Indian nuclear bombs not for Diwali: PM Modi’s message to Pakistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Congress had compromised India's security interest while also keeping the nation's nuclear power toothless

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Then President APJ Abdul Kalam with then PM AB Vajpayee in Pokhran after the nuclear tests of 1998

Barmer: PM Narendra Modi on Sunday said India was no longer afraid of the threats of a nuclear war issued by Pakistan every now and then, emphasising, “We haven’t saved our nukes for Diwali.”

Addressing a rally in Barmer, which had a large number of ex-servicemen, Modi said, “India has stopped the policy of getting scared by Pakistan’s threats. Every day, they (Pakistan) would make claims about having nuclear weapons. Even the media would bring out reports of Pakistan having nuclear weapons. So what do we have? Are we saving them (nuclear weapons) for Diwali?”

Modi said his government had crushed Pakistan’s ego by taking bold steps.

‘Nuclear Pakistan forced to hold out begging bowl’

Attacking at Congress, he said, “Congress claims terrorism and nationalism are not real issues. How can these not be issues when our young sons are being brought back home wrapped in the Tricolour?”

“Congress says I should not talk about courage. Why not? Am I here to do bhajan?” he said. Modi said the then Congress government under Indira Gandhi missed a “golden opportunity” to resolve the Kashmir dispute after the 1971 Bangladesh war when “under global pressure” it released over 90,000 Pakistani troops who were in the custody of the Indian Army.

“The Congress government crumbled under global pressure and signed the Shimla agreement and the matter was closed. Prisoners of war and the land captured by the Indian Army were released. That was a golden opportunity to resolve the Kashmir dispute in lieu of the PoWs. Would that have happened during Modi’s regime?” he said.

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India-Pakistan atomic weapons parity

A cylindrical shaped nuclear bomb, Shakti I, prior to its detonation

While the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report last year that Pakistan had 140-150 nuclear warheads compared to India’s 130-140 warheads, Pakistan’s relatively smaller geographical area makes it more feasible for India to devastate the whole of that country with a retaliatory attack.

India, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, had declared a “no first use” policy after testing its nuclear devices in 1998 and has stuck to the doctrine ever since.

The BJP had, in its 1998 manifesto, promised it would no longer keep its nuclear capability merely demonstrative in nature as the Indira Gandhi regime had done after India’s first nuclear device test in 1974.

Pokhran II in 1998 was a top-secret exercise that had taken not only the international community but also most Indians, including most government functionaries, by surprise. Earlier, the PV Narasimha Rao government had tried to militarise India’s nuclear assets, but the US had come to know of the preparations. Rao had dropped the idea under American pressure.

While Pakistan reacted to Pokhran II with its own nuclear tests within a few days, it is believed that country had had atomic weapons since the early 1990s, as Nawaz Sharif had issued the nuclear threat to India during an election campaign years before India’s second and third sets of tests on 11 and 13 May 1998.