Topic of the Day – India’s Nuclear Doctrine

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – India’s Nuclear Doctrine

India’s nuclear doctrine was first enunciated following a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting in January 2003. Its command is directly under the Prime Minister.

 

Features of India’s Nuclear Doctrine:

  • Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.
  • A “No First Use” policy – nuclear weapons to be used only “in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”
  • Nuclear retaliation to first strike will be “massive” and designed to inflict “unacceptable damage”.
  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Non use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  • India to retain option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons.
  • Continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) negotiations, continued moratorium on testing.
  • Continued commitment to goal of nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory disarmament.

 

Institutional Hierarchy

  • The Nuclear Command Authority comprises of a Political Council and an Executive Council.
  • The chairman of the Political Council is the Prime Minister. It is the only body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.
  • The chairman of the Executive Council is the National Security Advisor. The inputs for decision making by the Nuclear Command Authority is given by the Executive council. It is also involved in executing the directives given by the political council.
  • The progress in operationalizing of India’s nuclear doctrine was reviewed by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The CCS reviewed the existing command and control structures, the state of readiness, the targeting strategy for a retaliatory attack, and operating procedures for various stages of alert and launch. It has expressed satisfaction with the overall preparedness.
  • Appointment of a Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command, to manage and administer all Strategic Forces has been approved by CCS.
  • Arrangements for alternate chains of command for retaliatory nuclear strikes in all eventualities is also reviewed and approved by CCS.

 

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