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Gli Stati Uniti e il compromesso atomico indiano: tra non – allineamento e sicurezza nazionale

Mereu, Marta (2012) Gli Stati Uniti e il compromesso atomico indiano: tra non – allineamento e sicurezza nazionale. [Doctoral Thesis]



The purpose of this study was to investigate the significant role that the nuclear powers have had in the development of India's nuclear capabilities, particularly the part played by the United States. The period that was covered goes from 1947 to 1974, and it was examined by dividing it into three phases. The first includes the origins of the nuclear program, the political and historical causes which have created the conditions for the development of the project, and the aspects that allowed the technical cooperation with other countries, especially with the United States of America. The second goes through the negotiations from 1965 onwards, which led in 1968 to the Indian decision not to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, examining, in particular, the internal debate at first on the search for security guarantees from both sides: the Western countries and the Soviet Union, later on by requesting a global nuclear disarmament. The last phase leads to the first Indian nuclear test in 1974, where the research analyses the implications on the international arena, as an introduction to the stalemate that has characterized the next phase. Possessing nuclear weapons has always been considered a way to achieve an international status. In the case of India the proliferation was generated both by endemic situations of conflict and by the need of a stronger affirmation of its national identity. The Republic of India wanted to be recognized as a country able to play an important role on the international scene and among the non-aligned countries. Unfortunately Indian’s nuclear test damaged the credibility of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as it was the first country to challenge directly, deliberately and with apparent impunity, the central aim of the treaty. In this way other countries could feel encouraged to follow Indian’s example. That was exactly what the United States and the Soviet Union feared the most: in the early sixties as the horizontal proliferation constituted a greater risk of nuclear war. A local conflict could have triggered a "domino effect" eventually involving the two superpowers, with catastrophic consequences. At the same time, the United States in the sixties, had considered the possibility to encourage and help India in acquiring unconventional weapons in an "anti-Chinese" function and continued to supply enriched uranium after its first nuclear test. One conclusion was that, even if fearing the possible repercussions on the countries of the so-called Third World and despite the damage to the image of the NPT, the first Indian nuclear test was considered by the United States a peripheral event in the years of "appeasement". We could argue that, since India was not part of the NPT, no penalties could have been applied, but nuclear powers could have imposed disguised penalties if they had wanted to. India was a country with a strategic role because of its size and population and a point of reference in Asia, even more after the fall of Vietnam, which is the reason why Washington decided not to react harshly to its “horizontal proliferation”.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date:23 March 2012
Tutor:Scarano, Federico
PhD classes:Ciclo 23 > Storia, istituzioni e relaz.internaz. Asia e Africa
Coordinator:Carcangiu, Bianca Maria
Institution:Universita' degli Studi di Cagliari
Divisions:Dipartimenti (fino a dicembre 2011) > Dipartimento Storico politico internazionale dell'età moderna e contemporanea
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/06 Storia delle relazioni internazionali
Uncontrolled Keywords:India, nuclear program, Usa-India nuclear agreement, non proliferation treaty, programma nucleare indiano, rapporti India-Stati Uniti
ID Code:737
Deposited On:27 Mar 2012 12:35

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