International Security has nominated South Asia Center Nonresident Fellow Gaurav Kampani’s “New Delhi’s Long Nuclear Journey: How Secrecy and Institutional Roadblocks Delayed India’s Weaponization,” which appeared in the Spring 2014 issue for the Outstanding Article Award that is given annually by the American Political Science Association’s section on International History and Politics and the Alexander L. George Article Award given for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. 

This article triggered a lively debate between Kampani (University of Tulsa), George Perkovich (Carnegie Endowment), and Anit Mukherjee (Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore):

George Perkovich’s and Anit Mukherjee’s rejection of my thesis that secrecy was the cause of India’s slow nuclear operationalization in the 1990s because it prevented successive Indian governments from coordinating a coherent institutional response within the state has given me pause for thought. Yet, after reading their alternative explanations and examining them against the light of the available evidence, I find their claims unpersuasive.

Perkovich begins his critique with the unverified claim that my scholarship is a victim of the “tyranny of academic theorizing” and the “diktat of parsimony” that an aspiring political scientist dare not oppose. One could similarly accuse historians of imposing coherence on data when there is none. He continues with the flawed premise that I identify secrecy as the independent variable in my thesis. I maintain that secrecy was an intervening variable and attribute its cause in India’s case in the 1990s to pressure from the nonproliferation regime’s lead enforcer, the United States, not the nonproliferation regime per se as Perkovich reads my argument. He mischaracterizes my argument on both counts.

Read the full debate here.

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