Indian Nukes

It always fascinates me how people can re-write history with 20-20 hindsight. In reply to my blog on Pakistan, one of my most faithful readers suggested that Pakistan’s current instability accounts for India’s nuclear weapons. Sorry, but India’s first nuclear detonation (composed of about 90% of naive Canadian technology exports) took place in 1974, after Pakistan was split in two and (during the 1970 war) and in no sense a conventional military threat.

The Indian nuclear program was in fact a reaction to Chinese military power: first, the crushing defeat inflicted by China in 1962, then the 1964 Chinese nuclear test. It was only after the Indian test that the Pakistani program was set in motion, under a civilian and secular government. It moved as quickly as it did by virtue of considerable Chinese help. Not a Salafist in sight until the American-led operation against the pro-Soviet Afghan government operated through Pakistan.

India now worries more about Pakistan, because it’s dangerously unstable, but the initial nuclear impetus was China. And, why would India be so keen on a nuclear deal with the US (and China so upset) if the motive were little old Pakistan?


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