[Answered] Discuss the role of nuclear weapons in India’s strategic decision-making. How has being a nuclear power influenced India’s international standing?

Introduction: Give brief context of the question.

Body: Role of nuclear weapons in India’s strategic decision-making & how has being a nuclear power influenced India’s international standing?

Conclusion: Way forward.

India’s nuclear capabilities have a considerable impact on its international stature and are a major factor in its strategic decision-making. The quest for strategic autonomy and security concerns led to India’s nuclear journey, and the country’s nuclear status has had several effects on its foreign policy and place in the world:

  • Deterrence: The nuclear arsenal of India acts as a deterrent against conceivable foes, mainly Pakistan and China. Nuclear weapons guarantee the highest level of deterrent stability and eliminate the prospect that India would face a nuclear, or even a significant conventional, existential threat.
  • Security challenges: Given the claims that India’s nuclear-armed enemies make on its territory, India acquired and maintains nuclear weapons as protection against nuclear blackmail or coercion. The security issues are brought on by China’s aspirations to cross the line of actual control (LAC), Pakistan’s persistent use of cross-border terrorism, and the potential for a two-front war with the neighbors.
  • Non-Proliferation Efforts: India’s position on international non-proliferation initiatives has also been influenced by its nuclear status. India supports disarmament and open access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes as a nuclear-armed state outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • Security Partnerships: India’s status as a nuclear power has led to a deepening of security and strategic partnerships with like-minded nations like the USA, Japan, and France. These partnerships encompass defense cooperation, strategic dialogues, and joint military exercises.

How has India’s status as nuclear power influenced India’s international standing?

  • Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy: India’s access to civil nuclear technologies and international cooperation agreements have been impacted by its nuclear capabilities. In the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, some nations have shared and collaborated on technologies. For eg, India has signed nuclear cooperation agreements for peaceful means with the US, France, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, etc.
  • Membership of multilateral groups: India’s nuclear status has influenced its bid for membership in the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG), Australia Group (AG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and Wassenaar Arrangement. India is a member of all these groups except NSG.
  • Regional Power: India’s nuclear status has influenced the regional dynamics of Asia by ensuring that a balance of power is maintained in the region which has contributed to a certain level of deterrence and stability in Asia.
  • Diplomatic Standing: India now has a stronger voice in international diplomatic efforts relating to nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control as a result of its nuclear status. Discussions on these issues take India’s perspectives into account.


India’s status as a major responsible nuclear power has come with enabling the country to resist external pressures and assert its national interests on the global stage. It allows India to make strategic decisions without the fear of coercion from nuclear-armed adversaries.

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