The bilateral ties between India and Pakistan are on the edge. With the tension between the two countries intensifying beyond limits, chances of war cannot be ruled out. In such a situation the recent statement by the defense minister of India, Rajnath Singh hinting that India may revise “ No First Use” policy with regard to nuclear weapons is really very alarming.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quick to respond to this statement by India’s Defense Minister saying it was ‘shocking.’ Qureshi said, “Pakistan has always proposed measures relating to nuclear restraint in South Asia and has eschewed measures that are offensive in nature. Pakistan will continue to maintain a credible minimum deterrence posture.“
Future Happenings May Depend Upon Circumstances – Rajnath Singh
The defense minister said, “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘No First Use’. What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” He was accompanied by the Army Chief Bipin Rawat. The defense minister made this statement while he was attending the closing ceremony of the army scoutmaster competition organized in Pokhran on the death anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee.
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
Both the occasion and the place was just perfect for discussing nuclear weapon strategy as it was in Pokhran in 1998 when Vajpayee was the prime minister that India secretly conducted five nuclear tests. It was also after these tests that the country decided not to use nuclear weapons for the first time. The defense minister repeated that India until now has remained firm on this decision of “No First Use,” but may change it in the future.
What Is A ‘No First Use’ (NFU) Policy?
An NFU police is a pledge by a nuclear power nation not to use nuclear weapons in warfare unless attacked by an adversary. Until now, the policy of the Indian government has been that nuclear weapons in India are only for deterrence and will be used only for retaliation. The same opinion was given by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 while he was campaigning for the first time for general elections.
At that time Modi had said, nuclear weapons are “not to suppress anyone”.