India's BJP rules out nuclear policy change

Head of main opposition says his party did not intend to reverse "no-first-use" policy for nuclear weapons.

    India's BJP rules out nuclear policy change
    The BJP, which has big leads in elections, sparked speculation about an end to the nuclear doctrine [AFP]

    The head of India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ruled out any change in the country's "no-first-use" nuclear weapons policy.

    The BJP, which has big leads in elections, sparked speculation about an end to the doctrine last week when its manifesto said that the party would "revise and update" India's policy.

    "The no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons was a well thought out stand... We don't intend to reverse it," BJP President Rajnath Singh told the local Hindustan Times newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

    The policy was adopted after a series of nuclear tests in 1998 during the last BJP-led coalition government which led to international condemnation and an embargo being placed on the country by Western powers.

    The policy was intended to gain India greater acceptability as a nuclear power, despite it not being a signatory of the 1970 UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

    The BJP is predicted to clinch power under elections which began on April 7 and end with results on May 16.

    And BJP government under prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist promising strong leadership, is expected to have a tougher foreign policy.

    Any change in nuclear policy would be of most significance to India's rivals Pakistan and China.

    Neither reacted to news of the possible review and analysts have pointed out that the "no-first-use" policy is a mere promise that could be ignored by New Delhi in a conflict situation.

    China was the first country to adopt the "no-first-use" nuclear policy in 1964, but nuclear-rival Pakistan, with whom India has fought three wars, does not have a similar position.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.