On 11 and 13 May 1998, twenty-four years after having detonated its first nuclear device at Pokharan in 1974, India conducted a series of nuclear tests. In his statement to the Parliament, Prime Minister Vajpayee spelt out the nuclear policy of his government in the post Pokharan II phase: One, India would maintain a minimum but credible nuclear deterrent. To achieve this, India did not require further testing and hence it was accepting a voluntary moratorium on further nuclear testing. Second, India would adhere to a ‘no first use’ doctrine as regards nuclear weapons. Finally, India continued with its commitment to global nuclear disarmament. This third aspect was again expounded at the non-aligned summit at Durban.
The Draft outline of the Indian Nuclear Doctrine released by the National Security Council on 17 August 1999 argues for autonomy in decision making about security for India. It takes the long established Indian line that security is an integral part of India’s developmental process. It expresses concerns about the possible disruption of peace and stability and the consequent need to create a deterrence capability to ensure the pursuit of development. It argues that in the absence of a global nuclear disarmament policy, India’s strategic interests require an effective credible deterrence and adequate retaliatory capability should deterrence fail. It continues to hold the ‘no first use doctrine’ and the civilian control of nuclear decision-making.