New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that India may alter its ‘No First Use policy’ on nuclear weapons. His statement comes amid India’s ongoing bilateral tensions with Pakistan following abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“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.
Later while speaking to reporters after paying tribute to late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary in Pokharan, he reitereated,”Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘No First Use’. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.”
“It is a coincidence that today I came for International Army Scout Masters Competition in Jaisalmer and today it is the first death anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So, I felt I should pay tribute to him on the land of Pokhran only,” he added.
In 2016, two years after PM Modi stormed to power, late former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had wondered why India cannot say “we are a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly” instead of affirming a “no first use policy”.
“Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking,” Parrikar had said while replying to a question as he explained the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy.
Following the nuclear weapons test in 1998, India had declared a “no first use” nuclear policy.