Decision-making theory applied to India's explosion of a nuclear device in May, 1974
Biscoe, Adam John.
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This essay reviews the decision-making process that led to India exploding a nuclear device in May, 1974. An examination of the Analytic, Cybernetic and Cognitive Theories of decision, will enable a greater understanding of the events that led up to the 1974 test. While each theory is seen to be only partially useful, it is only by synthesising the three theories that a comprehensive account of the 1974 test can be given. To achieve this analysis, literature on decision-making in national security issues is reviewed, as well as the domestic and international environment in which involved decisionmakers operated. Finally, the rationale for the test in 1974 is examined. The conclusion revealed is that the explosion of a nuclear device by India in 1974 was primarily related to improving Indian international prestige among Third World countries and uniting a rapidly disintegrating Indian societal consensus. In themselves, individual decision-making theories were found to be of little use, but a combination of the various elements allowed a greater comprehension of the events leading up to the test than might otherwise have been the case.