If a Visitor today were to view the Country superficially and read about the States in ferment, the communal situation, the acts of terrorism, games that Politicians play and the inefficiency of the system of Governance, he would quite rightly conclude that India today had lost the capacity and the will to remain as one Nation.
On the other side one can also see how a poor, yet determined NATION came to terms with these problems and contained them within the exacting constraints of Democratic Institutions, with a free Electronic Media/ Press and a thriving lobby freely advocating Human Rights and liberal Political values.
Along the way in 1962, 1965, 1971, 1984 and 1999 we also saw India not just in war, but in being able to effectively ward off External Aggression as also secure our territory in Siachen (Ladkah), before rapidly returning to Internal, bickering.
Are we Secure
What is Security? And are we secure? The concept of National Security is difficult to define. This is so because Nations have constantly altered their National Identities. National Security is a state of mind and comes of several variables such as Internal and External stability, Armed might, Economic well being and a vibrant Plan. In a cynical world order when one is not only dependent on others but we cannot even identify as to who are our Friends and who are our Adversaries? In this immoral and non-altruistic International system, Friends and Enemies are Seldom Permanent. Rivals in the field of trade have deep security ties and as often, Military adversaries have common Economic interests.
If we attempt to define National Security, it would be seen that a Nation should ideally be large and cohesive, economically powerful, internally stable and externally mighty to protect its social and economic interests, its way of life and more importantly, its Frontiers. It should further have the capacity to eliminate anywhere in the world any threats to our National interests, either by being self-sufficient or have products which in Science and Technology are available today to remain an advanced Society. Little wonder that Countries considered Super-Powers have rarely remained permanent, even though at times they appeared to be ruling the waves. Ultimately, every Super-Power has over stretched its power-base at some time or the other and has collapsed.
A Military giant like the USSR lost its super-power status due to internal contradictions of overheating its Economy by the burden of Military expenditure. The USA is today the nearest approximation to be called a secure Super-Power, but even they would sooner or later have to decide whether they can afford to project themselves as a Military Power at the cost of loosing their Economic Gains.
We also have available for us Economic and Security Groupings, which enable smaller Powers to pool their resources and all of them benefit by being a member of a large and more powerful Block. Any analysis of National Security must therefore critically examine the Nation’s Economic Potential, the Internal Security scenario as also the External Threat perceptions in conjunction with one another. Have we got today an integrated system in place for proper assessments of threats?
The founding Fathers of our Country legitimately sought to keep India away from the then existing Military power blocks but develop ourselves Militarily, Socially and Economically so that we could take our rightful place in the Comity of Nations. Our difficulties are compounded because Pakistan perceives their National cohesiveness only with an Adversary equation with India. India’s efforts to contain Pakistan through diplomatic channels have failed, Similarly, China today chooses to Militarily challenge our traditional boundaries and the International Community continues to choose to remain neutral. What with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myamar and Srilanka also now not so friendly and being influenced by China.
These challenges compel India to build her own Military Defense capabilities which would be at a considerable cost Vis-a-Vis our Economic development efforts. Since the West was unwilling to transfer its State of Art Military wares to India, we were compelled to lean on to the USSR, with whom we had a favorable trade balance. Thus, India’s slight tilt towards the USSR, hurt both China and Pakistan who took advantage of this and increased their Military Powers. The West ignored the nuclearization that was taking place in both these countries. Today China, India and Pakistan have nuclear arsenals. India carried out its First underground nuclear explosion in 1974 at Pokhran. It took a decision to continue to develop its missile technology over the past 35 years by building the Prithvi and Agni missiles. Naturally, when we were developing the missile technology it was with the idea of possessing nuclear know how to match our development with technologies.
Soon Pakistan also conducted six nuclear tests in the Baluch province, despite local protests. They were now one up on India. Worldwide condemnation followed but the sanctions were not too stifling for them since the Islamic Bomb received support from the Muslim Nations and China.To add to the confusion some Pakistani nuclear Researchers and Scientists defected but by then Pakistan had plans for pre emptive nuclear strikes against India even during the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.(However denied today by them).
China today remains ambivalent and Pakistan hostile. India continues to have the fourth largest Army in the world with the most active commitment. And this is only to defend our territory, without overwhelming our neighbors. We spend approx 2.5 percent of the GDP on External Security with 1.8 per cent on Internal Security. The Indian Defense budget works out to US $48.6 billion during FY 2012 at about 2.5% of GDP, with additional charge if required for the responsibilities of countering Insurgency and ensuring the External Security of India.
Normally when we talk about Security Threats we must examine threats that stem through hostile Countries and become/culminate into our Internal Security Threats which become totally indigenous. Our Internal Threats could also be those which are sponsored by hostile countries directly, like Pakistan’s infiltration as also those which are inspired or supported not directly but guided by our neighbors through subversion of thoughts. If our rapidly developing political and economic conditions are poor then we cannot merely accept the excuse of a Foreign hand.
The so-called “Global War on Terror” is not likely to be of much help to India. There may be similarities in methodologies and techniques; but it would be a big mistake to try and evolve a grand plan of macro solutions to this problem. In order to gain local support, to my mind we should organize groups of People and every such group would have to be focused for specific local-oriented politico, economic and religious issues; and these groups have to be tackled through customized approaches that include the addressing of genuine grievances of the People who are so affected.
It is essential to also be aware of the potential danger of the unstable conditions in India’s neighborhood. The Maoist participation in the Government in Nepal, the continuing ethnic problem in Sri Lanka with the increasing menace of smuggling and drug trafficking, through Pakistan and Bangla Desh, would all have their own effect in the adjoining areas in India. It is also a fact that we may soon realize that some Anti-Indian Personnel may have already infiltrated into our Polity, Armed Forces and the Police. We must initiate immediate action to check thoroughly and keep a hawk eye on such People. Consider the burning of Trains, Accidents on bridges and blowing of portions of rails and roads, who is doing all this?
Good Political Governance is exceedingly necessary for any Nation aspiring to be a Super Power. Politicians must be Dedicated, Non- Corrupt, Intelligent, Knowledgeable and Mature. They must not be Passive in their thinking but be ready for an Aggressive response to any Threats to our National Security. India’s Politicians need to get together and work as one during a crisis away from the glare of publicity and not bicker amongst themselves and stop POLITICIZING issues which are of National importance. Remember Terrorist group are today more nimble, more lethal than ever before and have networked across the Frontiers. Let us not try to let each other down, it hurts the Nation and its Unity. Unfortunately we are going through a period of depression each one trying to score brownie points. STOP THIS NO NONSENSE IF WE HAVE TO SURVIVE AND GO FORWARD.
Points to stress
• Strategic Vision planning thro a vibrant organization such as by setting up a National Advisory Council
• Military Preparedness
• Economic Advancement
• Political Stability
The Recommend Organization of the National Advisory Council may be as given below :