Time is now to tackle in­ter­nal strife

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK -

There is grow­ing con­cern about naxal vi­o­lence spread­ing to dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. As per the Min­is­ter of State for Home Af­fairs, Ji­ten­dra Pratap Singh, 26 dis­tricts in In­dia are ‘se­verely’ af­fected by left-wing ex­trem­ism (LWE), pro­nounced in Ch­hat­tis­garh, Jhark­hand, Bi­har and Odisha, while there is naxal pres­ence in West Ben­gal, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Andhra Pradesh, Mad­hya Pradesh and Ut­tar Pradesh. The need to quell fur­ther spread of LWE is ur­gent and the gov­ern­ment must ap­proach the burn­ing is­sue, us­ing the car­rot and stick method.

In­ter­nal strife is pop­ping its ugly head here and there. As­sam is marred by vi­o­lence, a prob­lem not eas­ily to go away with il­le­gal mi­grants into the state. The re­cent vi­o­lence has left the state shat­tered. Its ram­i­fi­ca­tions are be­ing felt else­where and there is mass ex­o­dus of North­east peo­ple from Kar­nataka and Tamil Nadu. This cer­tainly does not bode well for the coun­try, which is known for unity in diver­sity.

In his fortnightly col­umn, Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch men­tions how post-26/11, Pak­istan has ac­ti­vated its sleeper mod­ules in­ducted in the 1980s and we see in­creas­ing at­tacks pan-In­dia. The time to tackle these in­sur­gen­cies is now.

While in­ter­nal se­cu­rity is a ma­jor is­sue, the In­dian mil­i­tary is on fast-track mod­erni­sa­tion. At a re­cent press meet, Navy Chief Ad­mi­ral Nir­mal Verma dis­closed that the gov­ern­ment has granted ac­cep­tance of ne­ces­sity (AON) for naval ac­qui­si­tions worth ` 2,73,000 crore (ap­prox­i­mately $50 bil­lion). This makes In­dia’s naval mod­erni­sa­tion pro­gramme one of the world’s largest naval build-up.

That In­dia is Boe­ing’s largest in­ter­na­tional cus­tomer for C-17 Globe­mas­ter III is not sur­pris­ing at all. In­dia’s de­fence ac­qui­si­tion pro­grammes are hu­mon­gous, driven by the vast­ness of the coun­try and also the grow­ing threat-per­cep­tions in the re­gion. In­dia is buy­ing 10 C-17 air­lifters from Boe­ing, while the com­pany awaits to hear on the deal for 22 new AH-64D Apache at­tack he­li­copters.

Work is on at a fre­netic pace to de­liver the 10 C-17s at the Long Beach fa­cil­ity in Cal­i­for­nia. SP’s Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent was at Long Beach, cap­tur­ing the pace of work that is go­ing on the first of the C-17s. The cer­e­mo­nial riv­et­ing pro­gramme of the tail sec­tion, fuse­lage and for­ward sec­tion was a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion. The Con­sul Gen­eral of In­dia, San Fran­cisco, Am­bas­sador N. Parthasarathi, rightly men­tioned: “This mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion, where we see In­dia’s first C-17 take shape, fur­ther strength­ens our grow­ing re­la­tion­ship. As In­dia strives to be­come a global reser­voir of highly skilled and tech­no­log­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated man­power, we will wit­ness an es­ca­lat­ing tech­nol­ogy trans­fer, col­lab­o­ra­tive joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment and co­pro­duc­tion of de­fence items be­tween our two coun­tries.”

Not just with the US, In­dia is keen on strate­gic part­ner­ships with sev­eral coun­tries. Brazil’s Em­braer De­fense and Se­cu­rity has de­liv­ered the first EMB 145 Air­borne Early Warn­ing and Con­trol (AEW&C) class of air­craft to In­dia. The Pres­i­dent & CEO of Em­braer De­fense and Se­cu­rity, Luiz Car­los Aguiar summed up the part­ner­ship: “The col­lab­o­ra­tion with DRDO in such a com­plex pro­gramme strength­ens the ties be­tween Brazil and In­dia.” The Cen­tre for Air­borne Sys­tems (CABS) of DRDO will be in­volved in in­te­gra­tion of mis­sion sys­tems.

We are see­ing more part­ner­ships hap­pen­ing on the ground. Re­cently, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra, one of In­dia’s lead­ing busi­ness houses, and Tele­phon­ics Cor­po­ra­tion signed a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment to form a joint ven­ture to pro­vide radar and sur­veil­lance sys­tems, com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, home­land se­cu­rity sys­tems, etc.

As the na­tion com­mem­o­rated the 13th an­niver­sary of Kargil vic­tory, for­mer Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral V.P. Ma­lik opines that the Kargil War was not the first time when Pak­istan ini­ti­ated a war; and we must not as­sume that it would be the last time. In­dia will re­main vul­ner­a­ble to such threats along its dis­puted bor­ders un­less it builds a cred­i­ble will and ca­pa­bil­ity to de­ter and dis­suade likely ad­ver­saries.

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