Digital Commonwealth

Interview with Kandury Subramanvam, 1987

Item Information

Title:
Interview with Kandury Subramanvam, 1987
Description:
Kandury Subramanvan (Subrahmanyam) was an official in India’s Ministry of Defense. In the interview, he offers his views on China’s 1964 test, determining immediately that India should get a device of its own. He then explains why India should get a bomb, even though its own preference was for disarmament. At the time, he acknowledges, the Indian government did not take very seriously Pakistan’s declared intent to develop a bomb. Although India participated vigorously in preparing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it did not eventually sign it because of feelings of discrimination. The Bangladesh crisis of 1971 cemented the realization that India faced a potential combination of powerful forces – the United States, China, Pakistan, for example – that elevated the country’s concern about its security. In part, he says, this explains India’s friendship treaty with the USSR. When India exploded its test device in 1974, his reaction was “at last ... the people have done it.” He discusses Indira Gandhi’s motivations for the test and the gains it produced for the country. He then responds to several questions about nonproliferation in the 1960s and 1970s, Pakistan’s enrichment program, and other countries’ nuclear activities, then comments on broader issues concerning India’s current security needs, why countries pursue nuclear weapons, and how he sees the next decade of the nuclear age. He closes by concluding Pakistan possesses the bomb but that it is more likely to bring about stability than increase tensions with India.
Interviewee:
Subrahmanyam, K.
Date:
February 21, 1987
Format:
Film/Video
Location:
WGBH
Collection (local):
WGBH Open Vault
Series:
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Subjects:
International Atomic Energy Agency
Deterrence (Strategy)
Bhaba, Homi J.
Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali
Nuclear energy
Nuclear nonproliferation
Nuclear-weapon-free zones
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Nuclear weapons
Nuclear disarmament
Soviet Union
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964
Places:
India
Pakistan
Iraq
Bangladesh
South Africa
United States
China
Israel
Extent:
00:51:18:27
Link to Item:
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Publisher:
WGBH Educational Foundation
Identifier:
V_F5B6185C03D943DA9C9C91C768506327