Pakistan was forced to riposte in late May to India’s nuclear tests by detonating five nuclear devices. Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif had waited, hoping the west would punish India for sparking an Asian arms race. Instead, the west and Japan merely slapped India’s wrists. Sharif finally bowed to fierce public pressure.
Though dramatic, the tests merely revealed the poorly kept secret that both old enemies, who have fought three wars since 1947, were nuclear capable. Far more important, India’s nuclear tests, and ongoing development of intermediate, intercontinental and sea-launched missiles, were clear signals of Delhi’s determination to become a great power, and dominant force in South Asia, Central Asia. and the Indian Ocean.