M A I N   N E W S

PM favours no-first-use N-doctrine
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today gave clear signals of the bipartisan character of the Indian nuclear doctrine, released by the previous NDA government, and said India was a responsible nuclear power which had declared no-first-use policy.

It was the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government which had unveiled India’s nuclear doctrine. The UPA government has so far not given any indications of drafting a fresh nuclear doctrine of India and the Prime Minister’s remarks today show the UPA government is at one with the previous government on this sensitive issue.

The Prime Minister made this remark in his informal address to the 2004 batch of IFS probationers at his residence this morning. There were a total of 16 probationers.

Dr Manmohan Singh said India had been a victim of unauthorised proliferation. “We have to create a situation where this unauthorised proliferation is brought to the minimum. For that India is ready to cooperate with like-minded countries.”

In this context, the Prime Minister referred to the role of state and non-state actors in promoting terrorism. He reiterated the need for sustained struggle against terrorism while dealing with other problems like disease, poverty and inequality.

Dr Manmohan Singh also highlighted India’s role as a responsible nuclear power and underlined the need for blocking any further unauthorised proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In securing a favourable international environment, India should fight against any efforts of technology denial. The Prime Minister stressed the need for understanding the forces that were shaping India’s external and internal environment.

The Prime Minister said the foremost task before the country was to accelerate social and economic growth processes within a democratic framework. In the present era of interdependence there was a need to develop cooperation among states to tackle formidable problems like environmental degradation and chronic poverty.

Foreign service officers should project India’s values and concerns to the outside world, he added. In response to a question by a probationer regarding economic diplomacy overcoming the problems with India’s neighbouring countries, the Prime Minister said there were large number of economic complimentaries between India and its neighbours and there was a growing realisation that countries of the region were missing out the great potential for economic and social cooperation.

So far, Indo-Pak relations had proved to be the stumbling block in carrying forward the processes of regional cooperation. But now that a new relationship with Pakistan was in the process of being formed, a sustained effort would be made to resolve outstanding bilateral problems. However, these problems should not block possibilities of economic cooperation.

A probationer asked the Prime Minister whether he intended to extend his performance-appraisal scheme to more services other than IAS, Dr Manmohan Singh said performance appraisal had to be the backbone of government services.

In response to yet another question on “thinking people” staying away from politics, the Prime Minister said in a democracy thinking people should not shun the political process. An environment would be created where more people from enlightened middle classes would come into public life for which the country would have to work towards electoral reforms.

To yet another question from a probationer, the Prime Minister said he had never planned his career. He had planned to be a teacher, but strayed into public service, civil service and politics. His advice to the young diplomats was “Let your conscience be your guider”.

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