped convert REGIS as the Center for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) and has been its McGill director since then. In 2009, he was elected as Chair of the International Security Studies Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) and began his two year term in March. He is also on the editorial boards of many scholarly journals including International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, Contemporary Security Policy, and Non-Proliferation Review in addition to serving as a regular reviewer for many leading presses. He has travelled widely and given over 100 seminars at leading academic institutions worldwide.
Prof. Paul has made a number of contributions to the study of international relations, especially international security. He is especially known for rigorous puzzle-driven international relations scholarship utilizing case studies as opposed to paradigm-driven analyses. He has also been a proponent of eclectic modeling which he uses in several of his works. His first major book: Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers (Cambridge University Press, 1994) was pioneering as it addresses a neglected question of materially weaker powers starting wars against their stronger opponents. In his second authored book: Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons, (McGill-Queen’s University Prisms, 2000) he created a prudential realist model to explain the choices of many technologically capable states to forbear nuclear weapons. His third book: India in the World Order (co-authored with Baldev Nayar, Cambridge University Press, 2003) offers a rare theoretical exploration of India’s search for major power status and the constraints and opportunities that it has faced in that endeavor. Paul’s important policy-relevant contribution is the 2009 book: The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press). This book explores the reasons why nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945, especially against non-nuclear states. It places the most important factor in an informal norm inherent in a tradition, a time-honored practice of non-use that has been followed by nuclear states since 1945 as an “accustomed obligation.” In March 2010 his new co-authored book: Globalization and the National Security State (with Norrin Ripsman, New York: Oxford University Press) was published. It tests several of the globalization related hypotheses on state behavior in the security arena in a variety of regions and powers.
Prof. Paul has continued his scholarly contributions in seven edited volumes and nearly 45 journal articles/book chapters in venues such as International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Review, and Millennium. The edited books are: South Asia’s Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament (Stanford University Press, 2010); Complex Deterrence: Strategy In the Global Age (with Patrick M. Morgan and James J. Wirtz, University of Chicago Press, 2009); The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (with James Wirtz and Michel Fortmann, Stanford University Press, 2004); The Nation-State in Question (with G. John Ikenberry and John A. Hall, Princeton University Press, 2003); International Order and the Future of World Politics (with John A. Hall, Cambridge University Press, 1999, 2000 (twice), 2001, 2002 & 2003); and The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order (with Richard Harknett and James Wirtz, University of Michigan Press, 1998 & 2000). These works all resulted from academic conferences he had organized at McGill University. Many of these volumes are must reads in International Relations literature today. Five of his books have also been published in South Edition editions by Cambridge and Oxford University Presses in India.
Prof. Paul has been a conceptual innovator in international relations. He is especially known for his contribution to the debate on “soft balancing” and other associated concepts, “hard balancing” and “asymmetric balancing,” and defining them. Paul has also developed the concept of “complex deterrence” in his introduction to the volume: Complex Deterrence: Strategy in the Global Age. In recent years, Paul has turned his attention to security issues of South Asia region. The perpetual insecurity that the eight nations of the region face at inter-state, intra-state, and human levels have been the focus of his current work. He attributes this multifaceted insecurity to the weak state capacity and low levels of inter-state norms of cooperation and non-intervention among the regional states. His current project: Building Peace in South Asia is expected to offer many proposals drawn from International Relations scholarship on how to achieve durable peace in South Asia. He is also working another project on Status and Emerging Powers with Deborah Larson (UCLA) and William Wohlforth (Dartmouth College).