Using the Quad and Malabar templates, a shore-based secretariat can be established in a central location like Port Blair, in the Andaman Islands, which would schedule and conduct periodic multinational naval exercises.
The time for ambivalence is over and while India will have to fight its own territorial battles with determination, this is the moment to seek external balancing. It is also time to seek an enlargement of this grouping into a partnership of the like-minded.
At the strategic level, the government must moot a sustained process of engagement with China at the highest politico-diplomatic echelons. The negotiations should seek multi-dimensional Sino-Indian modus-vivendi; encompassing the full gamut of bilateral issues like trade, territorial disputes, border-management and security.
Will the nation not be immeasurably strengthened if we retain sharp focus on enhancing internal cohesion through assimilation, inclusivity and maintenance of domestic harmony — and above all, on economic development?
The past five years have seen the last vestiges of the Nehruvian legacy being progressively swept away. Conclusive proof of this came when the present government ordered retaliatory raids, in peace time, on Pakistani soil.
India will soon have a newly-elected government in place. But as far as national security goes, all party manifestos appear equally insipid and unfocused, confirming fears that the recent hoopla about security was superficial and election-driven.
Absent a “Kashmir Strategy” in New Delhi, the army’s sacrifices to establish peace in the Valley have been in vain because a venal political class has never risen to the occasion to restore a functional civil administration.
We remain deficient in intelligence-analysis, inter-agency coordination, and, above all, a national security doctrine. Having created an elaborate national security framework, post Pokhran II, India has strangely shied away from promulgating a doctrine.