IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 5th Oct 2020
Life is not fair, get used to it!– Bill Gates
EDITORIAL HUNT #171 :“Table Diplomacy and Armed Forces | UPSC“
Table Diplomacy and Armed Forces | UPSC
Sushant Singh is a journalist and a former Indian Army officer
Lost in the border crisis — political ownership
Using the defence forces as a shield may be politically profitable for the government but is damaging for India
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Governance
The confluence of Diplomacy and Armed forces in mainstream politics is a hinderance . Substantiate -(GS 2)
- Armed forces as cover
- Negotiation tools and table diplomacy
- Way forward
- This transforms a transgression into a larger diplomatic and political issue shifting the matter from the domain of the Armed Forces to that of Foreign Policy”.
ARMED FORCES AS THE COVER
- CHANGING STATUS QUO : China has unilaterally altered the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh over the past five months — and at multiple points.
- SHIFTING DOMAINS : Once the matter had moved away from the domain of the armed forces, attention should have shifted from the military to the government as the public face of the crisis.
- EMBRACING MILITARY : Tightly embracing the military and pushing it to the forefront of domestic public imagination is an insurance policy for political leadership when it is facing severe criticism.
- CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS : Theorists have long warned against the participation of armed forces in domestic political roles in democracies, especially in times of a crisis.
- SITUATION TO BE AVOIDED : If stark political divisions over this issue exacerbate, it could draw the military even deeper into the political slugfest, a situation best avoided.
PETER D. FEAVER’S RESEARCH
- It increased doubts about the military’s competence, truthfulness, and other dimensions of trustworthiness.
KEY MEN, MIXED SIGNALS
- DEMOCRATIC SETUP : In the British Parliament, where some of the toughest questions on the most sensitive issues are thrown at the leader, who has to answer them as a measure of his accountability to the people.
- CONTRAST : The presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha asked the Defence Minister to brief the leaders of opposition separately but there has been no such briefing even two weeks later.
- GRAVE BORDER CRISIS : The country still does not know whether the Cabinet Committee on Security, which is the highest authority in the country on matters of national security, has met and discussed the grave border crisis.
ON PUBLIC OPINION
- TABLE DIPLOMACY : Democratic governments can use public opinion to strengthen their hand during negotiations and to avoid making concessions to the other party.
WANTED, OFFICIAL INFORMATION
- LACK OF PARTICULARS : The lack of official information about the crisis has been damaging in other ways too.
- JINGOISM : Not only are people uninformed; they are also misinformed by the gung-ho jingoistic, hyper-nationalist commentators and journalists who have hyped up the Indian military and diplomatic capabilities.
- GRAVEST WARNING : Taking an example of keeping the people in the dark comes from neighbouring Pakistan — on the day its armed forces surrendered to India in Dhaka on December 1971, the Pakistani media was running reports of a glorious military win.
- GROWTH VS INFORMATION : A more honest dissemination of information prevents such situations from developing, which can have damaging consequences for the country going forward.
- DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY : Having the uniform as a shield to avoid democratic accountability may be politically profitable for the state but it carries the risk of aggravating the crisis and hurting India.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Table Diplomacy and Armed Forces | UPSC