India Says It May Abandon ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy

India has hinted at the possibility of changing its “No First Use” policy on nuclear weapons, amid escalating tensions with Pakistan.

India’s defense minister Rajnath Singh warned that while New Delhi has been carefully following its ‘no first use’ policy that it will now depend on the circumstances.

He said: “It is true that till now, India has strictly adhered to the ‘No First Use’ policy. What happens in future depends on the circumstances”

Singh was referring to the policy of not being the first country in a potential standoff to use nuclear weapons.

The veiled threat comes as hostilities between the two nuclear-armed neighbors has started spiraling.

Press TV reports: India’s arch-rival Pakistan does not have a similar doctrine.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said Singh’s remark was nothing new.

“India’s claims to NFU ended when on 4 Jan 2003 Indian govt declared it would use nuclear weapons against any (even Chemical or Biological) attack ‘against India or Indian forces anywhere,’” she tweeted.

The indirect back-and-forth came as tensions have been simmering between India and Pakistan since New Delhi stripped Indian-controlled Kashmir of its special autonomy earlier this month. Pakistan has called that move “illegal.”

Kashmir is generally considered disputed territory. It has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. The countries have fought three wars over the territory.