<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar made a public statement about India’s no first use (NFU) policy, the line between public and personal got blurred, says senior policy expert C Uday Bhaskar. According to him, the Defence Minister’s statement was extremely unusual, considering PM Modi was in Japan at that time inking a civil nuclear deal. Parrikar sparked a row on Thursday by questioning India’s ‘no first use’ nuclear policy. He 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,” Parrikar said replying to a question as he explained the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy. Taking a dig at the media, Parrikar said they would publish that the nuclear policy has changed. “It has not changed in government. It is my concept. As an individual, I also get a feeling. I am not saying you have to use it first. Hoax can be called off,” he said, adding that prior to the surgical strike, Pakistan Defence Minister used to threaten India with the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.DNA spoke to C Uday Bhaskar, director of Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi about the possible ramifications of Parrikar’s comments. When asked if India needs to review its nuclear policy, Bhaskar said, “India’s NFU policy that was adopted during NDA I led by PM Vajpayee in May 1998 is in need of review – particularly in the light of the fact that over the last 18 years, the contour of India’s WMD capability, including command and control, and the regional security situation has undergone a change. But this review ought to be done within the CCS (cabinet committee on security) with appropriate professional inputs from the military”.He was of the opinion that such a review shouldn’t be triggered by remarks at a public event – more so when PM Modi was in Japan securing a major nuclear agreement. While Parrikar and the Defence Ministry later clarified unequivocally that it was his personal view, yet the ex-Goa CM’s comments have created a flutter in India’s political circle. Most parties including main opposition Congress criticised Parrikar’s off the cuff remark, saying greater restrain should be shown by him and any change in India’s nuclear doctrine must be a well thought out one. Regarding any possible fallout of Parrikar’s statement, Bhaskar said, “The nuclear issue is something on which every citizen has a right to express a view. It’s destructive potential is apocalyptic. We in India surely do not want another Hiroshima – or for that matter another Fukushima. So to that extent Mr Parrikar, as he said at the event – was fully justified in articulating his personal views. My only observation is about the sensitivity of the issue – NUCLEAR ; the context – the PM is in Japan; and the fact that when the Indian Defence Minister makes a public statement on an issue like this – the line between the personal and the official gets blurred. It could have been avoided to my mind – and the fact that the MoD quickly issued a statement is case in point. This may have been to firewall the ramifications.” However, Uday Bhaskar doesn’t believe that Parrikar’s comment will mar India’s NSG chances. According to him, India’s bid is blocked by China and they are not linking India’s NFU to its objection apropos the Indian NSG membership application. However, India’s nuclear cooperation with other countries may take a hit as India’s nuclear restraint has been its USP. Any review and subsequent alteration may change that dynamic, according to strategy affairs expert Uday Bhaskar. Bhaskar also said, “The whole issue of introducing irrationality and unpredictability was elucidated in some detail by Henry Kissinger in the late 1950’s – when he was a young academic. Parrikar’s remarks will definitely catalyse interest in this formulation about how India should invoke unpredictability or opacity – but this must be done in an astute manner so that it meets the challenges of crisis-stability – which Rawalpindi wants to ‘threaten’.”With agency inputs

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India needs review of nuclear policy, but Parrikar’s public comment was avoidable: Uday Bhaskar