Poll manifestos of Congress, BJP promise big on defence front : The Tribune India

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Poll manifestos of Congress, BJP promise big on defence front

Poll manifestos of Congress, BJP promise big on defence front


Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, April 15

The Congress manifesto on security addressed the need for having a formal National Security Strategy. “So far, ad-hoc and personalised policymaking is being done,” the party document says, adding that the Congress would issue a comprehensive National Security Strategy.

Formal national security strategy

  • Comprehensive national security strategy
  • National Security Council, office of the NSA to be brought under the oversight of a select committee of Parliament
  • New operational directive to deal with current two-front (Pakistan and China) challenge
  • Institutionalise the process of appointing the CDS
  • Scrap the Agnipath scheme

Boost to border infrastructure

  • Expand India’s defence footprint, partner with friendly countries
  • Theatre commands for the armed forces
  • Robust infrastructure along borders

The Tribune had reported in its editions how the BJP manifesto promises to expand India’s defence footprint and have theatre commands for the armed forces. The Congress mentioned “Chinese intrusions in Ladakh” and said they represented setbacks to the Indian national security. The manifesto blamed PM Narendra Modi for giving a clean chit to China that considerably “weakened our negotiating position”. “Despite 21 rounds of military-level talks, Chinese troops continue to occupy Indian territory and deny Indian forces access to 26 out of 65 patrolling points, equivalent to an area of 2,000 square km, in eastern Ladakh,” the document says.

The BJP document promises “expanding Bharat’s defence footprint across strategic locations and partner with friendly countries”. The party said it would ensure robust infrastructure along borders. “We will accelerate development of robust infrastructure along the India-China, Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Myanmar borders,” party’s manifesto said.

The BJP said it had corrected the “grave error” of previous governments and started constructing roads, railway, telecom towers, optical fibre cables and electricity networks in border areas.

The Congress manifesto does a deep dive on policy-making, saying the National Security Council and the office of the National Security Adviser will be brought under the oversight of a select committee of Parliament. The Congress added that the Defence Minister’s “operational directive determines the Armed Forces’ war planning”. “The UPA government issued the last directive in 2009. The Congress will bring a new operational directive to deal with our current two-front (Pakistan and China) challenge, it party manifesto states.

“The Congress will institutionalise the process of appointing the Chief of Defence Staff to ensure transparency and military consensus,” it says.

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