By PG KAMATH
India has a bicameral democracy with the PM as its executive head. Unlike in a Presidential system, he is not able to take experts in various fields as ministers in the cabinet. They have to come through the legislature route either from Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. The latter is considered a backdoor entry to the treasury bench; notorious among them was the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had the temerity to be the executive head of our country for a decade and undermined his high office, by abdicating his authority to an Indian national of a foreign origin? He, thus surrendered his Constitutional authority, solely to be in the front seat, so that the Signora can do the safe backseat driving.
Coming to the specifics, Indian politicians have always been naive on strategic issues. Can any of those in power define what is India’s national interest? What are our strategic goals? How do we use our instruments of national power to achieve our strategic goals? Do we aspire to be a global power? If so: what is our time line? What are our interim goals to reach our ultimate strategic goals? Do we have a game plan for our food security, energy security, maritime security, environmental security, cyber security, space security, water security, demographic security; our people should not get subverted by anti-national ideologies, internal security and lastly external security? What should be our area of interest, where and how should we exercise our influence? Is it in immediate neighbourhood? Or; does it include the extended neighbourhood? Our maritime dominance should cover which areas of Indian and Pacific Oceans? Who are our adversaries? Do we have a national security doctrine? What military capacity should we empower ourselves to meet the combined might of our adversaries in two front scenario? What should be the strength of our armed forces? Having ignominious tittle of being the world’s largest importer of arms; it flies on our face when we talk of strategic autonomy. What would happen if these countries do not give us a continuous supply of arms and ammunition in war? Don’t we have to kowtow to them in crises? What happened during the peak of Kargil war; Defence Ministry officials with begging bowls in hand were scouring suppliers in Russia, Israel and South Africa for Bofors ammunition? Indeed! They are obstreperous and livid to talk of our defence preparations; saying “ We are prepared to give a befitting reply to our adversary, who dares cast their evil eyes on us”? What a rhetoric to feast the gullible? How the population in general and press in particular lap it up with unrestrained national pride and glee? The opposition, who are equally naive, would also let go the statement without any discussion; as one need to have some rudimentary knowledge on the subject to engage in a discussion? Best option is to make no statement; as someone said “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than open ones mouth and remove all doubts”.