Rajnath Singh, the president of the BJP, has ruled out any change in the country’s “no-first-use” nuclear weapons policy.
The BJP is expected to win the national election that began last week; results are due on May 16. The party sparked speculation about an end to the nuclear doctrine last week when its manifesto said that the party would “revise and update” India’s policy.
“The no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons was a well thought out stand… We don’t intend to reverse it,” BJP President Rajnath Singh told a national newspaper in an interview printed on Monday.
The policy was adopted after a series of nuclear tests in 1998 during the last BJP-led coalition government which led to international condemnation and an embargo being placed on the country by Western powers.
The policy was intended to gain India greater acceptability as a nuclear power, despite it not being a signatory of the 1970 UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
If the BJP is able to form a government under its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, it is expected to have a more muscular foreign policy.
Any change in nuclear policy would be of most significance to India’s rivals Pakistan and China. Neither reacted to news of the possible review.