To understand India’s policy in regard to Pakistan’s Atomic Weapon Program in the 1980s some background is needed. In 1980 Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi came back from the lowest point in perhaps her life, just some years before she had been arrested for election fraud, and though she did not do jail time, the allegations had led to her being sidelined from public life for a time. She lost her eldest son Sanjay Gandhi in a plane crash which even today remains suspicious, yet she won the election by a landslide, as the Indian Public dispelled the myth that her connection to them was broken by the emergency of 1975. The 1970s had largely been her decade in India, as the largest military victory in modern Indian National History had been obtained by the definitive defeat of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh in 1971. She had ended a genocide against Hindus, Sikhs and Intellectuals in East Pakistan, and she had done so with Pakistan being supported by the U.S. and Britain. Throughout 1970, she had tried to build some sort of understanding with the U.S. and Britain, but they continued to support Pakistan and deny the genocide. In what is today known as the Blood Telegram it would become clear that they did indeed know what the Pakistani Army was doing in East Pakistan. In 1974, India would detonate an atomic device, and the balance of power completely shifted in India’s favour in South Asia. This event was not looked upon favourably at the time by several powers in the world.
India would achieve food self-sufficiency just around 1975, and then came sudden allegations of election fraud against the sitting Prime Minister. Raj Narayan would push this through the Allahabad Court, and have 1971, election overturned. The judgement required her to give up her parliamentary seat, and this indirectly affected her position as Prime Minister. But, according to the interpretation Raj Narayan pushed, she could not be Prime Minister since a requirement was to hold a parliamentary seat. Yet, looking at the environment of that time, Indira Gandhi would have won the 1971 election without any rigging. Much of the attempt of bringing her down was geopolitical and not because of India’s domestic environment. The nation would become paralyzed as professional agitators sat themselves down in central Delhi. The idea of removing the sitting Prime Minister was destroying the national economy. Finally, a state of emergency was declared and political opponents along with agitators were arrested and in many cases jailed. The reaction is viewed by many today as P.M. Indira Gandhi holding on to power and an abuse of it. Yet at the time many informed circles viewed this action as preventing a foreign-backed coup toppling of a government which had made India into an atomic power and changed the balance of power in South Asia. Today, this latter view seems to be quite forgotten in India and even sidelined.