Sunday, October 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Subrahmanyam blames PM
Approach to security ‘casual’
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 28 (UNI) — In a scathing attack on the country’s political leadership and bureacuracy, Kargil review committee chairman K. Subrahmanyam today said the blame for the “casual approach” to national security lay with the Prime Minister and his immediate advisers who had neglected the working of the National Security Council. Expressing dissatisfaction that the NSC had “not even let off its first cry since birth” (in 1998), the defence expert said he was worried that a committee on paper without any activity would prove fatal to future holistic national security management in the country.

He underlined the need for a correct mix of transparency and opacity in projecting a credible deterrence.

Emphasising that it was not enough that India enjoyed nuclear capability, he said it was more important that the strategies, policies, targeting plans and command and control systems be worked out.

In this context, Mr Subrahmanyam said, the nuclear doctrine enunciated by the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), of which he was the convener, was “most logical, most restrained and most economical”. But he rued the fact that it was just a draft doctrine.

Delivering the prestigious Field Marshal Cariappa Memorial lecture on “Challenges to Indian Security” here, he said, therefore “strategies, policies, targeting plans, command and control all need to be worked out”.

The entire top brass of the country’s armed forces, including the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, and the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen S. Padmanabhan were present at the lecture.

Warning that resistance to India as a nuclear power would come from both within and outside, Mr Subrahmanyam said New Delhi should expect a stepped-up campaign of terrorism and proxy war “especially targeting the country’s economic symbols like Mumbai in 1993.”

Such moves, Mr Subrahmanyam said, would be aimed at forestalling India’s arrival as a nuclear weapon-state, an emerging economic power on a high-growth trajectory, a strategic partner of major powers and a permanent member of the expanded UN Security Council.

“Imagine the consequences of an impact of simultaneous attacks carried out on economic targets on a number of cities. This would aim to kill confidence of foreign investors,” he said.

The analyst said to overcome such security loopholes, the country had to take concrete steps to get the National Security Council (NSC) off the ground.

Suggesting that “the present stop-go attitude of casual approach” to the NSC had to go, Mr Subrahmanyam said a full-fledged security body with a staff was “a must to take on both long-term and short-term security challenges”.

He proposed that the NSC should have an adequately qualified and independent staff with a regular time-table, comprehensive intelligence input and widespread interaction with service chiefs and ministers, which would generate security perspectives to anticipate future situations.

“The amateurish experiment of V. P. Singh set back the concept of NSC by many years. One is worried that an NSC on paper without any activity will prove fatal to future holistic national security management in this country,” he said.

Mr Subrahmanyam was highly critical of the lack of understanding among leaders, the political class, the bureaucracy, business establishment and intellectuals about the nature of the security problem that India faced. “This is illustrated by the fact that though India has declared itself a state with nuclear weapons and the NSAB’s nuclear doctrine has been publicised, there has been no significant debate on this vital security issue among political parties and in Parliament.

“So is the case with the Kargil review committee’s report and that too after the country has fought five wars. The problem with our country is not its Gandhian approach and values but our centuries-old indifference to who rules us,” he said.

He pointed out that Mr Altaf Gauhar, who was the Information Advisor to General Ayub Khan, had in a series of articles written that Pakistan had started all four wars under one assumption which was articulated by the former Pakistani General. He believed that the Hindu morale would not stand more than a couple of hard blows at the right time and place.

The country had faced a nuclear threat arising out of China’s proliferation of nuclear weapon capability to Pakistan since the mid-seventies. Even as Prime Minister Morarji Desai had renounced India’s nuclear weapon option and nuclear testing in the UN General Assembly special session on disarmament in June, 1998, Pakistan had intensified its nuclear weapon development effort.

Pakistan had also demonstrated its nuclear capability thrice in the mid-eighties but the country’s media, academia and Parliament had not bothered to discuss the nuclear dimension of the security issue. It would appear that one of the most difficult challenges to the Indian security we faced was due to the general indifference to security on the part of the elite.

Citing an example, he said though the history of the 1965 war was ready for release in the late eighties and the Ministry of Defence and Army Headquarters were keen on releasing it, its publication was vetoed by the committee of Secretaries. Till date, 37 years after the report was submitted to the government the Henderson-Brookes report was still being kept under lock and key.

This secrecy was not attributable to concern about national security. It crose out of callous indifference to national security and laziness to go through the original document and decide whether its release would in any way adversely affect security. A similar approach was holding back the release of the history of the 1971 war.

The Kargil review committee had recommended that the National Security Council, the senior bureaucracy servicing it and the service chiefs need to be continually sensitised to assessed intelligence pertaining to national regional and international security issues and therefore, there should be periodic intelligence briefings to the cabinet committee.

Yet another serious challenge this country faced to its security was the tendency of the political class and the media to a certain extent to politicise issues of national security in a partisan manner. In all mature democracies, basic issues of national security were kept above party politics. In India this did not happen.

He said the Congress had indulged in severe criticism of the nuclear tests when the maximum contribution to the development of nuclear weapons and missiles were by Prime Ministers belonging to that party. This politicisation reached its peak during the Kargil conflict and continued to this day with adverse consequences to national security. 


Rajnath sworn in as UP CM

LUCKNOW, Oct 28 (UNI) — Mr Rajnath Singh was today sworn in as the 29th Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

State Governor Suraj Bhan administered the oath of office and secrecy at a simple but impressive function in Raj Bhavan.

Mr Rajnath Singh has retained all 34 Cabinet Ministers in the outgoing Ram Prakash Gupta government.

The Cabinet Ministers were, administered the oath of office and secrecy, one by one.

Mrs Maneka Gandhi’s son Varun Feroz Gandhi was also present.

The list of state ministers sworn in today also sprang no surprise as all ministers of state in the Ram Prakash Gupta government have been retained. All ministers as well as Chief Minister Rajnath Singh took the oath in Hindi.

Of the total 34 Cabinet Ministers, 18 are from the bjp, 15 from its allies and one independent.

Of the allies, nine are from Naresh Agarwal led Loktantrik Congress Party (LCP), four from Narendra Singh led Jantantrik Bahujan Samaj Party (JBSP) and one each from the Janata Dal (Raja Ram) and the Samata Party. The only independent member to be made a Cabinet Minister is Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias “Raja Bhaiyya.”

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh said he would expand and reshuffle his ministry, if necessary, by the end of November.

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