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This article is written by Dhananjai Singh Rana, student pursuing BBA LLB (Hons.), Amity Law School, Noida This article deals with the analysis of the first use policy of India and a need to review the same in the light of changing situations in the world and the relations with its neighbours.


No First Use is a strategy that expresses that no nuclear State or force will utilise this ability to exploit or overwhelm different states. It further says that States would not utilise it except if incited to do as such in self-protection by another nation in an act of infiltration. In 1988, it was embraced by the country after the nuclear test in Pokhran when India needed to fall back on the decision of becoming a nuclear power as there was enormous pressure from different nations on the international stage. India anyway cleared its goals to not make an underlying stride towards assaulting a country or taking up arms. Yet India would likely not sit back if they would need to be utilised for self-protection.

In today’s world where everyone is racing out there for achieving excellence and lead by an example in the rest of the society, the nations are also not lagging from this practice of having an edge over each other, be it in any field- science, technology, aviation, nuclear or even Human Resource Development. The nations are ready to take any step to defeat each-other. Sometimes these measures may be positive i.e. through resources, intellect, and talent or negative i.e. through hatred, rebellion, wars, etc. In such times self-defence becomes an important issue to be addressed by the nations.

In 1998 India also conducted a nuclear test as a step towards advancement in becoming self-sufficient. India tested nuclear weapons in Its firing range in Pokhran. Unfortunately, this was taken to be an advancement towards becoming a nuclear power, and if that would have been the case many countries’ supremacy would have been in trouble. Hence, India had to take an oath not to use nuclear weapons for the simple reason of not getting into the race of nuclear Superiority and be a preacher of peace and harmony.

No First Use Policy

India moreover drove a nuclear test in 1998 as a step to become self-reliant as far as nuclear power is concerned and the aim was self-defence. India endeavoured for nuclear weapons in its shooting range in Pokhran. Tragically this was taken to be a development towards changing into a nuclear force and if that would have been the situation, many nations who were enjoying full autonomy feared loss of power 

Thus, India expected to make the vow to not utilise nuclear weapons for the unmistakable explanation that it mauled the country’s choice to be liberated from nuclear weapons and be an evangelist of congruity and comprehension. 

In 2003 India got an edge on a No First Use (NFU) nuclear methodology, yet the unusual basis of the guideline was faulty from the earliest starting point.The policy was guided by the principle of self-reliance with a promise to not initiate the first move on anyone unless provoked to do so.

Nothing could be progressively remote from the real world. Far from being any of these, India’s NFU approach was an eventual outcome of the activities that India’s key brains learned in the long decades they spent thinking about the overall association in nuclear technology and the repercussions of this for India’s nuclear system. This is missing to restrict ideological troubles to the course of action. It is as such, time to come back to and reassert the primary crucial method of reasoning behind NFU. 

Taking everything into account, it isn’t being suggested that India’s security executives, present or past, have rethought the key justification of NFU, which remains the bedrock of India’s nuclear guideline. If there is a risk to India’s NFU approach, it comes more from the ideological obstruction it faces, not from any mindful reassessment of its key method of reasoning. 

The central clarification for India’s NFU was the acknowledgement that nuclear weapons served only a confined need of ensuring national perseverance. The primary certified threat to such continuance was a nuclear ambush. Nuclear weapons stand-out as a way that some other weapon, they could release a lot of demolition in such a short period, that they may send an entire society into the darkness of the past. The most ideal approach to prevent such demolition is to subvert similar annihilation on any potential adversary, thus obstructing them from looking for such a strategy. Disregarding the way that there were endeavours by counteraction researchers in various bits of the world to consider the use of nuclear weapons for more compelling vital purposes than national continuance, most Indian nuclear strategists were appropriately distrustful of such possibilities. This drove likely the most grounded protectors of India’s nuclear weapon program to be furthermore significantly wary of the kind of elucidate nuclear tests being made by various countries, especially the two Cold War superpowers. It was not a justification that they required India to follow considering that it could endanger the superiority of the other developed nations. It was only a vital strategy— no ifs, or buts, the fundamental explanation behind which was the debilitation of other nuclear weapons, by then sabotaging response was the principal way wherein these weapons could be used. The threat of retaliation is the substance of demoralisation: shielding someone from making a move by finding a way to rebuke them if they did. NFU was the after effect of this key reason.

If the principle job, that is, the fundamental explanation of nuclear weapons, was the demoralisation of other nuclear weapons, by then trading off the counter was the primary way wherein these weapons could be used. The peril of counters is the exemplification of debilitation: shielding someone from making a move by finding a way to rebuke them in case they did. Counter, by definition, must be for a movie that was by then made, for this circumstance, a nuclear attack that has quite recently happened. Anticipation and retaliation normally inferred that there was no basis for using nuclear weapons first: from this time forward, no first use. Additional favourable circumstances moreover assemble from NFU: all the more firmly political requests over nuclear weapons, a considerably increasingly relaxed up request and control framework, and a significantly more secure nuclear arms store.
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Countries following the Policy

Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, North Korea are some of the states that follow the No First Use policy towards the use of their nuclear weapons.


There are some of the advantages of this policy as listed below:

  • The NFU approach encourages a limited nuclear weapons program without strategic weapons and an entangled order and control framework. 
  • Severe adherence to the regulation can fortify India’s endeavours to pick up enrollment in the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). 
  • Despite being a non-signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, India’s proclaimed NFU promise has contributed towards legitimising itself as a nuclear force, manifested in the Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver and Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement. 


  • The possibility of NFU of nuclear weapons has been dismissed by some nuclear weaponized States and acknowledged uniquely at the definitive level by a large portion of them. 
  • Atomic weapons are often seen as a possibility to act as an immunizing agent to ordinary deficiency as the inferior social event will hope to divert conventional ambush by sabotaging an atomic response.
  • In India, the NFU approach has been raised in doubt because it permits Pakistan to step up to the plate while limiting India’s choices militarily and places where India is in a disadvantageous position. 
  • Pakistan makes no claims to NFU and in actuality relies totally upon its nuclear obstacle to protect its vital objectives. 
  • Despite the NFU vow, India is normally worried about frequent Chinese innovations like the DF-17, a hypersonic skim vehicle stage intended to render rocket protection as monotonous and outdated.
  • Given the expanding asymmetry of customary military force among India and China, a few experts accept that India should renounce its “no first use’ arrangement. Where India neglects to stop China customarily, it should use its nuclear capacity.

Implications in International law

India is currently an individual from the vast majority of the innovation disavowal systems, for example, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is likewise effectively seeking for full participation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Disavowing the ‘no first use’ promise would hurt India’s nuclear picture around the world. Rolling back the NFU arrangement and making a statement with that impact at such a stage will repeal India’s promise to the general objective of nuclear demilitarisation and upset the provincial equalisation in the sub-mainland. Revoking the statute would signal the principal use present by India, thus decreasing the space for standard battling underneath as far as possible.

This could likewise seriously erode India’s capacity to restrict Pakistan’s hostile strategies and approaches at the regular level. The choice to relinquish the principle can impart a conscious sign of incitement to China. Nuclear appropriation is an exorbitant arrangement as it requires enormous venture in weapons and conveyance frameworks as well as knowledge, observation, and surveillance (ISR) foundation. India is yet to accept the Multiple Reentry Vehicle (MRV) innovation in its rockets, which is crucial to killing solidified nuclear targets. The after-effects of the nuclear aftermath, contingent upon the greatness of nuclear blasts, could present existential dangers to mankind itself. 

The indicators of the NFU system of India promise it as a huge accomplishment in the strength and crucial equality on all grounds. This course of action of India, where it won’t use the nuclear weapons at a first go, has made a trust among the neighbours. Close by that, standard wars have been avoided among India and Pakistan in the year 2001 at the view of Parliament ambush and 2008 after the Mumbai attack due to India’s obligation to NFU plan as against the weak nuclear system of Pakistan. Repudiating this NFU game plan won’t simply wreck the forced equality of the area anyway, will similarly provoke a harming nuclear war and prepared race in the district as foreseen by many. It will in like manner hamper India’s worldwide and neighbourhood image of a non-assailant as there will be an inclination of apprehension among the well-arranged neighbours also. Despite what may be normal, claims have been made concerning the non relevance of the NFU technique in the present political circumstance of South Asia, especially concerning Pakistan. On various events, India’s NFU system has helped Pakistan to manage India in the conditions of war. By coercing India through the nuclear peril, Pakistan makes unethical activities like fear-mongering in India. Indian points of interest in customary war have been effectively countered by the danger of nuclear assault by Pakistan because of India’s defective approach of no first use as for the nuclear weapons.  

The facts demonstrate that the NFU arrangement of India has assisted with advancing harmony in the area in a decade, yet it has outlasted its normal time frame. This has been demonstrated in the two careful strikes completed by India in Pakistan after the Uri attack and Pulwama attack where the nuclear preparedness of Pakistan has been busted effectively. Further, the circumstance can be in the kindness of India if India attempts to audit it’s NFU approach as Pakistan will fear India more and will impact psychological burden and secessionist activities in India.


Investigation of the nuclear guideline has essentially been focused on two or three key issues: NFU may achieve inadmissibly high basic misfortunes and damage to Indian masses, urban networks, and structure; “enormous” backlash isn’t strong, especially against a vital nuclear strike on Indian powers on the enemy’s district; nuclear counter for the substance or natural attack would be senseless, especially as the ambush maybe by nonstate performers; and it is difficult to make sense of what involves a “note-worthy” mixture or characteristic strike. The advocates of NFU concur with the administration’s strategy and offer influential contentions in support of its: India’s Limitation Act has given significant gains universally, including the lifting of financial assets and the evacuation of innovation disavowal systems, common nuclear collaboration understandings, and convenience in multilateral nuclear fare control systems. The vast majority of these will be wasted if India decides on first use; complex order and control and refined knowledge, observation, and surveillance frameworks are vital for a first-use act; a first-use stance will deny India the chance to take part in traditional fighting underneath the nuclear limit; first use will bring down the nuclear edge and utilize strategic nuclear weapons almost certain; and South Asia will again be named a “nuclear flashpoint,” which will support global interfering and dishearten speculation.

Prevention is at last a brain game. The idea of prevention is that it must not be permitted to separate. India’s nuclear tenet must improve and not sabotage nuclear discouragement. The NFU pose stays practical for India’s nuclear principle. Nonetheless, “gigantic” in the administration proclamation ought to be subbed with “reformatory” as huge isn’t valid and limits retaliatory alternatives. The danger of the nuclear counter against synthetic and natural assault ought to be dropped from the regulation as it is unrealistic. Likewise, the credibility of India.

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