Salient features of India’s nuclear policy and explain the reasons for India’s refusal to sign the CTBT

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India’s nuclear doctrine is unique. Firstly, it is a consensus document designed for public debate unlike the nuclear doctrine of most countries, which are kept secret. Secondly, it adheres finely to its continued commitment to nuclear disarmament, which it lays down as one of the country’s national security objectives.

The doctrine, which has been formulated by the National Security Advisory Board, is still in draft form as it has yet to be discussed in parliament. The doctrine lays down that India would create a nuclear force that would provide credible nuclear deterrence against nuclear weapons.

In doing so, it lays down certain principles, namely, (a) restricting the purpose of nuclear weapons to deterrence against nuclear weapons only and not visualising use of these weapons in a non-nuclear scenario, and (b) a commitment to a policy of “No first use”. “No first use” is consistent with the country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament. If all nuclear powers follow India’s example of “No first use”, it would lead to the ultimate banning of nuclear weapons. The reasons for India’s refusal to sign the CTBT are as follows:

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1. No time table has been conceived to get the five nuclear weapon countries to remove all nuclear weapons.

2. The EIF (Entry into Force) clause is unacceptable.

3. The nuclear five have a distinct advantage because of their headstand in modernising their arsenals if they decide to withdraw; the treaty allows withdrawal without sanction of signatories and permits the nuclear five to maintain their design teams and laboratories. 4. The treaty is not comprehensive, it only bans nuclear weapon test. Computer simulated test will still help the ‘haves’ to go ahead in perfecting their weapon system.

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