Prime Min­is­ter’s clar­ion call: From ‘Swara­jya’ to ‘Su­ra­jya’


On the his­toric oc­ca­sion of 70th In­dian In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi gave a clar­ion call to the na­tion from the ram­parts of the Red Fort – to move from ‘swara­jya’ (self-rule) to ‘su­ra­jya’ (good gov­er­nance). Though as a na­tion we have made sub­stan­tial progress, we are not where we should be as we have been sad­dled by ‘poor gov­er­nance’ for th­ese many years. In­deed, it is time to move away from this stu­por.

Ku­dos to the Prime Min­is­ter who has been the mov­ing force in this change that is tak­ing place. The mantra, he has em­phat­i­cally stated, is to ‘re­form, trans­form and per­form’. There can­not be a bet­ter mo­ti­vat­ing slo­gan than this. The present gov­ern­ment is not just about slo­ga­neer­ing as we have seen rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion hap­pen­ing across many ver­ti­cals, in­clud­ing de­fence, aero­space and in­ter­nal se­cu­rity.

On the geopo­lit­i­cal front, the na­tion has emerged stronger, thanks to the var­i­ous en­gage­ments not just with the neigh­bours but many other coun­tries. It is not an easy task get­ting the neigh­bours on­board, con­sid­er­ing they have their own in­ter­nal is­sues that tend to dic­tate their global pos­tures. Cross-bor­der ter­ror­ism is one which does not seem to go away and the Prime Min­is­ter cas­ti­gated Pak­istan for spawn­ing ter­ror­ism within and across the bor­der. Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd) writes about how the Prime Min­is­ter’s men­tion of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion in Balochis­tan, Pak­istan-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (PoK) and Gil­gitBaltistan, is a shift in In­dia’s for­eign pol­icy, fo­cus­ing on hu­man rights. This was ob­vi­ous quid pro quo to the sit­u­a­tion that has been cre­ated in the Sri­na­gar Val­ley with ac­tive as­sis­tance from Pak­istan.

In this back­ground, it was not at all sur­pris­ing that there was tur­bu­lence at the re­cent 7th SAARC Home and In­te­rior Min­is­ters’ Con­fer­ence as Lt Gen­eral Ka­toch points out that Pak­istan, which is the cru­cible of ter­ror, is not un­der­stand­ing the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion.

On the other front is a bel­liger­ent China, which is dom­i­nat­ing the South China Sea, ig­nor­ing the ver­dict of the In­ter­na­tional Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion at The Hague. Analysing the sit­u­a­tion is Bharat Kar­nad, Pro­fes­sor at the Cen­tre for Pol­icy Re­seach, who has said that China was cre­at­ing im­ped­i­ments de­signed to com­pel the navies of out-of-area pow­ers and of the in-re­gion dis­putant states, and, more gen­er­ally, the $5-tril­lion worth of an­nual ship-borne trade tran­sit­ing this area through se­lect wa­ter­ways that the Chi­nese can more ef­fec­tively po­lice.

The In­dian Navy is to get a boost as In­dia has signed a $1.1-bil­lion deal to pro­cure four more Po­sei­don-8I air­craft from the US and Lt Gen­eral Ka­toch states that while this is good, we need to arm the ‘foot sol­dier’. A P-8I is part of the search op­er­a­tions for the miss­ing An-32 air­craft of the In­dian Air Force. Re­act­ing to the miss­ing air­craft, he has asked pol­icy mak­ers to ad­dress is­sues – suit­abil­ity of air­craft for paradrop­ping and the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of large ver­sus medium sized air­craft in the com­bat zone.

In an­other ar­ti­cle on de­fence pro­cure­ment pol­icy, he ar­gues that key do­mes­tic play­ers in the de­fence sec­tor want space for their for­eign part­ners in the chapter on strate­gic part­ner­ships, not just nom­i­nat­ing In­dian com­pa­nies as strate­gic part­ners.

Happy read­ing!

Jayant Baran­wal Pub­lisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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