India's Nuclear Debate: Exceptionalism and the Bomb, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

India's Nuclear Debate

Exceptionalism and the Bomb, 1st Edition

By Priyanjali Malik

Routledge India

354 pages

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Making the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party’s nuclear tests in 1998 its starting point, this book examines how opinion amongst India’s ‘attentive’ public shifted from supporting nuclear abstinence to accepting — and even feeling a need for — a more assertive policy, by examining the complexities of the debate in India on nuclear policy in the 1990s.

The study seeks to account for the shift in opinion by looking at the parallel processes of how nuclear policy became an important part of the public discourse in India, and what it came to symbolise for the country’s intelligentsia during this decade. It argues that the pressure on New Delhi in the early 1990s to fall in line with the non-proliferation regime, magnified by India’s declining global influence at the time, caused the issue to cease being one of defence, making it a focus of nationalist pride instead. The country’s nuclear programme thus emerged as a test of its ability to withstand external compulsions, guaranteeing not so much the sanctity of its borders as a certain political idea of it — that of a modern, scientific and, most importantly, ‘sovereign’ state able to defend its policies and set its goals.


"[A] fine, meticulously researched and well-written book… This is a scholarly work through and through but the crisis of 2001-2002, the subcontinent’s equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis in terms of brinks and abysses beyond, is written up so vividly it has a touch of a chiller-thriller about it." - Peter Hennessy, "ueen Mary, University of London, UK; International Affairs 87:2, 2011

About the Author

Priyanjali Malik is an independent researcher based in the UK.

About the Series

War and International Politics in South Asia

This Series seeks to foster original and rigorous scholarship on the dynamics of war and international politics in South Asia. Following Clausewitz, war is understood as both a political and a social phenomenon which manifests itself in a variety of forms ranging from total wars to armed insurrections. International politics is closely intertwined with it, for war not only plays an important role in the formation of an international order but also a threat to its continued existence. The Series will therefore focus on the international as well as domestic dimensions of war and security in South Asia. Comparative studies with other geographical areas are also of interest.

A fundamental premise of this Series is that we cannot do justice to the complexities of war by studying it from any single, privileged academic standpoint; the phenomenon is best explained in a multidisciplinary framework. The Series welcomes a wide array of approaches, paradigms and methodologies, and is interested in historical, theoretical, and policy-oriented scholarship. In addition to monographs, the Series will from time to time publish collections of essays.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism