On three occasions before 1998 — when India tested weaponised nuclear warheads — world powers used explicit or implicit threat of nuclear weapons to “try and change New Delhi’s behaviour”.
The revelation was made by national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon on Tuesday. He, however, didn’t identify the world powers.
India tested weaponised nuclear warheads, including a thermonuclear device during the May 1998 Pokhran tests.
Strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney told HT that the explicit threat was from the US during the 1971 war with Pakistan. He didn’t want to second-guess the other two.
“On at least three occasions before 1998, other powers used the explicit or implicit threat of nuclear weapons to... change India’s behaviour,” Menon said.
He was addressing the National Outreach Conference on Global Nuclear Disarmament here Tuesday. The global powers did not succeed in changing India's behaviour because of the "hard-headed leadership we were fortunate to have". The NDA was in power at the time of Pokhran tests and Atal Behari Vajpayee was the PM.
"The possession of nuclear weapons has, empirically speaking, deterred others from attempting nuclear coercion or blackmail against India."
In an apparent reference to Pakistan, he said unlike certain other nuclear weapon states, India's weapons were not meant to redress a military imbalance, or to some perceived inferiority in conventional military terms.