Amidst growing bilateral tensions between India and Pakistan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday dropped a subtle hint that India could change its 'no first use' nuclear policy.
Rajnath's statement came during his visit to Pokhran, where he paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the latter's first death anniversary. Vajpayee died, aged 93, on August 16 last year at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after a prolonged illness.
Rajnath tweeted, "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’."
The Defence Minister went on to add, "'India has strictly adhered to doctrine of no first use but what happens in future depended on the circumstances."
In 1998, India adopted the 'no first use policy' after conducting nuclear tests in Pokhran. India has always asserted that nuclear weapons were only for deterrence and it would use them only in retaliation against a nuclear attack.