Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia

Article excerpt

India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia by Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur. Columbia University Press (http://cup.columbia.edu/), 61 West 62nd Street, New York, New York 10023, 2010, 152 pages, $21.50 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-231-14374-5; $14.50 (softcover), ISBN 978-0-231-14375-2.

Part of a 10-volume series entitled Contemporary Asia in the World published by Columbia University Press, India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia provides a comprehensive look at the nuclear programs of India and Pakistan and examines whether these programs stabilize or destabilize the region. The book's most interesting feature is that the authors actively debate this particular effect of nuclear weapons, especially with regard to the relationship between India and Pakistan. Both Ganguly and Kapur have published other works on these two countries and have knowledge of and experience in writing about the politics of South Asia. Although most other such studies present only one perspective of nuclear stability, these authors take opposite sides of the argument and debate each other throughout the work, thus giving the reader a complete picture and understanding of the possible outcomes of a nuclear South Asia. Whereas Ganguly takes the position that nuclear weapons have had a stabilizing effect on the relationship between India and Pakistan, Kapur maintains that they have destabilized the South Asia security environment writ large and will continue to do so. Both attempt to lay out their positions succinctly and logically. They supply a historical framework for the countries' relationship before nuclear weapons entered the picture, showing how the two nations evolved following British colonialism. Ganguly and Kapur then introduce their competing frameworks, each of which addresses how nuclear weapons have altered India's and Pakistan's dealings with each other. The time periods analyzed by the authors include 1980 to 2002, 2002 to 2007, and 2008 to the present.

On the one hand, Ganguly optimistically asserts that nuclear weapons have produced a stabilizing effect, especially in the sense that each nation's nuclear deterrence has limited military responses during conflicts. …

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