SPECIAL FEATURE BY HIS EXCELLENCY N.N. VOHRA
Ifeel privileged to have been asked to deliver the First Air Cmde Jasjit Singh Memorial Lecture to remember Jasjit Singh who, after a long and distinguished tenure as Director General, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, served as the Director of the Centre for Air Power Studies from the day it was established till he passed away last year.
It would be useful, at the very outset, to state that, in simple language, the term ‘national security’ could be defined to comprise external security, which relates to safeguarding the country against war and external aggression, and internal security which relates to the maintenance of public order and normalcy within the country. However, such a segregated approach is no longer feasible, particularly after the advent of terrorism which has introduced extremely frightening dimensions to the internal security environment. I would go further to say that issues of internal and external security management have been inextricably intertwined ever since Pakistan launched a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir in early 1990 and Pakistan-based jihadi terrorists started establishing networks in our country.
Our national security interests have continued to be influenced and affected by geopolitical developments in our region and far beyond. While it would not be feasible to recount the varied security challenges which India has faced in the decades gone by, it could be stated that the more serious problems in the recent years have emanated from Pakistan’s continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir;
jihadi terrorism, which has been progressively spreading its reach; the destructive activities which the left-wing extremist groups have been carrying out for decades now; the serious unrest created by the still active insurgencies in the North East region; and incidents of serious communal violence which have been erupting in the various states from time to time. Mention must also be made of the steadily growing activities of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), a terror group which has its roots in Pakistan. Another phenomenon, relatively more recent, relates to the emergence of certain radical counter-groups which have been organised with the primary objective of countering the jihadi terror networks.
A soldier guards the roadside checkpoint outside Srinagar International Airport