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|June 16, 1998||
Defence expert says clear nuclear doctrine crucial for India
Lieutenant General (retired) R K Jasbir Singh, editor-in-chief of the Indian Defence Year Book, has called for a debate on India's nuclear doctrine and strategy.
A clear doctrine is necessary to give the right direction to the country's weaponisation programme and its supporting structure, said Lt Gen Singh while speaking to newspersons in the Doon Valley.
He said the debate on the country's nuclear doctrine was veering round to the view that no first use was both economically sustainable and diplomatically and politically suitable. No first use policy, said Lt Gen Singh, did not require an elaborate and costly warning, decision support, command and control system which could be a drain on the financial resources of the country.
No first use, he explained, was a unilateral declaration, not bound by treaty, not to strike the enemy unless he uses a nuclear weapon first. China is the only one of the five nuclear powers to have given a universal, unconditional no first use understanding, he added.
According to Lt Gen Singh, a first strike policy would require surveillance satellites and electronic intelligence for quick, accurate decisions.
He said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's announcement in Parliament about the country's no first use policy had helped in deflecting much of the flak from countries which had reconciled to India's nuclear capabilities and did not wish to toe the US line on sanctions.
On signing the CTBT, Lt Gen Singh said that no movement could be expected as long as the treaty denied the right to test nuclear weapons while leaving the permanent nuclear powers free to do so.
Lt Gen Singh, commissioned in the 4th Gorkha rifles, was later transferred to the Jat regiment, where he was appointed the colonel of the regiment for ten years. He has served with the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, Korea and the United Nations in Congo. In 1971, he commanded 191 Infantry Brigade, which bore the brunt of the Pakistani offensive in the western sector.
He writes for professional journals and his first book, Handbook of Military Science and Armament Technology, is read widely. He retired as the military secretary, army headquarters. The Indian Defence Year Book edited by him and published in Dehra Dun by Natraj Publishers offers a package of information as well as objective analyses of important current defence and security issues affecting India and the subcontinent.
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