An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 07 September 2006  


This years Independence Day speeches by Musharraf were full of warnings –– as many Indian leaders had been demanding action against terror camps –– as a pre emptive defence and under the umbrella of Art 51 of the UN Charter (self defence). President Musharraf repeated his warnings as he had done during Op Parakaram, “No country (India) can dare to think of attacking Pakistan. No one will dare to cross the Line of Control LOC. We are a peaceful, proud and sovereign nation and no one can threaten us. We do not threaten anyone nor do we accept threats from anybody". He added that Pakistan’s defence had been made impregnable and a comprehensive strategy had been put in place to ensure that the country goes from strength to strength. “Pakistan is a stronger country”, he said “The nation stands united for Pakistan's defence, which is much stronger now than ever. Pakistani forces can protect the country's boundaries. We now have the Al-Khalid tank, Augusta 90, while soon JF-17 Thunder will be handed over to the Pakistan Air Force.”

The visiting Canadian Defence Minister had this to say in September in Islamabad as over 2000 Canadian troops were operating in Waziristan and having a tough time. He lauded Pakistan for doing a “fantastic job” in the fight against terrorism and stressed more cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad to effectively counter the menace. “I really appreciate what Pakistan is doing and they are doing a fantastic job,” the Minister said in an interview here after a visit to neighbouring Afghanistan

India is definitely a super nuclear power in the making but Pakistan is a rough and ready nuclear power too and that negates a war between the two, as the stakes will be catastrophic. India always had potential, but in history only Akbar achieved India’s potential after Ashoka. Akbar was a foreigner turned Indian and may be this time it will be Sonia, the Italian born Congress President turned India’s Leader who will achieve it for us. She was voted the 13th most powerful woman on earth and our fingers are crossed as she cris-crosses flood affected areas in IAF planes and tours India and promises give always as PM Manmohan minds the store and foreign affairs, though they disagree on liberalisation. Akbar was successful because he took responsibility and his foreign and domestic policies were pragmatic and he for political reasons married the beautiful Begum Turki from Turkey to achieve his foreign policy goals. The Turkish Ottoman empire was the then power in the West. He also married Jodha Bai to ensure the Rajputs joined him and became his Commanders. He was ruthless to quell wrongs and kind to the poor and artists and thinkers. Those were his foreign and domestic policy initiatives as he had a vision for India and he succeeded in amassing 10% of the world's wealth. There were no elections in those days as Sonia now has to contend with to gain full power. The British came and grabbed India which had 6% of the world’s export share till Independence and fell to 0.6% same as China thanks to restrictive policies. China has zoomed ahead to 5% and we are at 0.8%.

Today we need to emulate Akbar’s deeds and maybe the Indo–US deals in defence and nuclear fields are just that. The PM's staff and ministers echo words that India is a regional power. They live in VIP areas of Delhi where electricity never fails, floods never occur and Government spending is at an all time high with wastages. VIPS including the Army Chief have cavalcades of cars so we claim we are almost a super power.

Our Armed Force are impressive and capable if somewhat undirected because they have little direction or cohesion that is needed in today’s new world order, and yes our economy is on the move. But voices are not coherent in the Armed Forces. Recently all services echoed that they did not need a CDS in the form offered, so it is wait and watch all over again for military leadership. Probably the Defence Minister had asked them to say so, and the Defence Secretary will continue to play the role of the CDS. The outgoing CIDS who headed the huge Integrated Defence Staff admitted he was powerless except for planning and that too only to the extent that the Chiefs agreed to. Understandable.

On the strategic plane the steps taken by the PMO and MEA look like we are a super power in the making, even taming Iran on its nuclear ambitions, but India's policies both domestic and foreign need to follow suit. Do we know the road map or will any road make us a power on the software/call centre boom we are riding. In statecraft India comes off as a soft state and we worry about the neighbourhood.

Yes our economy is doing well but the hype is just too much and we still do not admit China is leaping ahead and we fool ourselves on India's strategy for the future, which appears to be wait and watch. India’s diplomats freely admit at conferences that India has a bigger role to play but the old speeches of morality and non-alignment alone are out, and they need direction. Today there are no more North and South countries, but there is the rich G5 and Europe, then BRIC which includes Brazil, Russia, India and China and the lesser others. Unless India's national goals and strategy objectives are defined how can any one of our diplomats pursue policy. Defence and Foreign policy have to merge. We have no Foreign Minister and capable young Anand Sharma feels he is the man for the job because he is a good Congress henchman loyal to the party. So much for foreign policy and we note that Shyam Saran, who will be senior to the Foreign Secretary, will continue to guide India's US policy via the nuclear deal. Another post of Authority without Responsibility for the sake of Continuity.

On Home affairs we have to get our huge Homeland security machinery i.e. the Home Ministry’s million strong paramilitary forces linked to the Army as soon as possible, in what is called ‘Command and Control’ or we will soon have a Frankenstein monster on hand –– a bigger and well equipped paramilitary force doing precious little operationally. Just two weeks ago the NSA and Home Secretary who are new to the Assam’s ULFA antics for Independence ordered a ceasefire without any pre conditions and now the ULFA is showing its teeth. Bangladesh which supports ULFA has slammed the BSF with action and rhetoric from their BDR spokesmen denying any links with terror, denying the proof given. Pakistan we know is on fire because of the Baluch leader Bugti’s death and India made strong premature statements at MEA spokesman level. The East and West of India are hostile.

In the South surely India has to do something about the LTTE, which is not offering a proposal of federalism but targeting the Sri Lanka Navy, who hit back like the Indian Navy did in OP Pawan and the LTTE never touched an IN ship at KKS or Trincomalle, or a sailor. Can India allow a renegade Navy which it controlled from 1987 to 1991 to operate against a friendly Navy?

A Ministry of Home Affairs Gazette notification announcing the extension of the ban on the LTTE on May 14, 2006, stated, “The LTTE continues to be an extremely potent, most lethal and well-organised terrorist force in Sri Lanka and has strong connections in Tamil Nadu and certain pockets of southern India. The LTTE continues to use Tamil Nadu as the base for carrying out smuggling of essential items like petrol and diesel besides drugs to Sri Lanka.” There is also the risk of Tamil refugees vitiating the socioeconomic and political matrix within Tamil Nadu, since the LTTE demand for a Tamil Eelam has always been an emotive issue in local politics. Karunanidhi is playing politics and Vaiko is active again.

No wonder the PM had called for a Security Meeting of NSA, Heads of Intelligence and Para and Military heads on 4th September. These will be the issues that will need thrashing out but we say the time has come for the paramilitary forces to be under Army Command and Control for coordination. Drastic but that's how it is in USA, Russia and several other countries.

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