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Nuclear confusion

Many questions surround dilution of no first use

Topics
Atal Bihari Vajpayee | Rajnath Singh | Pokhran nuclear tests

Business Standard Editorial Comment  |  New Delhi 



On the first death anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the government called into question one of the major doctrines associated with his time in power. After visiting the site in Pokhran, where in 1998 the Vajpayee-led government had conducted nuclear tests, Defence Minister 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’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.” This is not the first time a Union minister has questioned no first use, or NFU. In 2016, Manohar Parrikar, then defence minister, had also expressed doubts about the policy, which has been official since 2003, when it was combined with the thread of “massive and intolerable” retaliation.

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First Published: Tue, August 20 2019. 00:59 IST

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