The BJP motto “Ek Bharat - Shreshtha Bharat,” and the defining slogan for its 2014 Elections Manifesto, “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” sum up the guiding vision. The manifesto’s publication on the 7th of April was followed by many analyses. For Pakistan in particular, the manifesto’s sections on national security, counterterrorism, internal security, external security, defence production, are things to ponder about, and are reproduced below. Sections on the independent nuclear security programme and foreign relations will follow.

While intrusions inside the LAC (Line of Actual Control) are mentioned, Pakistan is named only once, alleging the increase of Pakistan backed terror groups in India. Strengthening civil defence, home guards and national cadet schemes will enhance civic capacity for community defence, self-defence and disaster management, and seek to expand to the national level, the traditional training imparted to activist party cadres. By comparison in Pakistan, the concept of compensating for a smaller army by compulsory training of a call up reserve as done in Egypt, Turkey, South Korea and elsewhere has never appealed to our military planners and strategists.

The BJP expresses dissatisfaction with border management, though successive governments have fenced the international border with Pakistan and the LoC which is in violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir. In Pakistan we have only installed a wire fence on 50km of our 2560 km international border with Afghanistan, despite a policy pronouncement in January 2007 to selectively mine and fence it. On the shorter border with Iran, it is the Iranians racing to complete a deep ditch and supporting fence. The manifesto stresses that talks with the insurgent groups will be conditional and within the framework of the constitution. In defence production the Indian existing offset policy for partly paying for arms through Indian goods is worth studying as is the manifesto’s objective to maximize technology transfer in defence manufacturing. In our case, the technology transfer and substitution curve is doing well for the F-22P Frigates but needs to be speeded up for F-7 fighter planes and other such projects.

The following text is from the BJP Manifesto, to inform readers of the manifesto content in the context of internal and external security.

Secure Indians - Zero Tolerance on Terrorism, Extremism and Crime

Comprehensive national security is not just about borders, but in its broad terms includes military security, economic security, cyber security, energy, food, water and health security, and social cohesion and harmony. To effectively address the issues of national security, we need to address the issues of human resources, science and technology, systems of governance and money.

National security cannot be compartmentalized based on one issue but needs a clear roadmap to address it. Over the past decade, the lack of a strong and visionary leadership coupled with multiple power centres, has failed to address the issue of national security, leading to a chaotic situation and denting India’s image in the international arena.

India has a sensitive neighbourhood and there are internal security issues. There have been intrusions inside the LAC (Line of actual control), loss of squadrons of combat aircraft by the air force, witnessing a series of accidents by the Navy, a loss in its combating capability, communal riots, Maoist attacks, an increase in the incidence of Pakistan backed terror groups in India, illegal immigration across the eastern border, and racists’ attacks in the national capital. All these are indications of the surrendering of India’s interest. This calls for a review and overhauling of the current system. With the financial situation worsening, the issue of national security can acquire a horrifying dimension.

BJP recognizes the importance of identifying a clear roadmap to address the issue head-on, with radical systemic changes.

Internal Security

BJP will revive the anti-terror mechanism that has been dismantled by the Congress, strengthen the role of NIA and put a system in place for swift and fair trial of terror related cases. It seeks to reform the National Security Council to make it the hub of all sector-related assessments. It will be accountable for real-time intelligence dissemination. Digital and Cyber security will be a thrust area. It will insulate intelligence agencies from political intervention and interference, and completely revamp the intelligence gathering system by modernizing the intelligence department. It will provide the state governments with assistance to modernize their respective police forces and equip them with the latest technology. This will be taken up on a mission mode approach.

The BJP will encourage and strengthen NCC training at the college and University level and chalk a national plan in consultation and participation of the state governments to address the challenges posed by the Maoist insurgency. Talks with the insurgent groups will be conditional and within the framework of the constitution. The BJP also promises to take urgent steps for the safety of the migrant workers and communities from the Northeast and other states.

External Security - Its Boundary, Beauty and Bounty

The BJP will address the issue of reforms with regards to defence equipment, support services, organizational reforms and other related matters. It will address the increasing shortage of commissioned and non-commissioned staff in the defence forces on a priority basis in a time bound manner. It will implement one rank, one pension and build a War Memorial to recognize and honour the gallantry of soldiers. Measures will be taken to make Short Service Commission more attractive. It will set up the National Maritime Authority which will be equipped with the best of infrastructure, and focus on coastal security. It will modernize the armed forces, and increase the R&D in defence, with the goal of developing indigenous defence technologies and fast tracking of defence purchases. It seeks to deal with cross border terrorism with a firm hand, to review and improve border management and introduce punitive measures to check illegal immigration. It will set up four dedicated defence universities to meet the shortage of manpower, and appoint a Veterans Commission to address the grievances of veterans. The BJP seeks to ensure greater participation of the armed Forces in the decision-making process of the Ministry of Defence, implement measures to improve the efficiency of Armed Forces Tribunals, and minimize appeals by the Government. Additionally, it will ensure that servicemen can register and vote from their place of posting and initiate the process of digitization of defence land in the cantonment and other places.

Defence Production

With its skilled human resources and technical talent, India can emerge as a global platform for defence hardware manufacture and software production. BJP will strengthen the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), encourage private sector participation and investment, including FDI in selected defence industries. Technology transfer in defence manufacturing will be encouraged to the maximum. The BJP looks to find solutions to the problems hampering the growth of the defence sector, encourage domestic industry to have a larger share in design and production of military hardware and platforms for both domestic use and exports, in a competitive environment.

The writer is a former Pakistani diplomat.

Email:ambassador.tariqosmanhyder@gmail.com