Mumbai

It’s time to be more assertive: Doval

Ajit Doval speaking atthe Lalit DoshiMemorial FoundationLecture in Mumbai onTuesday. Photo: Vivek Bendre  

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said here on Tuesday that deterrence was the credibility that a nation could show its strength when required. “The lack of will to exercise power is as good as not having any power. India has the mindset that where it punches, it punches below its weight. India shouldn’t be punching below or over. India should increase its weight and punch in proportion,” he said.

Mr. Doval made these observations during the 21st Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture titled “State security, statecraft and conflict of values”.

The lecture comes just a few weeks before Mr. Doval is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, to discuss issues relating to cross-border terrorism. The meeting is important in setting the early tone in the Narendra Modi government’s engagement with Pakistan on security issues.

The lecture was Mr. Doval’s first public engagement after the signing of the historic Naga Peace Accord, in which he is believed to have played an important role.

Taking stock of the changing nature of statecraft he said, “The days of wars in the service of statecraft are coming to an end. Wars are no longer a viable mechanism for achieving political and strategic objectives in a cost effective way.”

Citing the examples of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to buttress his point, Mr. Doval went on to add that it was other institutions such as “the media and the use of soft power in the influencing of minds” that were coming to the fore as instruments of statecraft. “The people who will hold power tomorrow, will be those who can make you think what they want you to think.” Mr. Doval ended the evening with a message to the media. He said, “National strength is based on national will and national will depends on what the nation thinks. The Indian media has its own compulsions much like I have my own. But we denigrate all the time. We should spread positivity and optimism and build a healthy nation together.”

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 7:17:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/its-time-to-be-more-assertive-doval/article7500644.ece

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