Are We A ‘SOFT’ State?: Civil Services Mentor Magazine April 2013


The term ‘soft state’ was first used by the noted economist
Gunnar Myrdal in his classic book The Asian Drama in the context of South Asia
for the inability of the states to implement their economic plans and programmes
efficiently and effectively. Now the term has acquired additional dimensions of
meaning that subsumes a comprehensive collapse of even the most basic functions
of the state. A contemporary political commentator Atul Kohli has aptly drawn
attention to the paradox of the enormous expansion of the state power in India
at the same time when its powerlessness to act effectively is equally obvious.

India is vulnerable to terror attacks. To fight terror, the
country needs to strengthen its security and intelligence. The need of hour is
to revamp border security, maritime security and aerial security. The nation
needs a complete recast of its intelligence mechanism. There is a pressing need
for stringent counter-terrorism policy and its implementation. In order to weed
out terrorism from its roots, India needs to terrorise the terrorists and their
sympathizers. In the end, the one pertinent thought that resonates years after
the 26/11 attacks is – Does human life count for even a little bit in India? The
government should act and that too fast. Indira Gandhi who was once considered
as one of the world’s powerful leader was the Prince Minister of the country who
proved that India was not a soft state through her actions In the war with
Pakistan in 1971 leading to the creation of Bangladesh, annexation of Sikkim in
1975 and suppression of separatist move-ment in the country. 1971 the Pakistani
army heavily cracked down on the civilian population of erstwhile East Pakistan
and as a result over 10 million refugees fled to India. The Pakistan military
action was in disregard to the election verdict which caused the emergence of
Awami League as the single largest party.

The Pakistan military dictatorship under Agha Muhammad Yahya
Khan and the then political leaders of West Pakistan apprehended the shifting of
political capital from Islamabad to Dhaka or separation of its eastern wing,
despite assurances the Bangaoandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to resolve the issue
within the framework of Pakistan.

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