Why bind ourselves to 'no first use policy', says Parrikar on India's nuke doctrine

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said that he sees no reason why India should bind itself a 'no first use policy' on nuclear weapons

FP Staff November 10, 2016 22:08:59 IST
Why bind ourselves to 'no first use policy', says Parrikar on India's nuke doctrine

In what could intensify the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan manifold, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said that he sees no reason why India should bind itself a 'no first use policy' on nuclear weapons.

Why bind ourselves to no first use policy says Parrikar on Indias nuke doctrine

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Explaining the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy, according to PTI, Parrikar said: "Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking."

India had declared a "no first use" nuclear policy following the nuclear weapons test in 1998. However, its arch-rival and nuclear-armed state Pakistan has no such policy.

Though the minister clarified that the remarks were personal in nature, and the nuke doctrine has not changed in the government, giving up the "no first use policy" could prevent "hoax" threats.

"It has not changed in the government. It is my concept. As an individual I also get feeling. I am not saying you have to use it first. Hoax can be called off," PTI quoted the minister where he also added that prior to the surgical strike, the Pakistan defence minister used to threaten India with the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

"From the day surgical strike happened, no threat has come. They realised that we can do something which is not well defined," he said.

"Necessarily if there is any question or danger to the country, I will not open the book first," ANI tweeted.

However, soon after Parrikar's interview was aired on television, according to ANI, the Ministry of Defence, issued a statement saying that the views expressed were the minister's personal views and not his official stand on the issue. "What Defence Minister Parrikar said was his personal opinion and not the official position. What he said was that India being a responsible power should not get into 1st use debate...," the news agency tweeted.

Although, the defence ministry was quick to call the opinion minister's "personal" one, this kind of assertion could potentially hamper India's bid to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group member as few countries including China are playing hard ball.

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