New Delhi, Oct.22 (ANI): Describing naxalism as a grave threat to national security, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today asserted that the Indian State cannot and will not allow its authority to be challenged.
Addressing at the Golden Jubilee function of the National Defence College in the national capital on Friday, the Prime Minister asked the armed forces to remain a step ahead of terrorists to ensure their defeat, as terrorism was being used to destroy the core values of the country
Terrorism has been used as a means to destroy the values on which the nation is built, he said adding that terrorist groups enjoy patronage and sanctuaries and do not lack in resources.
"We therefore have to ensure that our capabilities to combat terrorism remain a step ahead of those of the terrorists. They should be left in no doubt whatsoever about our ability and resolve to defeat them," Dr. Singh said.
Acknowledging that there was a development deficit in all parts of the country and naxalism was posing a threat to national security, the Prime Minister said: "But we should be equally clear that the Indian State cannot and will not allow its authority to be challenged."
Citing the incidents of piracy off the Somalia coast, Dr. Singh said non-state actors were becoming increasingly fused and employing the best technologies to target open and democratic societies like India.
"We have therefore to modernize our defence doctrines to respond to new and non-traditional threats to our national security," he said.
Despite a complex regional and global environment, Singh said India's policies were marked by a sense of responsibility and restraint.
"India's military spending has been assessed to be just below the world average as a percentage of GDP," he said.
At the same time, he said, government would not hesitate in ensuring that all necessary resources are provided for national security needs.
Keeping in mind the issue of the expansion of the UN Security Council, Dr. Singh said the reality of international relations is that power is unevenly distributed.
"We should not expect those who have power to willingly part with it. We have to stand up on our own feet to defend the values that define us as a nation," he said.
Stating India has always opposed the unilateral use of force in resolving disputes between states, Dr. Singh said, " We have worked consistently for a rule-based international order, whether in the field of security, trade or climate change. We have worked to strengthen global security."
Noting that energy security was another major challenge, Dr. Singh said that the country must keep all options open including nuclear energy.
"Till such time as we are dependent on fossil fuels we must have the capability of safeguarding the security of the sea lanes of communication. The bulk of international oil cargoes pass through the Indian Ocean and this is a region of vital interest to us," he said.
Recalling that wars over oil have already been witnessed, the Prime Minister cautioned that injudicious and inequitable exploitation and distribution of scarce natural resources could sow the seed of greater conflict among nations and community in the future.
"Our development ambitions need a favourable external environment. Global interdependence of nations is a growing economic and political reality," he said.
"It is therefore essential for India to remain actively engaged with the rest of the world so that we can access capital, high technology, energy and knowledge to propel our growth process," he said.
Describing cyber warfare as an area of emerging concern, the Prime Minister said, "I am glad that our Armed Forces and our other agencies are paying increasing attention to building capabilities and expertise in this very essential area."
Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, an alumnus of the NDC, was also present on the ocassion along with Defence Minister A K Antony, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the three services chiefs. (ANI)