India hints it may be reconsidering its doctrine on nuclear weapons

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to say India remains “firmly committed” to the doctrine, but “what happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to say India remains “firmly committed” to the doctrine, but “what happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) – India on Friday (Aug 16) hinted that it may be rethinking its doctrine of “No First Use” for nuclear weapons.

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.” 

India is engaged in ongoing tensions with nuclear rival Pakistan over its decision to revoke autonomy of Kashmir region, to which both countries stake a claim. Mr Singh tweeted after visiting India’s nuclear weapons testing site at Pokharan.

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.

Unlike Pakistan, India’s other neighbour and rival China has also declared a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons.

The defence ministry spokesman A. Bharat Bhushan Babu did not answer calls.

“The minister is pretty clear in what he’s said,” foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said. “At the moment there is no change in our policy.”