Yesterday, on the eve of a book release ‘The New Arthashastra: A Security Strategy for India’ the Defense Minister of India Mr. Manohar Parrikar made this statement, as his personal view, and we quote:
“Why do 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,”
“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,”
Later when opposition to his statement started surfacing, the minister and defence ministry spokesperson Nitin Wakankar clarified that the comments were his personal opinion, and did not reflect government policy.
Now the question is : Can a Defence Minister of India say something so connected to the Government policy at a non-Government public event, in his personal capacity?
What will happen if tomorrow, a Minister of Foreign affairs says that in his/her personal capacity, they see ___ country as a foe?
You guessed it right. Such statements only confuse people. As it’s very difficult for any citizen to distinguish between when a person in Government is speaking as a Minister and when as an individual?
The difficulty increases the moment the view is closely related to his/her ministry or some Government policy.
But in the past one year, Mr. Manohar Parrikar has donme such indiscretions so many times that sooner than later, people will not be bothered to ask in what capacity the statement has been made.
The point which is succinctly made by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury in his tweet:
“If the Defence Minister wants to speak in his personal capacity, he should resign from the government,”