Gaurav Kampani provides a compelling account of the evolution of India's nuclear weapons program from 1989 to 1999 and rightly highlights how the need for secrecy “stymied India's operational advances.”1 “Secrecy concerns,” he argues, “prevented decisionmakers and policy planners from decomposing problem sets and parceling them out simultaneously for resolution to multiple bureaucratic actors, including the military” (p. 82). In his eagerness to argue this point, however, Kampani is too quick to dismiss other explanations for India's slow pace of operationalization. In this letter, I argue that a more complete account of “New Delhi's long nuclear journey” should incorporate civil-military relations as another influential factor.

Most accounts of India's nuclear weapons program agree that India's political establishment largely excluded the military from shaping the program's pace, direction, and progress. According to Verghese Koithara, “[K]eeping the military at arm's length and sidelining military competencies the way India has done has...

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