Rajnath Singh nukes ‘no first use’ Nuclear-policy

Cheryl Sanders
August 17, 2019

"Until now, our nuclear policy has been based on "No First Use", but what happens in the future will depend on the circumstances", said Singh. Singh's visit coincided with the first death anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during whose term as PM the Pokhran-2 nuclear tests were conducted in 1998.

'India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. "What happens in future depends on the circumstances", Singh tweeted.

Pokhran was also the site of India's first nucl-ear test in 1974 under the Indira Gandhi government.

Since a series of nuclear tests in 1998, India declared a "no-first-use" policy under which it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with its neighbours, but will retaliate should deterrence fail.

Friday's closed-door meeting at the request of China was prompted by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who requested to convene consultations on Jammu and Kashmir, citing a number of human rights violations allegedly committed by the Indian authorities before and after the decision to revoke the special status of the state, as well as to the threats to global peace and security this might present.

The timing of the veiled threat comes particularly on the heels of spiraling tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

He said "No First use" pledge is non-verifiable and can not be taken at face value, especially when development of offensive capabilities and force postures belie such claims.

This is not the first time that the Modi government has made a statement regarding its nuclear policy.

He said the Indian defence minister's statement further exposed the pretence of India's NFU to which Pakistan never accorded credence.

Pakistan also has appealed to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to intervene.

While New Delhi has repeatedly maintained that its decisions on Jammu and Kashmir are an internal matter in which no country should interfere.

Close watchers of India's nuclear policy, such as Vipin Narang of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were quick to pick up on this change.

In 2016, the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar's comments questioning why India should bind itself to a no first use policy, had fuelled speculation on whether the National Democratic Alliance government was considering a shift in the doctrine.

Later, it was reported that New Delhi threatened to launch missiles at Pakistan in the middle of the standoff, while Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes "three times over".

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