Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My India - My Vote: National Security Needs 'Resurgence'

By Siddhi Sharma | INNLIVE

This is the last series of our focus on Elections 2014 titles My India - My Vote. We already taken on almost all issues pertaining to Indian needs from the government and suggested the appropriate solutions on our stories. Read on.

National Security today, needs an absolute renaissance for the fact that, India’s national security decision-making processes have stood deserted for the last 50 years. 

No effectual and institutionalized configuration or mechanism catering to India’s unique security needs were designed despite India being subjected to four aggressive wars by China and Pakistan besides a host of insurgencies and proxy wars sponsored by them. The reasons for this outlandish neglect in the fundamental area of national security were mainly attributed to political and bureaucratic.
The most glaring scantiness in this field is the lack of strategic culture in India’s polity and civil bureaucracy. The lack of strategic culture in India stands commented upon by independent observers from abroad, like Henry Kissinger said that neither education nor exposure nor incentives existed for the Indian political leadership and civil bureaucracies to think in strategic terms or appreciate matters military. The correction could have been applied at the formative stage of independent India, but it was not.

India’s national security managerial processes so far have been archaic and anarchic. The military high command stands detached from national security decision making and the structure of the newly created NSC reflects this deficiency. The defenders of the existing system would quote the existence of various Cabinet and MOD Committees to support that effectual means exist, but the lessons learnt from the 1965, 1971 and Kargil wars expose a lot of our limitations. 

To overcome our limitations,We must all pledge to be the part of this revolution, we can’t afford to rely on the government alone, this time we must ensure the change do happen. Let’s come together for a cause that needs us and our voice.  After all, Its My India, My vote, it must count and It will count.We are presenting our list while  we are open to any suggestions from our readers, policy makers and  experts:

Indigenize defense production: India enjoys a dramatic position as the world's biggest importer of weapons. Indian companies need to be trusted and given a bigger role in defence production while defence PSUs and the DRDO are refurbished for the emerging battle realities. Corruption and middlemen need to be fought, not just for transparency but also to protect India's war-fighting capabilities.

Integrate military: The Indian military should be integrated, under a Chief of Defence Staff. It needs to work towards theatre commands, where  the army, navy and air force are seamless war machines and work together towards a common objective.

Strengthen intelligence: It’s high time to consider the parliamentary lapse for intelligence agencies. There is a need to reinforce human intelligence (boots on the ground) both at home and abroad, as well as our tech/cyber capabilities to deal with the diverse threats facing the country.

Managing Our Own Rise to Global Prominence: The country cannot afford to be apathetic and non-committal on any regional or global issue – we must have an objective ‘national interest assessment’ on all questions of importance. As military forces of India, we would be expected to function as instruments of peace and stability in this rather delicate environment of the Indian Ocean Region. 

We have to get our ‘hands dirty’ in addressing common concerns in our respective domains. This will call for augmented participation in peace operations, efforts such as anti-piracy as also capacity-building and capability-enhancement of smaller and economically weaker nations which look up to us, for support and security. We must also be seen far away from our shores, working with friendly nations and shaping perceptions, in furtherance of India’s foreign policy. 

Quite markedly, the Navy would lead the efforts of military diplomacy, given the medium in which it operates and the distinctive characteristics of its platforms. If we pursue a meaningful foreign policy to advance national objectives – as we do - then the military instrument can complement this collective endeavor.

Dealing  with China: It is quite apparent that coping with China will undoubtedly be one of our primary challenges in the years ahead. China is in the process of ‘consolidating’ its widespread national power and creating redoubtable military capabilities. Once that is done, China is likely to be more aggressive on its claims, especially in its immediate neighborhood. 

Our ‘trust deficit’ with China can never be liquidated unless our boundary problems are resolved. China’s known propensity for ‘intervention in space’ and ‘cyber-warfare’ would also be major planning considerations in our strategic and operational thinking. Common sense dictates that Cooperation with China would be preferable to the Competition or Conflict, as it would be foolhardy to compare India and China as equals. China’s GDP is more than thrice that of ours and its per capita GDP is 2.2 times our own

Internal Security: Internal security in India and most of the developing world is problematical mainly due to following reasons: first, they  do not conform to the thought of  homogeneous socio -political units, second,they are enormously vulnerable due to their  economic weak spot and uneven development. Third, these states have limited capabilities to deal  with the internal threat like regionalism, casteism, communalism , which are really a threat to our society. Our leaders play a vote bank politics on it, we must act upon it to curb these internal security issues.

Embrace science and technology: None of the intimidation to national security can be effectively countered unless we embrace science and technology and impart instruction in science and technology commencing at the school level. There are four physical domains in our world – land, sea, air and space. We have a land border of a length of about 15,000 kms with Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and even a small length of 106 kms with Afghanistan.There are densely populated villages on either side of the India-Nepal and the India-Bhutan borders. Because only the  border guarding forces are in place.

Strengthen coastal security: We also have a long coastline extending to 7516 kms. It is only after the Mumbai terror attack that we took steps to reinforce coastal security. We created a Coastal Command, authorised and funded a number of Coastal Police Stations, funded the purchase of boats for coastal policing, and installed some radars. However, given the thousands of boats – small and big – that are in the waters off the west coast, the threats to security still remain quite high. 

In the waters off the east coast, there is virtually no force other than the Navy. We have many defence and defence research installations on the east coast, the DRDO and the Department of Space use the east coast extensively, and there is a large program for exploration of oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal. Except for the presence of naval and coast guard vessels, and some technology that they have brought in, we have not used technology in a big way to shore up our security along the coastline.

Invest in R & D: It is a matter of regret that we are not ploughing in more finances and more human resources into R&D, especially R&D, related to national security. One ADE or one ADA would not suffice. Industry has to hasten and increase investments in a big way if you want India to become an aerospace and aeronautical manufacturing centre. If we wish to scale up both on technology and on numbers, we need far more resources than what we can afford today.

Safeguard the cyber space: Apart from land, sea, air and space, there is another sphere which is cyber space. Much of our critical communications lies in cyberspace. Cyber crimes such as hacking, financial fraud, data theft, espionage, etc. would, in certain situation, amount to terrorist acts. Further, the threat of interference of financial, rail, air, power, critical information services through cyber attacks could also be interpreted as terrorist attacks. The latest advances in technology would be required to build our capacity to meet the threats in cyberspace .

Finally, we wish to conclude by asserting that there is no substitute for unremitting growth over a long period of time if India should attain the status of, at least, a middle income country. It is only sustained growth that gives us a chance to tune the growth model in support of inclusive development. Without growth there will be neither development nor inclusiveness. As a nation, we seem to vacillate between embracing growth as the highest goal and deriding growth as no panacea for the ills that afflict the country. 

If we don’t sustain high growth over a long period of time, we will be, forever, an undernourished, undereducated, underprovided and underperforming nation. We will also fall behind in scientific and technological advancements and the gap between India and the developed world, and the gap between India and other emerging countries including China, will continue to grow. We will also be inhibited in our ability to defend national security against both external and internal threats.

Today, we have a choice. We have a choice between becoming the third largest economy of the world and a middle income country or becoming one of the largest economies of the world that muddles along with the immensity of its people trapped in a life of low income, poor quality, high morbidity and great inequality. Needless to say, the two models of India will have very different consequences for national security. A nation that was the cradle of civilization since five thousand years  must choose wisely and, once the choice is made, it must have the resolve and the power to stay the course. 

These are the concerns which we could think of, and we know there are many other concerns that we might have missed out, but would like our readers to contribute in. We ,at INNLive believe we must come together for the cause .In this election lets choose wisely, lets seek growth , security and prosperity. 
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