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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Lakshmi Jha, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Lakshmi Jha held several senior posts in the Indian government in the 1960s and 1970s, including Secretary to the Prime Minister, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and Ambassador to the United States. The interview touches on a series of events affecting India during this period and their impact on India’s thinking about nuclear weapons. He describes some of the personal relationships involving key politicians and scientists such as Prime Ministers Nehru and Shastri, and the physicist Homi Bhabha. In his view, a number of regional events, notably the Sino-Indian war of 1962 followed by China’s 1964 nuclear test, dramatically altered India’s sense of its own security “for the worse.” Jha played a part in the development of India’s attitude toward the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, adopted by Indira Gandhi, which held that the superpowers would be granted a monopoly over nuclear weapons to the potential detriment of local powers. The alternative he proposed was to get the superpowers to agree to come to the aid of any country threatened by a nuclear power. The interview touches on Jha’s interactions with the British, Soviet and U.S. governments over the years, and briefly covers events such as the growth of Pakistan’s nuclear program and India’s own “peaceful nuclear explosion” of 1974. Looking ahead, Jha expresses “grave fears for the future of mankind” based on unfolding nuclear and political developments.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Visions of War and Peace
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Interview with Lakshmi Jha, 1987

Series Description

The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.

In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989

Program Description

Even in the best international atmosphere, the superpowers face continuing differences about hot to reduce the risk of nuclear war. This final episode analyzes the continuing themes of the nuclear age.

- American attitudes toward nuclear weapons are intertwined with American anxieties about the nature of the Soviet State. - NATO relies on a threat of first use of nuclear weapons in response to an attack even by conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact. - To date, there is no defense against nuclear missiles. - More and more nations are acquiring nuclear technology. - Many people confuse arms control with disarmament.

The challenge of the Nuclear Age is to find a new way for nations to resolve disputes so they will no longer resort to force.



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Nuclear nonproliferation
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Nuclear disarmament
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
United Nations
Great Britain
Nuclear weapons
Wilson, Harold, 1916-1995
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Shastri, Lal Bahadur, 1904-1966
Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984
Bhaba, Homi J.
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
India-Pakistan Conflict, 1971
United States
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Nuclear fission
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Gandhi, Rajiv, 1944-1991
Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Jha, Lakshmi Kant, 1913-1988 (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Lakshmi Jha, 1987,” 02/17/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Lakshmi Jha, 1987.” 02/17/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Lakshmi Jha, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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