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 Alfred W Croucher:
- The nuclear option is one which should ensure no one would be willing to invade or otherwise attack be interests of the country so armed.
- As such it would be most effective as s deterrent if no such assurance was given. So long as an attacker used only conventional weapons they would be immune to nuclear retaliation.
- During the Cold War however the U.S. Adopted the policy of asserting their willingness to use the nuclear option first if necessary.
- To underscore their claim to be only concerned with defense, and as a tool in their leadership of the world "Peace" movement the USSR adopted the "No first strike" policy.
- This policy is a useful tool of propaganda, but as the question implies, a dubious deterrent.
- The policy of "Mutally Assured Distruction" has been a great success, arguably can be seen as responsible for the nearly 70 years of peace the Baby Boomers have enjoyed. No country with nuclear weapons has been invaded by another country.
- Sadly this has resulted in super-national terror groups such as Al-Qaeda taking action into their own hands. Eg the World Trade Towers attack. Fortunately they do not appear to have gained nuclear weapons to date.
- Back to India, we may say that a "No First Strike" policy is unlikely to deter Pakistan from 'tolerating' the efforts of extremist groups attacking Indian targets. Clearly a more aggressive policy should act as greater deterrent.
- Perhaps India's old role as a Third World country, strongly interested in 'world peace' and socialism does not permit her to take such a position. That's a pity.