The chapter uses newly declassified documents to discuss how Washington failed to act on indications and intelligence gathered in the years before the May 1974 test, all pointing towards a likely Indian decision to test. Washington also failed to prepare a coherent policy response to such an event, despite discussing its likelihood for years, mainly due to the low priority assigned to the issue. This failure was offset in 1995, when Washington succeeded in both detecting test preparations and applying measured yet effective diplomatic pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narashima Rao, convincing him to cancel the planned test. However, in May 1998 India famously conducted a series of nuclear tests, catching Washington again by complete surprise. The 1995 success thus stands out, particularly in light of the failure to detect and prevent the test preparations both in 1974 and 1998, and despite the limited American leverage on India.
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