Doses of statecraft to meet India’s challenges

News: Recently, the Russia-Ukraine War and the political turmoil in South Asia dominated the newspaper headlines. These developments have pushed the debate on India’s many internal security problems on the backburner.

Internal Security problems in India

Case Studies of limitations of security solution

(1) Upheaval in Kashmir: The J&K has continued to see extreme violence followed by spells of near normalcy since 1947. The situation has become more volatile since the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Now, terrorists have started targeted killings of police officers, outsiders, mainly Kashmiri Pandits. There were warnings that this year’s Amarnath Yatra could be one of the targets of the militants.

No proper solution has emerged to a long-standing problem. The doctrine of containment is not having the desired effect.  There is an absence of an all-in-one grand strategy to deal with the situation.

(2) The continuing problem involving Maoists.

Maoists or Naxalites having strong ideological underpinnings have continued to exist since the late 1960s when Charu Mazumdar talked of a ‘Spring Thunder over India’ and created inspiration.

The Maoists have combined ideological ideation and brutal killings to pose challenges to the police, intelligence and security establishments of the States and the Centre.

It represents the biggest challenge to the idea of India. Despite negotiations, Maoists have seldom displayed a commitment to peaceful ways.

Maoists find an echo among intellectuals in the cities and the ‘poorest of the poor’ in the rural areas

(3) Pro-Khalistan movement: there is a resurgence of militancy in the Punjab. For example, ‘sleeper cells’ have been discovered in Punjab, the recent attack on the HQ of Punjab Police Intelligence wing in Mohali. The movement has the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. It indicates that Punjab militancy has not been permanently extinguished.

(4) Insurgency in North-East: In Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom–Independent (ULFA-I), which operates from Myanmar is trying to revive its activities after a long spell of hibernation. In Nagaland, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has initiated a fresh push for a solution of the ‘Naga political issue’

(5) A threat in the South: There are signs of a possible revival of LTTE-sponsored militancy in Sri Lanka due to recent economic crises and uncertainty there. This Is likely to revive LTTE-sponsored activities in Tamil Nadu

What are the limitations of a security vigil?

The security agencies, which do a security vigil, can only deal with the immediate threat. They are a temporary solution and will not amount to problem-solving.

The forces threatening the state have adopted new technologies and modes of warfare.

What is does Statecraft involve?

It involves

– fine-grained comprehension of inherent problems

an ability to quickly respond to political challenges.

strengthening the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise. It involves a degree of political nimbleness rather than leaving everything to the security agencies.

In addition to faith in the security establishment, it requires putting equal emphasis on implementation of policies and programmes, formulating strategies that favour political deftness, strength and agility.

Way Forward

Long-term solutions require the use of statecraft. In many countries, both the authorities and security agencies are beginning to acknowledge the importance of resorting to statecraft.

A deft statecraft is needed to prevent a resurgence of the past. It is critical in finding lasting solutions to a host of problems that continue to afflict India.

The grand strategy, grand simplifications or resort to higher doses of security cannot solve the security problems.

A properly structured set of policies, having liberal doses of statecraft in addition to a proper set of security measures, is the best answer to India’s needs, now and in the future.

Source: The post is based on an article “Doses of statecraft to meet India’s challenges” published in the “The Hindu” on 31st May 2022.

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