Nuclearization of South Asia: A Discourse Analysis of the Hindustan Times and Dawn

Article excerpt


This research study looks at the exposition of 'Nuclearization of South Asia' through a discourse analysis of the editorials of The Hindustan Times and the Dawn during post nuclear tests scenario that includes the issue of CTBT, testing of Agni II, and Ghauri II missiles by India and Pakistan respectively in 1999. The study finds that the print media of India and Pakistan are concerned about the nuclear race in the region. It also concludes that the elite press not simply comments on the events but also directs or formulates the foreign policy.

KEY WORDS: Nuclearization, South Asia, Discourse Analysis, The Hindustan Times, Dawn


The nuclearization of South Asia is a post independence phenomenon. The two countries of the region, India and Pakistan have been engaged in the nuclearization programme. India and Pakistan's nuclear programmes were impelled by quite different factors. Indian programme evolved as a result of various international and domestic factors. At an international level, India's misgivings about nuclear-armed China and its quest for great-power status have proven to be powerful incentives (Ganguly, 2001: 101).

Pakistan's uneasy relationship with India explains its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Pakistan's nuclear energy program dates back to the 1950s, but it was the loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in a war with India that probably triggered a political decision in January 1972 (just one month later) to begin a nuclear weapons program (U.S. Department of Defense, 1996). The consequent break-up of Pakistan induced a deep sense of insecurity in the minds of the Pakistani decision-making and political elite. Cognizant of the Indian conventional superiority, the Pakistani elite chose to invest in a nuclear weapons option (Bhutto, 1969).

This research study looks at the exposition of nuclearization of South Asia through a discourse analysis of the editorials of The Hindustan Times and Dawn during post nuclear tests scenario which includes the issue of CTBT, testing of Agni II, and Ghauri II missiles by India and Pakistan respectively in 1999.

The Indian Nuclear Programme

"India's nuclear weapons program was started at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay in the mid-1950s. It was based on the country's abundant natural thorium reserves" (Creasman, 2008). "Its foundation was laid by the US Atoms for Peace Program, which aimed to encourage the civil use of nuclear technologies in exchange for assurances that they would not be used for military purposes" (Sethna in Weiss, 2003). "India's first reactor, the 1 Megawatt (MWt) Aspara Research Reactor was built with British assistance in 1955. The following year, India acquired a CIRUS 40 MWt heavy-water moderated research reactor from Canada" (Ramana, 2007). "The United States agreed to supply heavy water for the project (Creasman, 2008). More than 1,000 Indian scientists participated in US nuclear energy research projects from 1955-1974" (Weiss, 2003). "The United States also assisted India in building and fueling the Tarapur reactors" (Yager, 1980). In 1964, India commissioned a reprocessing facility at Trombay, which was used to separate out the plutonium produced by the Cirus research reactor. On May 18, 1974, India conducted a nuclear test at Pokhran in the Rajasthan desert. The Indian Government declared it as "a peaceful nuclear explosion experiment" and stated that India has "no intention of producing nuclear weapons" (Perkovich, 1999).

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, "India began work on a thermonuclear weapon in the 1980s (Strategic Security Project, 2002). In 1989, William H. Webster, director of the CIA, testified before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that, "indicators tell us India is interested in thermonuclear weapons capability. According to Webster (1990), "India was purifying lithium, producing tritium and separating lithium isotopes. India had also obtained pure beryllium metal from West Germany"

"After 24 years without testing, India resumed nuclear testing with a series of nuclear explosions known as Operation Shakti". …


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