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Pre Print Copy
For clearnace from Ministry of Home
Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE
From Patel to Rathore:
Need for an New Iron Man
With changing global socio...
Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE
convincing various Princely states (over 560), by
negotiation or pressure ...
Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE
areas have been making rounds daily. These might just
be the signs of a fi...
Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE
And what does he have to say about the all the other
issues plaguing the c...
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India's Home Minister Interview on Threat from China


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Home Minister Agastya Rathore speaks on threat of China to India's internal security.
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India's Home Minister Interview on Threat from China

  1. 1. Pre Print Copy For clearnace from Ministry of Home
  2. 2. Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE From Patel to Rathore: Need for an New Iron Man With changing global socio-politico structure, the impact will be felt within Indian borders. To tackle such sensitive internal security issues, including Kashmir, India’s Home Minister has a plan. By Malini Basu A nation with over a billion people, especially when it is the largest democracy in this world, has a lot to worry about , poverty, corruption, inflation , and more importantly the burning issue of its internal security . India is currently finding itself in tricky waters. Relations with Nepal are becoming hostile, owing to the unrest in with the Chinese communist party close alliance with the Nepalese Communist party. The island country of Maldives too, is reeling under the pressures of its internal insurgency movements and the recent change of guard with an anti-Indian president taking oath. India and Sri Lanka ties have always been strained on account of the alleged atrocities and war crimes committed on the Tamil population in the latter. The troubled country of Bangladesh too is a major source of concern owing to the unrest in the Indo- Bangladesh border and the growing and worrisome instances of illegal and dangerous immigrations happening from there. China, the current Asian superpower, has always been a shaky neighbor for India and with the reports of regular cross fires and heavy buildups of armies on its borders; the tensions are only at an all-time high. But, none of these tensions could compare to the ongoing soreness in relations between India and Pakistan, the country which was once it’s part and now is allegedly responsible for almost all of the terror attacks that have happened here. With borders flaring up, it was not long before internal disturbances were created. And this brings the Indian Home Ministry into action. The Minister of Home Affairs, or the Home Minister, as he is popularly called, holds the responsibility of maintaining India’s internal security. The position is second in seniority only to the country’s Prime Minister. Since India’s independence in 1947, the position has been held by many illustrious men like Sardar Vallabbhai Patel , one of the foremost figures in India’s struggle for independence and the man single handedly responsible for guiding the integration of a largely fragmented country into one united and independent nation. He was one of the strong reasons in the political integration of India, by
  3. 3. Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE convincing various Princely states (over 560), by negotiation or pressure to join the Indian union. He also had an apocalyptic vision about China’s threat to India, which was expressed in one of his last letter to the Prime Minister then. Regarded as the most successful Home Minister till date, not all his followers have followed his example. A Home Minister, who had to resign after a huge uproar that followed the tragic terrorist attack in Mumbai, is severely criticized for his poor management of the ministry, his tenure seeing a slew of terror attacks all over the country, a total failure of intelligence agencies in terms of gathering leads and proactively preventing these attacks, a series of incidents involving communal violence and his general tendency to make extremely inappropriate comparisons. In wake of India’s current situation with all its neighboring countries, the Home Minister’s position becomes all the more critical. Clearly, India needs a person who can stand up to this uncommon challenge , a person who can look past all the obvious dangers and issues and discover the intricacies of them , a person who can , to put it in very simplistic words , “save India”. Is Agastya Rathore then, that person? A descendant from one of India’s ancient royal clans, Rathore is all of 45 , the “youngest” home minister the country has ever seen . Blue eyed and with his thick jet black hair, combed back to reveal his large forehead , Rathore studied in Cambridge with the current Prime Minister. Dressed in a traditional grey kurta and jeans , he has a smile so cheerful , one could almost be fooled to doubt his capability to hold such an important responsibility ; but the smile , one soon realizes is an extension to his confidence. “Kashmir has always been a part of India and will always be and Kashmiri youth are no different from the youth in Delhi or Mumbai or Hyderabad.”, he says with confidence when asked about the increasing alienation of the state’s youth. But probe him into the more murkier details of the situation of the state - once called, “heaven on earth”, but now ravaged by the long standing conflict – and his face draws itself into a mask of calculation. “The terrorist groups are a major concern no doubt.”, he responds after a brief pause .”But they are still human beings, not invincible by any means. We are in process of expanding our intelligence networks to monitor more finer details of their workings. And these finer details are nonviolence measure, something we have not tried before” He refuses to divulge more information on the “finer details”. But since the groundwork is already in place, the conversation soon veers towards the more obvious issue, the possibility of a conflict with Pakistan, following multiple ceasefire violations in the recent past and reports of infiltration. The current situation in Kashmir is touted to be the calm before a storm. Nine ceasefire violations have been reported in just two weeks’ time and reports of a military buildup in multiple
  4. 4. Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE areas have been making rounds daily. These might just be the signs of a fifth Indo-Pak war. “Ceasefire violations have been reported, but what you fail to mention is that the last one was almost 3 days back. Our talks with Pakistan’s Home ministry are on in full swing. We are working on ensuring that the ceasefire agreements are honored. War is never a solution and Pakistan government understands it too. And if they don’t understand , then I can assure you , our armed forces are well equipped and well alert to fight against any forces that will try to destabilize the country’s security and peace” , he responds , slightly smiling and yet the steeliness in his eyes unmistakable . Does that mean, that a war could be on the cards after all? “Like a said before, war is never a solution. Our focus is on reaching an understanding to diffuse all the tensions. We are in the midst of the process and are already making considerable progress. “, he responds, no longer smiling, his eyes unblinking for most part, the steeliness in them every bit as persistent as it was before. When asked about China’s “String of pearls” strategy and all the threats it poses to India though alongside China’s opinion that India has no complete power over the Indian Ocean, some of the steeliness seems to dissolve, as his face takes on a pensive look. “String of pearls, the name is unnaturally funny for something so serious, don’t you think so?”, he says almost abruptly and smiles , but only for a few seconds. “China’s influence in the Indian Ocean is worrying on some grounds. There have been reports that the bases may be equipped with military capabilities, even as China has consistently denied the same. Keeping this in mind , we need to be fully aware of the proceedings and need to be equipped and flexible to meet any emergencies. The Indian Navy is already moving in this direction. In addition, we are also looking forward to beginning to open a channel of communication with the U.S. government on this issue.” Sea Threat:  Pakistan: Gwadar port  Sri Lanka: Hambantota and Colombo  Bangladesh: container shipping facility in Chittagong  Burma: Deepwater port in Sittwe and Kyaukpyu, and new supply facilities  Vietnam: Airstrip on one of the islands in Paracel archipelago Land Threat:  PoK: Chinese army bases in Kashmir  More troop presence across border in Ladakh and north eastern India
  5. 5. Strategic Affairs - newsgate POLITICAL MAGAZINE And what does he have to say about the all the other issues plaguing the country – Naxalite movements, frequent terrorist attacks , illegal immigrations leading to drugs and arms trafficking – almost every single one of them already claiming hundreds of lives every years. How does he plan on handling this menace which is already creating fear in the minds of the Indian citizens, who are increasingly beginning to get disillusioned by the ruling government. “Naxalism is an issue, but I think media and international media in particular needs to understand how and why it came into existence. I think we need to completely transform our approach in dealing with these issues. A plan of action is being laid out to take the Naxal leaders into confidence and understand their demands. I know this sounds like a very farfetched idea and many will seriously doubt the usefulness of such talks, but, let me assure you that the government understands and is aware of the roots of these movements. Naxalism is an output of oppression and it is this root cause that we want to rectify. And as far as the terrorist attacks are concerned, I have already told you how we plan on counteracting and preventing them from happening again.” Rathore may just be the man who can get India out of the worrisome situation she finds herself in. From his clear understanding of the issues, to the mature and well-rounded insight he possesses on them and their causes, he clearly knows the gravity of everything that he is expected to do. And there are no doubts that he is well prepared to do just that. At a time when Indian citizens need not just a capable Home Minister, but a role model of sorts, someone they can look up to, Rathore may just prove to be the man who can be that role model.