In “Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation,” Vipin Narang develops a typology of strategies that states use to acquire nuclear weapons.1 Narang's theory privileges external demand-side factors in explaining states' responses to compelling material threats (conventional and nuclear) without adequately accounting for domestic supply-side factors (cultural, material, institutional, and organizational). To probe the plausibility of his theory, Narang examines India's history of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

Narang's theory combines changes in states' external material conditions with shifts in their domestic political consensus to explain how states proliferate. According to his theory, China's emergence as a nuclear weapons power in 1964 caused India's domestic political consensus to shift from a “technical” to a “hard” hedging nuclear strategy. Similarly, Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapons around 1987–88 led India in 1989 to a “sprint” to develop an operational nuclear force (pp. 136–146).

According to Narang, his theory refutes some of the leading supply-side...

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