The first task of any nation is to ensure security of its territory and people. If this is not in place, then other nations as well as divisive forces, like terrorists, are encouraged to gnaw at the security foundations of such an insecure state.
To discuss this issue, a seminar, organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security, was presided over by P.C Dogra (the author of the book under review). Eminent and authoritative personalities drawn from various fields were asked to speak on issues pertaining to internal security. The papers presented at the seminar were subsequently compiled into the book by the author for the readers to enjoy.
The compiler says that there has been a strategic reorientation in the concept of national security now. Long-drawn out battles are ruled out as the international community is liable to intervene in such an eventuality. The modern view is that the extent of a war should be such that the adversary is not provoked ?to unleash nuclear retaliation?. Today army generals in India talk of a short war, limited in time and space. Due to the fact that it is not possible for the Indian army to enter Pakistani territory despite repeated attacks by terrorists, it has become imperative for India to give unequivocal attention to its internal security while ?ensuring the inviolability and sanctity of our borders?.
Dogra points out that about 15 per cent of Bangladesh'spopulation is in India which is casting a negative impact on our national sovereignty. About 20 million Bangladeshis have migrated into India on illegal residents. Bangladesh has become a haven for anti-Indian subversive elements, while the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is bent upon breaking up north-east India.
Since it is not possible for this reviewer to comment upon each and every paper presented at the seminar, remarks on a few would suffice to present a general picture. Brahma Chellaney, newspaper columnist, draws attention to regional and international security by discussing the radicalisation of Muslims in Southeast Asia, where Islamic groups are becoming increasingly entrenched and which is a recent phenomenon. He links terrorism in South Asia to the Afghan war of the 1980s and the US and Saudi funnelling of arms to the anti-Soviet guerrillas through Pakistan'sISI. He says that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar either export narcotics and terrorism or make ?illicit transfer of nuclear and missile technologies?. Pakistan indeed has been waging a war by proxy transfers in Jammu & Kashmir through Islamic terrorists. He regrets that it is India's?soft response? to terrorism that has emboldened Afghan war veterans and Pakistan'shome-grown terrorists to bleed India as part of what it calls a war of ?a thousand cuts?. Even the US had admitted that Pakistan's?intelligence service used al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to train covert operatives for use in a war of terror against India.? Here he lists the unusual manner India caved in on December 31, 1999 to the demand of hijackers holding a planeload of passengers aboard the Indian commercial jetliner at Kandahar??it was a surrender unparalleled in modern world history.? He laments, ?In fact no country could have entered the new millennium on a more ignominious note than India did.?
In short, the papers voice unanimous concern over international terrorism which has emerged as a major strategic challenge to world governments and over the Indian government's?amateurish, patchy and ineffectual? response and suggests chalking out of a ?conflict management design? and scheme that incorporates all agencies of the state and the nations ?in a coordinated whole?.
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