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GS-III :
  • 17 August, 2019

  • Min Read

India’s doctrine of Nuclear No First Use

GS-III: India’s doctrine of Nuclear No First Use

Context

India’s ‘No First Use’ doctrine (NFU) on the use of nuclear weapons is open for change in the future, the defence minister has indicated, reflecting thinking within the establishment that no policy is writ in stone and could be modified to deal with current realities.

No First Use doctrine

  • A commitment to not be the first to use a nuclear weapon in a conflict has long been India’s stated policy.
  • Pakistan, by contrast, has openly threatened India with the use of nuclear weapons on multiple occasions beginning from the time the two nations were not even acknowledged nuclear powers.
  • After the 1998 nuclear test when India declared itself a nuclear weapon state, it also enunciated a doctrine of ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons.
  • Indian decision-makers categorically rejected the idea of initiating the use of nuclear weapons in any conflict scenario. India’s nuclear doctrine was purely retaliatory in nature.
  • On January 4, 2003, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met to review the progress in operationalizing the country’s nuclear doctrine.
  • Among the major points in the doctrine was “a posture of No First Use”, which was described as follows: “Nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”.
  • However, the doctrine made it clear that India’s “nuclear retaliation to a nuclear attack strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage”.

Why in news?

  • The successive governments are following Vajpayee’s doctrine and have directly or indirectly reaffirmed their commitment to NFU.
  • The doctrine has been questioned at various times by strategic experts in domestic policy debates, and the idea that India should revisit this position has been put forward at various high-level fora.

Source: The Hindu


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