I want to know why India follows a "No First Use Policy" for nuclear weapons. Is there any special advantage for doing so? Or it is done only to project an 'adult in the house'-like image to the world?

Can you tell me the benefits for India?

  • A full answer would be pretty big... probably require going into arguments made on the topic during Truman/Eisenhour era when formulating nuclear strategies.
    – user4012
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:57
  • 5
    A bit more context would help here...specifically that you are referring to policies requiring the use of nuclear weaponry. I think it's safe to say, however, that anyone using the 'no first use' policy is doing so because they aren't insane. :)
    – user1530
    Jan 31, 2017 at 6:39
  • 3
    The "special advantage" is they do not get annihilated from the face of the planet in inevitable retaliation. Jan 31, 2017 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


To avoid escalation.

Without such a policy, in case of war with another nuclear power (let's say, just to name an improbable one, Pakistan), the situation would be highly volatile.

Imagine a war between India and Pakistan, and the Pakistan High Command receiving reports of Indian missiles and bombers advancing towards its territory. They do not know what is the payload to be delivered, and they will not know until they reach their targets. And if it happens to be nuclear bombs, then it probably will be too late for retaliation (even if the HQ is in a bunker good enough to resist the strike, nuclear bomb and radio waves do not mix well).

Are they (Pakistan) under a nuclear attack? Should they give the order to launch their own nuclear weapons before the Indian ones strike? If a missile silo loses its communication with the High Command, will the commander interpret it as the result of a nuclear attack and order to launch the missiles under his charge?

A "no first use policy"1 should avoid this kind of situation, by clarifying that unless Pakistan has started a nuclear attack itself, they should not fear a nuclear attack, and dispel the scenarios stated above and similar ones.

1If the enemy believes it, of course.


It is typically taken by weaker nuclear countries that wanted to use it as a reason to justify their development of nuclear weapons - look, I'm hoping to use it only fort defense not offense so you don't need to worry about it. Those countries typically don't possess sufficient first strike capabilities vs. another nuclear power so saying so has no downside anyway.

As their capabilities develop, they are likely shift that stand.

China is thee other country that adheere to such a principle. Whether they will continue to adhere to it is anyone's guess.

  • You means to say its a kind of alibi that such countries are employing so that they can grow their nuclear power?
    – user411518
    Jan 31, 2017 at 12:23
  • Are you implying that Pakistan is a stronger nuclear country?
    – user4514
    Jan 31, 2017 at 13:05
  • @anonymous Pakistan isn't the only country with nuclear strike capability which includes India. Jan 31, 2017 at 13:33

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