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Alok Bansal

Director, India Foundation.

Aaditya Tiwari

Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh

The last known Gujral Doctrine talked of South Asian countries respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and settling the disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations. Government of India had a self-imposed sealing that Indian forces would not cross the Line of Control or International Border overtly. Even during Kargil war when Pakistan Army and its sponsored Mujahideen had captured Indian territory, in accordance with this doctrine, Indian retaliatory action was confined only up to the Line of Control. However, the Modi government in its two terms has decided to scrap this restriction.

Recently, the Parliament of India exercised its sovereign right to amend Article 370 and create the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. What happened in Parliament on 5th August 2019 is not only historic but has been in line with the Government's policy to take all necessary actions to protect its people and borders. With the creation of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and direct monitoring of the security situation by the Home Ministry, India will be better equipped to handle any untoward situation that might emerge in view of the changing geopolitical environment in Afghanistan.


The last known Gujral Doctrine talked of South Asian countries respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and settling the disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations. Government of India had a self-imposed sealing that Indian forces would not cross the Line of Control or International Border overtly. Even during Kargil war when Pakistan Army and its sponsored Mujahideen had captured Indian territory, in accordance with this doctrine, Indian retaliatory action was confined only up to the Line of Control. However, the Modi government in its two terms has decided to scrap this restriction.

Recently, the Parliament of India exercised its sovereign right to amend Article 370 and create the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. What happened in Parliament on 5th August 2019 is not only historic but has been in line with the Government's policy to take all necessary actions to protect its people and borders. With the creation of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and direct monitoring of the security situation by the Home Ministry, India will be better equipped to handle any untoward situation that might emerge in view of the changing geopolitical environment in Afghanistan.

National Security has been the main focus of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance. This encompasses not only securing India's borders but also ensuring that Indians are safe anywhere in the world. Be it the bold move to display India's nuclear capability, the iconic land boundary agreement with Bangladesh or Operation Raahat where over 4600 people were evacuated from Yemen. This has come about from the clarity that there can be no economic development without secure people and borders.

This uncompromising stance on national security needs to be viewed as a continuum in strategy with a marked shift in tactics. The government does not carry any burden of past policies and its actions related to foreign policy or national security are defined by India's interests alone. The de-hyphenation of India-Israel relations or the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were done keeping interests of the country at forefront. In this context, it will be safe to say that India is undergoing a doctrinal change in India's national security and foreign policy.

The last known Gujral Doctrine talked of South Asian countries respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and settling the disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations. Government of India had a self-imposed sealing that Indian forces would not cross the Line of Control or International Border overtly. Even during Kargil war when Pakistan Army and its sponsored Mujahideen had captured Indian territory, in accordance with this doctrine, Indian retaliatory action was confined only up to the Line of Control. However, the Modi government in its two terms has decided to scrap this restriction.

The first sign of this shift was seen along the Eastern borders when NSCN (K) attacked and killed Indian soldiers in Manipur, India not only acted against them but also publicized its actions, to highlight this paradigm shift. The surgical strikes on terror launch pads inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir after Uri terrorist attack, was next. Though it was a covert operation but political wrangling resulted in it being publicized.

The attack in Pulwama, like that in Mumbai was conceived by the non-state actors sitting in Pakistan with the active connivance of the state. Government of India could have waited and sent dossiers but instead decided to act. Jaish-e-Mohammed the UN designated terrorist organization was the perpetrator and was founded by Masood Azhar who was released from Indian prison after a coercive act of hijacking a passenger aircraft. In line with the changed doctrine India acted against Jaish. The airstrike in Balakot in broad daylight showed India’s resolve that it was willing to cross any redline to protect its people and territory. It signalled that the sponsors of terror will be targeted at a place and time of its choosing.

Recently, the Parliament of India exercised its sovereign right to amend Article 370 and create the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Although Pakistan is making huge noise the fact remains that the Government of India has removed certain provisions of a temporary article of Indian constitution according to laid down procedures. It is difficult to understand Pakistan’s locus standii in matters internal to India. The amendment of Article 370 and abrogation of Article 35A has removed gender and socio-economic discrimination and will provide a flip to economic activity in the region. What happened in Parliament on 5th August 2019 is not only historic but has been in line with Government's policy to take all necessary actions to protect its people and borders. With the creation of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and direct monitoring of the security situation by the Home Ministry, India will be better equipped to handle any untoward situation that might emerge in view of the changing geopolitical environment in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, which had already divided the territory in its occupation in two parts and abrogated the state subject rule in Gilgit Baltistan with the avowed objective of changing the demography, is now raising questions on Indian moves.


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