OAS Mains-2019 Daily Answer Writing-30/03/2020

PM Vajpayee at Pokhran

Paper:   General Studies Paper-II

Section:  India and the World

Topic:  Foreign Affairs and Nuclear Policy

Question 1

Give an account of the features of Indian Foreign Policy.

Sample Answer

In Modern Era Indian Foreign policy was shaped during the first half of the 20th century. While Gandhiji defined the framework for the Indian foreign policy, Nehru fashioned its orientations and details. The salient features of the Indian foreign policy were as follows:

  1. Non-Alignment: According to Nehru who coined the term non-alignment, it means not tying yourself with military blocs of nation but independently trying to maintain friendly relations with all countries.
  2. Panchasheel: Five guiding principles developed by Nehru viz. mutual respect of each other’s territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in internal matters, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.
  3. Ant-colonialism and Anti-imperialism: Indian after her independence in 1947 vehemently opposed colonialism and imperialism in all forms and extended its helping hand to liberate other colonies from the shakles of the imperialist powers.
  4. Opposition to Racial Discrimination: India was against any form of racial discrimination. India was the first country to raise this issue in UN. Mahatma Gandhi also raised his voice against this in South Africa.
  5. Faith in Peaceful Co-existence and Cooperation: For centuries India followed the Vedantic concept of Sarvadharma Sambhava, means peaceful co-existence of all religion and mankind.
  6. Faith in United Nations: India as a founder member of UN always committed to its purpose and principles. It has been plating a leading role in UN’ s peace keeping missions.
  7. Peaceful use of Nuclear Energy: Though India is a Nuclear weapon state but still it committed to the basic tenet of foreign policy- a conviction that global elimination of nuclear weapon will enhance its security as well as that of the rest of the world.

With these guiding principles of foreign policy India is moving towards playing a bigger role in world affairs.

Question 2

List out main features of India’s Nuclear Doctrine and examine No first use Policy of Nuclear weapons.

Sample Answer

Main Features of India’s Nuclear Doctrine

  1. Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent;
  2. A “No First Use (NFU)” posture; nuclear weapons to be used only “in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”;
  3. Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be “massive” and designed to inflict “unacceptable damage”.
  4. Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  5. Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  6. India to retain option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons;

No First Use Policy: No first use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.


  1. It obviates the need for the expensive nuclear weapons infrastructure that is associated with a first-use doctrine. Complex and costly command and control and sophisticated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems are necessary for a first use posture.
  2. It has resulted in major gains internationally, including the lifting of economic sanctions and the removal of technology denial regimes, civil nuclear cooperation agreements and accommodation in multilateral nuclear export control regimes. Most of these gains will be frittered away if India opts for first use.
  3. It puts the onus of escalation on the adversary, without preventing India from defending itself
  4. A first use posture will deny India the opportunity to engage in conventional warfare below the nuclear threshold and will also lower the nuclear threshold and make the use of tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) more likely.


  1. NFU implies acceptance of large-scale destruction in a first strike. It would be morally wrong to accept a first strike – the leadership has no right to place the population ‘in peril’;
  2. NFU allows the adversary’s nuclear forces to escape punishment as retaliatory strikes will have to be counter value in nature;
  3. An elaborate and costly ballistic missiles defence (BMD) system would be required to defend against a first strike and escalation control is not possible once nuclear exchanges begin.

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