ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Gautam NavlakhaSubscribe to Gautam Navlakha

Accountability in Defence Establishment

Gautam Navlakha Arms Procurement Decision-Making, Volume 1: China, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea and Thailand edited by Ravindar Pal Singh; SIPRI, Oxford University Press, 1998.

Nuclear Weapons: Demystifying Restraint Regime

The government of India should endeavour to bring nuclear disarmament back on the international agenda instead of going in for a nuclear weapons build-up. Nuclear restraint should be imposed on it not by external pressure but by Indian public opinion. India should insist on a date being set for the launching of disarmament negotiations before signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Internal War and Civil Rights

The recent Amnesty International report examines the phenomenon of disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. While some of the 'missing' may have crossed the border, by far the larger number have fallen victim to state terrorism - arrest, detention, torture and death at the hands of the security forces. Courts cannot provide much relief as court orders are ignored by bureaucrats and armed forces.

Internal Security: Cost of Repression

The political and financial costs of fighting internal wars have assumed serious proportions. This is because the present policy regime privileges repressive measures over democratic solutions. An increase in the welfare and development activities of the government are the real answer to insurgency.

Defence Spending: Cost of Fighting Imaginary Enemies

India spends large and increasing amounts on defence. Secrecy shrouds the issue of security. Threat perceptions, defence policy, efficiency of weapons and other such matters cannot be examined by the public. This article argues that parliamentary scrutiny and public accountability are a must. [This is the first part of a two-part article. The second part, to be published next week, will examine internal security matters.]

Insecure Foundations of Security

Gautam Navlakha FOR the government of India "(t)he primary factor in India's security calculus is...safeguarding the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the country". If true then safeguarding sovereignty must also be an objective of our security policy which essentially means defence of the sovereign entity; the people. In this the well-being of the people and protection of their life and liberties take precedence over everything else. It is when people and their welfare are the focus that efforts are directed towards resolving disputes between states as well as conflicts within a country through peaceful and negotiated means. And allocation of resources gets determined by this. Let alone this, even the formalities associated with represantative government which are meant to curb arbitrary acts of the executive have been given a go by.

UCC and Women s Movement

Amrita Chhachhi, Farida Khan, Gautam Navlakha, Kumkum Sangari, Neeraj Malik, Ritu Menon, Tanika Sarkar, Uma Chakravarti, Urvashi Butalia, Zoya Hasan THE Anveshi article (Anveshi Law Committee, is Gender Justice Only a Legal Issue? Political Stakes in the UCC Debate', 8, 1997) criticises tendencies within the 'Indian women's movement' that, in its opinion, have focused very narrowly and exclusively upon legal reform. The main thrust of such reforms, moreover, is described as a monolithicising intention that would like to erase all plurality of caste and community, custom and practice in the name of abstract, universal gender justice, thus denying women as well as a range of marginalised communities the right to autonomy. The universalising tendency of this version of gender justice betrays a biological essentialism that fails to take on board other aspects of women's social existence. Such tendencies are most evident among feminists who, according to Anveshi, are termed as 'upper caste, Hindu and urban' in other words, they share some social characteristics of the hindutva politics that they otherwise criticise. However, presumably because of shared social space, they 'unwittingly' lapse into some of the language and agendas of their political adversaries: the demand for a uniform or gender just civil code would be one such instance, the campaign against obscenity would be another. As examples of such immature and politically naive feminist thinking, Anveshi has singled out Forum against Oppression of Women from Bombay and Working Group on Women's Rights from Delhi.

JAMMU AND KASHMIR-First Straw Off Camel s Back

in order to help their original party as we can now see in the UP assembly case. Various suggestions have been floated by various persons to take care of this problem, but none of them appears to be well thought out. The correct solution clearly seems to be to give even the original adjudicating authority to a non-partisan authority instead of the speaker.

Politics Fear of Freedom

Gautam Navlakha The abdication by the legislature of its role of being a watchdog of people's interest, and corresponding increase in coercive powers of the executive, has resulted in disenfranchisement of people and weakening of democratic governance.

JAMMU AND KASHMIR-Long Haul amidst Log-Jam

JAMMU AND KASHMIR Long Haul amidst Log-Jam Gautam Navlakha WHEN the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan agreed to set up eight Joint Working Groups (JWG) including one on Jammu and Kashmir, it appeared as a step towards defusing tensions, even though the likelihood of the resolution of all outstanding problems that have bedevilled relations in the past five decades appears distant. However, the decision to hold dialogue through the mechanism of eight 'inter-linked' JWGs is in itself important in contrast to the two governments' propensity to engage in war-hysteria and encourage hate- mongering. Indeed it was the first time since the Simla Pact 1972 that the two countries arc discussing J and K. Prior to that it was in 1953 (following the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah) and 1962-63 (as a result of Sino- Indian war) that J and K figured in discussions. In other words it is external factors that pushed India to agree to hold the short-lived dialogue. Nevertheless even these short-lived dialogues bring out that between India's insistence that J and K is an 'integral part' of India and Pakistan's claim that it is an unresolved issue following the partition, the point of convergence is that there is neither a third party, namely, people of J and K divided by the Line of Control, nor is there a third option of independence. In other words the two agree that the dispute has territorial dimension divorced from the aspirations of the people of divided J and K.

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