Secure and stable conditions remain crucial prerequisites for development and growth of economy. Though there are some analysts who believe that development and growth can take place without necessarily ensuring security first. However, that could be a self-serving argument without any solid basis for its support. Afghanistan which remains in turmoil and where plans for withdrawal of NATO/ISAF and US forces have been announced has started experiencing the adverse impact of the drawdown in both security and economy related areas.
Since independence, India has faced a large number of external and internal security challenges. The Indian army, the paramilitary forces and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have worked hand-in-hand to manage and neutralise these challenges. While the army has been responsible to maintain the integrity of the country’s long land boundaries through four wars and the Kargil conflict, the CAPFs have been largely responsible to manage the land borders and lend a helping hand to the army for counter-insurgency operations.
After standing on false prestige and even becoming vindictive against those who suspected the integrity of electronic voting machines, the Election Commission has finally acceded to the demand that the machines must issue a paper receipt to voters. The Commission’s decision – made known to the Supreme Court recently in response to the plea by Dr.Subramanian Swamy, President, Janata Party that EVMs be scrapped – is a major victory for all those who were campaigning against electronic voting machines because they lacked transparency.
Some caveats are necessary before pronouncing on the UPA government’s foreign policy, especially the apparent mishandling of relations with Sri Lanka and the case of the Italian marines, as well as the setback in the Maldives. First, no country can have a foreign policy that is seen as being without fault by the public.
The 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh has been the worst chapter in Bangladesh’s history that witnessed genocide, rape and murder at the hands of the army of West Pakistan and their collaborators in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). This resulted in the 1971 civil war between Mukti Bahni (Liberation army) supported by India against the Pakistani forces which had the full support of Jamaat-e-Islami. It had formed paramilitary forces like Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams that were against the independence of East Pakistan.
Going by the recent claims of Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, NCTC would see the light of the day after next month’s Chief Ministers’ conference.
The island country of Sri Lanka is geographically part of the Indian sub-continent and though the Palk Strait does provide a narrow stretch of water physically separating Sri Lanka from India, not far below the surface is the land link provided by Ram Setu or Adams Bridge. I refer here to a geological phenomenon and not a mythical, religious or a metaphysical belief. Geographically, ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously Sri Lanka, despite being a separate nation, is very much a part of India.
Contrary to all expectations, the Italian marines have returned to India for trial. After having formally announced that the marines will not come back, the Italian government has dramatically reversed its position. This suggests that the hardliners in the government — apparently the foreign and defence ministers — have been overruled by wiser heads.
Pakistan’s quest to acquire tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) has added a dangerous dimension to the already precarious strategic equation in South Asia. The security discourse in the subcontinent revolves around the perennial apprehension of a conventional or sub-conventional conflict triggering a chain reaction, eventually paving the way for a potential nuclear crisis haunting peace and stability in the region.
Our conduct at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva on the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka on human rights violations of the tamilian population has raised questions about the coherence, maturity and objectivity of our policy towards our neighbour. Our Sri Lanka policy has to be based on wider considerations than politicking within the UPA government and exaggerated posturing for electoral reasons by the DMK on the ethnic issue.