And he is India’s foreign minister?

Why oh why are we ruled by these Nuts

External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh has virtually expressed regret over India’s current nuclear status.

Speaking to the Korea Times daily, he also called upon the two Koreas not to emulate India’s example in becoming a nuclear power.Singh, in the interview, sought to shift the entire blame for events leading up to the 1998 Shakti series of tests on the NDA Government and its nuclear stand-off with Pakistan, reported PTI from Seoul.

In doing so, he not only seemed to be going against his own government’s stated stand, but also appeared to be denying the role that various Congress leaders had played in India’s nuclear journey. After appearing to blame the NDA Government on a visit to Seoul, Singh reportedly told the newspaper: ‘‘But regret would be futile…you can’t put it back in the tube, it’s out.’’ [IE via Amit Kulkarni]

More evidence then, if it was required, that the man has lost it, and that the decade in political wilderness has triumphed over long years of experience in the Indian foreign service. Apologising for India’s nuclear weapons and worse, blaming the Vajpayee government for coming out in the open, in front of a foreign audience is scarcely what is expected from a member of India’s cabinet — far less from that one member whose responsibility it is to defend India’s interests in the international community.

As a person, Nutwar Singh is entitled to his opinion on India’s decision to develop, possess, test and deploy nuclear weapons. As a member of the cabinet, Singh is entitled to shape India’s security and foreign policy in favour of nuclear disarmament. He had no business whatsoever to be apologetic about India’s nuclear weapons policy when it does not reflect the official stand of the government of India. If Nutwar Singh cannot make the distinction between his personal feelings and his official duties, he has no business being the foreign minister.

It is all right for nuclear haves to persuade nuclear have-not’s to stay that way. That’s an old, failing game. But North Korea has already declared it has nuclear weapons and South Korea is suspected to have a nuclear weapons programmes of its own. So is Nutwar Singh advising them, tongue-in-cheek, not to go ahead and conduct a nuclear test? It is not as if nuclear ambiguity on the part of the Dear Leader at least is not a problem enough for the rest of the world. The relative trajectories of Saddam Hussein (who did not have nukes) and Pervez Musharraf (who did) will do more to influence nuclear policy in the two Korea’s than an Indian foreign minister’s platitudes. And back to his job, it is difficult to see how the continued nuclear ambiguity of the two Koreas is in India’s interests. Nutwar Singh made an unnecessary point in the worst manner he could.

I’m not sure about the Prime Minister, but I think its time a grateful nation sent old Mr Nutwar Singh back home, to enjoy the rest of his days in pensioned retirement.

Update: Does the editor of the Indian Express read the Acorn?

6 thoughts on “And he is India’s foreign minister?”

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  2. Guys,

    I see a desi dork media twist here. Look at the original story here. The emphasis is more like “Going nuke is big-league stuff. You kids (ROK and DPRK) sort out your probs among yourself”.

    The twist was first reported in IE (with unnamed sources) and later picked up by other dailies. Now the PM has to clarify the position.


  3. The Nut must be reined in at once. As the Express column advises, the onus is on the PM to make a statement immediately to make India’s stand on the nuclear issue absolutely clear. Such random personal opinions from a cabinet minister certainly doesn’t help matters in today’s fickle global climate.

  4. I do not understand why ministers like Natwar Singh, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Shibu Soren are in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. They should go out and play with their grandchildren.

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