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 Arindam Mukherjee:
First / pre-emptive use would cause significant damage to the belligerent through subsequent global isolation (unless you're the US) and will have a crippling effect on the economy, the energy sector and overall standing of the country in world history (unless you're US). The exact opposite would happen to the victim of the first use. While the fallout of a nuclear attack on the local population will be terrible and far-reaching, there would likely be an outpouring of support and solidarity for decades that would ultimately tilt the balance heavily in favour of the victim of first use. A retaliatory nuclear attack by the victim may dilute some of the support but you'd still be the victim who responded / reacted than the bully who killed unprovoked. By choosing not to be an unprovoked aggressor, the message you're sending to your enemy is that "you better weigh your options carefully before thinking of a nuclear strike, and we'll anyway strike back if you do".