New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party tipped to win India's election has sparked concern with its manifesto which, though largely devoted to economic development, sets out uncompromising hardline positions on contentious issues and raises the prospect of a revision of the country's policy on use of its nuclear weapons.
Unveiling its election manifesto, the party gave no details, but sources involved in drafting the document said the "no-first-use" policy introduced after India conducted a series of nuclear tests in 1998 would be reconsidered.
A relook at the no-first use policy would mark a major departure from India's existing nuclear policy which states that “the fundamental purpose of Indian nuclear weapons is to deter the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons by any State or entity against India and its forces.
India will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.
India will not resort to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against States which do not possess nuclear weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapons powers”.
India joined the nuclear club after successfully conducting nuclear tests in May 1998, when the country was led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The nuclear doctrine was completed in August 1999 also under Vajpayee's premiership.