Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday, August 16, said that India may see a major shift in its nuclear weapons policy. Addressing an event in Pokhran, Rajnath Singh said the country currently has a "no first use policy" on nuclear weapons but it may change in the future. "Till today, our nuclear policy is 'No First Use'. What happens in future depends on the circumstances," the defence minister said.
Taking to Twitter, Rajnath Singh stated: "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."
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
After paying homage to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary, Singh posted the above tweet from Pokhran, the site of two nuclear tests by India, once in 1974 (under the Indira Gandhi government) and again in 1998, under the Vajpayee-led BJP government.
Singh's statement comes in the midst of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan after the Indian government revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"It is a coincidence that today I came for the International Army Scout Masters Competition in Jaisalmer, and the nation is observing Atalji's first 'Punyatithi'. So, I felt I should pay my respects and tributes to Atalji on the land of Pokhran," tweeted Singh.
He further went on to say, "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."
Back in 2016, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had courted controversy when he asked why India needs a "no first use policy".