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Role Of Indian Armed Forces Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 5446 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1. External security depends on national power which requires a continuous enhancement of country’s capacity to use its tangible and intangible resources in such a manner so as to affect the behavior of the other nations. A vibrant economy and a leading role in international affairs may be as important as a strong military for the preservation and development of national power. Power determines international relations.

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2. National security can be conceived of as the preservation of core values and vital interests critical to the nation-state from external and internal challenges. Challenges to national security and measures to meet these challenges would cover a wide spectrum ranging from political to economic to diplomatic to territorial to intellectual property rights to direct military issues. With increased globalization which necessitates greater international interaction, national security assumes greater importance to ensure a secure environment for economic development. This capacity will also depend on the nation’s ability to use defence as a foreign policy tool to neutralize threats to national security and enhance its own defence capability. The three key goals for Indian foreign policy identified by erstwhile Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon are, “Firstly, ensuring a peaceful periphery, secondly, relations with the major powers; and thirdly, issues of the future, namely food security, water, energy and environment”. In order to achieve these goals, it is imperative that conservation of resources is given prime importance. With advent of transnational and home grown terrorism there is tremendous strain on nation’s resources. Resources can best be conserved with eliminating or reducing the bane of terrorism.

3. The geographic location of the country is not an inconsequential factor in the development of sub conventional conflict in the country. Historically South Asia has been viewed as a region of protracted animosity. The region thus remains volatile and a threat to peace and stability in areas within and beyond. Needless to say, repetitive ethno religious problems in India, particularly in J & K, the Maoist insurgency expanding its roots, the problems in NE states coupled with pervasive crisis in Pakistan has put India in an unenviable neighbourhood [1] .

4. Modern diplomacy represents a complex set of skills, institutional and extra institutional international relations, which are not limited to formal contacts between representatives of governments of various countries, as opposed to traditional diplomacy [2] . Today’s diplomacy is taking place between the representatives of social associations, informal institutions, non-governmental organizations, intellectuals, analysts and researchers, than diplomacy between two or more ministries of foreign affairs, which is achieved through diplomatic missions in relevant states. This, however, is not the only characteristic of modern diplomacy, although it results in numerous other characteristics of diplomatic communication. Often termed as multi

track diplomacy, there are now numerous actors participating much more with their own new interests, access and ideas [3] .

5. One of the essential objectives of effective diplomacy is to prevent other states from combining against one’s own state. Diplomacy as a means to gain political objective will remain operative both during peace and war. Military diplomacy would cover all those defence related actions to further one’s national aims and objective. These actions could be unilateral, bilateral and multilateral; within or outside one’s national territory, with or even without consent of the other parties concerned. The benefit would primarily accrue to the initiator and any benefit to the other party or parties would be incidental. If the unilateral armed action is at one extreme of the spectrum then bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation would be other extreme of military diplomacy spectrum.

6. On the other hand sub conventional conflict, especially transnational terrorism has become the central security challenge of the post-cold war world, the defining moments of which were 9/11 in New York and 26/11 in Mumbai. Transnationalism is one of the primary causes for increase in political violence by varied groups, as a globalised interlinked world provides greater scope for getting support for disparate causes. It becomes imperative that one of the best tool of diplomacy, military, is utilized for countering the biggest threat to nations, transnational terrorism, for superlative results.

Statement of the Problem

7. The aim of the dissertation is to study and analyse the employment of military diplomacy to enhance global cooperation against sub conventional conflicts with specific reference to transnational terrorism and role of Indian Armed Forces in furthering own national interests.


8. The biggest impediment to Indian development and security is the sub conventional threat which in today’s world has advanced to a new spectrum of transnational terrorism. The bane of transnational terrorism can best be tackled with collective global effort and military diplomacy is the best tool to tackle the problem.

Justification of the Study

9. Sub Conventional Conflict. The problems of sub conventional conflict have been with India right from independence. Moreover, since last few decades this home grown terrorism has been overtaken by transnational terrorism with non-state actor from our neighbouring countries carrying out terrorist acts within borders of India. Increasingly, India wants to play a bigger role in fighting international terrorism. In present conditions, the logical choice for India is to join the fight against terrorism with use of its armed forces in diplomatic manner to ensure minimum strain on its resources and avoid stretching the already overstretched army.

10. Peacetime Military Diplomacy. Peacetime military diplomacy is an important constituent of the five basic channels of nation-to-nation contact between friendly governments, i.e., political, diplomatic, economic, cultural/social, and last but not the least, military.

11. India has an abiding stake in peace and stability in its neighbourhood for its long-term security and projection on the regional and eventually the world scene. One of the objectives of India’s foreign policy is the intensification and consolidation of ties with the neighbours and strengthening of peace and security in the region as a whole, through mutually beneficial cooperation.


12. Security related diplomacy is being carried out by various nations, not only with other nation states, but also with insurgent groups operating in their respective countries. In this dissertation, the scope would be limited to diplomacy between nation states to counter transnational terrorism.

13. A country is involved in diplomatic relations with almost with every other country. In international forum a country has to negotiate even with countries not even remotely concerned with a dispute to win over their support. Hence, military diplomacy concerning military to military cooperation with other countries and how this diplomacy is to be used as foreign policy tool to counter threat of terrorism would be taken up in this dissertation.

Sources of Data

14. The sources utilized in compiling this paper have been from DSSC library, books, journals, periodicals, research papers on the subject, lectures by guest speakers and internet research. Necessary bibliography has been enclosed in the dissertation at Appendix A.

Organisation of the Dissertation

15. The study has been divided into nine chapters. The main text is contained from chapter II to VIII, with chapters I and IX as the Introduction and Conclusion. The main aspects of the study covered in each chapter are enumerated in the succeeding paragraphs:-

(a) Chapter II : Environmental Scan. It focuses on emerging India, its global security challenges and methodology of securing its long term national interests.

(b) Chapter III : Transnational Terrorism(TT) Insights. To highlight that challenges of transnational terrorism have become varied ranging from surrogate criminal organizations, financial networks and use of information and cyber war tools for sustaining ideological support.

(c) Chapter IV : Components of Military Diplomacy. To highlight various methods the countries are adopting to create environment of peace and stability in their neighbourhood and across the globe through military diplomacy.

(d) Chapter V : Current Indian Approach to Military Diplomacy. An appraisal of the Indian efforts towards military diplomacy with respect to different countries.

(e) Chapter VI : Strategies to Counter TT. Strategies to counter terrorism in South Asia (in specific) with options available have been enunciated.

(f) Chapter VII : Analysis of Indian Approach to Military Diplomacy. Analysis of optimization of national military diplomatic ability on creating dedicated organizations and empowering them with policy guidelines, funding and authority to transact business.

(g) Chapter VIII : Road Map for India. Recommendations to optimize the military diplomacy have been elucidated.

(h) Chapter IX. Conclusion.



“It is a positive signal. But we cannot expect miracles”.

– AK Antony, Indian Defence Minister

On Indo-Pak Talks, May 2011

16. After disappointing itself for decades, India is now on the verge of becoming a great power. The world started to take notice of India’s rise when New Delhi signed a nuclear pact with former President George W Bush in 2005, but that breakthrough is only one dimension of the dramatic transformation of Indian foreign policy that has been in place since the end of the Cold War. After more than a half century of false starts and unrealized potential, India is now trying to emerge as the swing state in the global balance of power.

17. India’s growth has been acknowledged by the world as a peaceful development based on democratic institutions, a pluralist and tolerant polity that respects human rights and freedoms and is based on the rule of law. It is based on the principles of Panchsheel i.e., peaceful coexistence. As it rises, India has the potential to become a leading member of the “Globe” and to play a key role in the great political struggles of the next decades. India will be called upon for global public goods like protection of global commons, peacekeeping, peace building and environmental mitigation. [4] 

18. India’s grand strategy divides the world into three concentric circles. In the

first, which encompasses the ‘Immediate Neighbourhood’, India has sought primacy and a veto over the actions of outside powers. In the second, which encompasses the ‘Extended Neighbourhood’ stretching across Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral, India has sought to balance the influence of other powers and prevent them from undercutting its interests. In the third, which includes the entire global stage, India has tried to take its place as one of the great powers, a key player in international peace and security.

19. Even as the Kashmir and China questions have remained unsettled, India’s profile in its extended neighbourhood has grown considerably since the early 1990s. India’s outward economic orientation has allowed it to re-establish trade and investment linkages. New Delhi is negotiating a slew of free – and preferential – trade agreements with individual countries as well as multilateral bodies including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Southern African Development Community. Just as China has become the motor of economic growth in East Asia, a rising India could become the engine of economic integration in the Indian Ocean Region.

20. After decades of being marginalized from regional institutions in different parts of Asia, India is also now a preferred political partner of ASEAN, the East Asian Summit, the GCC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the African Union. Moreover, it has emerged as a major aid donor; having been an aid recipient for so long, India is now actively leveraging its own external assistance to promote trade as well as political objectives.

21. China’s Aggressive Defence Diplomacy. The year 2011 marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and also the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Foreign Liaison Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the predecessor of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Qian Lihua, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the MND of the PRC, during a special interview of the PLA Daily, said that after the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC, the focus of the Party and the country was shifted to economic construction. [5] The military diplomatic work of China established its guiding ideology which was subjected to and in service of China’s overall diplomacy and national defence and construction of military modernization.

22. The Chinese military diplomacy carried out the military strategic guideline of the new period and the pragmatic exchanges and cooperation kept expanding. The mutual trust and cooperation between the Chinese military and the militaries of its neighbouring countries were further enhanced. China has signed agreements with several countries on strengthening mutual trust in military field and established a series of defence consultation mechanisms. China for the first time sent its peacekeeping troops to participate in UN peacekeeping operations and strengthened professional exchanges with militaries of other countries, so as to learn from their advanced experience in such aspects as army building concept, organizational structure, personnel training, logistic support and equipment technology [6] .

23. China has strengthened strategic consultations and dialogues with major powers, consolidated and developed military exchanges with neighbouring countries and developing countries, actively participated in multilateral security dialogues and cooperation of the SCO and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), organized such foreign-related military actions as joint exercises and joint training, international rescue, maritime escort and UN peacekeeping, playing an important role in maintaining global and regional peace and stability.



“The expansion and sophistication of transnational crime represents one of the most dangerous threats we confront in the next millennium”.

– Rand Beers,

Under Secretary

Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs, USA

24. Transnational terrorism remains the defining security paradigm of the post modern era. Terrorism is increasingly becoming a weapon of choice for people, non-state actors as well as states on the political margins. [7] Thus when individuals and groups perceive that they are unlikely to gain justice in the prevailing socio political environment, they take to this form of organized violence, sometimes as a last resort. They justify violent behavior by lack of peaceful options for achieving socio-economic and political objectives.

25. It is expected that terrorism or fight against terrorism also termed as Sub Conventional Warfare is known to pursue and are not being explained in great details in the dissertation. The main problem of globalization of terrorism termed as transnational terrorism is being explained in this chapter.

26. Transnationalism is one of the primary causes for increase in political violence by varied groups, as a globalised interlinked World provides greater scope for getting

support for disparate causes. News of terrorist act in a remote corner in North East

India, an attempt to hijack an aircraft in the Middle East, a failed bomb attempted in New York City, an ambush on security forces in jungles of Central India or storming of the parliament building in Africa will spread instantly through television and internet news or social media at the local, national and global level. Information and communication channels not only provide greater visibility to terrorist groups but act as a medium to spread their ideology more rapidly and to a wider audience than ever before in human history.

27. The post-modern political organization has also transformed from state monopoly of all fields of human activity to growth of multiple groups designate commonly as non-state actors. A variety of factors such as porous border regimes and increased volume of trade moving in unchecked containers aids activities of these groups, as do strained and antagonistic inter-state relations.

28. Thus the phenomenon of nationalism and transnationalism has become self-supporting. Terrorists are increasingly assuming a hybrid character combining criminals and ideologies. They are unmindful of the illegal source of their money whether it is from crime or drugs. Challenges of transnational terrorism have thus become varied ranging from surrogate criminal organizations, financial networks and use of information and cyber war tools for sustaining ideological support. The “fused criminal-terrorist organization is a tie up with like-minded ideological movements thereby exploiting current capacities which are relevant for conduct of terrorist acts such as surveillance, money transfer, weapons and bombs purchase and assassinations. [8] 

29. India’s Vulnerability to Terrorism. India’s vulnerability or susceptibility to terrorism is denoted by a number of factors:-

(a) The geographic location of the country with a periphery of weak and

ungoverned states which have a huge youth bulge. These youth lacking in opportunities for education and employment are pushed into armed rebellion while steady growth of fundamentalism and extremism in this region over the past many decades has taken deep roots in the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan with a spillover of support in other parts of the countries attracts the young to join the rebels even as suicide bombers.

(b) India’s peninsular configuration with a long coast line makes surveillance challenging as there is a scope for infiltration from land while defending coastal areas takes considerable resources.

(c) Furthermore, India’s diversity in terms of ethnic composition, linguistic variety, religious multiplicity, caste legacy, regionalism and tribal divides are some of the socio political challenges faced by the state which can be exploited by an adversary to advantage.

(d) India’s political economy is another vector contributing to the growth of discontent leading to militancy and terrorism.

(e) All these challenges can be tackled by proactive governance. Yet governance remains a key deficit. The delivery to people is low with weak structural political and administrative problems.

30. Terrorism in South Asia. Post-modern terrorism is evolved from a number of socio-political and economic trends particularly in the developing World in South Asia. Broadly the waves and forms of terrorism today can be classified as anarchist, left wing, separatist or nationalist, religious fundamentalist, millenarian, as tool in militancy and finally the hybrid form combining one or more evident in a number of cases today. Each form of terrorism is geographically and situationally typical; however, core identification of the form of terror facilitates evolving counter strategies and is therefore essential to address the threat holistically, for terrorism is primarily a battle of ideas and therefore questioning the roots of philosophy that supports violence in the most viable foil against it. [9] The main forms of ideological support to terrorism in South Asia are as follows [10] :-

(a) India. Separatism, Sub Nationalism based on ethnicity, identity and historical legacy, Left Wing Extremism and Right Wing or Religious Fundamentalism and transnational terrorism.

(b) Pakistan. The Right Wing or Religious Fundamentalism, Separatism, Sub Nationalism based on ethnicity, sectarianism and International Extremism.

(c) Afghanistan. Right Wing or Religious Fundamentalism and International Extremism.

(d) Bangladesh. Right Wing or Religious Fundamentalism and Left Wing Extremism.

(e) Nepal. Left Wing Extremism.

(f) Sri Lanka. Separatism and Sub Nationalism based on ethnicity.

(g) Myanmar. Separatism and Sub Nationalism based on ethnicity and Left Wing Extremism.

31. Defining Transnational Terror. Joseph S Nyne Jr and Robert O Keohane noted foreign policy analysts denote transnational interactions involve movement of “tangible or intangible items across state boundaries when at least one actor is not an agent of a government or an international organization”. [11] Thus the basic definition of transnational terror would entail individuals or nationalities other that the home state influencing political activities of countries across borders by their acts.

32. Regulation of transnational fault line be it terrorism, crime, drugs, arms smuggling and others is weak and in many cases non-existent. The need for an international, regional or bilateral code and collective security mechanism particularly targeting malign actors is thus need for the hour.

33. Dynamics of Transnational Terror. The demand for transnational terrorism is created by various factors. These include ineffective or non-existent governance, thus promoting availability of infrastructure. Another major factor for transnational terrorism is ethnic and religious divergence and coagulation across borders is being exploited by base for terrorism. The ‘New Terrorism’ is characterized by global and amorphous nature, wide ranging motivation, innocent victims, more lethal attacks and diverse support systems [12] .

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34. Issues Providing Impetus to Transnational Terror. The influx of people in global world in terms of migration of people as well as availability of information in form of mass media; a cause adopted by a terrorist groups receives widespread support from those who have some linkages with the same but may be far away from the scene of violence. Fast communication media tools such as internet, web sites, blogs and social media tools provide terrorist groups ideal means to keep contact with a larger audience at very low cost. They use these tools to network, fertilize and form new groups, disseminate information to their operatives, collect funds, recruit and even provide limited training. [13] Social media can also achieve targeted penetration to reach out to like-minded groups and individuals facilitating exponential growth.

35. Easy availability and accessibility of internet has assisted in growth of self-

radicalisation. The EU TESAT Report for 2010 indicated that in October 2009, a 20 year old Lithuanian woman was influenced and converted to Islam after exposure to extremist propaganda on the internet and was apprehended on that way to Russia to commit suicide attacks. The web also helps in supporting the financial transactions to a great extent. [14] 

36. Another effect of globalization has been tremendous growth of news and proliferation of channels such as Al Jazeera, reporting sensational events. This has added a new dimension to the news reporting and in many ways encouraged growth of transnational activities particularly the deviant ones which are linked to politics get instant worldwide publicity. [15] 

37. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report 2010-11 explains transnational terrorism as; “the modus operandi of perpetrators or potential perpetrators of crime, particularly of those engaged in international terrorism, organized crime and illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs has evolved a change rapidly with the advancement of technology and has assumed a transnational and a global dimension” [16] .

38. The foreign migrant worker is another factor. Indian citizens working in foreign countries are extremely vulnerable to being lured by intelligence agencies of other countries which carry out talent spotting.

39. Intelligence Requirements. The biggest challenge today in fighting transnational terrorism is lack of intelligence. The main problem for intelligence agencies in collecting information of terrorist groups and non-state actors is that they are unstructured, lack shape, size or identity of a state or a military organisation. The problem is compounded by anonymity of target being attacked as transnational objects are without an identity and can be envisaged only as a generic profile.

40. Ajit Doval, former head of IB states that even National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of India is purely an investigating agency and does not bring us any closer to preventing a strike, thus becoming another stand alone non integrated platform [17] . Intelligence cooperation will only happen when states have a common interest in neutralizing the terrorist networks or are strong allies. The best way to overcome this trust deficit is to boost mutual trust and confidence.

41. It is amply clear from the above that normal strategies as being executed for countering terrorism will not work for transnational terrorism. A dynamic and fresh approach has to be identified and implemented for having any effect in efforts to counter transnational terrorism. Hence, there is a need for nations to collaborate closely at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels to tackle these terrorist outfits. A particular tool would be the augmentation of international cooperation [18] .



“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them to become what they are capable of being”.

– Johanan Wolfgang Von Goethe

German Diplomat (1749 – 1832)

42. Diplomacy is broadly defined as a country’s engagement and communication with foreign publics. It can take form of monologue, dialogue and/or collaboration. It has three main components – new management, strategic communication and relationship building – and encompasses the broad, interrelated objectives of promoting a country’s goals and politics, communicating about its ideas and values and building common understanding. Attempting to analyse all public diplomacy instruments would be an impossible task and out of preview of this dissertation. Here we would focus mainly on ‘Military Diplomacy’.

43. The Planning Commission’s “India Vision 2020” states that external security depends on national power which requires a continuous enhancement of the country’s capacity to use its tangible and intangible resources in such a manner as to affect the behavior of other nations. It goes on to state that a vibrant economy and a leading role in international affairs may be as important as a strong military for the preservation and development of national power. [19] The capacity of a nation to preserve and build lasting peace for all citizens will depend, in major part, on the

capability of its military to defend itself in the face of an external threat including threat of terrorism.

The Broad Concept of Military Diplomacy

44. Broadly military diplomacy concept revolves around the necessity of forces provided to meet the varied activities undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to dispel hostility, build and maintain trust and assist in development of armed forces of identified countries, thereby making a significant contribution to conflict prevention and resolution. The key point to note is that international cooperation as a tool against transnational terrorism requires focussed efforts beyond political rhetoric supported with political will of the nations involved [20] . There are numerous tools that are available to defence for building relationships and shaping the environment for international defence relations thus assisting in our fight against transnational terrorism. Some of these tools are high-profile, such as Ministerial and senior level visits, or major defence agreements and arrangements with key partners. Others can be less visible but no less important, including strategic policy engagement, personnel exchanges and training activities.

45. At one level, its importance in a changing environment and use for foreign and security policy purposes are recognized in principle, whereas, at another level, military diplomacy has become an overarching term for defence foreign relations. As a result, military diplomacy does not receive the recognition it deserves. Conceptually, this is less due to the precarious relationship between various foreign policy instruments and more to an underestimation of the nature, scope and utility of military diplomacy.

The Military and Diplomatic Instruments of Foreign Policy

46. Paradoxically, the concept ‘military diplomacy’ fuses two apparently incommensurable extremes, namely violent-coercive (armed force) and pacific-persuasive (diplomatic) means to pursue policy objectives. The ‘incommensurability’ originates from the traditional distinction between four c


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