Security risks: India lacks clear direction

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Singh, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Security risks: India lacks clear direction


    Unfortunately, the country’s leadership has not lived up to its part

    India is a soft state”—is a common refrain that describes our country’s seeming reluctance to hit hard when provoked. Succumbing to hijackers, lack of Israeli-style reprisals, sabre-rattling (but stopping short of war) and not executing terrorists are some of the examples that the critics of “weak-kneed” India parade in support of their theory. “Look at the US, one 9/11 and no terrorist incident after that” is a statement that is supposed to awe us into acknowledging the merits of that strategy. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. To begin combating terrorism, it is important to understand it. Terrorism is an asymmetric tool of war, used by a numerically disadvantaged side which would otherwise be bludgeoned by a superior enemy in a conventional confrontation.
    The US defence budget of $600 billion (around Rs29 trillion) is 40% of the world’s defence expenditure. To put this in context, the US spends more on defence than the next 14 countries put together! The problem with such overwhelming superiority in conventional arsenals is that the enemy moves the battle to unconventional or asymmetric warfare. Terrorist strikes, hit-and-run raids, suicide bombings, ambushes, abductions, improvised explosive devices and hijacking become the tactics of the “weaker” side. Because, they have very effective return on investment.
    Terrorism is the pursuit of political ideology using different strategy and tactics. With that perspective, let’s relook the theory lauding the US response after 9/11, suggesting that there was no terrorist incident after that one. The statement may be technically correct, in that no incident has happened on the US mainland. But that is because the US moved the frontlines and carried the battle into Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan. But, the tally of dead and wounded resulting from this extension of frontlines is unabated since the US began its campaigns. The location of these deaths is a technicality that is of scarce comfort to the bereaved families of the nation. The direct cost of war has been pegged at at least $3 trillion and the social collateral damage that will scar the country hasn’t even begun being counted. Add the anti-US sentiment, its long-term repercussions and the tab starts running astronomically high. By that logic, the US response to 9/11 has actually cost far more than even several repeats of that incident.
    Secondly, the target of the anti-US groups is not the US population per se. It is the Western way of life. From that perspective, too, 9/11 was a great return on investment. From a nation that epitomized personal liberties, the US psyche has transformed into borderline paranoia. Trillions of dollars burned on homeland security, human rights violations, extraordinary renditions, infringements of basic jurisprudence and continual body count in three different war zones have irreversibly changed the US way of life. A feat which even the erstwhile Soviet Union could not achieve during the Cold War decades.
    And lastly, use of excessive force has an annoying habit of further aggravating a bad situation. As George W. Bush’s famous delusion of “mission accomplished” clearly illustrates, the US fell into the trap of confusing “entry” with “victory”.
    Now let’s come back to the Indian context. Even disregarding the impossibility of matching a fraction of US resources, it is important to appreciate that our security issues are dramatically different from the US, Israel or, for that matter, any other country. We deal with multiple threats that infiltrate into the Indian mainland through virtually all borders. And this is in addition to home-grown insurgency. Having said that, the Indian defence forces have the unique distinction of using a standing army to fight a rapid 13-day campaign on two different fronts, routing 90,000 enemy troops and helping create Bangladesh out of East Pakistan.
    Our forces have battle experience of some of the toughest and diverse terrains on the planet. Despite severe limitations, our defence forces have delivered, each and every time. Siachen, Kargil, Mumbai attacks, natural disasters of national scales or even children falling into borewells—the forces have “accomplished mission” on every occasion.
    Unfortunately, the country’s leadership has not lived up to its part. The lethality of an army needs direction and tools. The ambivalence or the utter lack of these two elements has hobbled our forces. Do we negotiate with terrorists or not? Do we engage in reprisals or not? Do we assist foreign “terrorists” or fight them? Will our forces be modernized or are they expected to fight with weapons of Cold War vintage? The absence of clear direction and requisite tools violate basic tenets of warfare that troops must have clarity of the commander’s intent and the wherewithal to deliver it. In the fog of uncertainty and deprivation, troops are left to fend for themselves on a situational basis with hands tied behind their backs.
    The clear mandate that the current government has is an opportunity to take steps and rebuild an apparatus to equip this extraordinary fighting force and provide the stability and security which is vital for the economic opportunity that beckons India.

    Security risks: India lacks clear direction - Columns - livemint.com
     
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  3. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Lack of and proper control near LOC thanks to government at centre and in states. Lack of any will in politicians to combat terror because of votebank politics. Starting "talks" with enemy nations who are claiming our land and infiltrating to kill our citizens out in the open to make a mockery out of this country.. over and over again. Local police in states using age old weapons and lathis to combat ANYTHING (get some f**ing SWAT training and squads FFS). List goes on..

    Also, we have a spineless government begging US and world to take action on that terrorist hell-hole next to us. Nothing will ever change. Oh and while you're at it, enjoy more quotas while you are suffering.
     
  4. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Our threat perceptions are TOTALLY different from Israel or the US. Don't expect a Entebbe from India as long as the belligerent parties are Pakistan or China. Israel wouldn't have sent 4 C-130s had Uganda been a nuclear power or a land locked client state of a nuclear power.

    Indian Army needs to keep fine tuning both its COIN exploits and the new doctrine that it has formulated. As about the politicos, well, you gave them the mandate, you demand what you deem fit. We will deliver whatever is asked for.
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Are you sure?!? How many parties in the recent past actually had been voted to power by more than 50% of electorate? Parties have been manipulating the system and the electorate to form Govts.

    Parties form coalitions and break coalitions on a whim, ppl have no clue about who is going to team up with whom. They just vote(if at all they vote) to the least evil(hoping that their judgement is right). Blaming ppl is absolutely unacceptable.
     
  6. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Stop whinning. Its the Indian citizen who elect their Govt. Its they on whom the onus of granting the elctoral mandate lies. If their elected Govt fails in any parameter that be, the blame can not go to an Irish or Turk. If you are giving split mandates, be prepared to face the filth of coalition Govts.

    Coming to the topic in discussion, the Indian Armed forces are professional body, ready to deliver whatever task is assigned with whatever resources they have. The force and motivation is rightly in place, the mandate isn't. Period.
     
  7. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    First foremost I was not whining(if you consider giving an opinion as whining then you are doing the same and so is everyone else on the forum). We all make our point(that isnt necessarily directed at the poster whose post is quoted), that may appear as whining to others. Your post may seem like whinnig some others(even me), but even if that is the case, I would be mindful of my manners and not dismiss others' opinions so condescendingly.


    I was making a point about how electorate is largely manipulated(aided by the system) by politicians and political parties. For instance, many ppl in India would readily accept the 'One Pay One Rank', but they cant represent that in their voting becoz there are mulitple issues, multiple alliances and many concerns in an election. You seem to be blaming Indian civilian public, I was trying to point out that Indian civilian public has its own limitations(that means we need reforms in our electoral process). So, do you get my point now, sir? I am saying we need reforms, so that Indian Govt can accurately represent the public. That means Govt would take a decision on important national issues like security(which is the topic of the thread) without hesitation or lethargy.

    As for the second para of your post, I completely agree with you, Sir.
     
  8. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Johnee,

    I was not condenscending....not sure if I would pick you up or somebody in particular for the politicos who fart and falter. And YES... Our civil population is majorly to be blamed for electing scumbags. Why? Well, I for one don't go by the oft repeated lore that "education" will erradicate all these problems". How many truely "patriotic" and "seculiar" countrymen are voting today without even an iota of personal subscriptions and biases? I fear say...a very very small percentage.

    Can/has education or reforms make a well educated dickhead refrain from voting along casteist/linguistic/personal bias lines? No it has not. We have a HUGE HUGE population that has nothing to do with the countries short/mid or long term interests. To him, it is his and his families interests 1st than anything else. Though I am not generalising, nor can this apply on people voluntarily active on such patriotic platforms, nevertheless, we have a HUGE problem in what I quoted above. No point running away from facts. No amount of electoral reforms can help if you don't know whom to elect.
     
  9. Ratus Ratus

    Ratus Ratus Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    It is an interesting op-ed for an outside so to speak.
    I am somewhat stunned by the extent that the military side of the equation has been delivered but the most important the political was minimised to the level of being a discussed shadow.

    On the point of politics, it is possibly the area of weakness for any nation in determining the needed direction for national security.
    Here I will limit the points to a national framework as that normally dictates national policy for security.
    I have noticed that where a country tends to have many different political parties sound direction can become distorted due to the needs of compromise caused by coalition government structures. Where coalition governments are made of few parties and where these parties are similar if not almost indistinguishable then the compromise is minimal. This close similarity in party politics will deliver a reasonable intent for security, most of the time.
    Coalition governments made of many parties and normally with distinctive differences will not deliver the necessary result. It may deliver the correct words but the actual ‘do something’ may not really be what was spoken.

    The other issue is the maturity of politics. This assumes politics can actually have maturity, a big assumption. If during the big political election parade, ie that time when politicians go out electioneering for votes, just before the big election, and concentrate on local issue to attract and get votes then the full meaning of national issues vanishes. Again this seems to be more prominent in places with large number of political parties. It has happen here in Aust even with a small number of parties but the minor ones concentrating on so called local state issues to get that little edge.

    In situations where there are several disparate parties elected the ability t form strong singular directional coalition governments can be difficult. There are enough examples of failed coalition governments through out the European nations for a start.

    Again as mentioned coalitions tend to generate various compromises with policy. One of the many areas will be defence that is national security. One party will see security in a particular direction and the other party in some different direction. Throw in three or more parties and you get a total compromised mess.
    The misdirection of security can easily be degraded to meaningless babble even with a single party at the helm.

    I digress. The basis of much of this does lie with the politics and the number of disparate parties. India is but one example. As an example, a couple of countries with somewhat similar situation of having multiple parties being UK and Australia, though here the minor parties are minor.
    How does one reduce the growth of parties all preaching their form of wisdom? This is not easy and gets harder when they concentrate on local issues within national elections. There is an argument education will help. This to a degree helps but it is just one block in the total equation. Education, if just limited to school and university is not an answer as it does not cover the necessary spectrum. Education has to be also in terms of politics, how a government works, how elections are determined and the concepts of national interests. Political parties should not reflect what may be called family dynasties. Throw in a level or real transparency and you might start seeing the demise of a lot of sideline political parties.
    It is not easy to break blind devotion to a political party.

    But then in all honesty it is going to depend on what one calls democracy, and how it is to be implemented.

    Coalition governments do not always have strong policy hence can lead to weak direction.
    Single party governments can do the same.

    The strength of policy is in the strength of the politicians elected. That choice comes from the people knowing what is actually happening, without hype and misguided information.
    That also implies the media needs to play a huge part in that information game. Something most media are very poor at doing and not improving. Pictures, hype on little, and a rush to be the first on the story have led poor media

    Many issues none self standing.

    I have seen some of this weak political policy matter even in Australia. So India is not alone in all this.
     
  10. K Factor

    K Factor A Concerned Indian Senior Member

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    Leave aside nukes for a second.

    What Israel did in 1967 required balls. The preemptive strikes on Egyptian airfields left the Egyptian AF a dud, and the Syrian AF in disarray. Its called "BALLS".

    But our politicos didn't have the BALLS. Nobody had nukes in 1971. We could have finished off PA at that time. BUT. It has been our policy, to keep our enemies alive.

    In the 80s, we could have gone with Israel to strike the Pakistani reactors, but then again, our politicians stood in the way.

    Yes, the IA is a great professional unit and does unbelievably well given the levels of ineptitude and corruption at the part of our politicians and bureaucrats (reference - latest OFB scandal). Hats off to you guys.

    However, even when we had a clear public demand for military action during and after 26/11, our government chose to whine to the international community.
    And even after that, we chose the same govt, choosing economic growth and stability over security of our fellow countrymen.
    YES, we are to blame.
     
  11. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Concur with the Politician part.
    However, India and Pakistan today or 30 years back were still comparable powers, Israel and Egypt weren't. Heck, IDF conducted OE against a third rate military force like Uganda. 30 years have elapsed and I still am yet to find substantial proof of that proposed Israeli strike and facts as to who balked even if true.

    1971....sigh....The tilt was all sham.
    Despite Nixon's firm belief, the OPOBJ didn't call for the total annihilation of the PA in the western sector.
     

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