Dhandevi Singh

Dhandevi Singh

University of New Hampshire

Political Science


Mentor: Dr. Lawrence C. Reardon, Department of Political Science

Sino-Indian Security Dilemma: Offensive and Defensive Mobilization

The Sino-Indian relationship is one of the most dynamic interactions dominating the arms race of the twenty-first century. Deep-rooted geopolitical and border disputes have imbedded the sentiments of mutual destruction. As a result, all three major countries in South Asia—China, India, and Pakistan—have developed nuclear weapons, whose use would endanger hundreds of millions of lives of Asians and global stability.

Why do nations go nuclear? This research concentrates on the international determinants of the security dilemma among nations. The security dilemma poses two sides, the propensity to go nuclear, versus cooperating to curtail nuclear advancement. In order to participate in cooperative behavior, leaders must not only preach, but also obey the non-proliferation rules of conduct. Nations, especially India and China did not join the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Instead they rationalize their continuous mobilization as an act of deterrence, believing that in order to sustain their strategic security, they must then develop nuclear weapons. A closer look reveals that while nations mobilize to prevent a possible attack (defensive mobilization), other nations misperceive the mobilization as offensive. On one side this is the action of aggression while the other side justifies proliferation as protective measures to prevents war. This is precisely the security dilemma, which prevents cooperative behavior. This dilemma at the bare minimum results in a conditional alliance prone to mistrust and misunderstanding. The worst scenario is an international community transformed into a nuclear battleground.

Applying the security dilemma to better understand why India-China went nuclear will serve, as model illustrating that sentiment of distrust between nations will generate causal motive to foster nuclear engagement policies. India and China developed nuclear weapons to protect their status and provided another supplementary barrier against any oppressive invasion. I will be testing the hypothesis; if international anarchy prevails countries will become nuclear.

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