Lines of defence

For a country like India,surrounded by hostile neighbours,it’s not a matter of choice but a necessity to possess a powerful and credible line of defence...

Published:January 20, 2009 4:18 am

Shekhar Gupta’s ‘No first-use options’ (IE,January 17) makes a good point. For a country like India,surrounded by hostile neighbours,it’s not a matter of choice but a necessity to possess a powerful and credible line of defence. Apart from the security angle,the very presence of a strong and technologically up-to-date armed force acts as a deterrent. We should indeed focus on peace but that should not be perceived by the world as a sign of our military weakness and lack of combat readiness.                                               

— Pranav Mahajan Jammu

The declaration of a no-first-use commitment in the perpetually hostile climate of the subcontinent places us in a very frightening situation. Our political leaders have let us down and the media should share part of the blame. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes had realised the appalling conditions the jawans serve under,following which he had initiated an inquiry into much needed changes. However,while subsequent scandals consumed him,his initiatives too,unfortunately,got shelved. 

— Yogesh Ashar Pune

Confidence first

This refers to Shekhar Gupta’s ‘No first-use options’. India’s voluntary declaration of a nuclear test moratorium and a no-first-use nuke policy is not connected to its capacity of deterrence. They are separate issues,although they emerge from one factor: India’s nuclear policy is based on its longstanding desire to ensure regional and global peace and stability. This may guide our policy of conventional warfare as well. Most wars are not won by weapons alone,but rather through superior strategy and higher levels of confidence amongst the victors. Post-Mumbai India needs better strategising and a boost of confidence.

— Sarath S. Pillai New Delhi

Home thruths

I write in response to ‘Miliband says settle Kashmir to shut out terror…’ (IE,January 16). Wouldn’t David Miliband be irritated if Pranab Mukherjee were to tell him or his government what to do and how pertaining to British foreign and domestic policy? Western powers have long believed that they know South Asia better than the region knows itself,that they,for instance,know India’s Kashmir problem better than India does. Indeed,what better handle would they have found than Kashmir to manipulate India and Pakistan,and then be able to exercise surrogate control over the entire region?

— Vivek Khanna Panchkula

On our own

In the editorial ‘Keep looking west’ (IE, January 16 ),you have rightly observed that India has to decide its own policy and fix its priorities,without letting anybody forget for a moment about November 26,2008. In the present situation,it is hoping against hope to see positive contours develop from US pressure on Pakistan. Ever the Mumbai attacks,India has been trying to bring together the international community against the Pakistani establishment. But ultimately,we have to fight our own battles.

— Dilbag Rai Chandigarh

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