Like any other country, in India also peace and security has been one of the major concerns. The geographical position of India and its emergence as a global power make it vulnerable to external threats. India has not only faced wars with neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan, but has also been dealing with international terrorism.
It has been experiencing internal threats from insurgency and separatist movements ever since independence. Just after two decades of its independence India experienced naxalite activities which have now assumed alarming proportion. It is in this context that the approach for ensuring peace and security began evolving quite early, in fact, during freedom movement itself.
The approach has been reflected in the Constitution as well. However, the approach has been changing over the years according to the needs and requirements.
Evolution of Approach to Peace and Security during Freedom Movement
The ideas and views about the approach to ensure peace and security began during freedom movement. The leadership clearly realised that the democratic system after independence can be functional only when a condition of peace and security is maintained. The development process can not be accelerated unless the peace prevails. Which is why, the leadership of the freedom movement expressed that independent India would make all-out efforts to maintain and promote international peace and security.
They extended support to all the anti-colonial and anti-racist movements in the world and championed the cause of democracy. The consensus that emerged for adopting socialistic approach to socio-economic development, laying emphasis on social justice and secularism was aimed at creating conditions that promote security against internal threats to peace.
Peace and Security in the Constitution
The process of constitution framing was greatly influenced by the ideas that evolved during freedom movement. The Constitution mentions peace and security in the chapter on Directive Principles of State Policy. The federal system and the establishment of rural and urban local governments ensure that the power is not centralised, because centralisation generates regional and local dissatisfaction that may be a threat to internal security.
In a federal system, the decisions in respect of socio-economic development are taken by the State governments that are best placed to respond to all the hopes and aspirations of the people of that State. The local governments also ensure the mass participation in the decision-making for development and take care of the needs and requirements of all.
India has adopted a multi-pronged approach and methods to ensure peace and security. At the international level, it adopted a policy aimed at promotion of international peace and security. It extends support to all efforts being made at the global or regional level for peace, equitable economic development, promotion of human rights and elimination of terrorism. At the national level, it is committed to ensure, liberty, equality and social justice, secularism, equitable economic development and removal of social inequalities.
It also provides equal opportunities to all its citizens to participate not only in elections but also in the decision-making processes at various levels. All this is done to ensure that no section of the society feels that it is being discriminated or its interests are being ignored. Because it is these feeling of discrimination that gives birth to discontent and leads to protests and political violence which turn in to major threats to peace and security.
Article 51 of the Constitution states: The state shall endeavour to: (a) promote international peace and security; (b) maintain just and honorable relations between nations; (c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another; and (d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.