"Nuclear weapons today are an integral part of our national security and will remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said.
India's "hard-headed" leadership had fought "explicit or implicit threat" by global powers to change its "behaviour", National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said addressing a national conference on global nuclear disarmament to commemorate the 24 years of the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a nuclear weapons free world order.
"On at least three occasions before 1998, other powers used the explicit or implicit threat of nuclear weapons to try and change India's behaviour," Menon said without elaborating.
The global powers did not succeed in changing India's behaviour because of the "hard-headed leadership we were fortunate to have," he told the conference that was attended by 1500 students from 30 institutions of higher education.
"Since we became a declared nuclear weapons state in 1998, we have not faced such threats," Menon said.
The NSA made it clear that India will continue to have nuclear weapons till universal nuclear disarmament becomes a reality.
"We do think that we would be more secure in a world that is truly free of nuclear weapons. But until we arrive at that happy state, we have no choice, and a responsibility towards our own people, to have nuclear weapons to protect them from nuclear threats," Menon said.