Earlier this month, India marked the 20th anniversary of the nuclear tests at Pokhran.
What is the context?
The Pokhran nuclear tests signaled the de facto status of India as the sixth nuclear power nation of the world.
On May 28, 1998, just a fortnight after India’s tests, Pakistan responded with a similar nuclear test, marking its emergence as a rival nuclear power to India.
How the balance of strategic nuclear power has evolved over the past two decades?
First, it is clear that Pakistan’s assertion of nuclear parity and India’s ‘no first use policy’ for its nuclear weapons provided Islamabad with the power of deterrence.
‘Deterrence’ in this context implies one side discouraging the other from undertaking an action by instilling a fear of disproportionate consequences.
In the nuclear context, deterrence is a powerful force because of the overwhelmingly destructive nature of these weapons.
Pakistan’s nuclear test in response to India was a case of the country deterring India from undertaking any major action, conventional or nuclear, against it, even if the situation demanded it.
Being a responsible state which values the life of its citizens, India couldn’t afford to risk a nuclear strike by Pakistan in the face of Indian escalation, especially as India likely believed Pakistan’s intention of using its nuclear arsenals, including “theatre nukes”.
In this context, nuclear weapons programmes reduce the power gap between two unequal conventional weapon states.
Under multiple game-theoretic scenarios, the deterrence effect of nuclear weapons makes nuclear war less likely.
Issue of responsible use-Some argue that a less responsible nuclear state is likely to intimidate a more responsible one by threatening to use nuclear weapons against the latter without fearing its own annihilation, in the event of a massive retaliation.
Issue of cost which, in the case of emerging countries such as India and Pakistan, is considerable.
The past few decades of a nuclear South Asia have not only been a story of nuclear deterrence, but also of proliferation and an arms race that has consumed on a vast scale scarce resources that could arguably have been deployed for non-military, welfare purposes
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Environmental Regulation and FDI
GS Paper- 2
Why in news?
It has been analyzed whether foreign direct investment (FDI) is linked to easing environmental regulations in India.
The findings were published in a study titled ‘‘Does environmental governance matter for foreign direct investment? Testing the pollution haven hypothesis for Indian States’’ in the Asian Development Review.
What did the study say?
Environmental regulation has little impact on FDI.
FDI is instead dependent on other variables such as infrastructure and labor.
In terms of policy, it would help India if it is focused more on these factors (infrastructure and labor) rather than on ease of environmental regulation.
The study dealt with pollution related expenditures of the manufacturing sector between 2002 and 2010. Higher costs in dealing with pollution from an industry show stricter environmental norms being in place.
Of the 28 States reviewed, 16 saw pollution abatement costs reduce (including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka); while only in 11 States did the costs increase (undivided Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala).
The study also dealt with industrial composition.
A State with a high number of chemical industries will have higher environmental costs despite the level of environmental regulations.
Thus, to adjust for this, Kathuria created a industrial-composition-adjusted abatement index using unit level data from the Annual Survey of Industries.
The index shows that Chandigarh, Odisha and Karnataka have the highest environmental stringency, while Bihar, Delhi and the northeastern States have the lowest.
Study also compared FDI inflow to :
control variables of per ca-pita income of 21 States,
manufacturing share of the State GDP,
installed electricity generation capacity,
transmission and distribution losses in the power sector (a reflection of industrial regulations),
proximity to coast, and
the readiness of a State to accept investments.
The study concluded that the location of foreign firms decision is primarily based on infrastructure and market access-related factors rather than environment regulation.