Security, interests, and power According to conventional wisdom in the field of international relations, the build-up of a nuclear arsenal is motivated by a state’s attempt to improve its security through relative power gains vis-à-vis its counterparts within the international anarchic self-help system (Van Evera 1999). In this line of thinking, interaction between states is determined by their relative power capabilities and their mutual threat perceptions. In the case of India’s nuclear build-up, assuming that security concerns alone were involved would generate more questions than answers. Why did India develop a nuclear-weapons-capable infrastructure before 1964 in the absence of any nuclear threat? Why did India wait 34 years before it responded to the Chinese nuclear threat that emerged in 1964? Why did India develop the bomb first and only afterwards contemplate how to deploy it? Why did India accept the equalizing effects of nuclear weapons vis-à-vis Pakistan which, in so doing, voided much of its conventional superiority? These questions cannot be answered by looking at security imperatives alone; rather, a variety of other national interests must be taken into account.