[Nuclear Diplomacy] India’s No first use” Nuclear weapon policy vs Pak’s conditional sign to NPT

Diplomacy93 Comments

  1. D1: India’s No First Use (NFU) Police for Nuke weapons
  2. D2: Pakistan: Conditional NPT signature

D1: No First USE policy for nuke weapons

Topic is in news because BJP Manifesto called for updating the NFU policy.
Q1.  Discuss in brief the “No first use” Nuclear weapon policy of India, and examine the needs for reform in it. (200 words)

What is NFU?

  • In 1998, After Pokharan II, PM Vajpayee declared India’s No-first use (NFU) policy to pacify the world leaders.
  • As per NFU, India will retaliate with nuclear strike, IF the aggressors use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us.

YES to reforms?

  1. Our conventional military might alone is sufficient to obliterate the Pakistan in future conflicts. Therefore, Pakistan began developing small sized, portable Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) such as “Nasr” missile system.
  2. Given political instability in Pakistan, if these TNW are stolen or “outsourced” to terrorists, we cannot wait for them to “First” nuke attack before applying NFU.
  3. In case of a full scale war with China, even if they use no nuclear weapons, our ground forces will be overwhelmed. In such situation, sticking to NFU will be illogical.

NO to reforms?

  1. Paki nuke establishment cannot survive the first round from India. So, if we revoke NFU, Pakistan will get more scared and tempted to adopt “First Nuclear Use” policy.
  2. 2013: Paki Army doctrine updated & their “homegrown militancy” was listed as “biggest threat” to national security. If India’s NFU changes, they’ll revert the doctrine.
  3. NFU helped India get civil nuclear technology, despite being a non-member of NSG and non-signatory of NTPT.
  4. 2014: Nuclear Security Summit at Hague, PM Singh called for an “International No-first Use doctrine”. If we now change NFU, it will contradict the India’s good image of peace-loving and responsible nuclear power.
  5. FUD will send negative signal to China, with whom we need to sort out border issues and improve trade-ties.
  6. First use doctrine (FUD) requires 24/7 preparedness and carries risk of unauthorised nuclear use via miscommunication.

~280 words but you can skip a few points to “fit” this in 200 words.

Timeline: India-Pakistan Nuclear capability
1968Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Non signatory= India, Israel, Pakistan, South Sudan and North Korea.
1974Pokharan-I
1998Pokharan IIVajpayee promised Parliament that “India would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.”
1999National Security Adviser (NSA) Brajesh Mishra drafted NFU policy.
2003Vajpayee Government  formally adopts India’s nuclear doctrine

  1. We’ll not threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states (=negative security assurance),
  2. We’ll launch a massive nuke retaliation if weapons of mass destruction are used against India or its armed forces.
  3. (Later amended) that even in case of chemical and biological attack, we’ll use nuclear retaliation.
2005Indo US nuclear deal.
2008NSG ends the ban on nuclear trade with India. Permits supply of any nuclear equipment and material for civilian use.
  1. India has stockpile of ~100 warheads
  2. We’ve sufficient weapon-grade plutonium for 100+ warheads. Beyond that we need more plutonium from fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.
  3. India’s nuclear doctrine calls for all 3 spheres- air, water and land attack capabilities.

D2: Pakistan: Conditional NPT signature

Why in news? Because in a recent seminar, Paki Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman said “We’re ready to sign NPT.”
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

  • Agreement in force from 1970
  • classifies the countries into two categories
NPT categorization
Nuclear Weapons StatesNon-Nuclear Weapons States
  • Countries that tested nuke bombs before 1st January 1967.
  • meaning Only P5: U.S., U.K., France, China and the Soviet Union
Everyone else.
They can continue to possess the nuclear weapons for the time being. But ultimately they’ll have to begin disarmament.Promised not to acquire nuclear weapons.

Sequent of Events after NPT

1974India conducts nuclear test @Pokhran.
1975Dr. A.Q. Khan steals Uranium technology from Netherlands to Pak.
1975Group of Nuclear exporter countries met at London, to put export controls on such Non-Nuclear Weapon countries. Otherwise NPT would become meaningless. This gang later transforms into NSG.
1992Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) releases “dual-use” guideline.

Dual use guideline:

  • IF a given material/technology has “dual use” i.e. in making nuke bomb + in making nuclear reactors for energy…
  • THEN Nuclear supplier country can export / transfer it to another country
  • ONLY IF the recipient country (e.g India) promises not to use it for nuclear explosion OR in unsafe nuke reactors.
  • But still, NSG approval necessary before such export/transfer begins.

In other words, by “dual use guideline”, NSG aims to prevent spread of sensitive nuke technology to problematic countries such as N.Korea and Pakistan.

Sequence of Events
1998 May second weekIndia again tests nuclear bombs in Pokhran
1998 May last weekPakistan PM Sharif also tests nuclear bombs to show we are also in the race.
2005Indo US nuclear deal signed.
2008NSG gave permission to India to buy nuclear material and technology for its civilian energy program. Despite the fact that India hasn’t signed NPT.
  • After NSG waiver, one by one, France, UK, Canada, S.Korea, Nambia, Argentina et al signed nuclear treaties with India, promising to supply fissile material / technology / both.
  • Pakistan doesn’t like this,-not-one-bit.
  • For a while, Pakistan also lobbied for similar treaty with US/UK but no success because of the “Dual use” guideline- no sane country in the world, is willing to sell Pakistanis any nuke material or technology.
  • So, Pakistan comes up with a new mind-game cum timepass talk, called “Conditional NPT signature”

Pakistan’s says we are ready to sign NPT, BUT with following condition.

  1. NPT has two classification: nuke weapon countries (tested bombs before 1967), non-nuke weapon countries.
  2. Although we tested first nuke-bomb only in 1998 STILL give us membership in “nuke weapon country” category.

Why does Pak. Want to join NPT?

  1. They’re facing electricity shortage. Want to develop nuclear plants.
  2. Like India, Pakistan wanted exceptional treaty with US and NSG-waiver, without signing the NPT. But that’s unlikely to happen due to “Dual use guideline”. Pakistan is facing nuclear “Apartheid” because of its “tainted” past like Dr. AQ Khan “the nuclear thief”, Sheltering Osama and so on.
  3. So now Pak planning to join NPT. That way Pak can legitimately demand NSG-waiver for buying fissile material and technology.

Visit Mrunal.org/Diplomacy for entire list articles on Diplomacy & International relations (IR) for Mains GS2 paper of UPSC Civil service IAS/IPS Exam.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha


So far 93 Comments posted

  1. anand

    old post from mrunal scrib is asking for payment.. any othr way to gt these articles

    1. sudhir raj

      Thanks for site

  2. Pratik

    very very thank u sir

  3. manjunath palve

    Thank u very mauch sir, very useful information

  4. nehra

    bhai mere pass hai……. but most of topics are there in this site only…….. in different headings

  5. Kamal sharma

    i want to know is Assad gov and their supporter shabiha are so much powerfull that they are able to tackle National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Rebel Forces(international) i mean how do they so ??

  6. sambhav sharma

    Why on one hand India condemn terrorism in unga on other hand does join hand with us led war against IS? What does it signifies?

  7. amit

    Thanks a lot sir v v v useful info

  8. hoeny

    excellent explanation by Mr. Mrunal. you clear all my fogs regarding this NSG topic and their constraint.

  9. Tury

    Hi, sometimes I see a 500 site message when I view this webpage. Just a heads up, regards

Write your message!