Pakistan sticks to ‘no first use of nukes’ policy, says will never start a war with India

ISLAMABAD: There is no change in Pakistan’s nuclear policy, the Foreign Office has said, hours after Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that his country will never ever start a war with India, amid escalating tensions between the nuclear powers over the Kashmir issue.

Addressing a gathering of the Sikh community at the Governor’s House in Lahore on Monday evening, Khan said both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed countries and if tension escalates, the world will face danger.

“There will be no first from our side ever,” he said, without explaining further.

However, Khan has been repeatedly threatening the possibility of a nuclear war with India over Kashmir after his efforts to internationalise the matter failed to gain any traction.

Khan also said conflict create more problems than resolving them.

“I want to tell India that war is not a solution to any problem. The winner in war is also a loser. War gives birth to host of other issues,” he said.

However, Pakistan Foreign Office said Khan’s comments were being taken out of context and did not represent a change in Islamabad’s nuclear policy.

“Prime Minister’s comments on Pakistan’s approach towards conflict between two nuclear armed states are being taken out of context,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a late night tweet on Monday.

“While conflict should not take place between two nuclear states, there’s no change in Pakistan’s nuclear policy,” he said.

In August, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that India may see a major shift in its nuclear weapons doctrine by doing away with a ‘no first use policy’ in the future.

“Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘No First Use’. What happens in future depends on the circumstances,” he had said at an event in Rajasthan’s Pokhran, the site of India’s nuclear tests in 1998.