India from a Nuclear Capable State to a Nuclear Weapon State
India’s evolution from a Nuclear Capable State to a Nuclear Weapon State is pretty cautious and slow compare to its rival Pakistan. Since independence India was committed to use atom for peaceful purposes. India was inclined to use nuclear energy for developmental purpose. The first PM of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the importance of Nuclear energy for the socio-economic progress of India. The Indian scientists were convinced that the nuclear energy would accelerate the development. Since its independence India embarked on civilian nuclear research at a small level with the help of US and Canada.
India acquired nuclear reactors, heavy water and enriched uranium from these countries. Several experts argue that although India was capable for developing nuclear weapons in the 1950s, India did not move to a weapons programme. India maintained this throughout
the cold war period.
However in 1970s a variety of internal and external pressure forced India to change its nuclear posture. The Indian war china in 1962 and the Chinese nuclear explosion in 1964 compelled India to rethink over its nuclear policy. The then PM of India Mrs. Indira
Gandhi made it clear that her government’s nuclear policy would be formulated on the basis of threat perceptions to Indian security.
Considering the volatile security environment in the south Asian subcontinent in the 1970, India decided to go for nuclear test. In 1974 India conducted the first nuclear test and demonstrated to the world that India is capable of building a nuclear bomb .It is pertinent
to note that despite having capability to construct a nuclear bomb, India did not follow that path of weaponisation. India took twenty four years after its first nuclear test to declare itself as nuclear weapons states and construct nuclear bombs.
In the post cold war era, the steady increase in the Pakistan’s nuclear capability, enhanced Chinese nuclear threat, and Pakistan china nuclear nexus forced India to change its traditional stand of keeping nuclear option open. In May 1998 India detonated five underground nuclear tests and put an end the era of four decade long ambiguity and uncertainty in respect of Indian nuclear policy. India’s decision of 1998 to conduct further nuclear tests and construct nuclear bomb was the beginning of new era in the nuclear field.