Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ryan C. Hendrickson


Pakistan conducted six thermonuclear tests in response to five Indian nuclear tests in 1998. There existed an interplay of various actors at the external and the internal level which enabled Pakistan to reach the decision to detonate. This thesis examines the motivations and intentions that acted as a driving force for Pakistan to make the decision to go nuclear. In order to identify these intentions, this thesis applies the national decision making model presented by Graham Allison. The arguments presented will demonstrate whether Allison's model explains the complexity of Pakistan's decision to go nuclear and which part of the model best explains the motivations that led Pakistan to respond India in kind. The conclusion of this thesis suggests that Allison's Rational Actor, Organizational Process and the Bureaucratic Politics Models have some usefulness in explaining Pakistan's decision to conduct nuclear tests in 1998. But these models cannot be applied solely to explain the decision-making rather it has to be a combination of all the three models to suggest what motivated Pakistan to detonate.