A New History of India. 6th edition. By Stanley Wolpert. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. ix, 450. $49.95.)

Christopher Clary


On May II, 1998, the newly constituted government of India, headed by the Hindunationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), detonated a nuclear device at Pokhran. The same site had been used twenty-four years earlier when Indira Gandhi had done the same thing This time, the world was aghast for a multitude of reasons. This device was detonated to further India's program of nuclear weaponization, whereas Indira's program was for peaceful purposes. Secondly, the decision was made by a Hindu-nationalist party, rather than the secular Congress party. Finally, this nuclear detonation essentially forced the government of Pakistan to respond two weeks later with its own detonation and weaponization. Overnight, "South Asia has thus achieved the dreaded distinction of becoming the world's most perilous region of potential nuclear conflict in the twenty-first century.·(454) A region that still has not resolved long-festering Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir, that are only exacerbated by religious differences.


A New History of India; Stanley Wolpert

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