India must engage with its neighbours in a way that war doesn’t remain a ‘necessary option’- Ajit Doval

New Delhi, (PTI): National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Saturday said India must engage with its neighbours–China and Pakistan–and build deterrence capabilities in a way that war does not remain a “necessary option”. At the same time, Doval called for a preparedness for a “two-front war”.

India must engage with its neighbours in a way that war doesn’t remain a ‘necessary option’- Ajit Doval

Doval said there are different types of issues with all the neighbouring countries barring Bhutan and the country will have to prepare itself in view of the neighbourhood settings. The former Chief of Intelligence Bureau said Pakistan has been using terrorism as part of state policy as they feel that they will be able to carry out this asymetric warfare for an indefinite period at a nominal cost. “We have got two neighbours. Both of them are nuclear powers. Both of them do not have very representative democratic government. Both of them have got a strategic relationship which is very very deep and both have got an adversarial view of ours,” he said.

He said India is engaging with both the neighbours and lot of ground has been made with China. He said efforts have been made towards Pakistan also. “The challenge for today is to engage them diplomatically, able to create economic interdependence, engage in various other fields and at the same time build our force levels deterence capability, to an extent that war does not remain a necessary option. That will require deeper engagement,” the NSA said at the HT Leadership Summit. He said this will also require support for democracy in the neighbourhood and economic cooperation.

Doval said globalisation has created a threat of its own as something which affects one part of the world affects the entire world. He said happenings in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan will affect India. Doval said the concept of global order is undergoing change and platforms like ASEAN, G-20 have beome relevant for the country as India has been able to engage itself effectively against powers with conflicting interests be it Russian interests in Ukrain and Europe and China and Japan.

The balancing and strategising in geopolitical and geo strategic settings is going to be important for country’s engagement with the world, he added. He said about a decade back 14 per cent of country’s economy engaged with the rest of the world whereas now it stands at 40 per cent and might increase with the time. “In immediate neighbourhood we have 15,000 km land border of which leaving 686 km with Bhutan, with the rest of the countries we have one security problem or the other. With China there is border dispute. With Pakistan it is infiltration and terrorism, drugs coming in. With Bangladesh there are demographics coming in. In Myanmar there are insurgent camps etc,” he added