India’s May 1998 nuclear decision forms the backdrop to the contributions in this edited volume. In general, Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream is a critique of the nuclear tests, the motives underlying the decision, as well as the immorality, dangers and costs inherent in developing a nuclear arsenal. The critique is in four parts, each focussing on a cluster of issues; and it proceeds as follows. India does not need nuclear weapons against Pakistan and China, neither of which constitutes a threat. There are grave problems and dangers associated with the development and deployment of a full-fledged arsenal. The logic of nuclear deterrence is incoherent, illegal and immoral, and those who advocate building the bomb are committing treason (against humanity, that is). Weaponization demonstrates a turn towards militarism and its associated ills, including the diversion of much needed resources from developmental activities. Finally, the very pursuit of nuclear technology involves a price in terms of health and environmental pollution, while the actual employment of nuclear weapons would involve the infliction of unimaginable horror and suffering on innocent people.
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