Rajnath and No First Use: Tainting India’s Image as a Responsible Nuclear Power

On August 16, Rajnath Singh became the second defence minister to cast doubts about one of the cornerstones of India’s nuclear doctrine.

On the occasion of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s first death anniversary, Singh visited India’s nuclear test site at Pokhran and subsequently tweeted, “Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atalji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of NFU. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.” The statement evoked a response that will continue this rekindled debate: Is India likely to jettison the ‘no first use’ (NFU) policy?

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