chapter  15
21 Pages

Pokhran II and After: Consequences of the Indian Nuclear Tests of 1998

This chapter deals with the consequences of the Indian nuclear tests of 1998. It first highlights the impact the Indian tests had on thinking at the global level because there is considerable confusion in international strategic assessments about India's strategic motives. As the chapter demonstrates, there exists no consensus about the aims and methods by which to address the new reality that has been created by the probability of overt India nuclear weaponisation. The essay maintains that the Indian tests reflect a considered response to a pattern of Pakistani, Chinese and American provocations in the strategic sphere; and the problem of nuclear proliferation cannot be laid to rest in the Asian-Pacific region in which Chinese and Indian strategic interests and ambitions run counter to each other. In these circumstances, a non-binding nuclear non-proliferation regime does not provide an answer to the Indian security problem or the problem of stability in the Asian-Pacific region. The chapter points to a need to bargain restraints in the nuclear sphere with India and Pakistan, India and the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC) as well as India and the USA as the obvious bargaining partners. Time and space limitations preclude a discussion of the bargaining opportunities and the difficulties. This chapter, thus, seeks to challenge and stimulate further the quest for new thinking and new policy development with regard to nuclear nonproliferation efforts.