Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why do nations choose to develop nuclear weapons?

The Atomic Bazaar
William Langewiesche

India’s intention to acquire nukes dates back to before the Partition, writes William Langewiesche in The Atomic Bazaar (http://www.penguin.com/). “Jawaharlal Nehru, looking forward to Independence, said, ‘I hope Indian scientists will use the atomic force for constructive purposes, but if India is threatened, she will inevitably try to defend herself by all means at her disposa l.’” Why do nations choose to develop nuclear weapons, the author wonders.

“Is it because of external threat and strategic defence? International prestige and diplomatic power? Bureaucratic striving? Populism, nationalism, and the need to impress constituents on the streets?” The answer, in the case of India, is all of the above, ‘with added emphasis on strategic Defence after India’s humiliating 1962 defeat by China,’ says Langewiesche.

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