Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said India’s suggestion that its “no first use” nuclear policy may change was a “damning reminder” of the country’s “unbridled thirst for violence”.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had on Friday said that India had always adhered to its “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons but “what happens in the future will depend on circumstances”.

“Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’,” Singh tweeted. “India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.”

Singh was in Pokhran to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary. Pokhran, in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, was the site of the nuclear tests conducted by India in 1974 and 1998 – the second one was when Vajpayee was the prime minister.

“Another damning reminder of India’s unbridled thirst for violence,” Qureshi said in response to this. “Contrast to Pakistan’s aggressive efforts to galvanise diplomacy as UNSC met for 1st time formally since [1965] on IOK [Kashmir] validating International dispute status. History reminds fascist warmongering state can never win.”

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Information Ashiq Awan also criticised Singh’s statement and said it was a reflection of extremist RSS ideology, according to Geo News.

Singh’s comments came amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The central government, on August 5, declared that the region would be split into two Union Territories. India has repeatedly described the developments in Jammu and Kashmir as its internal matter. However, Pakistan raised the matter in the United Nations Security Council.

Pakistan has also sought the help of China, which claims part of Ladakh as its territory.

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