The Collapse of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government barely 13 months after coming to power has sent an unambiguous message to India's politicians: ultranationalism, hawkishness on matters of security, and nuclear and missile muscle-flexing can hardly guarantee political survival.

The BJP has long been identified as the only political party in India that is a strong, unconditional votary of nuclear weapons and missiles. It has demanded a nuclear bomb for India since 1951—when India's security environment was qualitatively better than at any time in the 1980s or 1990s and fully 13 years before China crossed the nuclear threshold. One of its first decisions upon coming to power in March last year was to conduct a nuclear test, a decision made even before it had won a confidence vote in Parliament by a razor-thin margin made possible by abstentions.

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Himal Southasian