Manohar Parrikar questions India’s no-first-use nuclear policy, adds ‘my thinking’

A spokesperson for the Defence Ministry later clarified that the Minister had confirmed that this was his personal opinion.

Written by Sushant Singh | New Delhi | Published:November 11, 2016 4:24 am
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Stoking a controversy, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Thursday questioned India’s No First Use (NFU) policy on nuclear weapons but then said that “this is my thinking” and the nuclear doctrine “has not changed” under any government.

Speaking in New Delhi at the launch of Brigadier (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal’s book The New Arthashastra, Parrikar said: “Why a lot of people say that India has No First Use policy. Why should I bind myself to a… I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my thinking. Some of them may immediately tomorrow flash that Parrikar says that nuclear doctrine has changed. It has not changed in any government policy but my concept, I am also an individual. And as an individual, I get a feeling sometime why do I say that I am not going to use it first. I am not saying that you have to use it first just because you don’t decide that you don’t use it first. The hoax can be called off.”

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A spokesperson for the Defence Ministry later clarified that the Minister had confirmed that this was his personal opinion.

In its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had promised to “study in detail India’s nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”. No such study has been publicly announced. Nor has the BJP-led government proposed any change in the doctrine or the NFU.

India’s NFU policy is part of its nuclear doctrine. Under the doctrine, India has a policy of credible minimum deterrence based on a ‘No First Use’ posture and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. This means that India won’t be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. In contrast, Pakistan does not have an NFU policy for its nuclear arsenal.

India has always held its commitment to NFU policy as proof of it being a responsible nuclear power. In April, when US President Barack Obama suggested that India and Pakistan reduce their nuclear arsenal, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said: “There seems to be a lack of understanding of India’s defence posture. Conventionally, India has never initiated military action against any neighbour. We also have a no-first use nuclear weapons policy.”

Critics of the NFU policy argue that the increasing stockpile of Pakistani nuclear weapons and China’s expansionist designs in the region warrant a change in the doctrine. Since it is a declaratory policy, with no binding legitimacy, Pakistani officials have claimed that India can revoke its unilateral declaration anytime if the situation so warrants.

In 2003, the then Defence Minister George Fernandes had ruled out any revision of the NFU policy. In 2011, BJP leader Jaswant Singh had asked for abandonment of the NFU policy but the UPA government decided to maintain status quo.

Responding to Parrikar’s remarks, Congress party communication in-charge Randeep Surjewala said: “Defence Minister Parrikar has no business or authority to speak in personal capacity at a public function. He reflects the thrust and intent of India’s national security policy. If India’s policy on NFU has to be changed, it must be decided after deliberation with the government and stated publicly. Casual, immature and off-the-cuff remarks by India’s Defence Minister, for which he has become famous, are not in India’s interest.”

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “This is a most irresponsible comment coming from the Defence Minister. It runs against India’s ethos of seeking a nuclear-free world. When a minister speaks, it has to be the considered opinion of the government. This statement would be taken indignantly by the rest of the world and hurt India’s interests globally.”

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  1. K
    Kt govindan
    Nov 11, 2016 at 9:40 am
    In a war cituation it is the commander who leads is to select the weapon for offence/defence.he should be given free hand to use any weapon. It is not the pM or FM to know the war strategy of enemy. Lastly who take correct decision at right time always win.
    Reply
    1. P
      Parek
      Nov 11, 2016 at 1:07 am
      Just give out crazy comments to keep the media headlines from the current ber. currency demonetisation
      Reply
      1. S
        Satyaki
        Nov 11, 2016 at 3:28 am
        Ye ch00tya IIT se farzi degree Liya hai bc.
        Reply
        1. S
          SubbuI
          Nov 11, 2016 at 6:49 am
          SOME ONE MUST REMIND HIM EACH DAY MORNING TO THIS CLOWN THAT HE IS THE DEFENCE MINISTER OF THE INDIAN NATION.HIS STATEMENTS EVERY SECOND DAY GO IN TO OUR SKIN. WILL SOME ONE LIKE FM JETLY OBLIGE?
          Reply
          1. M
            Mathura
            Nov 11, 2016 at 2:46 am
            weak person become cruel when they get power. weak person is hiding himself by saying it is personal opinion
            Reply
            1. A
              Avinash
              Nov 11, 2016 at 2:31 am
              First focus on developing our own guns and war toys. Every time you and you likes rush to western world to buy gudget and here you are spending time thinking about nukes.
              Reply
              1. D
                dhrao
                Nov 11, 2016 at 2:41 am
                duffer and loose talk BY DEFENSE MINISTER.irresponsible unfit fellow who does not know how to talk
                Reply
                1. S
                  SS
                  Nov 11, 2016 at 5:07 am
                  stan is a nuclear suicide bomber . Kill or shall we say nuke it before it explodes its nuclear vest.
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    SS
                    Nov 11, 2016 at 4:48 am
                    With irresponsible enemy having visceral hatred against India NFU doctrine emboldens stan. . This doctrine needs be modified as, NFU against NFU country like China but no NFU against stan till it also declares NFU..
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      S.Sharma
                      Nov 11, 2016 at 5:06 am
                      This is just another expression of crazy minded defence minister. Is he tryiing to match up to stani defence minister? Such remarks do nothing but fuel bad image of India. Our NFU policy doesn't bind our hands in crisis, but helps to maintain a good Image of country in the world. And our nuclear program can't sustain without foreign help. But what would an understand!
                      Reply
                      1. G
                        Gopu
                        Nov 11, 2016 at 6:16 am
                        No first use is an ill-concieved idea. It is like tying your own hands behind when you go in to fight. This policy embolden both stan whose strategic strength is far inferior to India's and China whose conventional strength is superior to India -both threaten India. India should revisit this
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          Kejriwal Fan
                          Nov 11, 2016 at 3:24 am
                          India must give up all its nuclear weapons and stop bullying its weaker neighbour stan.
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            mort
                            Nov 11, 2016 at 8:47 am
                            ndia under TOTAL ATTACK BY STAN. Economic terrorism of FAKE INDIAN MONEY (FIM) aided by another FIM - FAKE INDIAN MUSLIMS !!!!
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              mumbikar
                              Nov 11, 2016 at 7:04 am
                              Freaking power hungry DM, we lost 32 jawans on peace keeping duty in congo just 4 days ago, didnt u know that u uneducated iitan ? Or were u busy at one goa's casino with the firangi 's !!!! Now no chest thumping ???? Why ?
                              Reply
                              1. N
                                Niladrinath Mohanty
                                Nov 11, 2016 at 2:34 am
                                We all know that Mr. Sitaram Yechuri is an alumni of JNU but what about Mr.Ranadeep Surjewala?
                                Reply
                                1. P
                                  Priyank
                                  Nov 11, 2016 at 3:30 am
                                  The no first use policy is a bad policy that gives failed and terrorist states like papistan room to threaten India with nuclear strikes. Without the NFU policy, papistan and china will have to think twice before any misadventures
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    Ramesh Nittoor
                                    Nov 11, 2016 at 12:57 am
                                    India is de facto on the first table of geo-polity, and is likely to be de-jure so in coming years. In preparation for being so, it needs a political culture where those in official role desist from expressing personal opinions on policy matters, for whatever is being said nowadays is no more seen as drawing room talks. This discipline is difficult for voluble ministers, as it is for folks like us to stop posting here! So in a way empathize, but totally disagree.
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      Pilla Gurumurty
                                      Nov 11, 2016 at 7:01 am
                                      It is very unfortunate that Indians are thinking of first use of Nuclear warfare. Every war is conducted on the hope, that it would ultimately produce harmony. The sacrifices are considered necessary, for this "Ultimate Good", that the society could reap. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Use of Nuclear Warfare denies the "Ultimate Good" and harmony. It should not be part of any nations choice. Wars can be fought by other means, and the necessity to "exterminate" another country or race is "ill-will". lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;War is not a solution to anything. It is an unfortunate situation, made possible by the failure of the political/administrative apparatus.
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                                      1. P
                                        Pappalil Prabhakaran
                                        Nov 11, 2016 at 5:14 am
                                        Bad vocabulary damages your image too!
                                        Reply
                                        1. A
                                          Anand Ch
                                          Nov 11, 2016 at 1:46 am
                                          Any body can have any opinion. But country stand is different and it is non negotiable.
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Rajiv
                                            Nov 11, 2016 at 7:53 am
                                            "No first use policy" should be dropped in contemporary time. Others should not take revenge on our "tolerance" as incapability.... lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Why China always opposes India's NSG membership? why others always add "we have nuclear weapon" as a second sentence in any counter speech?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Let all of us respect each other( not fearing !!!) to build harmony in the world.. Then collaborate each other to build better businesses to grow together lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Ultimately we all want peaceful life with better living conditions/standard by maintaining harmony !!!!
                                            Reply
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