NEW DELHI Opposition leader Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that he would stick to India's doctrine of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict if he wins power in the country's election.
"It is necessary to be powerful - not to suppress anyone, but for our own protection," Modi said in an interview with the ANI television service.
Modi, prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he would pursue a policy of continuity based on the approach of the last BJP government, which conducted underground nuclear tests in 1998.
"No first use was a great initiative of (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee - there is no compromise on that. We are very clear. No first use is a reflection of our cultural inheritance," Modi told ANI.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Alison Williams)