‘No first use’ nuke policy to continue: Krishna (Lead)

March 16th, 2011 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The government Wednesday rejected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh’s suggestion for a revisit of the ‘no first use’ policy for nuclear weapons, saying the existing doctrine, announced by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, will continue.

“Our policy (no first use) remains as it exists. Government is committed to safeguarding India’s security interests in consonance with our declared (nuclear) doctrine,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told the Lok Sabha.

Replying to a debate on the demands for grants for his ministry, Krishna said the country would maintain a minimum nuclear deterrence.

Initiating the debate Tuesday, Jaswant Singh, the foreign minister in the BJP-led NDA government, called for a review of the ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons doctrine declared after India’s 1998 nuclear tests.

Earlier Wednesday, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon said he will contact Jaswant Singh to discuss the issue.

“We will ask him what is the alternative and take it from there,” Menon told reporters at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here.

India has a policy of no-first use primarily against non-nuclear weapon states.

At the same time, India retains the option of using nuclear weapons in case of a major attack by biological and chemical weapons. These had been enshrined in the official nuclear doctrine released in January 2003.

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