The Bharatiya Janata Party Essay

The Bharatiya Janata Party Essay

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be best remembered for inaugurating India into the elite nuclear club in May 1998, a decision that coincided with a period of changing international norms which grew increasingly illiberal of nuclear proliferation. The five test explosions, Pokhran II are arguably a result of futile attempts to ensure national security through extant nuclear powers. (Kennedy, 2001, pp. 120) Conversely, “The typical argument at the time was that the Indian government was pursuing nuclear weapons either because they were irrational or were suffering from status deficiency.” (Mearsheimer, 2000, pp. 64) Therefore the question must be asked; Was the underlying motive of India’s decision to test nuclear devices and become a recognised nuclear power, one of defence or development? Could nuclear proliferation be justified as a means of ensuring national security from the impending threat of China’s emerging nuclear capabilities, apace with its growing collaboration with Pakistan? Or an attempt to alleviate India’s international status? - A staple of foreign policy since inception as an independent state in 1947. Due to the assumption of a fixed and anarchic world, “none can ever feel entirely secure in such a world of competing units, power competition ensues and the vicious circle of security and power accumulation is on” (Herz, 2005 pp. 87) The analysis of the events preceding the 1998 decision and its effect on India’s psyche, guided by Structural neorealist theory will allow gained insight into motives that drove India to test nuclear weapons.
Rivalry in South Asia
In 1958, China for the first time publicly indicated that it would develop nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding Nehru 's unconcerned public posture, the I...


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argued that we can attribute this persistent interest in nuclear diplomacy to the economic constraints that India faced, which made investing in nuclear armament expensive and unappealing. (Cohen, 2000, pp. 45) It is also important to note that, many viewed that an external security guarantee was nothing short of sacrificing the country 's sovereignty and non- aligned policy and inviting Western powers to dominate India. (Krieger and Roth, 2007, pp. 378)
Perception of Power
Traditionally, the concept of national interest and security has been identified in terms of the Westphalian concept of the nation-state, which is essentially realist. In this the national interest of any given country was conceived in terms of its military security and military security was defined as the integrity of its national territory and of its institutions. (Vanaik, 2009, pp. 89)

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