A security architecture without the mortar

In April this year, the Narendra Modi government set up a Defence Planning Committee (DPC) to assist in the creation of “national security strategy, international defence engagement strategy, roadmap to build (a) defence manufacturing ecosystem, strategy to boost defence exports, and priority capability development plans”. Earlier this month, it also decided to revive the Strategic Policy Group (SPG) within the overall National Security Council (NSC) system. Are these committees indicative of a newfound ‘national security consciousness’ in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government today? That the government has set up/revived these committees only in its final year in office goes to show that it is cognisant of the fact that its national security performance has been found severely wanting. More so, given the sorry state of the country’s national security, it — erroneously, if I may add — hopes that further centralisation of national security and defence decision making in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under the National Security Adviser (NSA), would salvage its national security reputation. Deteriorating environment India’s national security environment has steadily deteriorated since 2014. Both the overall violence in Jammu and Kashmir and ceasefire violations on the Line of Control reached a 14-year high in 2017, a trend that refuses to subside in 2018. There are far more attacks on security forces and security installations in J&K, and militant recruitments and violence against civilians in the State than at any time in the past decade-and-a-half. The pressure from China is on the rise. While the government’s spin managers valiantly claim that the surgical strikes of 2016 gave a befitting response to Pakistan, and the stand-off at Doklam conveyed to China that India is no pushover, the reality is that surgical strikes hardly made any significant gains, and the Chinese forces (by all accounts including a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs) are back in the Doklam plateau with more force. The report goes on to fault the government for “continuing with its conventionally deferential foreign policy towards China”. New Delhi’s neighbourhood policy continues to be in the doldrums and there is a clear absence of vision on how to balance, engage and work with the many great powers in the regional and the broader international scene. The frenzied foreign policy activities we are witnessing today are essentially diplomatic firefighting and damage control of a government in its last lap.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/a-security-architecture-without-the-mortar/article25243056.ece

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