After the Congress included the issues of farmers and unemployment in its manifesto, Congress on Sunday announced its plan for national security releasing a 41-page document promising a transformation of the ministry of defense into fully integrated headquarters. It promised the appointment of chief of Defense Staff Personal Advisor to the government and posting several Service Officers.
The document is prepared largely on the basis of the report by the former Northern Army commander Lt General DS Hooda. The two-page new document does not mention the promise to repeal the sedition law or and review the AFSPA.
The Congress plans on adopting the principle of ‘One Border, One force,’ put in place of a ‘Smart Fence’ on the border of Myanmar that combines technology with a physical barrier to check infiltration and smuggling in the cross border countries. He said that it will also build up a comprehensive missile Defense system and also operationalize a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System. The principle will speed up infrastructure development by restructuring the Border Roads Organization.
The document also promised to pass the Coastal Security bill and setting up a National Maritime authority to strengthen the Coast guards. It also promised to keep a check on cybersecurity saying that “a malicious cyber attack will be considered a hostile attack against the national sovereignty of the country and we will respond to it by using all the national resources available at our disposal.”
While releasing the document senior party leader P Chidambaram said that the document reveals the approach of Congress towards national security. The document released by Congress will provide a statutory basis to the office of National Security Advisor and National Security Council. The document mentioned that the powers and functions of these officers will be defined under the law and both authorities will be accountable to the parliament.
The document also mentioned setting up a parliamentary standing committee on intelligence to regularly audit standards and performance of the government and National Security Offices.
When asked if the Congress’ document is a result of BJP’s constant raising of election issue on nationalism and martyrdom, P Chidambaram said that the document has a portion of it in the manifesto as well. He said that “we are deliberating on a subject the way we are deliberating on other subjects.” He also said that the issue in the Lok Sabha elections is still unemployment, and upliftment of various sections including women, Dalits, SCs, and STs but, national security is also an important issue. He clarified himself saying that Nations Security is not the dominant issue, but an important one.