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Causes of Nuclear Proliferation: The Case of India

Wednesday November 30, 2005, at 15:30
Aula 4 IBEI
Research seminar
Karsten Frey (Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals)
The paper gives an analytic account of the motives of India’s nuclear policy making. The two major security-related factors reflecting India’s nuclear calculus, the threat emerging from nuclear armed China and Pakistan’s nuclear program, were permissive to India’s nuclear development but not sufficient to make the country’s nuclearisation imperative. The paper therefore includes explanatory variables which were generally related to political, less strategic values of nuclear weapons. Within India’s democratic framework, the interaction between the elected leaders and the public on the nuclear issue is not a direct one but occurs through the intermediation of a limited number of strategic thinkers, referred to as the strategic elite. They managed to monopolise the nuclear discourse though the government’s advisory bodies, and, more significantly, by dominating opinion leadership. These dynamics of India’s nuclear discourse led to the attribution of certain normative values to nuclear weapons, which made them particularly attractive for India’s struggle for international recognition. Next to security considerations, this struggle emerged as one of the pivotal driving forces behind India’s quest for the nuclear bomb.