Why does India have a “no-first-use” policy for nuclear weapons? Shouldn’t India strike before the damage is done, how practical is this …

Why does India have a "no-first-use" policy for nuclear weapons? Shouldn't India strike before the damage is done, how practical is this policy?

Answer by Sourav Adhikari:

Not only India, but China and erstwhile USSR also have/had a No-First-Use (NFU) policy. India adopted a "no first use policy" after its nuclear tests in 1998.  In 1993, Russia dropped a pledge given by the former Soviet Union not to use nuclear weapons first.

It's very much practical according to me. When bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, USA itself was not fully aware what the extent of damage could be. Hence, NFU, upto an extent will refrain an enemy nation not to use nukes unless situations are at their worst.

However, a speech by India's then NSA Shivshankar Menon at National Defence College in New Delhi on October 21, 2010 has been viewed as signaling a shift from "no first use" to "no first use against non-nuclear weapon states". But our current PM is committed to no first use policy.

Pakistan refuses to adopt a "no-first-use" doctrine, indicating that it would strike India with nuclear weapons even if India did not use such weapons first. Hence, there exist emergency protocols during which India may use nuclear weapons to retaliate against states that have such a foreign policy, because a nuclear retaliation against a non- nuclear state is both undesirable and unnecessary. Use of nuclear weapons as a whole is undesirable but then there are two type of nuclear states:

  1. Genuinely believe in peace, nuclear stockpile is just a "show of power" and not a means of threatening.
  2. Unstable nations who view nuclear weapons to be their only saviour. eg. North Korea, Pakistan.

We, by belonging to the first category, take it as a responsibility and are sensible enough to work towards peace in the region and the world. The behaviour of "BOYS WITH TOYS" doesn't suit us.

Why does India have a "no-first-use" policy for nuclear weapons? Shouldn't India strike before the damage is done, how practical is this …

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