At a book release function yesterday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that the country should not bind itself with No First Use policy, while stating that it was his personal thinking. This follows India abstaining in the recent UN General Assembly resolution asking for global nuclear disarmament. India appears now to be changing its stance on nuclear disarmament and use of nuclear weapons in war.
This statement of Parrikar was widely condemned by the opposition. The CPI(M), the Congress and the JDU spokesperson all issued statements criticizing Parikkar for expressing his personal opinion on such a sensitive matter.
"The 'no first use policy' is located in the larger context of India's commitment to universal nuclear disarmament so unfortunately you have a defence minister who completely and absolutely doesn't understand nuclear theology…" Tewari said.
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly denounces the statement made by the Defence Minister that India should revise its "no first use" nuclear weapon policy.
This has serious implications both for India's security concerns and for India's standing in international relations.
This statement represents a complete reversal of the long standing position of India as a country that champions a nuclear weapon free world and consistently stood by its commitment for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The Defence Minister's statement clearly indicates that this government is negating India's established stand on use of nuclear weapons in war. It jeopardizes India's security concerns by undermining the declared good neighbourly relations approach. Further it undermines India's efforts for membership of international bodies like the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The Defence Minister's contention that these are his personal opinions is completely untenable. As a member of the cabinet collective in a parliamentary democratic system, under oath to the Indian Constitution, such opinions that are contrary to India's long established policy direction is a reflection of the complete lack of "governance" of this government. If the Defence Minister wishes to air his personal opinions then he may do so after resigning from the Cabinet.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the Prime Minister, now on a visit to Japan, to conclude amongst others a nuclear agreement, must immediately clarify this government's commitment to India's long standing position of universal nuclear disarmament and the non-first use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Congress Party leader Manish Tewari to said, "With great respect to the honourable defence minister of India, he is a bit of a joke. Is the defence minister of India entitled to have a personal view in the public space on such an extremely sensitive issue?"
JD(U) spokesperson Pawan Verma also condemned the minister's statement.