[Editorial Analysis] India will need to bring order and alacrity to crisis management

Mains Paper 3: Security
Prelims level: Line of actual control
Mains level: Security challenges and their management in border areas

Context:

• The sudden and tragic loss of 20 Indian army personnel has caused deep public anguish and anger.

• Equally exasperating for the public has been the cavalier inconsistency of statements emanating from government sources in New Delhi.

• The contradictions of statements given by the PM and Foreign Ministry have given comfort to the adversary and caused confusion at home.

Lack of long-term strategic Aims:

• The current lack of clarity amongst our decision-makers is rooted in incomprehension of the long-term strategic aims and objectives that underpin China’s belligerent conduct.

• This is hardly a surprise, considering that we have failed to devote adequate intellectual capital, intelligence resources and political attention to acquisition of a clear insight into China and its motivations.

• Even when intelligence is available, analysis and dissemination have fallen short.

• India has been groping in the dark, while grossly misreading China’s real intent.

• As we watch Beijing’s sinister border strategy unfold, the absence of a matching counter on India’s part becomes painfully obvious.

Chinese Objectives:

• Since 1995, China has been issuing a defence white paper (DWP) every two years or so.

• These thematic public documents articulate China’s national security aims, objectives and vital interests and also address the “ends-ways-means” issues related to its armed forces.

• The 11 DWPs issued so far are a model of clarity and vision, and provide many clues to current developments.

• No Indian government since Independence has deemed it necessary to issue a defence white paper, order a defence review or publish a national security strategy.

• Had we done so, it may have prepared us for the unexpected and brought order and alacrity to our crisis-response.

• Historically, China is heir to an ancient system, based not on sovereign equality of states, but on the divine and boundless reach and authority of the Chinese Emperor.

• Even in the current discourse there are enough pointers to show that an ascendant China sees itself on track to realising its “strong nation dream”, of becoming the world’s No 1 power by surpassing and then replacing the US.

• Translating its enormous economic gains into coercive military power, China expects neighbouring nations to submit to its hegemony.

Being Prepared:

• In order to show India its place, China had administered it a “lesson” in 1962, and may, perhaps, be contemplating another one in 2020, with the objective of preventing the rise of a peer competitor.

• For China, the line of actual control or LAC, representing an unsettled border, provides strategic leverage to keep India on tenterhooks about its next move while repeatedly exposing the latter’s vulnerabilities.

• At the ground-level, we need to visibly reinforce our positions, and move forward to the LAC all along, enhancing the operational-tempo of the three services as a measure of deterrence.

• Indian warships should show heightened presence at the Indian Ocean choke-points.

• Cyber emergency response teams country-wide should remain on high alert.

• While building-up stocks of weapons, ammunition and spares, the Ministry of Defence should seize this opportunity to urgently launch some long-term “atma-nirbharta” schemes in defence-production.

Way forward:

• At the strategic level, the government must moot a sustained process of engagement with China at the highest politico-diplomatic echelons.

• The negotiations should seek multi-dimensional Sino-Indian modus-vivendi; encompassing the full gamut of bilateral issues like trade, territorial disputes, border-management and security.

• Simultaneously, at the grand-strategic level, India should initiate a dialogue for the formation of an “Indo-Pacific Concord for Peace and Tranquility”, inviting four members of the Quad as well as Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia.

Conclusion:

• As a nation, we need to be pragmatic enough to realise that neither conquest nor re-conquest of territory is possible in the 21st century.

• Parliament should, now, resolve to ask the government, “to establish with utmost urgency, stable, viable and peaceful national boundaries, all around, so that India can proceed, unhindered, with the vital tasks of nation-building and socio-economic development”.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the NavRakshak, consider the following statements:

1. National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), an enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science, has licensed the manufacturing know-how of a PPE Suit being named as NavRakshak to five MSME clients to meet the ongoing countrywide demand of quality PPE kits.

2. It has been developed by the CSIR.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Elaborate the border issues with China including the 1962 war. What are the earlier steps are taken government in the context of LAC? Also, describe what should be the strategy to tackle the current situation? Comment.

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