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Delhi Declaration first step to global no-first-use treaty

  • Published
    15th Sep, 2023


The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration has drawn consensus on, no to nuclear weapons use or threat, signaling support for a global ‘No-first-use policy’.

The G20 Declaration's Significance

  • Recognition of Nuclear Threat: The New Delhi Declaration emphasized the inadmissibility of using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, even in the context of the ongoing Ukraine War.
  • Security-Economic Connection: Despite being primarily an economic forum, the declaration highlighted the interconnectedness of security and the economy, underscoring the severe consequences of wars and conflicts onpeople, peace, and prosperity.
  • Hypocrisy in Actions: While the G20 declaration sends a hopeful message, the actions of major powers, such as the USA, China, and Russia, contradict their commitments. These nations have used force and violated the sovereignty of other countries.

India's Opportunity for Leadership

  • Global Existential Threats: Nuclear weapons, alongside climate change, are identified as primary global existential threats. The endorsement by all G20 nations that nuclear weapon use or threat is inadmissible presents an opportunity for India to take a leadership role.
  • Adherence to No First Use (NFU): India and China are unique among nuclear powers for consistently adhering to a No First Use (NFU) policy. This puts them in a position to lead efforts for a ‘Global No First Use Treaty (GNFU)’.
  • Holding Nuclear Powers Accountable: India can leverage the support of G20 members to encourage nuclear powers like the USA, UK, and France to commit to NFU policies, ultimately contributing to global peace and security.


  • Partnering with China: Collaborating with China on the GNFU Treaty may pose challenges due to existing tensions and China's reluctance to engage with India on nuclear issues. However, diplomatic efforts should be made to bridge this gap.
  • Drafting the GNFU Treaty: Regardless of China's participation, India can work on drafting a GNFU Treaty that outlines the commitment to never use orthreaten to use nuclear weapons, further solidifying India's commitment to global peace.
  • Challenges from Major Powers: The USA's military doctrines and concerns about extended deterrence present obstacles to adopting NFU policies. Overcoming these challenges requires diplomatic efforts to change the mindset of nuclear-armed nations.
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