Global Nuclear No First Use

An Indian Proposal


Nuclear non-proliferation mechanisms haven't worked. We propose that ordinary nuclear wisdom should be turned on its head. The only sensible strategic choice with nukes is to do what India does: a pledge of no first use.

The First Strike Fallacy. National leaders will not order disarming strikes on an adversary until nuclear weapons have already been used. The threat of even a single nuclear detonation over an urban centre will always give them pause - as will the risk of unleashing a nuclear winter.

The Warfighting Illusion. Nuclear wars cannot be won. Even the use of so-called tactical nuclear weapons carries a high risk of escalating into all-out nuclear exchanges without achieving the desired battlefield outcomes.

The Peril. While deliberate or pre-emptive nuclear use is less likely today, the rising danger of our time is that nuclear weapons will be used because of a combination of miscommunication, misjudgement, and sheer accident.

The Promise. The adoption of a Global No First Use (GNFU) treaty would help lower alert levels, arrest arms nuclear races, and provide some measure of safety and security in political relations between great powers.

The Sheathed Sword

Our anthology, The Sheathed Sword, will bring together leading experts on nuclear strategy and international politics from across the world. to discuss the desirability of a no first use agreement.


Our Global No-First Use Timeline, last updated September 9, 2019.

The North Korean state media announced that the second test of its new multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) has been conducted. Neither US President Donald Trump nor any members of his administration have reacted to these tests. 

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