Nuclear policy of India explains, the collective set of theories or principles upheld by the nation with respect to the utility of its nuclear weapons.
After the 1998 nuclear test, India came up with a comprehensive nuclear doctrine to clear doubts and misunderstandings prevailing around the world regarding India’s Nuclear weapon policy.
The Cabinet Committee on Security declared the detail of nuclear doctrine in 2003. By charting out a clear and principle, nuclear policy of India has not only clarified its stand (both nationally and internationally) but also earned valuable global support and credibility by diligently following the commands.
Main Features of Nuclear Policy of India
- Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.
- A “No First Use” posture; nuclear weapons to be used only “in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”.
- Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
- Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be “massive” and designed to inflict “unacceptable damage”.
- Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
- Continuance of strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile-related materials and technologies, participation in FMCT negotiations, continued a moratorium on testing.
- India to retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons.
- Continued commitment to the goal of nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory disarmament.
The brief analysis of the nuclear policy
- “Credible minimum obstacle”:
It recognizes that the obstacle to be effective must be credible, which includes:
a) Sufficient and Survivable nuclear forces both in terms of warheads and means of delivery able to inflict unacceptable damage.
b) Nuclear Forces must be operationally prepared at all times.
c) Effective Intelligence and Early Warning Capabilities.
d) A Robust Command and Control System.
e) The Will to Employ Nuclear Forces.
f) Communication of Deterrence Capability.
Hence, credible minimum deterrence along with “No first use” and “No use against non-nuclear states” clearly indicates that India’s nuclear capability is for defensive purpose.
- Massive retaliation and “Unacceptable damage”:
Though India takes a principled defensive stance, by ensuring massive and decisive retaliation it makes its intents clear to countries with an ulterior motive.
- Robust Command & Control system:
The Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) comprises of an Executive Council and a Political Council. The Chairman of the Political Council is the Prime Minister. It is the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons. Bestowing the decision on popularly elected political executive (in a vibrant democracy like India) earns India a lot of credibilities.
- Effective intelligence and early warning capability:
Furthermore, this will be critical not only to counter an attack but also to retaliate. Organizations such as NTRO, RAW provide 24×7 intelligence data to the authority in this regard.
Issue over no First Use policy
Arguments against No First Use
- Several think tanks criticized the no-first-use (NFU) posture, calling it a liability in serious war planning.
- Also, NFU may result in unacceptably high initial casualties and damage to the Indian population, cities, and infrastructure.
- “Massive” retaliation is not credible, especially against a tactical nuclear strike on Indian forces on the adversary’s own territory.
- An elaborate and costly ballistic missile defense (BMD) system would be required to defend against a first strike.
Arguments supporting No First Use
- India’s strategic restraint posture has provided major gains internationally. It including the lifting of economic sanctions and the removal of technology denial regimes, civil nuclear cooperation agreements, and accommodation in multilateral nuclear export control regimes. In case, most of these will be frittered away if India opts for first use.
- Complex command and control and sophisticated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems are necessary for a first-use posture.
- A first-use posture will deny India the opportunity to engage in conventional warfare below the nuclear threshold.
- However, it may lead to arms race and destabilization of the entire south Asia and meddling of outside powers.
Nuclear policy of India Gave the difficult neighborhood and increasing the threat of nuclear warfare.
India’s principled nuclear doctrine, it’s time tested credibility in peaceful nuclear use and its commitment to non-discriminatory global disarmament necessity to acquire membership in Global Nuclear Regime.
Thus, the above-mentioned points make it clear that India’s Nuclear Doctrine is not meant to threaten or invade any country but to protect the sovereignty and boundaries of the country.
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