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‘Fierce advocate for peace’ — US scholar Michael Krepon, who fought against nuclear weapons, dies

Krepon was among the earliest voices, in aftermath of Cold War, to advocate elimination of nuclear weapons. His research focussed on nuclear dynamics of South Asia.

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New Delhi: Michael Krepon, scholar, an international peace and nuclear non-proliferation advocate, and co-founder of the Stimson Centre, a Washington DC-based think-tank, died in Virginia, US, Sunday.

Krepon was a global leader in the fight against the threat of nuclear warfare. He was amongst the earliest voices, in the aftermath of the Cold War, to advocate for nuclear non-proliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons. He had also argued for pragmatic solutions to reduce the threat of nuclear warfare.

Apart from studying nuclear proliferation and advocating for nuclear peace globally, Krepon’s scholarship also focused on the nuclear dynamics of South Asia. Throughout his life, he mentored many scholars researching on the sub-continent.

Krepon was a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He attended the Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania for his undergraduation.

As president of the Stimson Center, Krepon played an important role in the creation of the Open Skies Treaty, the permanent extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, all hallmark achievements.

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Books on South Asia’s nuclear dynamics

Krepon authored 23 books, the latest being ‘Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control’ in 2021.

He also authored and edited books related to the nuclear dynamics in South Asia, including ‘Escalation Control and the Nuclear Option in South Asia’, ‘Nuclear Risk Reduction in South Asia’, and ‘Crisis Prevention Confidence Building and Reconciliation in South Asia’, amongst others.

Mentoring scholars on South Asia

Apart from writing books on South Asia, Krepon also mentored dozens of scholars and researchers who were studying the subcontinent.

Vipin Narang, Frank Stanton Professor of Nuclear Security and Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote, “It is hard to overstate the impact of Michael Krepon has had on a whole generation of nuclear scholars — particularly those like me, who came of age with India and Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests and the birth of a delicate nuclear subsystem in Southern Asia that few in the United States were equipped to understand, let alone manage”.

Christopher Clary, scholar of South Asia and assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Albany, said, “Michael is why I work on South Asia and why I work on nuclear weapons. He took me to India for the first time. As my 1st real boss, he introduced me to my 2nd boss–Peter Lavoy then in Monterey–& my 3rd boss–Claudio Lilienfeld in the Pentagon.”

Akriti Vasudeva, fellow at Stimson Centre, wrote, “Michael Krepon was a force of nature, a fierce advocate for peace, and a gentle giant in the field of nonproliferation. I am honoured to have known and worked with him. With his passing, many memories and lessons he taught me have come pouring out.”

“Michael bequeaths to each of us what he called, ‘the gift of meaningful work’. With that profound gift comes the obligation for each of us to seek a safer, more prosperous and more just society for all,” wrote Brian Finlay, the current President of the Stimson Centre.

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