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North Korea’s new ‘irreversible’ law on nuclear arms use

  • Published
    15th Sep, 2022

North Korea has recently passed a law enshrining the right to ‘automatically’ use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself.


About the new law:

  • This new law makes the country’s nuclear status ‘irreversible’ and bars any talks of denuclearisation.
  • The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons.
  • North Korea’s new law is important because, very simply, it authorises preemptive nuclear strikes.
  • That means this law could be implemented if Pyongyang thinks there is an impending nuclear attack or if Pyongyang believes that its state’s existence faced threats or the command organisation of its nuclear forces were threatened.
  • Under the provisions of this new law, “all decisive powers” over nuclear weapons, but in case that command-and-control system was to be threatened, then nuclear weapons may be launched “automatically”.
  • The law also bans the sharing of nuclear arms or technology with other countries, and is aimed at reducing the danger of a nuclear war by preventing miscalculations among nuclear weapons states and misuse of nuclear weapons.

Main Features of India's Nuclear Doctrine

  • Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.
  • A "No First Use" posture; nuclear weapons to be used only "in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere".
  • Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be "massive" and designed to inflict "unacceptable damage".
  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Non use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear weapon states.
  • Continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in FMCT negotiations, continued moratorium on testing.
  • India to retain option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons.
  • Continued commitment to goal of nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory disarmament.

"Credible minimum deterrent":

It recognizes that the deterrence to be effective must be credible, which includes:

  • Sufficient and Survivable nuclear forces both in terms of warheads and means of delivery able to inflict unacceptable damage.
  • Nuclear Forces must be operationally prepared at all times.
  • Effective Intelligence and Early Warning Capabilities.
  • A Robust Command and Control System.
  • The Will to Employ Nuclear Forces.
  • Communication of Deterrence Capability.

Credible minimum deterrence along with "No first use" and "No use against non nuclear states" clearly indicates that India's nuclear capability is for defensive purpose.


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