he Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that Peace is the prerequisite for Progress and India is on rise and entire world is looking at us. He was delivering a Lecture at the National Defence College on the theme “India’s Strategic Culture, National Core Values, Interests and Objectives”, here today.
The Vice President said that we have believed that the whole world is one large family as exemplified by the oft-quoted statement: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. We are a nation that has desired peace not only on earth and for human beings but for the entire universe, he said. Peaceful co-existence has been an article of faith with us and we should be proud of our country’s timeless vision that encapsulated a world view that is quite relevant even to this day, he added.
The Vice President said that we are living in a world that is torn by violent thoughts, violent emotions and violent actions. He further said that to ensure security, we need to have a multi-pronged approach. Extremism, terrorism, communalism, violence against women and numerous other forms of violent behaviour need a concerted approach, he added.
The Vice President said that education for peace and learning to live together is the need of the hour. He further said that education with values of empathy, compassion, tolerance and goodness embedded in the curriculum can prevent conflict and irrational violence. Community education, inter-faith understanding and evolution of societal norms that encourage harmony and zero tolerance towards violence of all kinds can provide the foundation for a secure society, he added.
The Vice President said that we have been facing the problems of insurgency, left wing extremism and attempts by certain fissiparous forces to weaken the unity and integrity of the country. There is no place for violence in a democracy and India is a mature parliamentary democracy and the ballot has proved to be far more powerful than the bullet, he added.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
“I am happy to be with all of you today to share with you some of my thoughts on India’s perspectives on building a secure and peaceful world.
The history of mankind seems to be a ceaseless struggle between the forces of war and peace, between evil and goodness, between violence and non-violence, between tolerance and hatred, between understanding and misunderstanding, between isolationism and inclusion and between conflict and coexistence.
It is a continuous struggle and the State has a major role in it along with other bodies like the United Nations.
The State has a pivotal role in ensuring the security of all people in the country and the territorial integrity of a country. Article 21, the heart of Indian Constitution and the democratic principles that underpin it, guarantees every one the right to life and liberty.
In fact, the security of its citizens and national security is the primary responsibility of the State.
It is worth recalling that Kautilya’s Arthashastra written around the 1st Century AD outlines the three important duties of the ruler.
First is “raksha” or protection of the state from external aggression.
The second is “paalana” or administration and maintenance of law and order.
The third is “Yoga- Kshema” or ensuring the safety and welfare of the people.
Underlying the statement of these three mandates of the state is the recognition of the imperfect world we live in and the constant threat of violence and aggression.
There is an unambiguous mandate to the state to maintain peace, establish rule of law, defend the borders and ensure that all citizens enjoy secure and fulfilling lives.
There is also an overtone that highlights the connection between peace and progress. The welfare and development of the people and the reduction in inequalities and discontent can potentially lead to a more harmonious, peaceful and less insecure society.
So, what we should be addressing are the potential triggers that make our society an insecure place.
The security strategy in simplistic terms focuses on identifying internal, external and hybrid threats and suggests preventive, prescriptive and operative ways to exercise comprehensive national power (CNP) to mitigate these effects.
The National Security Strategy aims at creating conditions to effectively pursue its development agenda while keeping the costs of security optimal and affordable.
The concept of national security has multiple dimensions. It has to take into consideration various events and situations as they constantly emerge within and outside the nation.
Our strategic security direction should encompass the following components:
(a) Maintaining a deterrent capability to safeguard National Interests.
(b) Ensuring security of national territory, maritime region, including our trade routes, air space and cyber space.
(c) Maintaining a secure internal environment to guard against threats to our unity and development.
(d) Strengthening and Expanding ‘‘Constructive Engagement’’ with Nations to promote regional and global peace as also international stability.
As you all are aware, India’s security strategy broadly reflects the core values which we have been representing from time immemorial.
We have believed that the whole world is one large family as exemplified by the oft-quoted statement: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
We are a nation that has desired peace not only on earth and for human beings but for the entire universe. Let me recall what the Vedic sages have said in Yajurveda:
“May peace radiate in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere;
May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers;
May peace flow over the whole universe;
May peace be in the Supreme Being;
Let there be peace, peace and peace to all of us and to all beings in this universe.”
This has been the prayer that India has given to itself and the world.
Peaceful co-existence has been an article of faith with us.
Hatred and conflict have been consistently abhorred.
We should be proud of our country’s timeless vision that encapsulated a world view that is quite relevant even to this day. Let me share with you a Upanishadic verse:
“May God protect us both together;
May God nourish us both together;
May we work together collaboratively with great energy;
May our study be ennobling;
May we not hate each other for any reason;
Let there be peace within my body;
Let there be peace within my mind;
Let there be peace in the environment around me.”
We are living in a world that is torn by violent thoughts, violent emotions and violent actions.
To ensure security, we need to have a multi-pronged approach. The battle has to be fought on multiple fronts.
Extremism, terrorism, communalism, violence against women and numerous other forms of violent behaviour need a concerted approach.
The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares that
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”.
The defences of peace must be constructed in a number of places starting with the schools and colleges, workplaces and places of worship, in the homes and the fields.
Education for peace and learning to live together is the need of the hour.
Education with values of empathy, compassion, tolerance and goodness embedded in the curriculum can prevent conflict and irrational violence.
Community education, inter-faith understanding and evolution of societal norms that encourage harmony and zero tolerance towards violence of all kinds can provide the foundation for a secure society.
The 6th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita has the following lines:
“Mana eva Manushyaanaam
Kaaranam Bandha Mokshayoh”
(It is our mind that either binds us or liberates us)
We need more broad minds that are open and receptive, willing to accept and act on good advice, share positive thoughts and ideas that can transform the world for the better.
Negative, narrow, tunnel vision can only lead us all to a strife-torn world we would not like to enter.
This is the medium and long term view and actions needed to prevent extreme violence.
In the short term, however, we need to be firm in our resolve to not allow any violence to spiral beyond control and take decisive, swift and stern action.
We, in India, have been facing the problems of insurgency, left wing extremism and attempts by certain fissiparous forces to weaken the unity and integrity of the country. There is no place for violence in a democracy. India is a mature parliamentary democracy and the ballot has proved to be far more powerful than the bullet.
I have mentioned the threat to internal security and senseless violence which wears different garbs in different contexts, be it language or religion or community or ideology.
There are also the external threats we have to recognize and counter in time and effectively. We live in a globalized world and what happens in one part of the world has an impact on many countries and regions.
Today, terrorism is the biggest threat to humanity and all nations need to come together to eliminate this global menace. It is time for the United Nations and the global community to act with greater force and determination in tackling the problem.
All countries have adopted an ambitious and transformative agenda for achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This agenda has the following important resolve right at the beginning:
“We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”
One of the important findings of ‘World Peace Index 2018’ published by Institute for Economics and Peace is that global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.38 per cent since 2008.
Another important finding in this report is about the impact of conflict on macroeconomic performance. In the last 70 years, per capita growth has been three times higher in highly peaceful countries when compared to countries with low levels of peace.
The way forward could be to focus on inclusive development and reduce inequalities. Creating just and inclusive societies could lead to more peaceful world and this is what India is attempting through its “Sab ka Sath, Sab ka Vikas” approach.
Clearly, there is a complex matrix of causes and effects, internal and external factors, short term and medium term strategic options that one has to carefully understand and develop a strategy that allows us to respond to existing and emerging threats to our security.
We need to develop the competence to understand the magnitude and the nature of each of these threats and prepare adequately to deal with each one of them.
I am happy to know that the National Defence College brings together selected senior officers from various organs of the Government and friendly foreign countries for giving them a structured exposure to various issues relating to national security of a modern state in general and India in particular. I am told the College seeks to prepare these officers for higher responsibilities in the management of national security and other related areas of public policy.
The 47-week course, focuses on socio-political study of India, study on economic security, international security environment; global Issues, science and technology, including environmental ones; India’s strategic neighborhood and finally strategies and structures for National Security.
My best wishes to all of you in your future endeavours as you embark on the challenging task of creating a secure, sustainable planet.