Absence Of White Papers Or Government Policies Politics

Essay add: 11-01-2017, 20:53   /   Views: 45

In some democratic countries, governments issue white papers or analogous documents from time to time outlining their assessments of the international situation, their long term goals and objectives and the strategy to adopt. These are debated in the Parliament media and academic institution. This process receives national consensus on foreign policies. And, so there is a continuous process of updating data, reviewing their assessments, and developing mid-course corrections. All this may not contribute to the correct perspective, but it does provide a coherent policy and ability to correct mistakes and above all an overall national capability to clearly articulate perceptions, goals and objectives of the nation. [] 

But in India, inspite of our democracy functioning for nearly six decades, there is no system of government coming out with white papers and documents, sharing its assessments, spelling out our goals and objectives and our polices to achieve them. In the absence of clearly formulated policies, other nations are likely to interpret our intentions in worst case scenarios. [] The glaring examples are the expansion of the navy and the air force and the nuclear policy.

The absence of any official document makes it difficult to quote and support our arguments. The annual reports of the various ministries give statistics of the year, brief achievements of the previous and present year. However, they do not give any vision and mission statement and valuable input for formulating long term and short term policy for planning or for formulating foreign policies.

The minister's speech in the parliament too does not give any precise formulated policy inputs but, only replies to the questions raised by the members. Absence of any well formulated government policies and relevant documentation, is often seen as a hurdle in the decision making process. In the absence of a base for understanding, the matter is perceived differently by our politicians, bureaucrats, academia and media persons. Thereby exposing the system to the vulnerability of exposure and exploitations.

Why? any reason for para 4 & 5

During the submission of annual reports, the services in US have think tanks that employ qualified analyst to help present a case for specific programme optimally. And to deal with such sophisticated presentation, the various congressional committees, too, hire highly qualified analysts on their staff. Thus the congressional debate develops an enormous information output and analysis in US. [] 

Decision Making in Security Issues

The word security means 'degree of protection against damage to men, material and state'. Needless to say in the present context security does not limit to the defence or the preservation of the country's territorial integrity, but also encompasses population, health, development, energy, and environmental factors.

Security Policy against Threat from Terrorist and Insurgents

India has been facing acts of terrorism from Islamic extremist organisations operating from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir. It has also been facing armed threats from Maoists and Naxalites Revolutionary Groups operating in Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and in Chhattisgarh. [] 

The failure to tackle the Islamic radicals in India and abroad has been largely due to the minority cards played by the political leaders and the fear of alienating the Islamic countries whose co-operation are required for maintaining stability in the region and for meeting our energy demands. The lack of Indian strategy in combating terrorism has resulted in a loss of invaluable lives and resources, which could have helped in the development of the respective states. Therefore, there is a need to clearly state our policies in combating terror originating from Indian as well as foreign soil.

Regional Security / Security in the Neighborhood

Indian has dynamic neighbors in the form of dictatorial regimes to democracy. The instability infused in the region due to terrorism and fundamental radicalism has resulted in these states remaining underdeveloped and a problem for stability in the region. The increasing Chinese presence in the countries in our immediate and maritime neighborhood is a constant source of worry for security in the region. Therefore a dynamic strategy needs to be evolved to improve our influence in this region to counter the growing Chinese influence. There is also a need to develop strategy to take the neighboring states into confidence of our moves by seeking measures for their development, having a dialogue and memorandum of understanding so that their sovereignty is not threatened.

Security Policy for Open Economy and Free Market

In the present world order, with an open economy and free market, there is an increasing movement of foreign goods, people and money in the Indian and world market leading to a widespread multi-culturism in a unipolar world. Therefore, India's security problems in the times to come will be different from those of the past decades.

Energy Security and Interest

India is the sixth highest energy consumer in the world, and with its economy growing at an annual rate of around 8%, its consumption is likely to increase further. While the Indian hulls carry 14% of the total Indian cargo. Of this amount, oil accounts for approximately 95% of the cargo. As per 2004-2005 statistics, 77% of the crude oil was imported and the balance 23% was sourced from domestic production. Besides private companies, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has made substantial investments abroad, by entering into Joint Ventures (JVs) with the oil companies of other countries to acquire varying percentages of Participating Interests (PI) in those projects. [] 

A strategy for the Security of Energy needs to be worked out at the domestic and international level for ensuring a safety and security of energy assets in the overseas joint ventures, littoral, the energy SLOCs, transportation in Indian hull and onshore storage cum-distribution networks. This would involve creation of assets to increase surveillance, protection of these assets, transportation in Indian Hull and deployment of forces safety and security during crisis.

There is a symbiotic relation between the security and economic development. When a nation cannot assure its basic security needed for peaceful pursuit of commerce and industry, no foreign investor would invest in the country. [] 

Government and Security IssuesSource?

In India, the government does not have a tradition of getting the security issues examined by an expert panel and issuing policy documents on that basis. In some of the developing and developed countries, the countries security scenarios would be entrusted to a high powered group, not bogged down by day to day work in the government but from outside with the expertise in the subject and in a position to devout themselves whole time to come out with a study in a short time. [] 

Once a report on security subject is issued, all the decision makers, media persons, academician, and the entire bureaucracy have a common line on policy. In the absence of such a tradition in India, politicians, bureaucrats, media persons and academics will interpret policy according to their understanding and make their own decisions.

The absence of strategic culture has resulted in failure of successive government to develop an overall assessment of the internal and external security, and formulate a coherent philosophies for long term security policies.

Lack Of Structured Decision Making

In the absence of a tradition where in the ruling party takes leaders of the other parties into confidence and keeps them informed of all the major decision and moves in the foreign and defence policies. There is no structured decision making in these matters. At the highest bureaucratic levels, the decision making is compartmentalized so that no bureaucrat has a complete overview. The strategy of decision making has no doubt ensured that our adversaries are kept in the dark: but also our bureaucrats and politicians. Thus there is belief and a risk of the outgoing politician and bureaucrats not handing over a complete picture to the successor. As a result there is risk of the new politician and the bureaucrat assuming office with no background and knowledge of the foreign and security affairs.

All governments, irrespective of the party, on assuming office shapes their defence policies based on the recommendation of the Chiefs of Staff and the foreign policies based on the threat, security, and economic issue. These policies are based on the assessed threats and are invariably short term. [] Once, these top chair holders leave office, the system reverts to normal business and a new cycle starts. Thus there is a need for simultaneous alternative defence policies by another set of learned people with the views of the world and long term assessments of how our security environment would develop.

May not be correctGovernment and Think-Tanks

Until recently, the government had no time for the think- tanks, university, and the media persons who carry out policy studies that should become an input for the government policy. Whereas, in US and other countries, such a institutions wield a considerable influence in the policymaking. The US intelligence organizations contracts studies to universities and think-tanks and they are further processed by analysts of the intelligence organizations.

The enormous resistance offered by the politicians and bureaucrats was because of the illusion that they knew more about the overall Indian foreign and security policies than the think-tank people and the academician in India. The political leaders would often listen to the advice of the western strategist, but would not engage in the serious discussion with the Indian thinkers on the subject. In addition to avoiding our thinkers, our policy makers also lacked the confidence to allow our think-tanks to interact with their western counterpart. This style of leadership resulted in the politicians being manipulated by the western strategic community to promote their ideas.

A sense of insecurity?Institutionalised Training - Need for the Hour

The Hon'ble Raksha Mantri, while presiding at foundation stone laying ceremony of the IDSA's institutional complex rightly remarked, "While governments have certain responsibilities to discharge, it is the role of academic and analyst - what is referred to as Track II constituency - to provide rigorously analysed inputs on matters pertaining to national security."

A number of institutions have been known to be working on the issues of national strategy and policy. But there is a need to integrate these institutions and work concurrently on issues to integrate our strategic thinking process and evolve coherent workable policies while stating our 'Grand Strategy'.

There is a need to nurture private think tanks to obtain unbiased and smart inputs on strategic matters. [] Most of the matters pertaining to 'strategic thinking in India' quote foreign authors and their work. While referring to foreigner's studies, it should be kept in mind the terms of reference of these foreign authors is their country's national interest. Hence, one should not get into a biased in forming opinion of an article.

Unlike the professionals in the military and bureaucrats, who have institutionalized training and capsules in their professions, the politicians occupy a chair that would give them power and serve their political career and interest. Therefore, it would be in the interest of the nation to have institutionalized capsules to give them clear guidelines and perspective of the functioning of the portfolios they are to hold. While, it would add to the exchequer, a method of double banking would ensure that the incumbant is clear about the decisions making process, decisions taken by his predecessor and unresolved issues that need to be addressed. This would enable policymaker to set up mechanisms in place now so that in the country benefits in terms of its security concerns.

Developing of Strategic Thought Process

For the country to start formulating its policies, it requires greater interaction between the governments, ie the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the academia institution. These policies could be extended to the private sectors to take full advantage of the changing international political climate for trade and technological purpose. To formulate such policies it is essential that:-

The political leaders devout full time to national security and formulating policies on defence, foreign, internal, external threat.

The leadership should create an institution with competent people for formulating policies than with create one with adhochism.

In a fast changing world, to have a rightful place in the international community, it is important to have all our policy matters addresses by a thorough professional.

More academic policy research institutions needs to be sponsored and a orientation course for the higher level military and foreign service officers needs to be organized.

There is a need to set up a college of strategic studies so that the younger generation is well prepared to work out security challenges of the future. At the university level, the quality of instruction in political science, international relations, and defense studies need to be improved. More studies and quality research should be encouraged.

The Armed forces should facilitate some of their brightest and up-coming officers to acquire high academic qualification. This would help many of the retired senior officials to occupy chairs in the universities and academic research institutions. This would also help the ex-servicemen to develop a culture for researching on alternative defence policies and lobby for them with the politicians.

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