Friday, 1 July, 2022
HomeOpinionIf China-Pakistan came to peace table, BJP's failed national security strategy helped...

If China-Pakistan came to peace table, BJP’s failed national security strategy helped too

There should be no doubt that the flawed national security strategy pursued by India over the last seven years requires a course correction. It seems Modi govt has decided to do it now.

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In just a matter of a fortnight, India’s national security strategy and foreign policy has taken a 180-degree turn with respect to its two belligerent neighbours — China and Pakistan. The beginning of the disengagement process on 10 February marked a thaw in the 11-month-long crisis in eastern Ladakh while on 25 February, a joint statement by the Indian and Pakistan militaries resuscitated the “informal” 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and western Ladakh. Both benchmark decisions are merely the first step in a process that will test Indian diplomacy and understanding of strategic and military affairs.

There are articles galore about the compulsions of Pakistan and China to join the peacemaking process but hardly any on the about-turn by India. What were the reasons for the Narendra Modi government to change its ideology-driven approach towards national security? And what is the way forward?


Also read: On LAC, India partially achieved its political aim. Now, it must go for final settlement


Failed national security strategy

In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government inherited relative peace along the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC). Concerted efforts by the Indian Army, 12 years of rule of elected governments and relative peace with Pakistan had contained the insurgency and reduced the number of terrorists to double figures. There were ceasefire violations, including some incidents of beheading/mutilation of soldier’s bodies, but the violence along the LoC remained within manageable limits. Despite the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, the Indian government had exercised restraint. On the LAC, barring the 2013 Depsang Plains incident, peace had generally been maintained based on the series of agreements signed since 1993.

India’s territorial integrity and recovering the territories usurped by Pakistan and China are part of the BJP’s core ideology even though the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)’s goal of Akhand Bharat was kept out of government policy. Aggressive policy stance against external and internal enemies was an essential part of the BJP’s election strategy that paid rich dividends. After its initial peace overtures from a perceived position of strength, including a surprise visit by PM Modi to Lahore in December 2015, were neutralised by the Pakistan Army and the terrorists, the Indian government shut the door on Pakistan. ‘Terror and talks cannot go together’ became the norm.

Even domestically, in J&K, the government followed a hard policy without a clear political strategy to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris despite coalescing to form a government with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Insurgency revived in J&K and the Modi government responded to major acts of terrorism in Uri (2016) and Pulwama (2019) with cross-border surgical strikes and trans-International Boundary air strikes. Rather than deter Pakistan, these actions exposed the limitations of the use of force without a clear edge in military capability.

With respect to China, the BJP adopted a policy of promoting peace through economic cooperation. Much time was spent on the personal equation of Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping, including a couple of one-on-one informal summits. Simultaneously, the Modi government gave impetus to developing border infrastructure and made no secrets of its strategic ambition to recover Aksai Chin. Chinese transgressions into Bhutan were contested aggressively, pushing the two countries to the brink of war in Doklam. Wrong lessons were drawn from perceived and propagated Chinese withdrawal. ‘Stare China down’ became the norm along the LAC. This resulted in the crisis in eastern Ladakh, further exposing our flawed national security strategy.


Also read: The LAC disengagement will ultimately lead to China giving up claims in northeast


Fundamentals of security strategy violated

India does not have a formal national security strategy. The National Security Adviser (NSA), who is credited to be the brain behind all strategic and even tactical military actions, has failed to evolve one despite being the head of the Defence Planning Committee since 2018. No strategic review has been carried out and little has been done to reform and modernise the armed forces. A tanked economy has further compounded the problem. Thus, a functional simultaneous hard strategy without adequate military capability against China (a superior power) and Pakistan (a weaker power but with adequate military potential to bring about a stalemate), was bound to fail.

The following fundamentals were violated:

  • National security strategy is based on comprehensive national power, particularly the economic and military component. The huge differential of comprehensive national power with China demanded reliance on diplomacy until we catch up to a level to contest it. Pakistan has a similar compulsion vis-a-vis India.
  • Nuclear weapon-armed states cannot fight decisive war and certainly cannot change maps. This alone safeguards us against China, and Pakistan against us, unless there is a security lapse that allows preemption. Thus, the thundering rhetoric by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders to recover lost territories was nothing more than an empty threat.
  • To force compellence below the nuclear threshold, a nation requires a clear technological military edge for coercive actions or a limited war. China has this edge over us but we do not have it against Pakistan. Even with a decisive edge, the apprehension of a setback, particularly when the weaker state has adequate military power to force a stalemate, prevents escalation beyond a point. This lesson was driven home to China in eastern Ladakh and to India post the surgical and Balakot air strikes.
  • In the current international environment, Pakistan’s state-sponsored proxy war has run its course. It is reeling under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions and severe International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions. Hence, it is prudent for India to put its own house in order in J&K rather than focus on retribution against Pakistan, which offers diminishing returns.
  • The geography of J&K and Ladakh, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir/Gilgit-Baltistan, and China-Pakistan alliance makes the unsettled borders a trilateral issue, imposing a two-front conflict situation on India. Two-front conflicts are not winnable. It is prudent to pursue peace with a relatively weaker adversary, such as Pakistan. China faces the same situation with India in view of its primary focus being Taiwan and South China Sea.
  • Not carrying out an ethical assessment of one’s own military capability before pursuing an aggressive national security policy is the biggest failure of the Modi government. The military hierarchy, carried away by political rhetoric and in awe of the persona of PM Modi, failed to give correct advice. India simply did not have the military capability to match the government’s aggressive political aims.
  • Aggressive exploitation of national security policy for domestic politics and to whip up nationalism vitiates the relationship with your adversaries, leading to conflict situations. It also makes national security bounden to extreme nationalism, placing severe limitations on decision-making.

Also read: Indian tourists can keep the Chinese away from LAC. Govt must open borders


The way forward

There should be no doubt that the flawed national security strategy pursued by India over the last seven years requires a course correction. Wisely, the Modi government seems to have decided to do so. Nothing confirms it more than the sudden absence of anti-Pakistan/China political rhetoric, drumbeating by a pliant media, and politically inspired social media campaign. It is heartening to note that, overnight, the image of PM Modi has changed from a strong leader aggressively pursuing ideology-driven belligerent national security strategy to a statesman seeking lasting peace. This is the avatar India needs, to gain time to enhance its comprehensive national power to become a great power.

There is no point in harping on deficit of trust with the two adversaries. A cursory look at their media indicates their lack of trust in us. The first step to bring about peace and tranquility along the LoC/LAC has been taken. The next step is to sustain the momentum despite out-of-control actions that can spoil it, such as those by terrorists. Thereafter, relentlessly pursue diplomacy to find long-term solutions.

The three players — India, China, and Pakistan — understand that maps cannot be redrawn, and that direct use of force and proxy wars have limits and offer diminishing returns. In my view, all three are prepared for a negotiated settlement to convert the existing borders into boundaries. With Pakistan, we have the aborted Musharraf-Vajpayee/Manmohan Singh four-point formula available, which can be modified to accommodate sovereignty issues. Having secured the 1959 Claim Line albeit with buffer zones, China will be amenable to a final settlement and give up its claims in other sectors.

Prime Minister Modi has the mandate, popularity and political skills to bring about lasting peace with Pakistan and China. India needs peace and time to uplift its economy and modernise its military to become a great power. This should be his legacy goal and this is what will truly make him a great leader.

Lt Gen H S Panag PVSM, AVSM (R) served in the Indian Army for 40 years. He was GOC in C Northern Command and Central Command. Post retirement, he was Member of Armed Forces Tribunal. Views are personal.

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99 COMMENTS

  1. “ It is reeling under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions”

    There are a total of zero sanctions imposed against Pakistan by FATF. Iceland is also on the gray list. Until recently, Sri Lanka and Indonesia were too.

  2. As per the author, India is a failed state, and MODI should give up POK & Aksai Chin and Join CPEC.

    He thinks Terming GOI policy a failed policy is going to make him famous. I would say let the Public decide.

  3. Most of the comments are against the author not the thoughts penned by him which are based on the reality as we all have seen unfolding. I have not read all but the tone seems to be that this author is writing against Modi government. Sad, the writers of such comments have overlooked the the author’s praise for the government’s latest sagacious move to be driven by not ideology but realities. I truly appreciate Mr Modi’s latest outreach with Pakistan and the peace effort. Domestic compulsions and rhetoric have been kept aside in favour of strategic wisdom by Mr Modi and Mr Doval.

  4. The failed National security policy of the BJP got China and Pakistan on the negotiation table that the successful UPA National security Policies emboldened China to enroach on Indian territory and caused rentless Pakistani terrorist on India?? The author need to have his head examined

  5. Panag past and his present thinking is reflected in his family especially in her daughter Gul Panag. I won’t say he is anti India but sure must have reasons to write these kind of misleading arrivals . Print is serving cross border interest that is well known. I wish Govt. Of India, taje nite of this.

  6. YOU joined the indomitable Indian Army & rose to be a General to maintain STATUS QUO MR PANAG ????? How shameful, if that was the case….There is enemy in Your bedroom and YOU talk of maintaining Status quo…??? At what cost….??? Am sure that cost is a lot more than what YOU & ur ilk are getting for writing such trash.
    You talk of uplifting the economy. How ignorant are U to forget that an economy which was declared one of the Fragile5, at around 2 Trillion US$ in 2014, was elevated to the 5th largest economy at 3 Trillion USD in 2019. Rome was not built in a day General….if u wd care to recall…

    U also conclude with the need to modernise the Military. How insensitive a comment is that Mr Panag ??? Do U not give anyyy credit to the present Govt under the leadership of Mr Modi for ALL the gaps they hv already filled in Military hardware space, with all 3 services FINALLY getting what they had been crying for, for ages. Ur absolute disdain projected thro ur writing forces me to think as to How ungrateful can one be???

    Sad commentary General.
    Only if U had not let YOUR biases do the talking instead of ur 4 decades of Military association & a slight thought for all the Brethren we lost thus far due to Status quo aspiring Generals like YOU.

  7. Dear Good for nothing General, these skewed and absolutely rudderless incoherent views betray our faith in the capability of army top brass. With guys like you at the top of the ladder, I shudder to think of the leadership you have nurtured. You are just a low grade politician. Nothing more.

  8. I am amazed by the non-sense so-called General has written. R u nuts?
    Gosh, this fellow was a general in IA. Don’t know how many such are still serving.

  9. You are biased against this govt and the same is reflected in your report. Proper analysis not done. Govt and MEA are working hard to protect our borders and national security.

  10. Gen Parag goes too far and being unfair in saying that “India has no national security policy.” That’s plainly wrong. Since PM Modi assumed office India has pursued a clear-eyed strategy of beating down Pakistan whether it was on the LOC or the Balakot strike or FATF; it has also accelerated border roads construction on the LAC. Yes we were caught off guard in April 2020 in Ladakh; yes some of the ministers shot off their mouths with empty threats to take back Aksai Chin; and yes military capability build up has not made required progress. The reason for that is as much the lethargy in the MOD as it is the lack of competence among the higher echelons of the armed forces and the DRDO.

    • Balakot strikes missed their target. Only India and a few sycophantic pro-India figures dispute this. If anything, the strike showed the limits of Indian power, not the depth of Indian power.

  11. There seems to be no coherence in the comments. How can you say that period was calm before the current government. There could have been some miscalculations by the present government but overall its policies have brought both Pakistan and China to come to table, without compromising on National Security. The principles you mention that have been ignored or violated have actually been followed. It seems that you feel less your time at the helm of affairs in Kashmir rest all just fools.

  12. Very poor analysis! Seems like the General has a Axe to grind with the government. If he thinks that staring down China and strikes in Pakistan haven’t worked then he doesn’t deserve to write or be an “analyst” for the Print. Please be objective sir!

    • he is frustrated AAP political member n loser … he was promoted by congres n MMSingh n thinks he did not get his dues as he was not made the army chief …he keeps ranting nonsense like the other rajeev tyagi …of ex IAf these pigs need to be probed as the bark n may reveal hidden secrets about the indian armed forces … this moron cannot digest the fact that modi n indian army killed 45 chinese in retaliation to 20 indians killed …this panag whose daughters is also AAP n actress n sheds clothers when she gets more money onscreen need to be probed wisely ..

    • Agree. His antipathy towards the present government seems to cloud his judgement. There are sound reasons why the age of superannuation is set in stone.

  13. Peace from wolfs. How you expect such thing? They beheaded, tortured, many of our soldiers. Are you not aware about their anti national activities they had done in our country in last seven centuries?

    Just wondering how THE PRINT selected this write-up for publishing. It is just one sided, baseless, wrongly intrepretated and favouring anti indian though process.

  14. This man is a known anti-Modi fella. Nothing more needs to be said about this character after that.

  15. I think the writer is being sponsored by across border hostiles and or their sympathizing Political Parties here.

  16. Sir,
    You have freedom to say what ever, but every dynamic situation needs constant monitoring and change. e.g. law is changed from time to time does it mean first law was stupid? Our constitution of India is changed over 100 times in less than 70 so what should be told about our original constitution by your logic.

  17. A very biased article. I think the author was paid for this fake article.
    It is common sense that now India is able to negotiate from a point of strength.
    Now India has a strengthened se urity scenario.
    The print has proved itself to be a cheap journal once again.

  18. Mr. Panag became a member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in January 2014 after retiring from the Armed Forces Tribunal. He campaigned for his actress daughter, Gul Panag in the 2014 Lok Sabha election in Chandigarh which she lost to another actress Kiran Kher.
    He should desist from vaguely criticising the excellent work done by our internal security team. As a political person, he is misusing the honours conferred on him as a retired member of India’s defence forces.

  19. I disagree with Panag Sahb when he says that our strategy was flawed. To me, what PM Modi and NSA Doval are doing is fantastic. Through a well thought out strategy, they have shown the world that “The tiger has roared to let everyone else know that he is the king in this part of the jungle (so beautifully pointed out in the series ‘Avarodh’).” For all these years, we would be bullied by China on its own power and Pakistan due to covert support from the Western powers and overt help from China. Modi and Doval changed all that, first with China at Doklam, then with Pakistan through Uri and Balakot. And now we’ve shown China again in Ladakh that we’re no pushovers. With all this we showed the World that we can stand up to bullies in the neighbourhood even if western nations are not entirely with us. We are now negotiating peace with the bullies on OUR TERMS, not theirs or anyone else’s!!

  20. Cannot believe that this article is by a retired Lt. General. The arguments forwarded by retd. Lt. General Panag are so weak, untenable and absurd that it seems to have been written by a novice. How else can we interpret his statement that BJP government inherited an LOC with relative peace. For the retd Lt General, all the frequent blasts in public places across India does not account for violence and only gunfights in LOC matters. Since 2015, outside of Kashmir there has been no major bomb blasts in public places. That itself speaks a lot about the political will, capacity to act and the fact that funds / budget has been appropriately used by this Government. I feel sorry to say this but only a person devoid of strategic thinking will refer to change of strategy as a U Turn. Governments continuously explore ways to improve the security environment and revise strategies based on geo political situation. Fact is that this Government is doing it from a long term perspective and also from a position of strength

  21. Very poorly written article devoid of any reasonable conclusion.

    May be the author despite having spent good amount of time in military suffers from selective dimentia.

    One can only derive the political mileage from this article.

    May good sense prevails and people have courage to appreciate the good work done by our leadership and support the efforts of these Marvel’s.

    I support my nation and the leadership of all our forces, PM as well as NSA
    Jai Hind

  22. “Prime Minister Modi has the mandate, popularity and political skills to bring about lasting peace with Pakistan and China”
    True. But the moment exercises these factors all these will be lost. He thrives on jingoism, even if not practical, hatred and intolerance. Remove these from his profile he is lost

    • hahaha u frustrated rice bag covnert christians … Modi has defeaed porkis n chinese …. under him indian army killed 45 chinese soldiers …your antihindu agenda is open straight … n i hope you will be made to pay

  23. Covid definitely has an impact on panag ability to think more realistic, stop thinking out of devil’s mind and get out of the house to see the real world. I wonder what’s his contribution to national security other than reaping benefits of the position

  24. Borders were relatively calm with odd incidents of beheading of Indian soldiers and terrorism was at it’s low point.Really a retd general wrote this? Bakwaas, General saab FYI not even a single terror attack beyond kashmir since 2014,courtesy this flawed National security strategy. Chinese entered our territory and still you believe that Indian’s have aggressive intentions. Khudos to your knowledge.।।।

    • I don’t why people that too Army generals, keep discounting the fact that there has been no terror attacks beyond Kashmir, like was the norm before. Multiple blasts in markets during festivals, places of worship attacked…all this has stopped after 2014. Mysteriously even stampedes in temples have stopped which used to kill several hundred ppl.

  25. Typical views of a anti national element. God knows how much damage this man has caused while in service. These type of men are typically Hamid Ansari type men.

  26. Defeatism, negativity and frustration are some off the common traits in the writings of this General, thankfully retired.
    it is earnestly hoped that these personality characteristics developed entirely after retirement otherwise it would be a sad blakmark at the highest echelons of serving military leadership.
    Barring direct funding from hostile powers and other nefarious conspiracy theories, the possibilities of such open display of contempt for national institutions and their leadership can be politics & dirty politics.
    Rather than list out the awards and decorations thrust upon this ungrateful soul, it would be proper to list, preferably in bold letters, Political causes the retired general is still fighting for !

  27. Foolish arguments advanced by this ex general. The two countries are at the peace table first Chinese learnt the hard way that it is not 1962. That all around security picture with 50,000 troops at the LAC convinced Chinese that their salami slice tactics has ended. Their brand new unseasoned troops have to go back. Second, Pakistan is at the peace table because they have bankrupted themselves by spending on the military too much. They are searching ways and means to get out of this situation. Moreover, Indian military posture at LAC also scared the Pakistanis. They immediately searched for peace and wish to stop terror funding. Nothing has worked.

  28. Gen Panag shd refrain from giving political comments. He is soldier n shd behave so but is toeing to some others line. Anyways we all know GOI has been Bold and successful on LOC n LAC..this the reason China has retreated and Pakistan has been begging for dialogue. India got its objective of removing Art 370 n 35 and keeping pakistan at bay. Pakistan has just couple of friends n rest supporting India. So India is victorious

  29. Expected a better article, UPA government clueless foreign policy after Mumbai attack is being praised as restraint, Depsang issue was a UPA creation by not challenging Chinese when they stopped Indian army patrols this emboldened them to do more mischief in Doklam and the present day border problems as they perceived the Indian government to be week incapable of taking tough decisions and indicating Modi’s interference in Doklam brought India and China to the brink of war when Chinese where occupying Butan’s land reflects a biased view. It’s good India is open society all are free can express their opinion what ever the political leanings. This type of article from a senior former Indian army veteran will surely bring smiles on the faces of PLA generals who have actually done a good job cultivating few so called journalists in India like Pravin Shenoy who can spread cccp propaganda.

  30. Lt Gen H S Panag (retd) & other leftist/communist/Jihadi’s salary comes from Soros & other anti Hindu & anti India forces!! So they write & work against Hindus & BJP!! These people should be tried in court and their funding/bank accounts scrutinized!!

  31. Maps cannot be changed? What nonsense! Didn’t we change the map of Pakistan in 1971? It’s also happening all over the world, didn’t Russia change the map of Ukraine by annexing Crimea? What about North & South Vietnam or Sinai Peninsula or Cyprus or North & South Yemen or the fall of the Soviet Union. Certainly the author is myopic in making inconsistent statements that fly in the face of reality to serve his flawed arguments and naive notions.

  32. Clear vindication of Generals political affiliations (i.e. Anti modi). Inferiiorty Complex on fore.

  33. This man(writer) is a typical case of elitism in defence .. served for so long in defence yet doesn’t have understanding of a foot soldier. Reason: so far nobody gave a shit to all incursions by china, forget about retaliation. Chinese military adventures are known globally and have surfaced multiple times during UPA rule also. How long can u make ur soldiers feel like shit but no fault of their. Pliant leadership waiting for favours !!!!!! Senior ex defence personnel reveal secrets live on television uncensored and guess no action but soldier will loose his job for revealing quality of food provided in messes. High ranking honest Officers kids are all studying abroad ….From where do they get this money. Definitely corruption …. then where is patriotic jingoism they display live on channels. For most part of their lives these people were busy partying , hardly any academic and geopolitical understanding. Yes modi govt is worse on many fronts but on defence who can buy ur argument.

  34. General Sir, I really wonder to note the mighty pla not even dare to occupy senkaku Island and Taiwan.
    How could they fight with Indian forces that too they don’t have sufficient air strips in ladak.
    Time has changed a lot.
    Certainly we are going to see one day.

  35. @print.in
    Are you living in fool’s paradise or just criticizing the government just for the sake of it. China would have courted Pakistan otherwise also as both need each other badly.
    Please improve your level of journalism and rise above bipartisan attitude.

  36. A poor and biased commentary by respected general. Other comments have said enough so I will save my time. My respect for your strategic analysis has eroded. Ashley T. Has better take than you Sir. Jai Hind.

  37. Everything this “military expert” has ever written about India’s security Policy has been flawed since day 1. He claimed Modi was like Vajpayee – he claimed Modi should not conduct surgical strikes , he claimed revoling Art 370 would lead to war with Pakistan, he claimed China would never withdraw from Pangong Tso – he was ALWAYS wrong.

    Only thing we can be sure of is, this General has always been wrong about Modi Govt. And we can take comfort in the fact that Modi Govt wont follow the foolishness of practising “Peace at any price” strategic policies this joker wants us to follow.

  38. This sensible column encapsulates hundreds – one will not say millions – of comments I have posted over the years. Surely, what was visible to an unlettered peasant should have been clear to the diplomatic corps all along. Most of all to our erudite EAM, a lifelong practitioner of diplomacy. Such 180 degree turns are not expected on life and death issues where there is sixty to seventy years of institutional memory as well. Back to the drawing board, in a spirit of humility.

  39. Maps cannot be changed, says a former commander of Northern command of Indian army after witnessing changing of maps in case of Armenia azerbaijan war just few months ago. maps had been changing since start of civilisation and will keep changing.. Nuclear weapons cannot stop them.
    And I wonder how General was commanding northern command and still he do not have basic idea of how nuclear weapons cannot ne used efficiently in himalayas (unless of course pakistan decides to destroy its water resources completely).
    What General deliberately hides here is the fact that PAKISTAN WILL NEVER USE NUCLEAR WEAPON IN A HIMALAYAN WAR. what our experience tells us is that pakistan always tries to keep the war local. They tried to keep 1965 war limited to kashmir only. Its highly unlikely that pakistan will try to nuke Delhi (and face retaliation on rawalpindi) for an attack on Gilgit baltistan.
    Further with addition of new dimensions of warfare, Its possible to stop nullify the nuclear weapons.
    With better cyber capabilities, we can block the missiles at their launching pads itself(of course china also can do it with us but price of freedom is high, and we should focus on developing better capabilities, rather keep crying on the fact that they have better capabilities).

  40. I completely disagree. Since 2014 ,there has been no terrorist attacks in the major cities of India, which was a norm before. Govt removed Article 370 and passed many Bill’s pertaining to Muslims, at the discomfiture of Pakistan.
    China was shown how strong our Army can get by killing more than 50 of PLA by breaking their necks. Modiji is now giving hot and cold treatment to both. This is what is required.

    • Muslim hatred is a especially liked by rabid dogs like you ,wish you get trampled by the same force

      • muslims are hated world over .. n even by their own as seen in syria iraw n yemen ….. hope you get trampled with equal n opposite force n cos you are rabid pig for calling n ex soldier …. dogs are atleast wafadar ….u never will be

  41. The Print is expert is ranting against India and showing India in weak position. Avoid Print.
    For retd general I have no words, leaving him for respect for his age. Just ignore.

  42. Poorly written article, lacks any depth and conveniently ignored a lot of other factors. It is impossible to have a perfect security strategy with India’s belligerent neighbours ad their startegys with regards to India are flawed and change every now and then. Peace can only be bought from a position of power and not from
    anexhibitionn of weakness

  43. If you call a national security policy which successfully contained insurgency and ensured no bombings resulting in civil casualty, then it must be a one way agenda for you. This government may have failed on some fronts but it successfully conveyed a strong message through various incidences including but not limited to surgical strike, strong opposition to Chinese military, etc. It should be noted that no sane government will ever want a full fledged war but will also not be bogged down by fears of it. This is exactly what was needed to ensure that bullying is stopped. I won’t call it a failed or highly successful but for me it was moderately successful for the nation to stand out as a strong nation.

  44. THE PRINT is losing it’s credibility with such biased articles . Constructive criticism for improvement is one thing and manipulating using LT GEN H S PANAG’s anti-modi agenda is different thing . His point of view itself lacks consistency .

  45. Gen is a naughty boy and needs to be taken lightly. His thought process as revealed by articles he has written for The Print is angular, zig zag, meandering. As is usually expected from The Print team, he is first anti Modi and then finds suitable facts and arguments to build his case. The pace with Pak is just tactical and it will last as long as Pak wishes it to last. The disengagement with China is a matter of shame for the Chinese and pride for India. Even if China engages in to transgression in future, it knows that India will now respond massively; so unless it is ready for a battle, China is not going to try any non sense. Thanks to its Galwan venture, India woke up and is ready to defend itself. Beyond the status quo, we should not realistically expect anything but be ready for ceasefire violations from Pak and from China -not salami slicing but cyber attacks and support to sickulars and anti India activists, insurgents, Khalistan, terror activities in India through funding provided to ISI. The General can look for greener pastures!!

  46. As per china Pakistan relations is concerned, it is began after 1947 to keep india checked. Modi as a CM tried good relations with China by business. But that does not yield any results till today. So it is wrong to blame BJP.Only India have to develop good relations with USA to counter china.

  47. Utter nonsense written by Panay. Very myopic view. Jealous of BJP and the present army, airforce, navy personnel.

  48. The highly decorated general is strangely oblivious to the fact that the Chinese intrusion was on regularly till 2014 ….. what’s the security doctrine that was in place where peace is prevailing at cost of territory….

  49. It may be true that militarily we are not modern even when compared to Pakistan. But that legacy we inherited from successive Corrupt Congress Govts which weakened our military by not purchasing modern warfare for our armed forces. Even Modi Govt failed to correct in the last 7 yrs except emergency purchases in the name of impending two front war. Except ordering the purchase of French fighter Jets, nothing substantially changed. But better late than never. If we plan seriously to modernize our Army , to face modern day war especially using Drones , Artificial intelligence and Robotic army then only as a nation we can survive today. It took us so many years to provide best protective gear and most modern light weight machine guns to our forces , who have become easy targets for Pakistani terrorists. We lost lives of many of our JAWANS for neglecting to provide basic necessities to our Army. At least now , thanks to Chinese intrusion, we got some of best modern military equipment to save the lives of our brave Army. Jai Hind.

    • It is wrong to say PM Modi failed to correct in the last 7 years. What was attempted in the last 7 years is unimaginable and against many well entrenched power centers in the world. This takes time. What I am talking about is the attempt to indigenize defence production / manufacturing. This attempt is not simple as the huge private military industrial complex of western countries will do everything in their powers to ensure that India does not succeed as shamefully we have been the largest importer of arms and ammunition in the world. It is only in the last 7 years that this Government has cracked down on the corrupt officers in our armed forces and defense ministry who used to continuously reject India made products in order to facilitate imports for which they used to get a hefty cut. This is a long term challenge and it will be a few more years before India becomes self reliant

  50. Make a peace talk but don’t remove soilder from loc and firstly let them ban LET,jaias and others militant group in UNO China must do other wise talk peace with all conditions

  51. So according to this master defence strategist, India should accept the present LoC/LAC as formal boundry. Redraw the map literaly in favour of China and Pakistan to get peace. Then use that peace to increase its Comprehensive National Power for next 10-20 years and then one fine day when you think that India has achieved enough CNP, make China and Pakistan redearw their maps. Really general saab :))

  52. Very poor analysis and the article has only anti Modi bias. Did terrorism revive only when
    BJP came to power ! There were terrist attacks and stone throwing throughout UPA period.

  53. Modi’s action has escalated the cost for china and pak. Pakistan has agreed to peace at border just 1.5 years after abrogation of Art.370. No problem in talking. Modi has achieved what he wanted.If relation becomes normal it is not against Modi/BJP. He had gone to Lahore. Atal ji had also tried. Whether no response to Mumbai attack was good neighborly behaviour and action on Dolan and capturing heights on 29-30 August were poor policy decisions.Most of critics had accepted incursion by china in finger area.

  54. Not sure if one needs to write such a long article to claim that everything was hunky dory on the national security front before 2014. The author could have written it one sentence. And this qualifies as analysis. Seriously?

  55. Will the authorities please share with the public the National Security policy of the Nation for the decades after Independence, Only then can we know what worked and what did not all along.

    We can’t obviously discuss national security policies based only on what appears in the media.

  56. Mr HS Panag, out of his hostility to the Modi Govt and the Hindu Right, must not present misleading strategic options of India, like diplomat KC Singh, another servile stooge of the Congress. Panag’s argument that maps cannot change in this nuclearized era is fallacious. India may not be able to acquire territories belonging to either China or Pakistan. But if India accepted their control over these regions, their strategic liabilities would be reduced, not ours, since China/Pakistan’s strategic/security/economic challenge to India is indispensable to their geostrategic aims. The economic success of CPEC would mean China’s OBOR succeeding which will inevitably destroy the US’ superiority over Communist forces. This is detrimental to India’s economic & strategic ambitions in the future as a China strengthened by OBOR’s success would present a larger challenge to India’s economic success. Peace at LoC/LAC is a temporary measure and India must learn to adapt to the emerging challenges through strategic partnerships instead of imaginary strategic autonomies. India can and must challenge Pakistan & China in the future when its economic circumstances allow vis-a-vis the Pak-China axis. Keeping Gilgit-Baltistan, KPK & Baluchistan in a state of flux while developing non-conventional means of the use of force towards China while expanding our capabilities to defend against the same on our territory is how India must bide out the next decade as we build ourselves. Breaking Pakistan and liberating Tibet from Communist China’s grip is absolutely essential for protecting India’s future security.

    • Are you mad that you can’t dislodge China from Depsang & Pakistan from Siachen but talking of occupying entire Tibet, POK & Baluchiistan !!! Remember US with so much power could not occupy Afghanistan & had to beg for exit from Taliban !!! Your concept suits day dreaming while sitting in Drawing-room only !!!

      • China will be involved in a bitter power struggle with the US in the near future. Just as the Soviet Union collapsed, India must work with the US & its allies to weaken China from within. Once this happens, China’s disintegration is only a question of time. I didn’t say India must occupy Pakistan. Pakistan must be destabilized from within and India must facilitate its disintegration as it had in the past. That’s why I said India needs to build its economic heft in order to fight an intelligence war with Pakistan.

  57. There should be no doubt that the flawed national security analysis presented by the author requires to be discarded.

    He sounds more like a politician than an independent commentator.

    For a more accurate picture, follow C. Raja Mohan, Nitin Gokhale, Anant Krishnan among others.

  58. Lt.Gen Panag’s article spells of desperation to criticise and paint broad strokes. Even the relevant and factual points get lost in the naked search of criticism.

    The aggressive posturing and political movement in Kashmir changes status quo. Progress in ground level democracy is encouraging. However, Internet clamp downs is against fundamental rights. So while Lt.Gen Panag’s criticism sticks it is for the wrong reasons.

    The obsoleteness of our military doctrine and infrastructure is surely worrying but there is clear failure to link it to this Govn. it is a multi-decade failure and Lt.Gen Panag failes to acknowledge movement to change this situation. What should be worrying is the lack of focus on the Indian Navy. Again, criticism sticks but for the wrong reasons.

    The praise of restraint after Parliament attack is misplaced by Lt.Gen Panag in criticising the aggressive stance. The military cannot dictate policy. Neither can its lethargy in reform. Aggressive initiatives by this Govn has brought about momentum from within the military of the need for reform. It has been shown that it needs to change its status quo as the political leadership will not be dictated by it. This is indeed welcome!

    So overall, India has just as much to gain by going to the peace table as Pakistan and China. So it is not an incorrect reasoning that our actions in the past have led to this step but the criticism is not only misdirected, the intentions of the author are laid bare as well.

  59. Expected a better more incisive article from the veteran. He has conveniently skipped to mention that, the abrogation of article 370, has infact facilitated the breaking of stalemate, in the India – Pakistan bi lateral ties by Forcing the Pakistani deep state to re calibrate their strategy of fomenting cross border terrorism and the returns accruing thereof. Also with our eastern neighbour, by our aggressive responce we have been able to expose a few of their weak flanks. Mature nations always Resolve their disputes amicably, and from a position of strength. This thaw which we see has not happened overnight, but is the logical course being followed by the government of the day.

  60. Very weak and myopic solutions provided by a retired Lt. General. People of India have elected Modi to confront Pakistan ,China for occupying Indian land and not to buy peace with them.

    • It is not easy to fight both Pakistan and China together. So India wants to isolate Pakistan first. Hence it has started joining with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and Israel axis. Indian navy with Japan navy in the horn of Africa. So Iran should not be angry with India. That’s the only one problem. If India spends a lot of money to ayotullah probably they may not be angry with India. Otherwise India will have to lose it’s chabahar port and central Asia

  61. I cannot find anything particularly wrong with the article written by Lt.Gen Panag. But, I sense a lot of discordant notes in this article. I am unable to find an answer. UPA government was not a peacenik. It was weak in its dealing with China. Chidambaram the then Home Minister spoke of Confidence Building exercises with China, when it was China which has created the Depsang incidence in 2013. Weaker one trying to restore confidence in the stronger one?

    I would request the learned General not to use the word “Nationalism”. It is a European concept which created nation States, colonization, aggressive wars within europe, and exploitation of colonies. India has never practiced such nationalism. It is good old patriotism – love for one’s land, people and cultural ethos.

  62. Wonderful narration on how despite a security screw-up India succeeded . For decades since independence the screw-ups continued but without success. NOW THE SCREW-UP HAS HELPED US SUCCEED.
    The 7 fundamentals listed are projected to have surfaced only after 2014 just as the deteriorating border management and lack of control on insurgency and terror attacks.
    Despite the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, the Indian government had exercised restraint, which encouraged all subsequent attacks, obviously the administration then expected different results while doing the same thing over and over again.
    There are lot of heartburns being expressed over years because a Policeman is holding the charge of national security.
    How can the senior domain experts overlook the priorities beyond their own domains.
    Fighting the terrorism and on borders is as important as running the PDS, continuing to upgrade infrastructure, work for OROP, fight covid, level out the huge differential of comprehensive national power with China, maintain and upgrade the deterrence capabilities, become self-reliant and even export capable in the defence sector to the dislike of brokers and other beneficiaries both in and out of uniform.
    All this is a game of priorities, entrusted to the elected Government, capable or otherwise. Results and acceptance of those results by the people in the following elections is the ultimate test.
    Academic qualifications of the current PM may be far less than the predecessors with foreign qualifications and exposure. But ability to prioritise has more to do with commitment to conviction, risk taking capacity. willingness to face the consequences. all this devoid any vested or self-interest.

  63. I had respect for Lt Gen Panag. But reading this article, my respect for his opinion is lowered for sure, He is very inconsistent. One day he say one thing (hawk), other day he says other thing (dove). What kind of peace he was talking during UPA rule. He forgot mumbai attack. He conveniently trivializing China act on depsang in 2013. His views are clearly from Anti modi (BJP) prism. Worst is, He is putting ball in Indian Govt court for peace. India is peace loving country, India do not have territorial ambition. Ball is clearly on Pak/China court for peace. India can not gift any part of land to either of these country. This is on Pak and China to keep territorial ambition side then only peace is possible. Untill then India has to learn how to manage them. That’s it.

    • I was of the opinion that all retired civil service fellows get good knowledge and good ideas after the retirement. Now I accept that defence people also sailing in the same boat. Who bothers about the retired fellows, even the peon or a jawan does not bothered about their personal relations also. Thank god media is very much bothered to publish articles from all the people who are negative about the govt.

  64. The moment you think maps cannot be changed you already loosed.

    This is the difference between Americans and us.

    They might not have focused on Mars or electronic platform if they would have thought the same.

    Did you know if Indian economy would be like pak today our map would have changed for sure.

    Jai Hind !!

    • Looks like an article from military bureaucrat or clerk rather than a soldier. ” Restraint” shown after Mumbai attack is one of the most shameful episode in Indian military history, not a great strategy as being implied here. Muscular response in last few years is the reason for peace inititives being proposed by China and Pakistan.

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