For India it is continuity with progress in the year ahead
D.C. PATHAK | 20 Dec, 2022
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As the year draws to a close, what strikes a citizen is that India had
steadily risen as a world power whose counsel was respected by the
democratic world, that this country was able to overcome the Covid
pandemic - it had taken the world by surprise - because of the steps
directed by the leadership at the top for vaccine development and that
on the whole India was successfully moving in the direction of building
strategic autonomy in order to deal with an uncertain geopolitical
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown a rare
understanding of international relations in the post-Cold War world
where open warfare had been substituted by proxy wars, where military
advancement could not turn into a sustainable advantage without economic
strength and where the nation's security and economic interests were
best served through bilateral relationships guaranteeing mutuality of
India believes in a multipolar world that gave all
major powers a say in how geopolitics will run both in the spheres of
global security and economic development and also ensured that a
consensus in favour of world peace remained in place.
Minister Modi's political ideology is simple and straightforward -
commitment to 'nationalism' without distractions of caste, creed and
region. His farsightedness in promoting use of technology in governance
and his personal belief in Digital India and adoption of best available
technologies for Defence, National Security and Economic growth, have
helped India's advancement in a big way.
People's faith in the
personal integrity of Prime Minister Modi and his team at the Centre,
the continuing determination of the Prime Minister to drive the
development agenda and the popular belief that he did give special
attention to the citizens at the lowest rungs of the socio-economic
pyramid, have all been the factors behind India's progress. This is why
lobbies against Modi's rule - at home and outside, often working in
collusion - have not made much dent.
People are a shrewd judge
of the regime and it is important that Modi government keeps up its
performance in the months ahead. While the economic policies remain on
track, a comprehensive approach was needed to deal with a situation
where external threats to internal security could escalate further
because of the two adversaries on our borders- Pakistan and China -
acting together in mounting 'covert offensives' against India to damage
its internal stability and cohesion.
There are three fronts on
which democratic India has to work more. One relates to the all -
important maintenance of law and order through the length and breadth of
the country, upon which rests the fundamental right of citizens to
enjoy equality before law as well as the willingness of investors -
particularly the foreign investors - to put their money on Indian
projects for economic development of remote areas.
Constitution makes state governments squarely responsible for law and
order but also recognises the Centre as the lead player in the
maintenance of Internal Security - in which the state would play an
equally important part.
Law and order situation may be generally
satisfactory in many states but several recent cases of individual and
collective violence have shaken up the nation's conscience and drawn
attention to the failure of police at the 'Thana' level to keep an eye
on the potential criminals in the area. There may be problems of
manpower and logistics but it is the supervision of seniors that was
The criminal law of procedure (CrPC)
specifically gives the power of Station House Officer to SPs, DIGs and
IGs in respect of all Police Stations in their jurisdiction which is,
more than any thing else, a reminder to them that they must face
accountability for malfunctioning of the Police at the local level.
but not familiar' would be a good advice for the work force at the
Police Station that functioned at the cutting edge of police-public
interaction - in reality many policemen were 'unfriendly' towards the
law abiding citizens and 'familiar' with the law breakers. Only good
supervision can build zero tolerance towards this internal malady.
Police Service (IPS) provides leadership to the state police, para
military forces and the Central agencies concerned and its officers are
recruited, trained and allocated to states by the Centre according to a
IPS is a rare civil service existing only
in India, that provides a career in leadership of the police through a
merit-based national level competitive examination. Surely, its first
duty was to improve the working of the police station at the ground
level by setting a benchmark of integrity, impartiality and public
service - it is not enough for the IPS officers to claim that they were
IPS is expected to provide a uniform service
across the nation and thus keep up the image of Indian democracy before
the world outside. Quality of policing will improve if the Centre had a
say in the selection of DGP - the chief of state police - and a veto in
the matter of punitive action being initiated by state government
against an IPS officer without full consultation with the Central
The country should move towards making police a
concurrent subject in the Constitution and itemising the points on which
Centre will have the overriding decision - without diluting the
autonomous role of the state in the maintenance of law and order.
the developing internal security scenario, the Central security set up
should have a functional oversight on the District Intelligence Units in
the spheres of both gathering of information and helping the local
police to act as the first responder to a threat.
The second area
of expansion for India is the promotion of Public-Private Partnership
in both economic development and safeguarding of national security. This
is already happening on a notable scale but is to be taken forward a
lot more in defence production, strengthening of enterprise security in
strategic sectors and utilisation of credible private security agencies
for increasing trained manpower and enhancing public awareness of the
contemporary threat scenario.
India's National Cyber Security
Policy has set off this process by recommending Centres of Excellence to
be established through the PPP model. The call of internal security
rises above political, community and regional divides.
democracy rests on 'one man one vote' and makes no distinction among the
citizens in the vital spheres of equality of opportunity and same
protection of law for everybody. It is squarely on the shoulders of the
state governments to enforce law without political tints and without
seeking to put any share of blame on the Centre, for preserving
Civil society groups engaged in 'politics by
proxy' by building certain narratives about the regime, have to be put
on the same footing as any other citizens would be when evaluating the
violation of country's law by them or their subterranean links with
anti-national forces, if any.
Police is the only coercive arm of
a democratic state and it should be sensitive towards the people but
firm against the suspects colluding against the nation. Cyber space in
general and social media in particular has made covert operations of
enemy agents easier to carry on with - like establishing 'sleeper cells'
for terror activity and using 'radicalisation' for raising 'lone
wolves'. All of this makes the tasks of state police - lying beyond the
maintenance of law and order - a lot more professional and urgent.
technological advancement of Police forces has gained momentum thanks
to the interest directly taken by Prime Minister and Union Home Minister
in Police Modernisation schemes and their funding.
success of India's foreign policy during Prime Minister Modi's regime -
largely attributable to the Prime Minister's intuitive understanding of
international relations and his personal interactions with all world
leaders - holds promise for the future but the developing geopolitics
and the uncertainties created by it will test it further and call for
innovative approaches for safeguarding India's national security
India's economic profile is strong enough to enable
it to advance the nation's cause in the global development. The
accentuation of US-China confrontation on the pattern of a new Cold War,
the strengthening of China-Russia bonds because of the military
conflict between Russia and Ukraine that had, on the other hand, united
the US-led West against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the
challenge before India of balancing Indo-US friendship with Indo-Russian
bonds, are the ongoing factors impacting our strategic planning.
return of Taliban Emirate at Kabul - following the withdrawal of
American troops from Afghanistan that was credited to the 'mediation' of
Pakistan - would lead to the aggravation of India-specific terror
threat from Pak-Afghan belt and this would have to be handled by India
entirely on its own.
Further, a deepening Sino-Pak axis that
opened the way for the two adversaries on our borders to join hands in
carrying out 'covert offensives' in Kashmir, Punjab, North East and in
the rest of the country as well, has to be effectively countered on
military, security and diplomatic fronts in the months ahead.
a matter of fact the current scenario for India, not necessarily
applicable to the rest of the world, is likely to continue on a more
disquieting note because external threats to India's internal security
were sharply increasing on account of the collusion between Pakistan and
China particularly after the abrogation of Art 370 of the Constitution
by Indian Parliament.
The foreign and security policies of Modi
government have so far matched the challenges on various fronts. India
ordered military build up on LAC in rapid time particularly in Eastern
Ladakh where PLA had shown aggressiveness, in order to deal with China
on land and stepped up participation in US-led Quad to counter Chinese
designs in Indo- Pacific as part of India's marine defence.
kept up friendship with Russia without jeopardising Indo-US strategic
partnership and ensured that Russia did not tilt towards the other side
in a situation of hostility between India and China. As regards
Pakistan, Modi government has brought in an element of deterrence by
administering the message that India would not hesitate to resort to
'surgical strike' to punish Pak-sponsored cross-border terrorism.
Afghanistan, a timely initiative taken by India's National Security
Advisor to convene meetings of his counterparts from Central Asian
Republics which border Afghanistan, has helped to create a consensus
among them against the rise of 'radicalisation' in Afghanistan and in
favour of an inclusive regime there following the reinstallation of
Taliban Emirate at Kabul. This has proved to be an extremely important
foreign policy stance directly serving India's national security
The national strategy of India in the Modi regime has
been to pursue bilateral friendships that served economic and security
interests of both sides and did not deviate from the cause of world
peace and this has served the country well.
The G20 Presidency
has come to India at a time that was most appropriate in terms of the
opportunities it provides to Prime Minister Modi to establish this
country as a world counsel on issues of war and peace and on the task of
promoting global economy for the benefit of all.
civilisational appeal, determination of the Prime Minister to showcase
India by holding G20 events across the length and breadth of the country
and his deep understanding of development perspectives and India's
potential for economic growth, are all going to be put to full use
during this period.
The leadership qualities of the Prime
Minister were in evidence in the drive for indigenous production of
vaccine to deal with COVID crisis, launch of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' in the
area of Defence production and the continuing trust people had in him
for his integrity and devotion to India's national cause. While the
advancement of India's national strategy is likely to remain on course
as far as international relations were concerned, the continuing
challenge is largely internal- both on security and economic fronts.
of governance has not eliminated corruption at local levels, police is
stil not attuned to public service and protection of the law-abiding
citizens, and an expanding population was casting its shadow on the
future of employment, public health and children's education.
a large country like India, it was always difficult to link
macro-economics with local development particularly in a situation where
the corrupting influence of politics had percolated down to the
municipal and Panchayat levels. The call for 'cooperative federalism' is
not enough - the country has to move towards strengthening the Unitary
element of the Indian Constitution.
Global initiatives apart,
India has to take comprehensive steps to preserve its internal security
primarily against the threats of terrorism and radicalisation made more
critical because of the declaration by Pakistan - in its National
Security Policy - that India was its principal adversary and that
Pakistan had the right to take interest in the Muslim minority of India
as a part of Ummah since its security was jeopardised under the
pro-Hindu Modi government.
The Sino-Pak alliance is having its
way in Afghanistan which adds to the threat to India's security from
radical forces of Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS.
The use of social
media and cyber space by the adversaries as a powerful weapon of 'proxy
war' and as an instrument of 'information warfare' adds to the challenge
of safeguarding internal security.
India's Intelligence set up
has intensified social media scan and stepped up cyber security measures
with NTRO playing a pivotal role in studying new threats and
researching into security solutions.
Pakistan is using digital
media for recruiting terrorists on the Indian soil and funding a low
cost 'proxy war' against this country. It has the advantage now of
collaboration from China by way of supply of Chinese drones for use in
cross border 'covert' operations in J&K and Punjab - China was
already doing that on Arunachal border.
Moreover, the fact that
Pak ISI can use crime syndicates for its anti- India activities, brings
out the importance of the role of Police in safeguarding internal
security- beyond its responsibilities relating to maintenance of
During the G20 Presidency India should carry
forward the experiment of R20 - launched by Indonesia at Bali - for
promoting inter-faith harmony and the idea of equal respect for all
religions and rejecting extremism. It should be possible to mobilise
leaders of the minority community and spokespersons of credible Islamic
institutions based in India to speak up against radicalisation and
advocacy of Jehad for solving political or other issues affecting
Muslims in any part of the country.
It is necessary to enhance
the outreach of the administration to Muslim families particularly in
Kashmir to help them in dealing with the youth showing signs of falling
prey to indoctrination attempts of the adversary. Civil society groups
playing politics at the behest of anti-India lobbies abroad, should be
subjected to close scrutiny.
Public awareness about challenges
to internal security has to be increased using official resources and
also cooperation from public spirited forums. The problem of terrorism
and radicalisation must continue to be highlighted by India at all
international platforms and cooperation of all concerned nations sought
for putting down the new global threat that was basically damaging the
It is a matter of great satisfaction for all
citizens of India that the Modi regime was consistently campaigning
against terrorism of all kinds and receiving a response of understanding
from other countries in regard to the role of Pakistan in harbouring
terrorists with linkages across the Islamic spectrum.
Presidency will surely put India and Prime Minister Modi on the
forefront of the global initiatives to restore a peaceful world order
and speed up the journey towards equitable economic development all
round. The motto 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (world is one family) given to
G20 by India adequately sums up our commitment in this regard.
(The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are personal)
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