New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday said India is committed to the “No First Use” policy when it comes to nuclear weapons, but what happens in the future depends on circumstances.
Singh’s comment comes amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the revocation of Article 370 that gave special status to Kashmir.
Friday, the United Nations Security Council is also holding a closed-door meeting based on a letter written by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the Kashmir issue.
“Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances,” Singh tweeted.
Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 16, 2019
A similar statement made in 2016 by then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had led to questions being raised on whether India was changing its stated policy of No First Use.
“I wonder why we say that we don’t use nuclear weapons first. It doesn’t mean that India has to use nukes, but why rule out?” Parrikar had said.
Following an uproar, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement after Parrikar’s remark, saying it was his personal opinion and not the official position.
The No First Use policy was adopted soon after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998, a decision taken by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The policy, the cornerstone of India’s nuclear doctrine, has been adopted by just India and China among all the nuclear powers in the world.
Pakistan has been criticised for loose talk on nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during his election campaign that the Balakot strike had called Pakistan’s bluff.
“India has stopped the policy of getting scared of Pakistan’s threats. Every other day they used to say ‘we have nuclear button, we have nuclear button’. What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?”
At another rally, Modi said “Pakistan and its supporters have been threatening us for long with its nuclear capability but the IAF called its bluff with its strikes.”