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Indian Express

10- January-2024

1. A note to security planners

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security- Role of external state and non-state actors. 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of security challenges, both external and internal, provides a comprehensive understanding of contemporary security issues.
Context:
  • The article starts out by making comparisons between historical occurrences and potential security threats India may see in 2024.
  • The idea that big nations would refrain from fighting for territory in the post-Cold War era was destroyed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  • This incident underlines the possibility of conventional warfare between nuclear-armed states over disputed areas.
  • The article makes a comparison between China’s 1993 agreement violations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan, Ladakh, and India’s experience in that regard.
The Dynamics of 2023: Hamas Terror Attack and Houthi Offensive:
  • The article explores the events of 2023, with particular attention to Israel’s retaliation against the Hamas terror attack on October 7. This battle exposed Israeli policy and brought the Palestine problem back into the public eye.
  • Additionally, the non-state group known as the Houthi rebel group in Yemen carried out a bold attack on merchant shipping that had connections to Israel, interrupting international shipping and triggering an American naval task force response.
  • The article focuses on how non-state actors might present significant obstacles by utilising inexpensive technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles.
Common Threads: Surprises and Inadequate Preparedness
  • The element of surprise in these security difficulties is a recurring topic that highlights shortcomings in tactically actionable intelligence and the capacity to predict unconventional security needs based on technological trends.
  • The article cites historical incidents in India where unexpected events left security planners perplexed, including the border battle with China in 1962, the Kargil conflict in 1999, the 2008 Mumbai terror assault, and the Galwan incident in 2020.
India’s Complex Security Landscape in 2024:
  • The article highlights India’s complex security issues for 2024, including those pertaining to internal security and low-intensity conflicts (LICs).
  • One ongoing challenge is the strategic cooperation between China and Pakistan, as well as their support for non-state actors.
  • Recent developments involving Hamas and the Huthis could give confidence to groups in the Subcontinent who have anti-Indian agendas, leading to an upsurge in terrorist action, as observed in Jammu.
Broader Regional Dynamics and Institutional Challenges
  • The article discusses how developments in Myanmar, pro-China politics in the Maldives, and possible electoral dynamics in Pakistan could rekindle smouldering anti-Indian sentiment.
  • India’s overall security index is expected to remain difficult in 2024 due to financial restrictions that affect military modernization and election mandates.
  • Notable policy changes include the adoption of the Agniveer plan for recruits and modifications to military structure. 
Future Security Planning: Adapting to Emerging Trends:
  • The article’s conclusion emphasises how difficult it will be for security planners everywhere to interpret the events of 2023 and decide which traditional platforms to buy.
  • Complicating matters include the changing nature of the battlefield, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), and associated technologies.
  • Security planners must test the adaptability of the next administration and higher defence management in tackling these issues by projecting scenarios involving non-state actors, covert support networks, market dynamics, and corporate power brokers.
What can be the Potential Benefits of the National Security Strategy in India?
  • Comprehensive Approach: An NSS provides a comprehensive framework for addressing various security challenges, both internal and external, in a holistic manner.
  • Clear Objectives: It outlines clear security objectives, helping to define the assets and interests that need protection and the identification of potential threats.
  • Policy Guidance: An NSS offers policy guidance, helping the government formulate and implement strategies and policies to safeguard national security.
  • Prioritization: It helps prioritize security concerns, enabling the allocation of resources and efforts to the most critical issues.
  • Resource Allocation: It assists in resource allocation, enabling efficient use of financial and human resources to enhance security.
  • Deterrence: The strategy can help deter potential adversaries by demonstrating a clear and well-thought-out approach to national security
  • Whole-of-Government Approach: NSS promotes a “whole-of-government” approach by involving multiple government departments and agencies, ensuring coordination and cooperation in security-related matters.
  • Public Awareness: Elements of the NSS can be shared with the public, raising awareness about national security concerns and garnering public support.
  • International Engagement: An NSS can guide India’s engagement with other countries and international organizations on security matters.
PYQ: The diverse nature of India as a multireligious and multi-ethnic society is not immune to the impact of radicalism which has been in her neighbourhood. Discuss along with the strategies to be adopted to counter this environment. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2014)
Practice Question: Analyze the impact of recent global events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Hamas terror attack, on India’s national security posture. Discuss how these challenges necessitate a nuanced approach in India’s strategic thinking and defense policies. (250 words/15 m)

2. Doing justice, reinforcing trust

Topic: GS2 – Polity- Judiciary 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of the role of the judiciary in upholding justice and the rule of law.
Context:
  • The Supreme Court’s recent ruling, which nullified the Gujarat government’s order for the early release of 11 people found guilty of the horrific gang rape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots, is a ray of hope that reinforces the commitment to justice.
  • This decision gives the public confidence that there are judges committed to protecting the fundamental rights of the constitution and averting injustices.
Bilkis Bano’s Trauma and Legal Battle:
  • Bilkis Bano, who was subjected to horrific brutality during the 2002 Gujarat riots, fought a lengthy court battle that resulted in the accused’s conviction and life sentence.
  • But the contentious move by the Gujarat government to free them early on the grounds of good behaviour and time served infuriated the people and called into question the fundamentals of justice.
Premature Release and Controversial Justification
  • The Gujarat government’s decision to free the prisoners in face of opposition from the CBI and a Special CBI judge begs fundamental concerns about its commitment to justice and its priorities.
  • The revelation made Bilkis Bano’s suffering much worse and revealed systemic shortcomings in the way that horrific crimes are handled, in addition to offensive comments made by a former minister.
Supreme Court’s Timely Intervention:
  • At this critical juncture, the Supreme Court intervenes to address public dissatisfaction with case prioritisation and apparent discrimination in the legal system.
  • The ruling serves as a reminder of the independence of the court and its duty to guarantee that every person, regardless of background or type of offence, has equal access to the legal system.
Restoring Confidence in the Judiciary
  • The Supreme Court has made a key move in rebuilding public trust in the justice system by ruling that the early release of the prisoners was unlawful and mandating their re-incarceration.
  • Reiterating the judiciary’s dedication to the “rule of law” and setting an example for accountability, this ruling comes at a time when dissatisfaction over unfair treatment and prolonged hearings is on the rise.
Conclusion:
  • In addition to sustaining justice in this specific case, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bilkis Bano case also makes a strong statement regarding the judiciary’s duty to protect fundamental principles.
  • As the country honours the judges for their bravery and dedication, it is hoped that these cases will serve as a spark for a just and equitable legal system, stopping injustice from happening again in the future.
Legal Aspects of Remission and Release
  • Articles 72 and 161 of the Indian Constitution confer pardon and remission powers on the President and Governors, respectively.
  • Chapter XXXII of the CrPC (Sections 432 to 435) outlines the procedures for remission, suspension, and commutation of sentences.
  • Remission aims to address aspects not fully covered during court proceedings.
  • Convicts can be released with or without conditions based on remission.
  • Convicts serving life sentences become eligible for remission after completing 14 years of imprisonment.
  • Section 433A of the CrPC restricts the power of the President and Governors to commute death sentences to less than 14 years of life imprisonment.
  • The remission process involves consultation between the state and the court, followed by an executive decision.
  • The power of remission must be exercised fairly and without arbitrariness.
  • The Supreme Court, in ‘State of Haryana v. Mahender Singh and Others’ (2007), underscored that remission should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering relevant factors.
  • Remission, a product of good behavior, should not be viewed as an act of compassion but as a legal duty.
  • Remission contributes to reformation while respecting constitutional principles.
PYQ: Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2014)
Practice Question: Critically analyze the Supreme Court’s judgment on the premature release of convicts in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. Also, discuss the role of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law and individual rights in the context of such landmark decisions. (200 words/12.5 m)

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