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.