Obama’s nuke remarks: India underlines no first-use policy


Obama NSS

Hitting back at US President Barack Obama’s comments on equating India’s nuclear programme with Pakistan’s, India said that his comments reflect a “lack of understanding of India’s defence posture.” The comment was made by Mr Obama during a press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit on April 1.

During the press conference, Mr Obama had said: “The other area where I think that we need to see progress is Pakistan and India, that subcontinent, making sure that as they develop military doctrines, they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” Responding to the statement, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “Conventionally, India has never initiated military action against any neighbour. We also have a ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy. Since the context was the Nuclear Security Summit, the President’s own remark that ‘expanding nuclear arsenals in some countries with more small tactical nuclear weapons which could be at greater risk of theft’ sums up the focus of global concern. ”

The reaction from India comes a few days before US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to visit India. The US and India seek to bolster cooperation in the defence sector during Mr Carter’s visit to India.

India has traditionally stated that its nuclear arsenals pose no danger to the world because of its no-first use policy and its track record of non-proliferation.  India has objected to clubbing the country with Pakistan. Many analysts believe that after years of de-hyphenation, the US and rest of the world is once again hyphenating India and Pakistan.

The enhancing of India-US strategic partnership over the last decade had many of the strategic experts believe that the US no longer looks at India and Pakistan in the same breadth. However, the latest statement of Mr Obama has once again brought the question of hyphenation to the fore.