South Asian Proliferation Puzzle
States acquire nuclear weapons for a variety of reasons, including prestige, domestic-politics, technological imperatives, and deterrence; but security is the most commonly cited justification by all nuclear weapon states. The knowledge of states’ nuclear drivers—also termed as the proliferation puzzle—could be a useful way to develop a better appreciation of proliferation and nonproliferation priorities of all nuclear weapons states, including India and Pakistan, which continue to remain outside nonproliferation obligations. To bring these two non-NPT states under legally binding obligations, it may be useful to first identify the causes that led to the nuclearization of the region. Unless the underlying causes are addressed and a new ‘grand bargain,’ is offered with a tangible quid pro quo, it is unlikely that either of the two would accept unilateral commitments or join the international nonproliferation regime.