The global nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regime has been in jeopardy ever since India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests and declared their nuclear weapons status in May 1998. The testing of various nuclear devices by India and Pakistan has established them as de facto nuclear weapon states. However, citing Article 9 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), under which "a nuclear weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) still does not accept the nuclear weapons status of India and Pakistan. So is the stand of the declared nuclear states, particularly the United States--the chief sponsor of the NPT.
Given that, India and Pakistan may have become de facto nuclear weapon states; de jure, they are not. This, however, does not mean that the. nuclear dilemma facing the international community does not exist. Rather, as this article argues, this dilemma may sharpen, given the consistency in India's inflexible nuclear stand. Tackling this dilemma requires altogether a new approach towards nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, one that links South Asia's nuclear armament essentially with nuclear armaments by the declared nuclear states.