'Future Depends on Circumstances': Rajnath Singh on 'No First Use' Nuclear Policy

India's Nuclear Warning to Pakistan

India's Nuclear Warning to Pakistan

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. Vajpayee died, aged 93, on August 16 previous year at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after a prolonged illness.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to say the South Asian nation remains "firmly committed" and "has strictly adhered to" the doctrine but "what happens in the future depends on the circumstances".

Indian nuclear doctrine says No First Use (NFU) but warns of massive retaliation in the event of a nuclear, chemical or biological strike on its soil or on its forces anywhere.

Observers said Singh's statement is the clearest so far with regards to a change in India's nuclear doctrine. The tests validated India's nuclear deterrent.

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"The substance and timing of the Indian defence minister's statement is highly unfortunate and reflective of India's irresponsible and belligerent behaviour".

While expectedly Pakistan Twitter was left fuming, Indians mostly welcomed the statement cutting across affiliations. In the past, Pakistani ministers have often spoken of nuclear weapons fairly loosely.

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Ahead of the civil nuclear deal with Japan, Parrikar had said, "It is not change in any government policy, I am also an individual".

"The fundamental objective of Indian nuclear weapons is to deter the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons by any State or entity against India, and its forces". "At the moment there is no change in our policy". And it too is evolving, both consciously and unconsciously, as is the world around us. "It is time now to consciously build our own concepts and strategic thinking, adapted to today's realities and India's environment, including on the role of force".

Among India's neighbours China has a similar doctrine but arch rival Pakistan does not.

Earlier, Pakistan drew the attention of the UNSC presidency to the grave threat to peace and security in the region after India annexed occupied Kashmir and called for summoning an emergency meeting of the council to discuss the rapidly aggravating situation.

The letter said that Pakistan will not provoke a conflict.

The nuclear test was conducted in May, 1998 in Pokhran during the Vajpayee government.

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