Indian Nuclear Doctrine
On 17 August 1999 India released a draft of the Nuclear Doctrine prepared by the National Security Board. It stated that India's nuclear weapons were not country-specific but were aimed at providing us the autonomy of exercising strategic choices in the best interest of India, without fear or coercion in a nuclearised environment.
That being so, India adopted a policy of minimum deterrence as the basic building block of our nuclear thinking. Minimum but credible deterrence is the watchword of this nuclear doctrine. From this, flows the decision to adopt a no-first-use posture. India therefore gave unconditional guarantees to States that do not have nuclear weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapon powers. India's nuclear doctrine pledges no first use, yet stresses that it can react with a nuclear strike even in cases of biological or chemical weapons attacks by an adversary.
India has always rejected calls for de-nuclearisation limited to a region or sub-region because nuclear weapons have a global reach. The aim of elimination of nuclear weapons should be pursued in a global forum with participation of all nuclear weapon states.
A cardinal principle regarding the use of nuclear weapons is that of civilian control. Only the elected civilian leader of the country is empowered to authorise the use of nuclear weapons. As the recent operations in Kargil have demonstrated, India's system and the political leadership, believe with great responsibility and restraint. This sense of responsibility will also guide India's actions with regard to nuclear weapons.
On nuclear confidence building measures with Pakistan, the third round of negotiations was held in August 2005 where both countries have succeeded in reaching an agreement at least on two issues. The previous rounds during June and December 2004 concluded with differences between two sides on issues such as exchange of information on specification of weapons, exact launching time of missiles, their type and range.
Three central elements in the joint statement issued by the two sides were, the understanding on the proposed Agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles, early operationalisation (by September) of the hotline link proposed between the Foreign Secretaries. It also included a draft agreement on national measures to reduce risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons under their respective control.
Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP)
Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the US President Mr. George W. Bush, met in Washington DC on July 18, 2005. Drawing on their mutual vision for the U.S.-India relationship, and our joint objectives as strong long-standing democracies, the two leaders agreed on building on the strengthened nonproliferation commitments undertaken in the NSSP, to remove certain Indian organizations from the Department of Commerce's Entity List. Recognizing the significance of civilian nuclear energy for meeting growing global energy demands in a cleaner and more efficient manner, the two leaders discussed India's plans to develop its civilian nuclear energy program.
President Bush conveyed his appreciation to the Prime Minister over India's strong commitment to preventing WMD proliferation and stated that as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states. The President told the Prime Minister that he will work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India as it realizes its goals of promoting nuclear power and achieving energy security. The President would also seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies, and the United States will work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India, including but not limited to expeditious consideration of fuel supplies for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur. In the meantime, the United States will encourage its partners to also consider this request expeditiously. India has expressed its interest in ITER and a willingness to contribute. The United States will consult with its partners considering India's participation. The United States will consult with the other participants in the Generation IV International Forum with a view toward India's inclusion.
The Prime Minister conveyed that for his part, India would reciprocally agree that it would be ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the United States. These responsibilities and practices consist of identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs in a phased manner and filing a declaration regarding its civilians facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); taking a decision to place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards; signing and adhering to an Additional Protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities; continuing India's unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing; working with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty; refraining from transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states that do not have them and supporting international efforts to limit their spread; and ensuring that the necessary steps have been taken to secure nuclear materials and technology through comprehensive export control legislation and through harmonization and adherence to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines.
The President welcomed the Prime Minister's assurance. The two leaders agreed to establish a working group to undertake on a phased basis in the months ahead the necessary actions mentioned above to fulfill these commitments. The President and Prime Minister also agreed that they would review this progress when the President visits India in 2006.
The two leaders also reiterated their commitment that their countries would play a leading role in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons.
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