New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Thursday wondered why India cannot say "we are a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly" instead of affirming a "no first use policy", remarks he said were personal in nature.
Talking about India's nuclear doctrine, Parrikar questioned why it is just said that India is for no first use, saying: "Why lot of people say that India is for 'not first use;... Why should I bind myself.
"I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly," he said.
The minister himself, as well as Defence Ministry Spokesperson Nitin Wakankar clarified that the comments were his personal opinion, and did not reflect government policy.
"It is not change in any government policy, I am also an individual. As an individual, I get this feeling sometimes. Why should I say I am not going to use it first. I am not saying you have to use it first just because you don't decide that you don't use it," said Parrikar.
Following the nuclear weapons test in 1998, India had declared a "no first use" nuclear policy.
Speaking at the release of a book "The New Arthashastra: A Security Strategy for India", edited by defence analyst Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd.), he also said that he used to get threats from his counterpart in a "neighbouring country" every few days, but has got none since the surgical strike.
"I used to get threats from the defence minister of a neighbouring country every four-five days that they are going to use tactical nuclear weapons. From the day surgical strike happened, no threat has come," he said in an obvious reference to Pakistan but without naming the country.
The surgical strike was carried out by India in the night between September 28 and 29 on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
"When they realised we can do something which is not well defined, ultimately the written defence strategy does not mean you have to follow it. It should be your guideline," said Parrikar.
"The concept which said 'Be unpredictable' has to be there. That is our strategy as well," he added.