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Revise ‘no-first-use’ n-policy: Jaswant

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Tuesday said that the government should revise India’s nuclear doctrine framed during the NDA regime after broad consultations,given the change in situations.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 16, 2011 1:44:55 am

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Tuesday said that the government should revise India’s nuclear doctrine framed during the NDA regime after broad consultations,given the change in situations.

“I am of the view that the policy-framework that the NDA devised in 1998 is very greatly in need of revision because the situation that warranted the enunciation of the policy of ‘no-first-use’ or ‘non-use against non-nuclear weapons’,‘credible deterrence with minimum force’,etc. has long been overtaken by events,” the former external affairs minister said,initiating the discussion on demand of grants for Ministry of External Affairs in the Lok Sabha.

“You cannot continue to sit in yesterday’s policy. We need to re-address it. Therefore,I ask you to please hold broader consultations with whosever you want but do revise this policy,” he added.

He,however,underlined that it was his personal view and not that of his party as he had yet not discussed this issue within BJP.

While Singh underlined his association with the global initiative to eliminate all nuclear weapons,he did not spell out his vision of revision of the doctrine even as he contrasted India’s position with Pakistan,whose nuclear missiles are largely derived from Chinese and North Korean systems.

“There is another important and vital reason why I say this to be done. It is not good enough now…. Pakistan is already in possession of about 100-110 nuclear warheads that are deliverable whereas I know that India has 50 to 60. I do not know why we are keeping these facts hidden…. The US does not know where the nuclear weapons of Pakistan are kept. It has better delivery system transported by China and North-Korea… time will not wait for us,” Singh said.

Concerns regarding Chinese ambitions vis a vis Indian interests emerged as the common thread among the MPs — ranging from Singh to Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP),Sharad Yadav (JDU),Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) among others.

“A China that is unified,that has a centralized command of Government,will be an expansionist China…. I fear that we are going down the path of negligence of what China poses to us as a threat. It is a long-term threat … China will continue to wish to dominate India,” Singh said.

In this context,many members raised the rising influence of China in the domestic affairs of Nepal and cautioned the government not to shirk away from its responsibility towards Nepal.

Speaking from the ruling Congress,former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor,however,played down the apprehensions. “China has far too much a stake in its economic relationship with India to be tempted to engage in any sort of military adventure. I do not think we should fear China,” Tharoor said.

While China appeared high on the radar of most of the MPs,the terror emanating from Pakistan appeared to have taken a backseat with Singh only seeking a clarification from the government regarding opening of dialogue.

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