When it comes to national security realism should trump jingoism: Congress MP Manish Tewari

Source : Hindustan Times

When it comes to national security realism should trump jingoism: Congress MP Manish Tewari
Congress Leader and Member of Parliament Mr. Manish Tewari (File Photo)

Senior Congress leader and Sri Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari on Tuesday said it was high-time that Indian political parties analysed national security with realism and humility as opposed to jingoism.

Tewari, who was speaking at the launch of his latest book, ‘10 Flashpoints; 20 Years National Security Situations That Impacted India’, at Sector 10, Chandigarh, said, “Over the past 70 years, we have not been able to leave behind the legacy of Partition, and resolve the unsettled borders with China. In order to prosper, we need a political modus operandi with both Pakistan and China, which is not simply a tactical response to an evolving and unfolding situation, as has been seen so far.”

Asserting that India will never be able to get to the level it deserves until South Asia was integrated, he said, “Our national security expenditure, and our threats do not match. We either need to dramatically increase the national security expenditure or reduce the threats to our national security.”

‘China has 5:1 power differential’

On Chinese influence in South Asia, Tewari said, “In the last 30 years, China has worked on its defense, and infrastructure so it has a power differential of 5:1 with all its neighbours. The Chinese have settled most of their territorial disputes, barring India, and some maritime disputes. It is this power differential, which has given China the confidence to settle disputes on its terms. We need 30 years of peace to match up to China.”

The former union minister, who specializes in strategic affairs, said, “The humiliation of 1971 has become a part of Pakistan’s institutional psyche. India should have given a more kinetic response to Pakistan in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as the incident was not a flash in the pan. Many bombings had taken place across the country.”

Govt obfuscating standoff in Ladakh: Tewari

The MP also slammed the government for trying brush the 20-month standoff with China in Ladakh under the carpet. “The government is trying to obfuscate matters. Not a single debate has been held in the Parliament, nor has the government said anything about the expenditure incurred,” said Tewari.

Asked about India’s no first-use policy pertaining to nuclear weapons, Tewari said the policy has been instrumental in establishing India’s reputation as a responsible global power, and that there was no saying what happened when a push came to a shove.

“A first-use policy is anyway an extremely expensive position to assume. We don’t have the wherewithal to implement it as the risk of an accident is large.”

Tewari, who had moved a private member’s bill seeking to bring intelligence agencies under a regulatory framework, said, “The collection, coalition, analysis, analysis of intelligence takes place in silos, which weakens security. A similar debate was seen after the blast at the Ludhiana court complex, where intelligence agencies said they had warned the authorities.”

Saying that “Tewari hits his boundaries with a straight bat”, former chief of army staff general VP Malik mostly agreed with Tewari’s assessment of the national security situation. “India was no way close to China in terms of “comprehensive power”, which not only means military power, but economic power as well. We need to analyse intelligence correctly so as to be able to check security threats.”

The book was introduced to the audience by former IAS officer Vivek Atrey who said that India had to go beyond ‘retail politics’ to think in the long-term when it comes to foreign policy.

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