by Rahul Dev

Today, most of the world’s politicians are now busy on dealing with the new variant of coronavirus challenge on humanity. Indians are also posed in defence against this deadly virus which is first of its kind in human history and what are its repercussions only time will tell. A call for complete lock-down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being carefully followed by the people of every strata in our society. This shows our unity in diversity which is foremost for a country.

But, First priority is the well-being of our people. Meanwhile, the NDA govt. aims at a $5– trillion economy to become the third largest economy in the world by 2024. Will all the problems that India is facing resolve themselves seamlessly?

According to Oxfam, India's one percent owns 73 percent of the total wealth but, 50 million people in India have no savings and assets. Our financial system is not in order due to lockdown and merger of Banks, dissolvement of total NPA 's of bigwigs, shut down of industries. There has been a slowdown in manufacturing growth and exports over the last few years. India needs more efforts from grass roots level to more FDI's. One thing most important is Food Security, measures are to protect food grains in local mandis, local storages, central warehouses and state govt. owned storage houses so that there should not a single grain be spoiled. Renovation needed not to further storage of grain's i.e. underground silos to be built. As the proposed market reforms in Agriculture have failed across countries and continents. From the US to Australia, markets have only added to the prevailing agrarian distress. If the US, Canada and elsewhere markets have only increased indebtedness, succeeded in pushing small farmers out of agriculture, and turned farming into a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. In North America despite higher investments, technology, high productivity and evolutions of international, and farm incomes have declined. The farmer’s movements in India are perhaps the largest and longest in the world. But, still there is a need for reforms in our agriculture sector. First, our fertile land has been declining day by day due to urbanisation trends, industrialization and Special economic Zones and other progressive plans. So, there must be some laws to protect fertile agricultural land and promote agriculture on it. Secondly, there would be underground Silos to protect food grains from wastage and emergency times. The centre must expedite efforts to resolve the ‘policy-paralysis’ that affects Punjab regarding reforms in agriculture to build the silos with advanced monitoring techniques within the government sector. Punjab alone has a sharp increase in damage of food grains: from 8 tonnes in 2016-17, to 211 tonnes in 2017-17 and 318 tonnes in 2018-18 and so on. Third, there is a government. Regulatory agency to control continued increased prices of essential food items.

Each major crisis during the current millennium has erupted not on the periphery but at the very centre of the global political and economic order. The global financial and economic crisis of 2008 also erupted at the very health of the global economy. The Covid crises engulf the whole of the world. On the contrary, trends will see reinforcement of globalization in the digital space. In coping with Covid-19 businesses, educational institutions and service economies in general are relying much more on digital communication, internet based services and video – conferencing and so on.

But Recently, Iran successfully put its military satellite into space, its Gun-boat diplomacy to encircle US Naval ships in the Gulf Area create bitterness between the two countries and in the region also. One thing common that Covid has not made any change in U.S and Iran‘s defence policies both are hit hard by the virus.

As Washington D.C and Beijing trade barbs over the coronavirus pandemic, a long-term struggle between the two Pacific Powers is at a turning point, as the United States rolls out new weapons strategy in a bid to close a wide missile gap with China. The United States has largely stood by in recent decades as China dramatically expanded its military firepower. Now, having shed the constraints of a Cold War-era arms control treaty, the Trump administration is planning to deploy long-range, ground-launched cruise missiles in the Asia-Pacific region. The Pentagon intends to arm its versions of the Tomahawk cruise missile now carried by US warships, according to the White House budget requests for 2021 and congressional testimony in March of Senior US military commanders. It is also accelerating deliveries of its first new long-range anti-ship missiles in decades.

The U.S moves are aimed at countering China’s overwhelming advantage in land based cruise and ballistic missiles. The Pentagon also intends to dial back China’s lead in what strategists refer to as the “range war. "The People’s Liberation army (PLA),China’s military, has built up a huge force of missiles that mostly outrange those of the U.S and its regional allies, according to a senior U.S commanders and in strategic advisers to the Pentagon, who have been warning that China hold a clear advantage in these weapons.

In a conflict, these units will be dispersed at key points in the western Pacific and along the so-called first island chain. The first island chain is the string of islands that run from the Japanese archipelago, through Taiwan, the Philippines and on to Borneo, enclosing China’s coastal areas. The Americans coming back strongly “said Ross Babbage, a former senior Australian government defence official and now a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a security research group.” By 2024 or 2025 there is a serious risk for the PLA that military developments will be obsolete.``

Recently, the United States has gotten worse, stepping up its pursuit of the so-called ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ that seeks to deploy new weapons, including ground- launched intermediate-range missiles, in the Asia-Pacific region. We will not be mute spectators of these developments.

We have to increase the range of Agni-5 and Agni-6 test trials. I think we must test ICBMs as the Chinese have overseas military bases in several parts of the world. Even Russia, China and Israel have not stopped their military activities. So, we should continue our military programmes irrespective of any pressure and sanctions. March to modernization is a continuous process; there will be no halt. Our forces must be supreme in any difficult times and in war. We can do this when the international community does not want us to do that. We must test our new weapon systems. Time has ripened for testing of ICBM Surya, Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) send for trials in world’s oceans and to think about the need of Stealth Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) for the IAF. All these experiments will increase future defence capabilities. There are new changes in military strategy and equations to explore and carry on experiments on Nuclear, Chemicals and Biological (NBC) warfare. To mend ways & means to prevent attacks of NBC warfare. We must explore new things to protect our countrymen. Although we have no first use policy.

Issues of national security are intertwined with many aspects of trade, commerce, investment as well as creation and use of knowledge base. What appears to be this current emerging scenario is a new kind of warfare. If a country does not learn to master these new realities of life, all aspirations to ensure the prosperity of our people may come to nought. This does not mean advocacy of isolation or going back to the concepts of nuts-and-bolts form of self-reliance. We need to address newer and more sophisticated concepts of protecting our strategic interests. If we want to be a $5 -trillion economy and third largest economy in the world. We cannot ignore military perspectives.

Rahul Dev is a Postgraduate in Economics and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications, He writes on Defence & Foreign Policy matters