India’s Post-COVID Priorities

Prioritisation of the tasks ahead is imperative, and their implementation should be taken up with a benign attitude to ensure that no issue is left out or excluded. And that by itself is no mean task!

While the onslaught of Covid-19 and the frenetic activity it generated are behind us, India should lose no time in getting ready for the great leap forward. Our country should resist the temptation to continue to bat for a regional role in the future events of a virus outbreak or similar exigencies that would call for emergency redressal measures on a global scale. It should make up for the lost time and forcefully bid for global leadership in the new world order, as it has been aspiring for that role since long.

This would call for the globalisation of its heretofore regional leadership initiatives like SAARC and Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program, which is restricted to developing countries. It will enable the much-needed sharing of information and assistance among the countries across the world. India stands to benefit from its participation in the global endeavour to collectively address issues that challenge humanity or threaten the stability of the world order.

Nation Building

While India is gearing up to play a more crucial role, we, the people, should not shy away from addressing the immediate task of nation-building. Only a powerful India would be in a position to measure up to the expectations of other nations across the world. The external threat to our country’s territorial integrity is among the foremost of the problems that are crying for a lasting solution. Enough lives, territories and resources have already been lost. The longer it takes to find a permanent solution to India’s border problems with its neighbouring countries, higher the cost our nation will have to pay in terms of the adverse impact on the morale of its citizens and loss of resources.

Heartening indeed was the experience to witness the entire nation rising like one man to stand behind the Central government to take on the external enemy during the latter’s recent incursions into eastern Ladakh. The goodwill of the people should not be allowed to dissipate. Furthermore, the strength and resolve of the armed forces should be bolstered by providing them with the much-needed wherewithal. To the credit of the nation’s current leadership, the ignominy of our soldiers fighting in summer clothes, with paltry firepower, on high altitudes in bone-chilling cold and returning home in body bags is now a thing of the past.

Moreover, the Indian Army has already been given a free hand to take on the enemy without having to look over their shoulder for clearance from a doddering political leadership, lacking empathy, back home. We are now required to consolidate on the gains of the new-found morale of our armed forces, which had never been so upbeat as during their recent engagement with the Chinese Army. The Union government should pull out all the stops to upgrade the available weaponry and equipment, befitting the stature of a modern professional Army. 

The Narendra Modi government is indeed seized of the matter and is not allowing the bitching and bickering of the political Opposition to prevent the sourcing of modern weaponry and equipment on frivolous charges and false accusations of corruption. Some of the recent deals made with friendly countries like France, the USA and Russia for defence procurement are cases in point. The Central government is also complementing its efforts in this direction by boosting the indigenous production of the defence requirements. Bridges of friendship are being built with like-minded countries like Australia to stop a hegemonic China in its tracks in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. 

‘One India’ Policy

Besides securing its borders, our country has to reaffirm to the world community about its resolve to safeguard the whole of India, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and border states like Arunachal Pradesh, which are coveted by the enemy countries. India should show its commitment to a ‘One India’ policy. This calls for a firm and resolute foreign policy, the success of which depends on diplomacy and international cooperation to end the threat of power politics of our enemy countries. The worldwide political atmosphere in the post-Covid-19 era would offer India the most congenial ambience and milieu to forge its ‘One India’ policy.

Internal Security

Of equal importance is the bolstering of the internal security mechanism. During the recent crisis period of external aggression, India took various steps such as prohibiting Chinese apps on Social Media, clamping down the import of Chinese products and shutting the door on Chinese companies like Huawei, the global service provider of information and communications technology. Now, necessary preventive measures to forestall the breach of cybersecurity should also be put in place. 

Tracking the Enemy Within

Sensational disclosures of the Congress Party entering into an MoU with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and receiving substantial sums of funds from the Chinese government through its Embassy and some Chinese companies in India for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation during the UPA rule have come to light. The first family of the Congress Party has been accused of receiving undue hospitality from the Chinese government. The matter is currently under probe by an inter-ministerial committee. The nature of the allegations could not be any more serious.

The possibility of the involvement of the Sonia Gandhi family and the erstwhile UPA government in the violation of national security cannot be ruled out. There is also an accusation against the UPA government that it was planning, under external pressure, to surrender the Siachin glaciers to Pakistan. There is already a panoply of allegations regarding the UPA government’s complicity in the many scams and scandals rampant during its 10-year rule. The investigation of these scams and scandals has to be swiftly carried forward to its logical conclusion both for the sake of natural justice as well as for restoring people’s faith in democracy and the rule of law. The NDA government should not be found wanting in expediting legal action in these matters. 

Expelling Infiltrators

Illegal immigrants who have found shelter in some states which are ruled by anti-BJP political parties should not be allowed any further leeway. The Union government should forge ahead with implementing CAA and NRC and ensure the expulsion of the infiltrators. This is a matter of absolute urgency. The time that has already lapsed on account of lack of political will on the part of the erstwhile UPA government and the anti-BJP parties in some of the states has caused irreparable damage to our nation’s resources as well as to the law and order situation in the country.

Boosting Economic Growth

The Indian economy, which has been on a downswing, has to be put back on the growth path as early as possible. It will send the right signals to foreign companies contemplating to shift their operations to India. Rehabilitation of the farmers, traders, SME owners as well as those who have lost their jobs due to the closure of industrial units, needs to be taken up on a war footing. Last but not least, prioritisation of the tasks ahead is imperative, and their implementation should be taken up with a benign attitude to ensure that no issue is left out or excluded. And that by itself is no mean task!

(The article India’s Post-COVID Priorities” published in “Business World”)

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