‘No First Use’(NFU) Nuclear Weapon Policy

  Jun 11, 2020

‘No First Use’(NFU) Nuclear Weapon Policy

Why are we talking about it?

Recently, India’s defence minister commented that India’s no first use policy of nuclear weapons is subject to ‘circumstances’.

What is the ‘No First Use’ Policy?

What is India’s position on NFU?

Are there question marks over the relevance of NFU for India?

 What are the strategic and financial costs of of NFU in Nuclear Doctrine?

What is India’s Nuclear doctrine?

India’s nuclear doctrine can be summarized as follows:

  1. Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent;
  2. A posture of "No First Use”: nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere;
  3. Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
  4. Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  5. Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states;
  6. However, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons;
  7. A continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  8. Continued commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.