SAV Review: When Push Comes to Shove, Will India's NFU Stand?

Media Coverage | January 11, 2019

Kumar Sundaram and M.V. Ramana have questioned India’s commitment to the no-first-use (NFU) in their article “India and the Policy of No First Use of Nuclear Weapons” (2018) in the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament. The credibility of the commitment has been questioned because of recent statements by policymakers and incremental changes to the nuclear posture. Dr. Reshmi Kazi in her review of the article has steadfastly defended India’s NFU commitment based on the logic of a doctrinal commitment that leverages its conventional strength and the credibility of its retaliatory posture.

Dr. Kazi’s defense, however, overlooks the incentives afforded by the technical capability to strike before being hit, and why that may be the rational choice when the conflict moves into the nuclear realm. Despite this incentive, the evidence presented by Sundaram and Ramana, although suggestive, isn’t definitive enough to conclude that India is reneging on its NFU commitment. Instead, it appears more likely that New Delhi is moving towards enhancing its retaliatory capabilities.

Click here to read the full article in South Asian Voices.