Objectives and Strategies
Verghese Koithara
EVOLVING DYNAMICS OF NUCLEAR SOUTH ASIA by Air Commodore Tariq Mahmud Ashraf (Retd) GK Publishers, New Delhi, 2015, 381 pp., $74.50
February 2015, volume 39, No 2

Both India and Pakistan started their nuclear weapons quest in earnest in the early 1970s, both reached weapon capability around 1990 and both became overt nuclear powers in May 1998. But the parallelism largely ends there. There are major differences in the objectives pursued and the strategies adopted by the two countries to develop their weapon capabilities and to exploit them. India had developed its capabilities partly to counter inimical countries posing nuclear threats to it and partly to resist the second-class connotation that the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was seeking to impose on it. Pakistan wanted nuclear weapons primarily to neutralize India’s superior conventional capabilities. Unlike India, Pakistan had also sought and secured clandestine help from foreign sources. These and resultant downstream differences in strategies, organizations and postures have led governments, opinion moulders and publics at large to view the other side’s nuclear programme with greater than warranted suspicion and anxiety. The two countries’ record of unremitting hostility dotted with open and clandestine wars has added to this. So has, in India’s case, the effective control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal by the Pakistan Army. These, in turn, have inhibited the kind of creative thinking needed to improve nuclear confidence building and political relations.

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