16:50 GMT26 February 2020
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    India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while visiting Pokhran in western Rajasthan on 16 August suggested that the country's "No First Use" nuclear doctrine may change in the future, as tensions continue to flare with Pakistan.

    Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign affairs has issued a statement in the wake of an intimation by India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that India's nuclear doctrine of “no first use” may be reviewed depending upon circumstances, reports The Times of India.

    Accusing India of irresponsible behaviour, Pakistan said that it will continue to maintain a credible deterrence. Recalling that Pakistan is the only country in the world that has never publicly adhered to the “no first use” doctrine, it says the country will use tactical nuclear weapons if India gets an upper hand in a conventional war.

    ​On 16 August the Security Council met to consider the volatile situation surrounding Jammu and Kashmir, addressing the issue directly within the UN body for the first time since 1965, ending without any tangible result.

    Friday’s closed-door meeting at the request of China was prompted by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who requested to convene consultations on Jammu and Kashmir, citing a number of human rights violations allegedly committed by the Indian authorities before and after the decision to revoke the special status of the state, as well as to the threats to international peace and security this might present.

    According to the Hindustan Times, the Security Council expressed “serious concerns” about the situation in Kashmir, urging all parties not to take unilateral actions that could further aggravate the situation.

    Previously, on 16 August, while visiting Pokhran in western Rajasthan, the site of India's first nuclear tests in 1998, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh suggested the country might revise its nuclear doctrine in the future.

    "Till today, our nuclear policy is 'No First Use'. What happens in future depends on the circumstances", media reported Singh as saying.

    ​Singh’s comments were viewed as a response to Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent statement, saying that the “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard".

    Tensions escalated earlier this month when the Indian-administered part of the majority-Muslim region, known as Jammu and Kashmir had its special status within the Constitution revoked by the Indian government on 5 August, placing it under tighter central control.
    Later the same day, the Indian Parliament's upper house voted 125-61, with one abstention, for the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    A security personnel stands guard on a street during a lockdown in Srinagar on August 11, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy
    © AFP 2019 / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
    A security personnel stands guard on a street during a lockdown in Srinagar on August 11, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy

    Pakistan has argued that the move violates international law, with the Foreign Ministry saying Islamabad would use "all possible options" to counter what it considers India's illegal decision.

    The territory of Jammu and Kashmir has held a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution since 1947. It had its own Constitution and decision-making rights in all areas except for defence, foreign affairs, and communications.

    Related:

    Indian Defence Minister Hints at Possibility of Nuclear Policy Change Amid Tensions with Pakistan
    Pakistan to Review Steps Against India If Jammu and Kashmir Status Restored - Ambassador
    First UNSC Meeting on Jammu and Kashmir in Almost 50 Years Yields No Result
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    "no first use" nuclear policy, nuclear policy, Jammu and Kashmir, India, Pakistan, Pakistan
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