[Editorial Analysis] National security is best served when diverse voices are heard

Mains Paper 3: Security

Prelims level: Surgical strike 2.0

Mains level: Counter terrorism operation taken by India

Context

• As two nations stand poised at the edge of a precipice, a section of civil society is engaged in hate-mongering and war hysteria as a recreational sport.

• In this surreal atmosphere, the young, grieving widow of Squadron leader Ninad Mandavgane, who was killed in the MI 17 helicopter crash in Kashmir, made a poignant appeal for calm between India and Pakistan.

• “We do not want a war. You do not realise the damage a war inflicts on people. No other Ninad should be lost from either side,” Vijeta Mandavgane said.

Surgical strike 2.0 impacts

• It is significant that consequent on the Pulwama horror, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to all TV channels against any content which is likely to incite violence or “contains anything against the maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes” or that would affect “the integrity of the nation”.

• In line with this policy, show-cause notices were issued to two private TV channels for telecasting footage of a news briefing by the Pakistan army.

• Considering the low credibility of Pakistan’s army briefings, which are not
taken seriously in our country and the futility of trying to sanitise social media which first aired the report.

• The clip was rather benign when compared to the inflammatory rhetoric of mainstream TV anchors that clearly threatened the unity and integrity of the nation.

Way to resolving the crisis between two countries

• A vibrant democracy encourages a free flow of ideas, especially in times of crisis.

• In fact, national security is better served when diverse voices are heard that could inspire improved decisions by the policy-makers.

• The widespread belief that when faced with a threat to the nation, society must speak in one voice and accept without demur what the government decides, is fraught with danger as it undermines democratic functioning.

• The freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy.

• National security cannot be the excuse for curbing freedom of expression or for distorting or hiding the truth from the public on issues of national import.

• According to defence experts, the surgical strike 2.0 has signalled a decisive shift in India’s policy towards Pakistan and cross-border terrorism.

• With Indian fighter jets crossing the LoC for the first time since 1971 and dropping bombs on a terror camp in Balakot, India has displayed a new muscular assertiveness in dealing with terror attacks emanating from Pakistan soil. Hitherto, India had adopted the dogma of “strategic patience” for fear that aggressive tactics and escalation could spin out of control and result in nuclear war.

• But now, much to the satisfaction of our defence hawks, the strategy seems to be “offensive defence”.

• Will this doctrine ensure the elimination of terrorism or its reduction?

• Pakistan has already shown that there will be retaliation.

• Ultimately, only the number of dead on each side may differ. There can be no winners in such a conflict.

Way forward

• We would do well to remember the American experience in Afghanistan.

• In response to the September 11 attacks, the US with its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and drove the Taliban from power.

• Since then, the Taliban has launched numerous attacks on the government and US forces.

• After 17 years of war which has cost the US more than $1 trillion and the death of 2,400 soldiers.

• The US has backed down and is now holding negotiations with the Taliban in the desperate hope of bringing peace to that benighted land.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which of the following statements about the gross value added (GVA) method of GDP calculation is/are correct?

1. It is a method for calculating GDP at basic prices.

2. It gives a picture of economic activities in a country from the producers’ side.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) According to defence experts, the surgical strike 2.0 has signalled a decisive shift in India’s policy towards Pakistan and cross-border terrorism. Will this doctrine ensure the elimination of terrorism or its reduction? Comment.

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