Parrikar feels nuclear policy has to be ‘unpredictable’

Diverging from India’s declared No First Use (NFU) policy, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday suggested there should be a degree of “unpredictability” when it came to nuclear weapons. However, he said this is “not a change in any policy” and was his personal opinion.

“Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it [nuclear weapons] irresponsibly,” he said after releasing a book, The new Arthashastra: A security strategy for India edited by strategic expert Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd).

The policy of NFU came into being soon after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998 under the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the first NDA government. The NFU policy committed to only by India and China among the nuclear weapon states has been the corner stone of India’s nuclear doctrine.

Mr. Parrikar said if a written down strategy exists or if India takes a stand really on a nuclear aspect, “you are actually giving away your strength in nuclear.” “This is my thinking,” he said.

Referring to Pakistan’s claims that it would use Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) if it was threatened, the Minister said, “After surgical strikes, no such threat came. They realise that we can do something which is not well-defined.”

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