AUTHORKapur, Ashok
TITLEPokhran and Beyond: India’s Nuclear Behavior
PUBLISHEROxford University Press
CITYOxford, England

This book is a survey of India’s nuclear strategy and policy, from independence to 2001, a period encompassing the nuclear device detonation in 1974 and, more importantly, the nuclear tests in 1998. The author, Ashok Kapur, analyzes the movement from a peaceful policy under Mohandas Gandhi and, superficially, Jawaharlal Nehru, through the ever-increasing importance of conventional military forces and the development of a nuclear arsenal. Kapur organizes his book chronologically, dealing first with the 1930s through 1947, and moving to the years until 1964. At that point, he addresses the importance of diplomacy before commencing with a survey of the years from 1964 through 1974, discussing both the internal and the external dynamics that led to the detonation of an atomic device at the end of that period. The final two chapters analyze the development of Indian strategic independence, the factors leading to nuclear explosions in 1998, and the aftermath of those explosions. Throughout, Kapur emphasizes the marginalization of India on the world stage as an important factor in its decision to acquire nuclear weaponry. He distinguishes proactive and reactive policies, asserting that the former have allowed India to cope with changing international structures, particularly the rise of strong impersonal forces that affect a nation’s affairs and identity. The book includes diagrams illustrating international pressures and responses and two appendices: a timeline of scientific activity in India before 1947 and a list of Prime Ministers of India.

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