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Delhi rejects nuke demand
- Both sides seek to address domestic concerns

New Delhi, April 8: India today rejected the US demand to define Delhi’s credible minimum nuclear deterrent, saying it was not necessary as threat perceptions change with time.

Reacting to US assistant secretary of state Richard Boucher’s remarks yesterday Delhi should spell out its credible minimum deterrent for the sake of stability in the region, foreign secretary Shyam Saran said there was no onus on India to do so.

“What our credible minimum deterrent would be is really for India to decide. Certainly there is no responsibility on the part of India to declare what its minimum deterrent is,” Saran told a television channel.

The foreign ministry spokesperson added that credible minimum deterrent is a self-explanatory term that requires no further elucidation. “It reflects our response to a dynamic and changing security environment,” he said.

Boucher had yesterday said that a clear definition of India’s credible minimum deterrent was an absolute necessity for decreasing tensions in Asia.

He also pointed out China’s nuclear intentions and Iran’s pursuit of technologies that underlie nuclear weapons. Saran said India and US have a strategic dialogue where respective nuclear doctrines and issues like missile defence were discussed.

Despite the nudges and messy debate, the foreign secretary, who was in Washington recently, said the Indo-US deal was delicately poised and rejected any revisions or substantial changes in its contents.

In a separate interview, Saran said that not anything other than what has already been agreed would be acceptable to India. The new legislation proposed in the US Congress should be within the parameters agreed by Delhi and Washington after tough negotiations, he said. Saran hoped that revisions would not be made.

He allayed apprehensions that Delhi has compromised its minimum nuclear deterrent by going through the deal. He said all the basic Indian positions have been preserved.

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