Current Public Administration Magazine (January - 2017) - At war in the information age

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At war in the information age

The editorial in Organiser, ‘Guarding the republic in information age,’ says that India has evolved in the field of politics, economy and social sector, “but in the information age where knowledge is power, strategically we still have to accept the new responsibility for guarding our republic”. The editorial notes that in the 21st century, a “military war is a rare possibility” as “ we are constantly at war in the information age”. Nations are strategising and “there are new technologies controlled by private players, new actors beyond state apparatus, new ideologies that are driving people across boundaries… This is an invisible war which we are fighting at military, technological and intellectual levels,” it says. Noting that Pakistan is “playing a mischievous game of hacking against Bharat”, the editorial says that “there is a need for greater participation of technocrat soldiers”. “Cybermobilisation is another modus operandi that is visible across the world,” it says. “Bharat has been witnessing many information and disinformation campaigns that are triggering turmoil in regions like Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east,” the editorial says, adding that “the most treacherous part of this new-age war is the emergence of intellectual warfare inflicted through information”.

Decolonise the mind

A recent publication, Swaraj in Ideas, by the RSS-affiliated think tank, India Policy Foundation, advocates “decolonisation of the Indian mind”. It lists several instances where the contemporary intellectual discourse “displays unremitting hostility to India”. One such instance is “when Harold Coward compares Derrida with Shankaracharya and Abhinavagupta”. “This is arrogance and escapism, besides being a wholly unproductive comparative study,” the publication notes. Contending that “ideologies imposed by the West have been the cause of destruction, disunity and de-harmonisation”, it adds that “western apologists come with new theories to resolve the crisis they have created”. Even new theories like “post-modernity are merely attempts by post-structuralists like Michel Foucault to perpetuate western hegemony through the new emphasis on contextual genealogy of the West and its emergent subjectivity”. The publication notes that colonialism is “an ideology that perpetuates enslavement even without physical domination”. After the end of colonialism, the western colonialists “created international institutions to mask their hegemony from direct contestations”. “Their earlier paradigm of the ‘civilising mission’ was transformed into ‘developing mission,” it says. The publication then advocates the “empowerment of a nation’s self, mutation from uncritical to critical perspectives to see western world views”, and says that resurrection of “civilisational narratives beyond the western time zone” will complete the “cycle of decolonisation”.

Security concerns

The cover story of Organiser is about the joint annual brainstorming “Dialogue on Defence” it recently organised with its sister concern weekly, Panchjanya. The dialogue “pondered over the issues related to defence preparedness” as Captain (retd) Alok Bansal underlined that “new threats emerging from cyber space demand for better coordination”. Former IG BSF, Anil Kamboj underlined the neglect of “north-eastern and central parts of India where militant-Maoist insurgency poses serious threat to the security”. Another participant said, “the biggest threat perhaps lies within the country itself, not across the border”. “During 1971, the political opposition hailed Indira Gandhi as Durga and now that kind of magnanimity is nowhere in politics,” he said. Organiser’s editor Prafulla Ketkar said that “most of our threats are from the American point of view”, and added, “unless we identify things with our point of view, we can’t address the real issue.” Kamboj spoke about how “good coordination between the army and BSF … deteriorated, mainly because of political intervention”. It was “under instructions from the home ministry,” that the “BSF took its controversial stand against Armed Forces Special Powers Act during the UPA regime,” Kamboj revealed. It was argued that the army, navy and air force are “one unit”, as “only jointly they can achieve their mission”. Besides causing “major security concerns”, “lack of joint-coordination also incurs financial loss to the public accounts,” the article points out.

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