Praful Bidwai, speaking in September 2013 on the need to reduce the power of military and militarism in India. (Audio recoding via sacw.net audio archive)
Tag - Militarisation
''Militant-nationalist euphoria is invariably conjured up whenever India conducts a seemingly sophisticated scientific experiment or makes lethal bombs, missiles or submarines. India’s entry into a supposedly “select” or “exclusive” high-technology “club” is uncritically celebrated, although the club’s members are willing to rain mass death upon innocent civilians—as are all nuclear weapons-states—or seek a figleaf of legitimacy to cover up heinous crimes against their own citizens. ''
Indians have long, and rightly, taken pride in the robustness and durability of their country’s democracy (interrupted only during the Emergency), and the relatively apolitical nature of its armed forces. India stands in sharp contrast to many Third World countries where the military has meddled in politics, or defied and suborned the civilian leadership, or directly usurped power. However, recent disclosures of former army chief VK Singh’s shenanigans, as well as other developments pertaining to tensions between the army and civilian-political leadership, demand a severe revision of this complacent assumption—and some urgent corrective action.
Glowing tributes have been lavished on Brajesh Mishra, the former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and National Security Adviser (NSA) who died last week, mourning him as a visionary and statesman. Any death is a human tragedy to be mourned. But amidst the deluge of eulogies about Mishra’s “steely determination”, conceptual clarity, and his “guile” coupled with “generosity”, it must not be forgotten that he was pivotal to bringing about far-reaching but questionable shifts in India’s security and foreign policy stances and forging a hard-line national security apparatus.