By Amit Shankar Abuja [Nigeria], Sept. 28 : Maintaining that India and Nigeria are linked by common historical experiences of colonial rule and are united in the desire to work towards democratic pluralism, Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said that main concern should be establishing the credibility and legitimacy of the state and its institutions.
Speaking at the Nigerian National Defence College, Ansari said that both nations are united to work towards democratic pluralism, with the core values of liberty, equality and tolerance, while seeking economic development and social justice for their people, adding, aberrations must be resolved in a transparent and just fashion.
"Our main concern should, therefore, be to establish the credibility and legitimacy of the state and its institutions.
Aberrations must be resolved in a transparent and just fashion as public perceptions are important. Management of ethnic and communal conflicts and resolving them are important areas of governance, as are the identification of threats posed by religious fundamentalism, ethnic violence, economic disparities and deprivation," he said.
He insisted that problems like religious fundamentalism, ethnic violence, economic disparities and deprivation cannot be ignored, particularly when globalization and information technology can make changes fast, furious and most unexpected.
Talking about the paradigm shifts and definitions on national security, the Vice President also cited examples of Indian strategic thinker of the 3rd century B.C.
Kautilya and several others. He said that decline in inter-state warfare in the first decade and a half of the present century has been coupled with an increase in lower intensity civil conflicts, adding, "The idea of security has expanded beyond the traditional sphere of military security, which had primarily been concerned with the defending the border of a country from invading enemy." He insisted that there is growing recognition that security of any given society is also impacted by several non-military factors, including political, economic, environmental, social and human domains.
He also invoking former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan quote on the emerging paradigm of security. "We must broaden our view of what is meant by peace and security. Peace means much more than the absence of war. Human security can no longer be understood in purely military terms. Rather, it must encompass economic development, social justice, environmental protection, democratization, disarmament and respect for human rights and the rule of law," Ansari quoted Anan as saying.
The vice president insisted that proactive planning is needed to anticipate the strategic problems before crises overtake us.
"It is in this context that centres of higher military learning, such as yours, derive their importance.
Policy making in most countries is often reactive: Governments are driven by deadlines and events. Proactive planning is needed to anticipate the strategic problems, highlight trends, develop scenarios, and suggest policy options, before crises overtake us," he said.
He pointed out that experience of the last seven decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, shows that real life veers quite significantly away from text book assumptions.
"Many of the States have radiated insecurity towards their citizens and residents and thus destabilised their own societies and polities.
This has led to state failures and implosions in the internal dimension and to regional and even global crises in the external dimension.
One cannot escape the harsh conclusion that States have, quite often, been significant contributors to individual and systemic insecurity," he said.
Highlighting that the task of defining, and implementing, a security paradigm is far more challenging in democratic, pluralist, developing societies with heterogeneous populations having diversities of religion, ethnicity and languages, he said that for democratic societies, the measure of security is derived from the perspective of the lowest common denominator, the well-being of the citizen or the individual.
"People need to feel secure both at the individual and community level. If they feel they are victims of economic deprivation, neglect and negative politics, they lose faith in the State," he said.