The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Neighbour pangs in crystal ball

New Delhi, Dec 7: A Vision 2020 document drafted for the Prime Minister by a multi-disciplinary team of top-notch planners says the increasing economic and military might of neighbour China will pose a serious threat to security and indicates that the fundamental ideological conflict between India and Pakistan is unlikely to be resolved, 18 years hence.

Territorial disputes with neighbours are also not expected to be resolved totally. India, is consequently advised to take “adequate measures to fortify its own strengths”.

Internationally, the Vision statement predicts India will gravitate from a state-centred competitive security paradigm to a cooperative security paradigm, which would imply that India will join regional or global defence pacts which suit her and do not compromise her interests vis-a-vis her neighbours.

The Prime Minister is advised to check religious extremism and radical politics as this will have an adverse impact on national security.

The report states that the strategy for national security will actually depend on the secular democratic values of society.

It argues that while it is inevitable that rapid social, economic, technological and political developments would cause internal turbulence, it is essential that this be “managed and confined” within India’s limits so that the nation’s transformation is permitted to continue. The document implicitly states that if internal conflicts are allowed to fester, it will encourage further foreign interventions, which could change India’s security scenario drastically.

In an obvious reference to the conflict in Kashmir and the riots in Gujarat, it clearly states that the “capacity to build lasting peace for Indians will depend... on the determination of our political leaders to remove injustices” and adds that “ a positive strategy for national security must reinforce secular and democratic values”.

The team which drafted the 145-page document had defence experts in its numbers, including Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (retd), the chief of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Analysis (IDSA).

The report says besides beefing up military potential, India will have to reinforce its economy and play a “leading” or more pro-active role in international affairs to project and preserve its national power.

It also forecasts that global order is likely to evolve into a “poly-centrist configuration with the centre of gravity shifting increasingly to Asia, which will include seven out of the 10 largest economies and six out of eight nuclear weapon states”.

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