'India to exercise nuke option only if attacked by n-weapons'

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma
New Delhi, Jan 16: Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma today said the country will exercise the option of carrying out nuclear strikes if somebody does the "foolhardy" act of attacking it with atomic weapons.

"Only time this (India using nuclear weapons) could happen is when somebody who possesses nuclear weapons does something as foolhardy as to use them. That will be the only occasion when our country would be involved in (its) utilisation," the Navy Chief told reporters here.

Admiral Verma was responding to a media query on Army Chief Gen V K Singh's statement yesterday that nuclear weapons are not for fighting war but to have a strategic capability.

Noting that India had a 'no first use' policy with regard to nuclear weapons, Verma said, "It means there will be no occasion where we will use it (the weapons) first."

He said this policy was a "good one" and met all the requirements of the country.

Asked if the stand-off between the Army Chief and the government over the age issue was affecting the relationship between armed forces and defence ministry, the Navy Chief said, "No, why should...I mean why do you have these doubts."

Admiral Verma is also the Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee (COSC), which includes the three Services chiefs.

Asked to comment on an incident where a young officer drowned in the sea during an exercise, he said, "There is an inquiry on and whatever the recommendations in terms of the attributability of the individuals concerned, those will be reviewed at appropriate level and whatever action is required, will be taken."

Sub Lt Bipin Kumar had died during a sea swimming drill off the coast of Gujarat on December 20 after which the Navy sacked the Captain of warship INS Talwar from his command responsibilities.


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