The politics of Security Paradigm

…a tale of contention & contradiction



In a meeting attended by some former top operatives in Indian officialdom with cross section of Kashmir civil society under the aegis’s of a Delhi based advocacy group for reconciliation few years back in a serene spot in the vicinity of Srinagar, an important fact was brought forth. A former top grade security operative revealed that Indo/Pak reconciliation may not materialize unless it is vetted by GHQ Delhi and Rawalpindi. It is made out quiet often by Indian media that in the security paradigm nothing in Pakistan moves, unless GHQ Rawalpindi says it might. And the security paradigm includes foreign policy moves. Turkish army until P.M Erdogan upped the ante behaved likewise. Egyptian army in the post Mubarak political scenario wanted to retain hold over internal security, on foreign policy as well.
Indian army however had the pretense of abiding by civilian supremacy. With rising internal disturbances, apart from Kashmir, in Northeast and Naxal hit states, the pretense is no more substantiated. Army is getting involved increasingly to ensure internal order. Taking the cue, police top brass too relishes being media savvy. In the past, security officials exercised discretion in getting across to media. Post militancy army’s role is widening, conversely political perspectives are shrinking. Omar Abdullah’s pleading for AFSPA removal from districts with a vastly improved security situation is not materializing. ‘No’ from security services is loud and clear. Though the chief minister has the option of bringing in a legislative measure of declaring the area undisturbed that renders AFSPA redundant, however he dare not, lest the situation worsens by any untoward incident and he has to take the blame.
What it true on local level holds true for Indo-Pak interaction. Any decision at the diplomatic level will have to be vetted by GHQ Delhi and GHQ Rawalpindi. Given the geo-strategic consideration, the political leadership might hardly have a choice in implementing a political accord, which is not backed by security agencies. However advanced nations have found a way out of minimizing the hawkish attitude, so often taken by security agencies. Parallel narratives within the administration provide way for alternative views. American example could be quoted, where the state department and pentagon, more often than not take contradictory views, which go through an assessment process and consensus is attempted and evolved in ‘National Security Council’ which is then placed at presidential table at the oval office for ultimate clearance.
In Indo-Pak sphere, more often than not, the external affairs ministries toe the prevailing security line and work within that perspective. Unlike the practice in advanced countries, the academic input in evolving policies is minimal. Even much talked about Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) academia remains embedded in overall security perception. Geo-strategists and political analysts suggesting one to one interaction of GHQ Delhi and GHQ Rawalpindi might not be off-target. Over the last few years, interactions between security agencies of two countries have been reported. Sri Lanka and Dubai were reported to be the avenues. The interaction had in fact been initiated by former Indo-Pak security officials working in ‘Track-Two’.
Security inputs roughing political exercise of power has many shades. Women’s conference in Muzzafarabad held recently could be taken as a pro, denial of permission to Hameeda Nayeem and Zamrooda Habib to travel across LOC resulted in a con that roughened the pro. News dispatches from Pakistan noted the absence of these women activists. Whatever the twosomes say or do is followed across. Security establishment continues to dwell in pre information technology explosion era. Same could be said of denying Hurriyat (G) the permission to hold a seminar on 10th October on ‘Amarnath Yatra’. Whatever might have been said in the seminar is already a matter of public debate. The Government retains the option of putting forth its view, contending any perceived wrong take. The gag however has an adverse political outfall. Security agencies seem to have a greater say than could be politically prudent.  
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
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Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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