Issue Brief on “India’s No First Use: Signalling Or A Policy Shift?”


India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement on India’s No First Use (NFU) policy on August 16, 2019 which has elicited a reaction from Pakistan and ignited a debate on India’s NFU policy. Singh spoke on the occasion of the first death anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying that the NFU policy has been adhered to so far but, “What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”[1]

He later also made the same statement on Twitter. While this may not be a formal policy change, it certainly is a not so veiled threat from India. The Defense Minister’s statement comes at a time when tensions are high between the two nuclear armed neighbors over India’s move to revoke autonomy of Indian Occupied Kashmir region which is disputed and two wars have been fought over the issue. Pakistan has taken the signalling over the NFU seriously which has serious implications for its nuclear strategy.

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