Our Spl Correspondent
New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has cautioned that the threat of insurgency and terrorism to the country including the Northeast is greater today than any time in the past and the country has to fight the evil on its own since international powers are engulfed in their own problems.
Addressing the annual commanders’ conference here on Tuesday, Dr Singh said internally the country must work assiduously towards addressing problems in the Northeast. He was all praise for the armed forces fighting a long battle in the difficult region and said since major powers in the world were pre-occupied, India must strengthen its capabilities to tackle the terror.
Referring to disturbed neighbours, Dr Singh said, “We have paid special attention to our immediate neighbourhood. This is based on our conviction that the task of India’s socio-economic transformation will always be more difficult and less likely to succeed if we do not manage relations with our neighbours properly, more importantly, if we do not give them a substantial stake in India’s economic progress and stability.”
He told top commanders of the armed forces that international strategic and political environment had deteriorated and it must be factored in the policies that India would adopt internally or externally. The PM cautioned that terrorist groups were now ‘highly networked, nimble-footed, more lethal’ and said there was need for appropriate responses.
He described cyber threats as an emerging ‘source of worry’ and pointed out that cyber and information warfare could ‘qualitatively change’ the concept of a battlefield. “Your conference is taking place at a time when the country is faced with multiple challenges. In this age of rapid information flows and explosion of technologies, one of the most important security imperatives is our ability to respond to these challenges quickly and in an integrated fashion,” Dr Singh said.
While India must work with the international community to address global issues ‘we must strengthen our own capabilities and be ready to stand on our own feet, whenever required’, he said as he listed the challenges like terrorism, Left-wing extremism and piracy. He stressed on the need for consolidating country’s own strategic autonomy and independence of thought and action.
The Prime Minister also highlighted nuclear proliferation and nuclear security as a ‘serious threat in our neighbourhood’.
“It is equally the responsibility of the government to equip our armed forces with all the necessary means to meet all the threats to our nation, including those which go beyond conventional warfare,” he said.