In a huge development on Friday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the no first use of nuclear weapons policy of India will depend on circumstances in future. This is a departure from India’s first stand that it will not be first to use its nuclear arsenal in the event of military skirmishes.
Taking to Twitter amidst growing tension between India and Pakistan, Singh wrote, “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.”
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
The defence minister also repeated his words while speaking to news agency ANI later. Singh was in Pokhran, the site of India’s two nuclear tests, to pay his respect to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The first nuclear test by India was carried in 1974 with Indira Gandhi as the country’s prime minister. The second test was carried in 1998 when Vajpayee was the country’s PM.
Singh said that the country ‘will remain indebted to the greatness of Atal Ji.’
In November 2016, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar too had questioned India’s ‘No First Use’ doctrine. Speaking at a book release function, Parrikar had said, “Why a lot of people say that India has No First Use policy. Why should I bind myself to a… I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my thinking. Some of them may immediately tomorrow flash that Parrikar says that nuclear doctrine has changed. It has not changed in any government policy but my concept, I am also an individual.”