Apprehensions that the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act would hurt the country’s federal structure were unfounded, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju suggested Monday. The move by the Centre is practically a U-turn on Narendra Modi’s stand as Gujarat Chief Minister who opposed the Act during the UPA-II government.
At a function to mark the NIA’s raising day at DRDO Bhawan in New Delhi, Rijiju said: “There were concerns that the NCTC and NIA would override states, but I think this debate is not based on a well-founded theory.”
Rijiju added that there was no need for India to adopt a hawkish foreign policy towards its neighbours. “We are naturally a soft power. But soft does not mean weak. We have to be firm and strong. Our apparatus should be strong,” he said. “India is destined to be a super power. If India has to rise as a global power, we need to rise above this obsession with Pakistan,” he added.
Earlier, delivering the second R V Raju Memorial Lecture — ‘Pakistan and Neighbourhood: A Hawkish Agenda’ — senior journalist Shekhar Gupta shared several anecdotes illustrating various aspects of India’s influence such as its intellectual capital, demography, and the democratic process through which governments change on its neighbouring countries. He suggested that India’s foreign policy should not be framed in a limited sense of a hawkish or dovish framework.
“Our neighbours always look at us. We can have a good influence on our neighbours, or a bad influence. There is no ready formulaic combination of hawkish and dovish policy that should be followed while dealing with our neighbours,” said Gupta. He said the prevalent mood on Pakistan, in which statements such as “If they behead one of ours, we will kill ten of theirs” were being made, was not the right approach. While narrating the NIA’s successes over the past six years, its Director Sharad Kumar said that the credibility attained by the agency in the eyes of the public was its biggest achievement so far.