The Modi Years – Bolstering National Security (Part 2)

The challenges posed by wanton malevolent forces, aimed at destabilising the growth and prosperity of our nation, are gross and gnarly. The fantastic growth story of culture and civilization of Bharat, has endured many such challenges throughout the history. The latest addition to that list are the modern day adverse challenges posed to us by enemies within and beyond our political borders. Cross-border terrorism and proxy warfare at the Kashmir borders, Illegal immigrants and demographic threats at Bengal border, Naxalites and left-wing terrorism within our borders and outer-space threats to national interests beyond our borders are the new gross challenges to our national security.

Diversity and multifariousness of our country is often seen as the strength of our society, while the reality may just disagree on certain points considering the dangers posed by the demographic changes. At this point of time, we may be standing at the most critical juncture of our national security in 21st century.

Demographic changes, proxy terrorism, radicalisation, illegal intrusions and fear of missing the bus for advanced modernised space warfare are the present day worries of Bharat, making this point of time a very critical juncture. How we handle this situation and get out of this difficult times, will shape the future of nation. We should prepare ourselves in the present for the possible challenges in the times ahead.

The precursory government’s inaction against the vindictive Breaking Bharat forces is haunting us till date. In previous regimes, anti-national elements were deliberately institutionalised in the mainstream to hurt the national interests of our nation. Anti-national forces carried forward their malignant and vengeful agenda smoothly for decades in the previous times. Still today in some of the states those forces are strong and are affecting the everyday life.

It is extremely important for the government to not let this deleterious forces become strong and dilute themselves in the mainstream. While at the same time, it is also important for the government to calculatingly carry forward the agenda of development and explore the possibilities of growth in areas unexplored in the past.

Here we will evaluate how has this government performed in handling National Security of the country.

Tackling Terrorism : From Beyond and Within

The burning question of the electoral agenda was who got the better of terrorism UPA Or NDA? Bharat faces gross terror challenges and has been a vocal criticizers of all kinds of terrorism, throughout the times. We have suffered the most from terrorism despite the fact that we have always stood as a peaceful responsible power. Several cross border terrorist organisations came into being with the motive of hurting the Bharatiya interests.

The series of terror attacks under the UPA including the September 2008 Delhi blast followed by heinous dastardly 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, instilled a feeling among the masses that UPA was weak on terror and was incompetent to handle dangers posed by terrorism. NDA emerged as an alternative to UPA’s weak anti-terror policies. And now it’s proven the alternative performed better.

The most volatile terror targets are populous cities and they have been targeted several times in UPA era. The eight most populous cities of our country (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune) were struck 18 times by terror attacks under UPA and during NDA the figure nosedived to just 01.

The average number of civilians killed due to terrorism under UPA rule was 757 which due to effective counter terrorism activities of this government decreased to 241. Registering a decrease of 516 casualties within a short period, considering the extent of terrorism, is laudable. However the situation has not changed much for the casualties of security personnel.

Overall the total number of both terrorist killed and security personnel martyred has come down, the ratio shown not much improvement standing at 2.77 Vs 2.58 (the ratio of number of terrorist killed to security personnel martyred). But, the average ratio of terrorists killed to civilians is 1.25 for UPA vs 2.01 for NDA. That is, regardless of whether you look at the absolute numbers or the ratio of terrorists killed per civilian, NDA outperforms UPA.

On handling the cross border terrorism, surely NDA has done better and more effective job.

Now, let us analyse the left-wing extremism or left-wing terrorism which, at one point of time, used to flourish inside our borders in the deep jungles of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The average number of civilians killed per year due to red terror during the UPA rule is 289 vs 114 of the NDA. The ratio of the left-wing terrorists killed to civilians during NDA is 1.47 vs 0.86 during UPA and suggests a clear positive break from the trend when looked at UPA 1 and 2, together.

Many regions which were suffering from excessive red terror activities like several districts of Maharashtra, North-Eastern region, Andhra, Telangana and parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are free from red terrorism. The government did splendid job in reducing left-wing terrorism in the north-east region. This achievement of this NDA rule is often neglected during the discussions.

Securing Through Outer Space

Outer space (region beyond earth’s atmosphere) is quickly emerging as the new potential battleground for the future battles. With hundreds of critical satellites, which transmits humongous size of data every second, the outer space is extremely significant for modern life on the planet.

Without those satellites, there would have been no internet, television, radio, information broadcasting and much more. Also in security interests the satellites are of paramount significance as they transmit all the critical details of geography and mapping, without whom winning the modern day war is impossible.

There only 4 nations in the world which are capable of fighting war in outer space namely United States of America, Russia, China and Bharat. The capability to destroy satellites in the outer space or in lower earth orbit (LEO) is called Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) weapon. While US and Russia (former USSR) developed A-SAT capabilities in the 1960s, it took almost 5 decades for any other nation to develop such capability when China tested it’s A-SAT in January 2007.

Bharat had developed it’s A-SAT capability back in April 2012. But the then government, the UPA government, lacked political will and decision taking capabilities, to carry out the test. Despite the fact it was clear that an ASAT test would bolster Bharat’s position if an international regime to control the proliferation of ASATs similar to NPT were to be established, UPA did not take the initiative to carry out the required test. This regime under Modi had different and pro-Bharat approach towards such critical issues. The programme to carry test was sanctioned by this government in 2017.

On 27 March 2019, Bharat announced the successful launch of the Bharat’s first ASAT. The interceptor was able to strike a test satellite at a 300-kilometre (186 mi) altitude in low earth orbit (LEO), thus successfully testing its ASAT missile. The interceptor was launched at around 05:40 UTC at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha and hit its target Microsat-R after 168 seconds. The operation was named Mission Shakti.

This test demonstrated the exceeding power of Bharat in the modern 21st century. And will be vital for securing national interests. During the time of war or while amidst countering advance adversaries like China, A-SAT capacity will turn out to be a gem of thing for the nation.

Another front of the outer space where the government has ensured security for the nation is development of NavIC. NavIC is Bharat’s own navigation system, an indigenous version of western GPS system. NavIC would provide accurate positional information to users within Bharat and catapult the country to a select league of nations with their own positioning systems.

Currently, the United States, Russia and the European Union possess their own navigational systems with China working on their Beidou Navigation Satellite System. The Bharatiya NavIC is expected to be better than GPS as it would provide a position accuracy of within five metres within the country in contrast to a 20-30 metre accuracy level demonstrated by the GPS.

Revamping National Security Architecture

This government has actively and consciously revamped the National Security architecture of Bharat – Three deputy national security advisers., a military adviser, reconstituted Strategic Policy Group, a dedicated think tank to monitor and assess China across the spectrum, formation of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC).

Additional budget for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). From a measly Rs 39.9 crore (actual expenditure) in 2016-17, NSCS budget was increased to Rs 333.58 crore in 2017-18. However, for the previous financial year (2018-19), there was slight decrease in allocation bringing it down to Rs 303.83 crore.

Another enhancement by the government was formation of Centre for Contemporary China Studies (CCCS), a MEA funded China specific think tank formed to study developments in China from Bharatiya perspective. Think tanks as CCCS will drastically improve Bharat’s capabilities in dealing with the international powers.

With the formation of Defence Planning Committee coupled with recent approval given by the Prime Minister for the formation of the three tri-services agencies—to create a joint structure for cyber, space, and special operations across the three armed forces—the new focus on restructuring the national security architecture has never been more intense.

The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done arduous works in securing the national interests of Bharat. Conscientious works have been done in revamping the gordian national security system of country. From tackling cross border terrorism and internal left-wing extremism to securing the outer space of Bharat, this government has surely outperformed, probably, every precursory governments.

There are still junk of dragging outdated issues in national security architecture that requires immediate reforms. But looking at government’s intentions it’s possible, hopefully, those issues will be addressed. Till now the government has blazed a trail and stands apart as a galloping horse from all previous governments.

(Featured image source)


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About the Author

Yogendra Thakur
A student and two time state topper in Astrophysics and Art of Lecturing. Primary focus areas are Indology and Economics.