15 May, 2021

Doves Versus Hawks

Mixed opinions from an overflowing nuclear cauldron

Doves Versus Hawks
It is not easy to categorise a collection of papers presented at a university seminar. In the world of nuclear arsenals, learned opinion is vertically divided between the proponents of nuclear weapons and the opponents to weaponisation. Within this bipolar universe is a range of opinions where the fulcrum varies from ethical positions to economic positions: "pragmatism" is the term used by both the camps as they differ in their assumptions and their conclusions. Nuclear India, as a collection of papers presented at Jadavpur University, has all the advantages and the disadvantages of a university seminar.

The book tries to be inclusive, thus favouring a debate, and to look beyond the immediate impact of Pokhran II. The three broad issues discussed are the bomb, deterrence and arms control; non-military variables; and diplomacy and foreign relations. Its biggest achievement is in the recognition that in India there is no consensus on any aspect of the nuclear issue. It also brings to the fore the far greater divide among the proponents of the nuclear weapons. From being a minimum...

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