Behind India’s Bomb

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2001

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Foreign Affairs

Abstract

The Indian nuclear tests of May 11 and 13, 1998, shook an unsuspecting world. Long at the forefront of the movement for universal nuclear disarmament, India had continually chastised the five declared nuclear powers (the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom) for not moving to eliminate their nuclear arsenals as called for by the 197o nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. After demonstrating its own nuclear capacity in 1974, India had refrained from testing for more than two decades. And apparently, neither the emergence of a government in New Delhi led by the right-of-center Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nor the Indian elites' deep reservations about the global nonproliferation regime had disturbed this quiescence. Indian decision-makers had indicated that they would not carry out nuclear tests until they had completed a lengthy "strategic review' of security threats and how best to cope with them.

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“Behind India’s Bomb” (review essay based on Ashley J. Tellis, India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture), Foreign Affairs, September/October 2001 (80:5, 136-42)

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