NEW DELHI: India’s defence minister hinted on Friday that New Delhi might change its “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons, amid heightened tensions with fellow atomic power Pakistan.
India committed in 1999 to not being the first to use nuclear weapons in any conflict. Among India’s neighbours China has a similar doctrine but arch rival Pakistan does not.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the comment on Twitter after visiting Pokhran, the site of India’s successful nuclear tests in 1998 under then prime minister Atal Vajpayee.
“Pokhran is the area which witnessed [Vajpayee’s] firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’,” Singh wrote.
The statement comes as tensions rise with Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped Indian-administered Kashmir of its autonomy, a move sharply condemned by Islamabad.