Though several nations, particularly the US, and the United Nations are pushing programs for disarmament, countries continue to develop their nuclear programs. Why? International competition. Unfortunately, nations with the most developed nuclear plants and weaponry systems tend to also have the most power and economic advantages. With China’s current emergence as a world leader, nations like Russia and India want to keep up. It’s a sad but true fact that moral consciousness is often sacrificed for power.
Note that the article cited in the other answer has nothing to do with nuclear armaments, but with business competition.
I would disagree with the first poster. Russia was a nuclear power long before India or China (as the Cold War rather forcefully illustrated). And although the United States has supported disarmament, pragmatically the US remains willing to supply nuclear weapons to allied states, as it’s recent nuclear deal with India illustrates. (Moreover, it continues to possess the second largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, with Russia having the largest.)
But to get back to the original question, India’s desire to develop its nuclear arsenal, I would argue, has little to do with international business competition, and a lot do to with regional security and power dynamics. China is a rising regional power in Asia, yes, but so is India. The two states have long had a tumultuous relationship, disagreeing on issues as far ranging as India’s providing a safe haven for the Dalai Lama to China’s damming of the Brahmaputra river. India, in developing a nuclear arsenal, may be seeking to off-set China’s rise as a regional hegemon. However, I would argue that India’s concerns over China are tangential – the purpose of India’s nuclear development is to counterbalance Pakistan.
Russia also sees China’s rise as a direct challenge to its own regional status. Although the two states were able to resolve their decades long border dispute, there remains tension surrounding the territorial demarcation of the regions along the two states common border, particularly the Russian Far East.
So, to summarize, I believe that India and Russia are both concerned with China’s rise and its implications for the regional power dynamics (remember, they’re all neighbours), and that is one reason why they are seeking to develop (or redevelop, in Russia’s case) their nuclear arsenals.
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