Just buying more arms not enough

When push comes to shove, New Delhi has a reputation of always blinking first.

Published: 31st July 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2017 03:14 AM   |  A+A-

When push comes to shove, New Delhi has a reputation of always blinking first. No matter what the provocation—terror strikes or blatant attempts to erode India’s territorial integrity— the world, and more importantly, our neighbours, believe India would huff and puff, perhaps indulge in some sabre-rattling, and then offer an olive branch. Again and again.

The reason is simple. In its 70 years of existence, India is yet to draw up a strategic blueprint which clearly defines standard operating procedures to deal with its two clear and present threats: Pakistan, and of course its sugar daddy, China. Which is why despite being a nuclear weapons state, despite having a formidable—even if ill-equipped—military, and despite being a major economic power, India fails to evoke respect, let alone fear, among its neighbours. Which is why even surgical strikes like the one after the Uri terror strike last September failed to deter Pakistan’s constant attempts to keep Kashmir on the boil. The main reason for this lack of strategic vision is the deeply ingrained distrust of men in uniform among the political class. Which is why the Ministry of Defence is manned by bureaucrats who are clueless (and suspicious) about the need for a strategic doctrine. The Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, is manned by one of the three Service Chiefs in rotation, with brief, random tenures, again making it a toothless post incapable of providing strategic inputs when needed.

While this distrust is perhaps one of the reasons that India never had military rule, it also ensured that pesky neighbours kept probing and pushing the envelope. And of late, neighbours like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are using the China card to negotiate better deals from India. The standoff with China at Dokalam and the spiralling Kashmir unrest should be a wake-up call for India. After clearly and publicly defining our red lines, we need to be perceived as not just willing and able, but also capable of enforcing those lines.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp