Men sacrifice themselves for the good of the State and for the Safety of the future Citizens and for their happiness in the coming Generations. In all this, men and women must derive a joy which is instinctive and not argue from hopes or expectations of present or future rewards of such conduct. (-C Rajagopalachari). 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, we would quite rightly conclude that India neither has the Capacity nor the Will to remain as one Nation. If we were to go back in a time machine, we would along the way recollect the orgy of communal violence at the time of Partition and one today still witnesses the Armed uprisings in the North – Eastern States, the rise of Regional parties and a naked display of linguistic chauvinism with Political bickering. The extremist revolutions (which immobilize civil administration in several areas) and the threat of the growing insurgency as also the horror of starvation deaths and Farmers Suicides which still continue.
On the other side one would also see how a poor, NATION is trying to come to terms with these problems and containing them within the exacting constraints of Democratic institutions, with a free 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 ward off External Aggression as also secure our territory in Siachen (Ladkah), before returning to Internal, bickering once again. Over six decades since Independence, we are still struggling to survive as a Nation. Even the British who came nearest to integrating India, never really united India Culturally or Politically. The contradictory forces of Nationalism versus Sub – Nationalism also pose a serious threat to the Unity of India even today.
What is National 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 with several variables such as Internal and External stability, Armed might, Economic well- being and an Ideological satisfaction. In a cynical world order one is not only dependent on others but we cannot even identify as to who are 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 threats to our National interests, either by being self-sufficient or have products which in Science and Technology are available today technically 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 have 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 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. Economic and Security Groupings are available, which enable smaller Powers to pool their resources and thereby all of them benefit by being a member of a large and more powerful Block. Purely Security groupings like CENTO and the Warsaw Pact have not survived the test of time. This is so because over the centuries, the world order is in the process of stabilizing and the major ingredient has shifted from Size and Military power to INTERNAL STABILITY and ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. 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.
The founding Fathers of India legitimately sought to keep India away from the then existing Military Power Blocks and develop us Socially and Economically so that we could take our rightful place in the Comity of Nations. Our difficulties are today compounded because Pakistan perceives their National cohesiveness only with an Adversary equation with India. Thus, PAK joined one of the military blocks and introduced an avoidable arms race into the Sub-Continent. India’s efforts to contain Pakistan through diplomatic channels failed, particularly since it was a critical component in the Western strategy which was to control USSR from spreading. Similarly, China chose to Militarily challenge our traditional boundaries and the International Community continues to choose to remain neutral.
These challenges compelled India to build her own Military Defense capabilities which were at a considerable cost to our development efforts. Since the West was unwilling to transfer its State of Art Military wares to India, we were compelled to go to the USSR, with whom we had a favorable trade balance, thus, India’s slight tilt towards the USSR. China and Pakistan took advantage of this and increased their Military Powers. The West ignored the nuclearisation 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 and the latest EXO ATMOSPHERIC INTERCEPTER MISSILE SYSTEM which can pick up an enemy attack more than 2000 Km’s away. Naturally, when we were developing the missile technology it was with the idea of possessing nuclear knowhow to match our development with technologies.
Industrial and Economic Power
A leading Industrial and Economic power, which we have been today fast becoming, must possess a strong and viable military force. This becomes more relevant, when we see the uprising amongst our neighboring States which is bound to affect us, right from Pak, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Srilanka as also from our vast open Northern areas, Eastern and Western Ocean seas, all of which have to be defended, because of our vast and varied Borders. One today sees even small neutral countries like Sweden & Switzerland who have equipped themselves with State of the Art weaponry and have emerged today as exporters of sophisticated defense equipment and are respected by the world.
Strategic considerations must therefore to some extent override Economic criteria, specially when it comes to sustaining our essential Military Muscle.
Politically also we find amongst our polity today, People who want to separate from the Centre as Religious entities, as also in castes, sub castes and sub sub-castes and now all these States are galvanizing to soon Regionalize their activities for their own benefits. We shall soon witness our States, within a brief span of time prepared to either get together, region wise, and selfishly only focus on their immediate requirements without bothering about the economic issues facing the Country as a whole. The focus is surely going to be based on their immediate needs. Be it J&K, Punjab, Maharashtra or others. One can perceive, how each States thinking, by its People, is under-going a rapid sea change.
We must also not forget History, when there was a historical lack of an organized, Geo-political and Military Response Strategy which was totally absent, starting from the 4th Century BC to the 11th & 12th Centuries AD. Four centuries of Arab/Afghan invasions of our Country from the 8th and 12th Centuries, seemed to arouse in us, no perception of threat, which could be dealt with, only with an organized strategic response. Indian divisioness during the third Battle of Panipat in (1761) fought against the Abdalis also led us to an absence of a joint response, which in turn created a power vaccum for conquest by the British when the East India Company was transforming itself from a trading company to a paramount power.
Even when the last three Indian powers, Mahratas, Tipu Sulatan and Ranjit Singh confronted the British between (1790) and (1842), the Mahratas were a sadly divided house between the nominal head, the Peshwa and the Holkars, the Scindhias and the Bhonsles, an object lesson in disunity even within the same dynastic, linguistic and cultural group, even though Tipu Sultan & Ranjit Singh employed foreign Generals, used their Artillery, and even introduced western uniforms and drill, and despite their bravery, the Superior Economic and Maritam power of the British prevailed, which today must remind us of the vital pre-conditions of ones own State Strategic Security, more so how to get the economics to back the military?
It is necessary for me to quote the above illustrations today as the conditions that face us in the Country are very much worse. Even when we want to bring economic progress to our people, States, our Allies, as also Political parties today object to any measures that are initiated by the Central Government for the betterment of our people and economy, because of their own selfish and so called ideological thoughts, greed for Power and Money.
Alacrity in our Decision Making
I would like to recall that the three decisive Strategic Plans ever made and implemented so far in our entire History, since Independence, were those taken by INDIRA GANDHI. Firstly, The exceptional decision on Bangladesh in 1971, which was taken by her, won us a decisive 16-day Victorious war and she stood out as a STRONG LEADER in the world and she had the confidence and will to stand up even to the threat of the US Seventh fleet, and the threat by China to step in. With 91000 POW and a firm recognition of our status in the world, she stood her ground.
Secondly, It was her personal decision with orders to me, to help SIKKIM, when I was the Commander and Sikkim was then only a Protectorate of India to merge the territory and proclaim that Sikkim was one of the States of India. China was never prepared in the 70’s that India should have any influence on the CHOGYAL or the territory. Today not only is SIKKIM a State of India, but even CHINA has recognized the fact.
Thirdly – She visited Ladakh for her briefings by me and then the Orders “GO AHEAD” to capture Siachen(OP MEGHDOOT) which gave us a firm recognition of the present LOC with PAKISTAN.
One could go on and on with our visions ahead for the future of India and we must ensure to carry it on vigorously today everywhere, it is required.
With the present events as they unfold before my eyes, my strength is redoubled that under Fresh Guidance the Nation and the masses must be made to begin to see a resurgent Hindustan before it is too late.
In conclusion the following main observations are made:
My recommendations as per the priority given would be as below:-