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Experts Call for Review of India’s Nuclear Doctrine

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New Delhi: Keeping in mind the emerging nuclear threats from both its nuclear neighbours, China and Pakistan, it is essential for India to articulate its nuclear doctrine in greater detail reflected noted nuclear experts in a panel discussion organised by the Indian Pugwash Society, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

The panel of experts, including former Deputy National Security Advisor, Ambassador Satish Chandra; Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, Lt Gen BS Nagal, and Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan of Jawaharlal Nehru University said that strategic deterrence and credible minimum deterrence are valid options for India and the country should continue with it, though Gen. Nagal questioned the continued reliance on India’s No First Use (NFU) policy.

The experts argued the need for taking into account changes in country’s strategic environment brought about by the technological advancements as well as the geopolitical shifts regionally as well as globally.

The experts highlighted that India’s No First Use evolved out of the country’s specific strategic environment. The policy seeks to enunciate that India’s nuclear weapons are inherently non-threatening and is meant for defensive purposes.

Arguing for a periodic review of India’s nuclear doctrine, the panellists said the county must reinforce its deterrence policy and signal its commitment to a massive retaliation posture in response to an attack with tactical weapons more effectively. The experts termed India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) effort as a factor of stability.

While the experts agreed that India’s nuclear doctrine requires reviews, they cautioned that a review must be guided by sound strategic objectives.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Director General IDSA, and Convener, Indian Pugwash Society, Shri Jayant Prasad said that India’s nuclear doctrine and its deterrence posture is a subject of discussion at all major events around the world relating to Asia’s nuclear governance, regional security, and strategic stability. It was, therefore, opportune for the Indian Pugwash Society to hold a discussion on the subject, following the previous month’s discussion on the changing nuclear doctrines and postures of the great powers, especially those of the United States, the Russian federation, and China.

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