New Delhi: Defence minister Rajnath Singh said while India was “firmly committed” to its “no first use” doctrine on nuclear weapons, what happens in the future “will depend on the circumstances”.
He was speaking at a function while on a visit to Pokhran in Rajasthan on the first death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. “Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atalji’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 depen-ds on the circumstances,” the defence minister tweeted. He said India attaining the status of a responsible nuclear nation became a matter of national pride for every citizen of this country.
Pokhran was also the site of India’s first nucl-ear test in 1974 under the Indira Gandhi government.
Immediately after conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India had declared a “no first use” policy under which “India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail”.
The defence minister’s statement comes at a time when there is heightened tension with Pakistan over India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded a special status to J&K. Many people, including strategic experts, have questioned the need for India to have a “no first use” policy, specially when Pakistan does not have it.