Ten Years of Instability in a Nuclear South Asia
Kapur, S. Paul
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India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear tests of May 1998 put to rest years of speculation as to whether the two countries, long suspected of developing covert weapons capabilities, would openly exercise their so-called nuclear option. The dust had hardly settled from the tests, however, when a ªrestorm of debate erupted over nuclear weapons’ regional security implications. Some observers argued that nuclearization would stabilize South Asia by making Indo-Pakistani conflict prohibitively risky. Others maintained that, given India and Pakistan’s bitter historical rivalry, as well as the possibility of accident and miscalculation, proliferation would make the subcontinent more dangerous.1 The tenth anniversary of the tests offers scholars an opportunity to revisit this issue with the benefit of a decade of hindsight. What lessons do the intervening years hold regarding nuclear weapons’ impact on South Asian security?
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