In what can be called a hint towards major strategic shift, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that India’s 'no first use' of nuclear weapons ‘depends on the circumstances’ that unfold in the future. Addressing a conference in Pokhran, Singh said, “Till today, our nuclear policy is 'No First Use'. What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”
Rajnath Singh who was in Jaisalmer for International Army Scout Masters Competition, said, “Today it is the first death anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So, I felt I should pay tribute to him on the land of Pokhran only.”
In a tweet, Rajnath Singh said that India till date has strcitly adhered to its 'No First Use' doctrine.
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 statement comes amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan after Modi government decided to abrogate Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, India adopted no first use after it conducted second nuclear tests named Pokhran-II in August 1998. In August 1999, Indian government released a draft of doctrine stating that India will pursue a policy of ‘retaliation only’ and will not initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation.’
Paying tributes to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajnath Singh in another tweet added "India attaining the status of a responsible nuclear nation became a matter of national pride for every citizen of this country. The nation will remain indebted to the greatness of Atal Ji.”