Real threats to India internal, not China or Pakistan: Shivshankar Menon

By: PTI | Washington | Published:October 13, 2016 11:04 am
Shivshankar Menon, India, threats to India, internal threats to India, communal violence, China, Pakistan, India news, latest news, Indian express Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon. Express photo by Cheena Kapoor

The real threats to India are “internal” and emanate from communal and social violence, not from outside forces such as Pakistan or China, former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said.

Asked if Pakistan or China pose an existential threat to India, Menon said: “No”.

“In terms of national security, I think the real threats are internal,” he told PTI.

“There’s no existential threat to India’s existence today externally, unlike in the 50s or when we were formed. And for many years till late 60s there were actual internal separatist threats, not any more. I think that we have actual dealt with,” Menon said.

His long career in public service spans diplomacy, national security, and India’s relations with its neighbours and major global powers. Menon served as national security advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from January 2010 to May 2014.

Menon’s first book post retirement – ‘Choices: Inside the making of India’s Foreign Policy’ – is all set to hit book stores globally next week.

Asked to elaborate on what he meant by internal threats, he said: “If there are real threats to India, to the idea of India, India’s integrity, today they actually come from within the country.”

“If you look at violence in India, deaths from terrorism, from left wing extremism, declined steadily throughout this 21st century until 2014-2015. Even now the basic trend for terrorism, left wing extremism is down. What has increased is since 2012, communal violence, social violence, internal violence has increase. That is something we need to find a way in dealing with,” Menon said.

“This is not a traditional law and order problem, which our traditional instruments, the police, the states know how to deal with. You look at violence against women, communal, caste violence, if you look at those firms of violence, these are all a result of tremendous social and economic change of uprooting of population, urbanization… various forms of change, which we still need to learn how to deal with,” he said.

Menon said those are the threats, which in the long run, has a “potential to make real difference”.

“India has changed. It is normal. It happens to most societies where there is change. But you also have to learn new ways of dealing with,” he said and attributed the new threats to the rapid and fast development of the country.

When asked that some people attributed this to the BJP coming to power, Menon said even that is a consequence of the change that the Indian society is undergoing now.

Menon previously served as India’s foreign secretary from 2006 to 2009 and as ambassador and high commissioner to Israel from 1995-1997, Sri Lanka (1997-2000), China (2000-2003) and Pakistan (2003-2006).

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  1. R
    Oct 13, 2016 at 9:00 am
    This useless person warmed NSA chair for years and did almost nothing in terms of securing Indian interest and now he suddenly discovered internal violence but peaceful neighbors. Last decade is considered as lost decade for India on all fronts, he is one of the contributors to that loss.
    1. A
      Oct 13, 2016 at 9:55 am
      He is desperate to blame BJP while dealing with external threats of pak, china and cross boarder terror. He is the part of divisive politics. Not working for national Unity against threats
      1. V
        Vijaya Bhaskar
        Oct 13, 2016 at 8:16 am
        Today, there is a paradigm shift. India is not looking for 'stability and hence resolving issues affecting the stability'. Rather India is ambitious on Global Leadership and hence the Growth. Both strategies are different. Yesteryear's thoughts are only one part of today's bigger game plan and do not fully satisfy the present hunger for 'one upmanship'. Today's thoughts are 'to keep one foot on ground and use the second foot to search a higher pedestal'. It is 'Survival Strategy' vs 'Growth Strategy'
        1. B
          Bir Chilarai
          Oct 13, 2016 at 9:17 am
          This foolish babu should know that India and Indians, especially Hindus, have been and still are the most tolerant human beings for thousands of years and all so-called internal communal and social strife is manufactured externally to weaken India. We were cursed to suffer these s for over 50 years of our history since independence. Thank God they are gone forever. (Yes, they are really gone).
          1. c
            Dec 2, 2016 at 7:37 pm
            dear shankar, your views expressed herein are timely.i wish the establishment will listen to you and follow it up. regrds mahendran from sri lanka
            1. S
              Suruchi S
              Oct 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm
              What is wrong with him? Any external threat (China, stan or any other) is as real as any internal threat. To say only one is real is naive and outright foolish and to think this is coming from a former NSA...smh
              1. M
                Oct 14, 2016 at 9:10 am
                India must chase the Dragons away from the Himalayas and seal the Sino-Pak border in PoK. In 1950 when Mao kicked the meditating Lamas out of Tibet, Indians were in deep stupor after swallowing the Panchasheela tranquilizer administered by Mahatma and Cong politicians
                1. R
                  Oct 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm
                  Yes we have had our share of Mir Jafars, Jai Singhs and Jinnahs....The last one had ample istance from those who wanted to be rulers however small this undivided nation would become.... rest is history as they.
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