No first use nuclear policyDate: 17 August 2019 Tags: Policy
Defence minister Rajnath Singh has indicated that India’s ‘no first use Nuclear Policy’ needs a re-thinking.
- No first use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. Earlier, the concept had also been applied to chemical and biological warfare.
- The NFU policy has often been held up by Indian diplomats, government spokespeople, and various strategists as proof of India’s status as a responsible nuclear power.
Features of Policy
- India may abandon the policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan or any other country if it believed that the country was going to use nuclear weapons against it.
- India's preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan's missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.
- Most states with nuclear weapons maintain policies that would permit their first use in a conflict. Pledges to only use these weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack or a no-first-use (NFU) policy are rare. When these pledges have been made by any nuclear state, their adversaries generally consider them not credible.
- India first adopted a "No first use" policy after its second nuclear tests, Pokhran-II, in 1998. The Indian government follows a doctrine which asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of "retaliation only".