New Delhi: In a significant statement, former
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on Tuesday advocated
revision of the country`s no-first-use doctrine in the nuclear
field formulated by his own NDA government citing changes in
the global scenario.
Initiating a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Demand for
Grants for the Ministry of External Affairs, the BJP leader
also attacked the government`s foreign policy, particularly in
relation to Pakistan, China, other neighbours as also the West
Asia and cautioned against making any compromises with
He referred to the new classified documents, revealed by
the website Wikileaks, about the US view on India`s approach
vis-a-vis Pakistan and wondered whether the UPA government`s
foreign policy was being framed in Washington.
Delving in the nuclear issue, Singh said while India has
only 50-60 warheads, Pakistan has 100-110 warheads whose
location even the US was not aware of.
The former minister also highlighted the recent global
events like increased assistance being extended by China to
Pakistan in the nuclear field.
Noting that the security concerns are multi-dimensional
and policies of 20th century will not work, he pressed for a
revision of the nuclear policy "with a sense of urgency",
particularly of the no-first use doctrine formulated by the
"...(Nuclear) policy of NDA is greatly in need of revision
...Please hold broader consultations," he suggested to the UPA
government, adding "Time will not wait for us."
The government should also take into confidence the
Opposition while revising India`s nuclear policy, he said.
As regards policy towards Pakistan, Singh asked the
government "not to bank on the US" to resolve issues with the
"We will find answers left to ourselves. You will never
find a solution through US," he said, while noting that India
has better knowledge about Pakistan as he himself as well as
party colleague L K Advani are from that country.
While talking about the Wikileaks, the BJP leader said he
regretted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then
former National Security Advisor (M K Narayanan) had different
views on dealing with Pakistan.
According to the Wikileaks, the US Ambassador had found
that while the Prime Minister wanted a talks with Pakistan,
Narayanan had advocated a strong approach and had warned of
expressing dissent openly.
Jaswant Singh said it was difficult to know whether India
and Pakistan were moving ahead with the "spirit of Simla
Agreement, the spirit of Sharm-el Sheikh or more recently
Thimpu spirit," he added.
Recalling the developments since Independence, Jaswant
Singh said India`s foreign policy suffers from the collective
mistakes of the Congress.
It was a mistake on part of the Congress to agree to
partition of the country and leave the issue of Jammu and
Kashmir unresolved, the BJP leader said, adding the Congress
repeated the mistake by accepting China`s authority on Tibet.
Recalling the conflict of 1962 with China, Singh said, "in
reality China is expansionist...that is the nature of China.
It will continue to dominate. Already we have given a lot to
China, let us not give our pride to China."
Attacking the government for its foreign policy, the BJP
veteran alleged that it was being framed in Washington.
"...in its reality is not New Delhi (where policy is
being framed). It seems Washington or elsewhere policy is
being finalised", he said, referring to the new Wikileak
Demanding a debate on the Wikileaks documents, he said,
"only then discussion (on the affairs of MEA) will have some
He also asked External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to
take up the issue of students and workers stranded in the US.
"Even today many students are under detention in the US.
It does not take 23 days for voice of India to be heard", he
said, pointing to the plight of Indian students who were duped
by fake Tri-Valley university and later radio-tagged.
He also wanted the government to attend to the needs of
Indian workers in Florida in the US.
Referring to Nepal, Singh said the UPA government
outsourced policy formulation by seeking the help of
"If Nepal is not a Hindu raj, than what it is?", Singh
asked, saying "these great wrongs weigh upon India and
citizens of India."
Suggesting that government in Nepal is being taken over by
Maoists, Singh wanted to know from the government as to what
it was doing to prevent the hill country from falling into
The Minister also criticised the government for
withdrawing the Asian Clearance Union (ACU) mechanism for
paying for import of oil from Iran and voting against the
country at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meetings.
"Voting against Iran at IAEA was a wrong decision", he
said, adding India`s decision was in line with the desire
expressed by the former US President George Bush.
Referring to political turmoil in the Middle-East, Singh
said it was outcome of the "lines drawn on sand" to carve out
nations by Britishers.
Emphasising that India has long and historical relations
with Middle-East countries, he said, the government should not
witness the events like a by-stander.
"Do intervene", he urged the government, adding, "if you
do not interfere, events will interfere with you."
Congress member Shashi Tharoor, a former Minister of State
for External Affairs, spelt out lucidly the initiatives of the
External Affairs Ministry to build better ties with other
Tharoor sought to allay concerns raised by Jaswant Singh
over India`s troubled neighbourhood contending that the
situation was better today than a couple of years ago when
there was a civil war in Sri Lanka, an unfavourable government
in Bangladesh and the opposition leader jailed in Maldives.
"I would argue that the neighbourhood has a much more
positive environment," he said pointing out that the civil war
in Sri Lanka has ended, the new government in Bangladesh was
well disposed towards India, the jailed leader in Maldives had
been elected as the President and Bhutan has managed the
change from monarchy to democracy very well.
As Tharoor held forth on diplomacy, his wife Sunanda
Pushkar watched him from the Speaker`s Gallery.
Tharoor made a strong pitch for increasing the number of
diplomats and other personnel as India looks forward to play a
major role in international affairs.
He said India stood at the fulcrum of transformation in
international relations and the foreign policy pursued by the
government was "adept, flexible and adaptive to new demands".
He also had the House in splits as he spoke highly of
Indian films and television serials casting a spell on global
audiences saying that the ministry of external affairs had no
role this process.
On Pakistan, he said the situation there undoubtedly posed
a challenge as it was perhaps the only nation where the Army
had a State.
All over the world, the State has an Army but in Pakistan,
the Army has a State, he said contending that Pakistan Army
needed an enemy to justify the need for the enormous budget
that has been allocated to it.
"The reality of Pakistan is as visible as a thorn pierced
into our flesh," Tharoor said. He also favoured dialogue with
"When Pakistan is skating on thin ice, should we create a
hole in it or help it skate off that ice," he asked.
On Singh`s concerns on China, Tharoor said the situation
today was different than in 1962. He noted the role of Singh
in the 1962 war against China but maintained that the current
situation was different.
Today, India`s trade with China tops 60 billion dollars,
over 7000 Indian students were pursuing higher studies in
China, he said adding Indian pilgrims undertake journeys to
Kailash-Mansarovar regularly and China has even allowed Indian
banks to start operations there.
Tharoor contended that China has too much at stake in
having normal relations with India.
"We should look China in the eye and tell them that they
are welcome to use our markets as long as they behave," he