Monday, December 14, 2009

'States must deal with Naxals themselves'

TNN 13 December 2009, 09:43pm ISTText Size:|Indian Engineering Congress

MANGALORE: States affected by Left-wing extremism hoping for assistance from the Indian Army will have to rethink their strategies. They will have
to rely solely on either central police organizations or their own police force to deal with the issue, which according to Shekar Dutt, Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA), is the offshoot of regional disparities or inefficiencies that have to be resolved locally using local means.

Delivering the 22nd Dr A N Khosla memorial lecture at the `24th Indian Engineering Congress at NIT-K,' Surathkal, near here on Sunday, Dutt, former defence secretary (production) said Indian Armed forces have no role to play in containing the Left-wing extremists. The use of heavy-handed security is not the solution to deal with issues raised by Naxalites, he said, though Armed forces can be used in distress situations and not to control dissent.

The democratic government has to distinguish between the genuine and legitimate expression of dissent and dissatisfaction and the manifestations of anti-national, anti-social and anti-people threats to Indian democratic way of life. Often, these challenges arise because India is an open society and has allowed free expression to dissent of varying degrees, he said, adding that this is not India's weakness, but its strength, in so many ways.

Dutt, however, cautioned that in this strength also lies the challenge that India needs to deal with and grapple with effectively. The country has to recognize these different facets of security threats that it faces and develop effective policies that are designed to address them.

Use of heavy-handed security in such delicate situations is not suggested, Dutt said, and that solutions found at the local level is the best way to deal with the Naxal issue.

Noting that traditionally security is focused on the application of force at the state level, Dutt said in the present context, it is a very narrow view. It is now widely acknowledged that there is more to security than purely military or policing factors. Today's definition of security acknowledges political, economic, environmental, social and human, among other strands that impact the concept of security with the focus on individuals, he noted.

LACK OF TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

Technological innovation in India does not seem to be emerging with the vigour that India needs. Current trends need to be reversed, said Dutt. India needs to be prepared for accelerating pace of discovery and application of new technology, educating a technical workforce in an increasingly competitive global economy. India's prosperity and security will be impacted by the concern (or lack of it) we show for it, he said.

Although many current measures for technological innovation are being taken, these are inadequate. The percentage of GDP invested in research and development, number of researchers, level of productivity, volume of high technology production and exports are indices of this inadequacy. Considering magnitude and complexity of these challenges, India does not have the option to continue conducting its business as usual, he noted.

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