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India’s Nuclear Doctrine

Published Apr 25, 2020
Updated Apr 25, 2020

 India’s nuclear doctrine can be summarized as follows:-

 I. Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.

 II. 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;

 III. Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.

 IV. Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.

 V. Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states;

VI. 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;

 VII. 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.

 VIII. Continued commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

 Nuclear Command Authority

The Nuclear Command Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister. It is the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons. The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Advisor. It provides inputs for decision making by the Nuclear Command Authority and executes the directives given to it by the Political Council.

 Review of Readiness

 The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) reviews the command and control structures, the state of readiness, the targetting strategy for a retaliatory attack, and operating procedures for various stages of alert and launch. The CCS has also approved the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command, to manage and administer all Strategic Forces. The CCS also reviews the arrangements for alternate chains of command for retaliatory nuclear strikes in all eventualities.

Source – Ministry of External Affairs Government of India

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