Sunday, January 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM to control N-trigger
Commander-in-Chief to be appointed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 4
More than four years after India officially declared itself as a nuclear power, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today decided to set up the first Strategic Forces Command and approved the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief to manage and administer all nuclear and strategic forces.

A statement issued after the two-hour meeting made this announcement and outlined an eight-point nuclear doctrine, which significantly envisages building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent and makes it clear that nuclear retaliation to a first strike would be massive and designed to include unacceptable damage in all eventualities.

The CCS reviewed and approved the arrangement for alternate chains of command for retaliatory nuclear strikes in all eventualities. It was decided that the Prime Minister would control the nuclear trigger.

A Nuclear Command Authority is to be set up, comprising a Political Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, and an Executive Council. The Political Council “is the sole body which can authorise the use of nuclear weapons,” the statement said.

It also outlined an eight-point nuclear doctrine that included a posture of “no first use” of nuclear weapons which would only be used in retaliation of a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere.

The doctrine said the nuclear retaliatory attacks could only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.

The doctrine pledged no use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, but maintained that in the event of a major attack against India or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, the country would retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.

The continuance of strict controls on exports of nuclear and missile-related materials and technologies, participation in the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty negotiations and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear testing have been put as part of the doctrine.

It also includes continued commitment to the goal of nuclear weapon-free world through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

The CCS reviewed the progress in operationalising India’s nuclear doctrine as well as existing command and control structures, the state of readiness, the targeting strategy for a retaliatory attack and operating procedures for various stages of alert and launch.

The committee expressed satisfaction with the overall preparedness.

The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and attended, among others, by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and the three service chiefs.


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