The US/India Civil Nuclear Agreement of 2008: A Two-Level Game?


  • Padmini Das



Nuclear power relationships between states have historically determined global power structures in a wider context. Following India’s maiden nuclear test in 1974, the international community sidelined the country for a long time. However, within the next three decades, international opinions about the India significantly improved and paved the way for
the country’s first civilian nuclear deal. That said, the circumstances behind this deal and the United States of America (US)’ objectives involved therein merit a review, considering changes in the US’ domestic situation and changing political realities around the world. Did the US make an objective foreign policy decision by pivoting its nuclear policy towards India? Or was the US playing a strategic two-level game with both domestic interests as well as its international agenda at stake? This paper seeks to analyze the different layers of interests that were involved in the US’ decision-making process resulting in the Agreement. It also aims to apply Robert Putnam’s Two-Level Game Theory to understand these interests in a better way.