Bhopal: Indian armed forces have struck across-the-border targets on a numbers occasions since 1950, but the previous regimes have never publicised the action, as is being done by the Narendra Modi-led government at present, said former National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon.
Menon, who served as NSA during the tenure of the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government and as Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, was in Bhopal to attend a session in the ongoing Bhopal Literature Festival at Bharat Bhavan on Saturday.
“You do such things only if you want to become a hero in the eyes of the people and win elections on the strength of military actions.” he said.
The air strike conducted to avenge the Pulwama attack was considered a win-win situation for both India and Pakistan. “India attacked the terror camps based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and in doing so, Pakistan captured our MIG a pilot, who was released later. In that situation, the air strike benefited the governments of both the countries,” he said.
Menon, who was in conversation with ex-IAS officer Pradeep Baijal and Amar Sinha, said once you make a “song and dance” about such strikes, you force the leadership on the other side of the border to either deny that any such thing happened or show their people that they are doing something to counter it. “It makes the exercise counter-productive,” he added.
Former NSA Menon was also critical of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, saying it would dent India’s image globally.
“I don’t think the CAA and National Register of Citizens will serve any purpose. It seems a political move to gain votes rather than benefit the country. Nevertheless, the country needs to focus on basic issues like employment, education and health for its overall development. It is high time India focuses on these issues for its own development and for the future growth of the country,” Menon said on the sideline of the event.
To a question from the audience over the need of getting a permanent seat in United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Menon said India does not need a permanent seat in the UNSC. “It is just like a beauty contest and nothing else. Neither it will give more power or secure nor it will boost our gross domestic product. So, instead of worrying about seat in security council we should focus on other important things.”
Priorities for India and China
About Indo-China relations, Menon said it was wrong to believe that a military confrontation between the two nations was inevitable. “Both the countries have better and more important things to do. We have to take care of our poor, illiterates and unemployed and they have to establish their primacy over the US. And that was the reason why India-China border has been peaceful for the last 40 years. The last time an Indian soldier was killed on the borders with China was in 1970s and that too was an accident.