What Is India News Service
Tuesday, November 20, 2007


 Security Paradigm for India


The Defense & Security Issues faced by India are multi-pronged.  With terrorism being generated in and exported from the neighboring countries like Pakistan & Bangladesh, India has maintained a proactive position to curb this scourge. Being positioned in between Afghanistan and Myanmar (world's largest manufacturers of opium), drug trafficking and the related security implications on India's social fabric are quite real.  Additionally, there is the Kashmir issue with Pakistan, which promotes terrorist activities in the Indian State and other parts of the country.  Pakistan's intelligence organizations are also involved in training Maoists of Nepal and Islamic extremists of Bangladesh.  These armed groups enter India through the porous borders and mingle with the local Naxalites. The Water and River management with neighboring Nepal, Pakistan, China and Myanmar, also pose issues of security concerns.

India also has border disputes with China, though both the countries have resolved to move ahead in solving the same. Recently, the admission of Pakistan's top scientist, regarding the proliferation of nuclear technology, has caused much stirs in New Delhi's security plans, for the fear that Weapons of Mass Destruction could easily fall into the hands of terrorists.

The continuing presence of terrorist and fundamentalist forces in its neighborhood  has prompted India to maintain a high level of Defence vigilance and preparedness to face any challenge to its security. The country faces a series of low intensity conflicts characterized by tribal, ethnic and left wing movements and ideologies as also the proxy war conducted by Pakistan and various radical jehadi outfits through the instrumentality of terrorism. India is also affected by the trafficking in drugs and proliferation of small arms and the fact that it is surrounded by two neighbors with nuclear weapons and missiles and history of past aggressions and war.

The basic responsibility of the Army is to safeguard the territorial integrity of the nation against external aggression. Due to the country’s long borders encompassing different geographical and climatic conditions such as desert terrain on the west, snow-covered mountains in the north and thick rainfed mountainous jungles in the east. Demands on the Army have increased manifold due to continuous deployment of its forces in intense counter insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and the North East parts of the country. To achieve these objectives, the Army has to be constantly modernized, suitably structured, equipped and trained. 

Indian Navy embarked upon a programme for indigenous construction of ships and development of major sub systems, sensors and weapon systems with the help of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). The Coast Guard (CG) was set up as an Armed Force of the Union in 1978 on recommendations of Rustamji Committee for preservation and protection of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) today, having completed more than six decades of dedicated service to the nation. In addition to the traditional wartime roles of the IAF of counter air, counter surface, strategic and combat support operations, the Air Force has provided significant aid to civil authorities during natural calamities. The Siachen glacier lifeline continues to be monitored by the Indian Air Force, fully supporting the Indian Army in fighting on the world’s highest battlefield.

The 78 km long Siachin glacier is hemmed in between the Saltoro ridge line to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east.  The Saltoro ridge originates from the Sia Kangri in the Karakoram range and the altitudes range from 18,000 to 24,000 ft.  The major passes on this ridge are Sia La at 20,000 ft and Bila Fond La at 19,000 ft. 

Presently India holds two-thirds of glacier and commands two of the three passes.  Pakistan controls Gyong La pass that overlooks the Shyok and Nubra river Valley and India's access to Leh district.  Indian imperatives are that if Pakistan is allowed to control the glacier, it would endanger the security of Ladakh and also of Jammu & Kashmir.  With Chinese already in control of Aksai Chin, it is argued that the whole of northern Ladakh would be imperiled if Pakistan is allowed unfettered movement through Siachen. 

In long-term perspective, Indian strategists also feel that this Himalayan watershed can yield it access to resource rich Central Asian republics through the Afghan panhandle.

Of and on Pakistan activates Siachen prior to any formal talks with India and links Siachen to the Kashmir issue.  Its purpose being to focus the 'core' issue of Kashmir.  By making key Siachen as a potential flash point, especially now in a nuclear environment, it seeks third party intervention in its favor.


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