Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia

By Shuja, Sharif M. | Contemporary Review, June 1999 | Go to article overview

Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia

Shuja, Sharif M., Contemporary Review

For the most part, the evidence of the 1990s would seem to suggest that the stability and prosperity of Asia-Pacific have flowed in part from the widespread adherence by regional countries to the non-proliferation norms and regimes, the centrepiece of which is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT dates back to 1968 when seventy states signed the NPT, which came into force in 1970. Since then, the number of states party to the NPT has increased considerably. By now, 176 states have signed the treaty and thus opted to give up nuclear power for military purposes. Some states, for example, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Romania, gave up their nuclear stockpiling programme. Algeria, after building up a large nuclear research facility with China's support, eventually joined the NPT in January 1995.

But the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998 shattered the strategic status quo on the sub-continent, fuelling global concerns that the two long-time protagonists were moving close to a nuclear confrontation. By exploding ten nuclear bombs in two weeks, India and Pakistan together have blown the nuclear non-proliferation regime to pieces and fundamentally altered the nuclear balance of power. In April, things got worse when India tested a missile capable of carrying this nuclear device. The campaign for nuclear disarmament is failing just when success seemed at hand. A Nuclear Weapons Convention based on the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention could be one way out of the imbroglio. But the harsh reality is that none of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council is contemplating the idea of dismantling its nuclear weapons. The new nuclear arms race arguably calls into question the nature and durability of the US leadership in world affairs.

The political and strategic after-shocks were felt beyond the borders of India and Pakistan. Strategic analysts, security planners and policy-makers even in Australia became worded about the balance of power implications, the consequences for the non-nuclear proliferation regime, and the spillover effects for the Asia-Pacific region. Such worries were demonstrated in a seminar entitled 'India and Pakistan: A New Nuclear Weapons Imbroglio', organised by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, held on 21 August 1998 and the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Strobe Talbot's most recent visit and talks in Islamabad over nuclear non-proliferation. This nuclear proliferation in South Asia has raised the need to re-examine the question of nuclear non-proliferation within the context of international security. This article aims to focus attention upon arguments about substance and mandate rethinking basic issues. In my discussions, I am guided by the vision of a world eventually free of all weapons of mass destruction.

Theoretical Terrain

Some international relations scholars in the Cold War period, such as Kennet Waltz, argued in 1979 (Theory of International Politics) that the countries equipped with nuclear weapons may have a stronger incentive to prevent war than the states with conventional armaments. In 1981 he published The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May be Better, a definite stance for nuclear weaponry increase as a means of stability between the two superpowers. Others also wrote on this issue. Using the contemporary concepts of 'international systems' expounded by Gabriel Amond, Morton Kaplan, K. J. Holsti, Le Roy Graymer, Joseph Franklin, Richard Rosecrance and Julian Friedman, this author earlier in 1974 (International Systems and Problems of Stability in the Nuclear Age) attempted to establish theoretically that, 'stability or security in the present age of nuclear deterrence is most probably dependent, in the ultimate analysis, on a balanced relationship between the existing patterns of bipolarity and multipolarity'. Since 1989, the pulling down of the Berlin wall followed by the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union collapse have deeply changed the geo-strategical outlook. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.