Short note on India’s Nuclear Policy


India remains a firm and consistent proponent of general and complete disarmament and attaches the highest priority to global nuclear disarmament. India’s policy on disarmament also takes into account changes that have taken place in the world, especially in the 1990s. The nuclear tests of May 1998 do not dilute India’s commitment to this long-held objective.

As a nuclear weapon State, India is even more conscious of its responsibility in this regard and, as in the past, continues to take initiatives in pursuit of global nuclear disarmament both individually and collectively. The steps that were announced after the tests and the initiatives that India has taken since, strengthen this commitment.

India’s nuclear weapons capability is meant only for self-defence and seeks only to ensure that India’s security, independence and integrity are not threatened in the future. India is not interested in a nuclear arms race. This is the rationale behind the two pillars of India’s nuclear policy – minimum deterrence and no-first use. The determination of the profile of this deterrent, including accurate and refined delivery systems, is a sovereign responsibility.


After concluding the series of tests of May 1998, India announced a voluntary moratorium on further underground nuclear test explosions. In announcing this moratorium, India accepted the core obligation of a test ban and also addressed the general wish of the international community to foreswear testing. This moratorium continues, subject to the supreme national interests, a provision granted under the CTBT to every country. India has also announced its willingness to move towards a de jure formalisation of this voluntary undertaking.

India’s credible minimum deterrence plays an important role in the regional security calculus. While maintaining a posture of minimum deterrence, India has announced a policy of no- first-use and a policy of non-use against non- nuclear weapon states. India also continues to maintain a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

Planning Considerations

The security environment that has been highlighted above clearly brings out four key elements that are fundamental determinants of our security planning. These are:


(a) The Indian Armed Forces have a two front obligation, which require them to safeguard the security of our borders with Pakistan as well as with China; «

(b) India is not a member of any military alliance or strategic grouping, nor is this consistent with our policies necessitating a certain independent deterrent capability;

(c) Due to external abetment, India’s Armed Forces are involved in internal security functions on a relatively larger scale than is normal requiring a force structure that will be able to cope with it; and

(d) India’s interests in the North Indian Ocean, including the security of our EEZ and Island territories, highlight the need for a blue water naval capability commensurate with our responsibilities.

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