India released its Draft Nuclear Doctrine (DND) in August 1999. In January 2003, New Delhi released its official nuclear doctrine. The official doctrine itself was based on the DND, though there were also some differences. These included suggesting that India might use nuclear weapons to retaliate against attacks using Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) and that Indian retaliation to any nuclear attack would be massive.
  • India’s primary objective is to achieve economic, political, social, scientific and technological development within a peaceful and democratic framework.
  • In the absence of global nuclear disarmament India’s strategic interests require effective, credible nuclear deterrence and adequate retaliatory capability should deterrence fail.
  • This is consistent with the UN Charter, which sanctions the right of self-defence.
Credible Nuclear Deterrence
  • India shall pursue a doctrine of credible minimum nuclear deterrence.
  • India’s peacetime posture aims at convincing any potential aggressor that :
  • any threat of use of nuclear weapons against India shall invoke measures to counter the threat and
  • any nuclear attack on India and its forces shall result in punitive retaliation with nuclear weapons to inflict damage unacceptable to the aggressor.
  • The fundamental purpose of Indian nuclear weapons is to deter the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons by any State or entity against India and its forces.
  • India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.
  • India will not resort to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against States which do not possess nuclear weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapon powers.
Deterrence requires
  • Sufficient, survivable and operationally prepared nuclear forces,
  • a robust command and control system,
  • effective intelligence and early warning capabilities, and
  • comprehensive planning and training for operations in line with the strategy, and
  • the will to employ nuclear forces and weapons.
Nuclear Forces
  • India’s nuclear forces will be based on a triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets

Command and Control

  • Nuclear weapons will be released by the highest political level. The authority to release nuclear weapons for use resides in the person of the Prime Minister of India, or the designated successor(s).
Security and Safety
  • Security: Extraordinary precautions shall be taken to ensure that nuclear weapons, their manufacture, transportation and storage are fully guarded against possible theft, loss, sabotage, damage or unauthorised access or use.
  • Safety: is an absolute requirement and tamper proof procedures and systems shall be instituted to ensure that unauthorised or inadvertent activation/use of nuclear weapons does not take place and risks of accident are avoided.
  • Disaster control: India shall develop an appropriate disaster control system capable of handling the unique requirements of potential incidents involving nuclear weapons and materials.
Research and Development
  • India should step up efforts in research and development to keep up with technological advances in this field.
  • While India is committed to maintain the deployment of a deterrent which is both minimum and credible, it will not accept any restraints on building its R&D capability.

Disarmament and Arms Control

  • Global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament is a national security objective. India shall continue its efforts to achieve the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world.
  • Since no-first use of nuclear weapons is India’s basic commitment, every effort shall be made to persuade her States possessing nuclear weapons to join an international treaty banning first use.
  • In view of the very high destructive potential of nuclear weapons, appropriate nuclear risk reduction and confidence building measures shall be sought, negotiated and instituted.

Category: Mains| GS -II|Bilateral Relations
Source: Arms Control Association, Carneigie Endowment for International Peace


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