CBRN Assessment

India hints at change in nuclear weapons doctrine

19 August 2019

India’s defence minister has suggested that Delhi could change its nuclear no-first-use (NNFU) doctrine for employing its strategic weapons.

“India remains firmly committed to the doctrine of NNFU, but what happens in [the] future depends on the circumstances,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on 17 August during a visit to the Pokhran nuclear weapons test site in the Rajasthan desert. “India attaining the status of a responsible nuclear [weapons] nation is a matter of national pride for every citizen,” he also tweeted.

Military analysts and senior diplomats in Delhi consider Singh’s declaration to be a warning to Pakistan at a time of increased tension after India ended the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region’s special constitutional status on 5 August.

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