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India was already an established nuclear power, as proven already in 1974 in Pokhran-I.

Depsite the fear of economic sanctions and worldwide condemnation, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to go on with Pokhran-II to prove India's deterrent capabilities. What was the reason for this?

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I think the reason was mainly political. India wanted to declare itself nuclear capable and take lead in the region.

Yes she had conducted a nuclear test back in 1974 but due to ever changing political environment in the region they wanted to remind the world of the power that they possessed by conducting 5 nuclear tests (also hinting that they have a huge arsenal of nukes in their stock).

This was sent as a warning to 2 hostile neighbors as well.

PS: Although personally I think it destabilized the region in the sense that it made it vulnerable to nuclear war as it forced Pakistan to retaliate and do their tests as well.

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  • I do not find that convincing. I know that Bharatiya Janata Party had this in their 1998 election manifesto, but this eventually did not turn out to be a very good decision. There may perhaps be a better answer. Dec 11, 2017 at 15:17
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    I don't understand what is not convincing, you yourself say that BJP had it in their election manifesto so the political environment was such that such an action would be lauded especially internally in India. Just like Trump said build a wall and got elected does not mean building a wall is necessarily the best course of action.
    – ITguy
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:24
  • This not turning out to be a good decision does not change the fact as to why it was done in the first place and 'why' was your question.
    – ITguy
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:25
  • I see your point. I am sure that the political gain must have been a factor, among others. I'll wait for more answers though. Dec 11, 2017 at 15:29

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