The two front challenge
Even before the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power three years ago, the contours of its national security policy character had made a hazy appearance during the high-decibel election campaign of Narendra Modi.
Riding on the high dose of nationalism, projected through the 56-inch chest caricature, ‘offence’ was the key word that emerged from the BJP’s discourse on the issues concerning the nation’s security.
In the initial months after coming to power, the narrative had completely changed. Prime Minister Modi began with inviting South Asian leaders for his swearing-in ceremony, though the limelight was stolen by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s presence at the gala event on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan. Prime Minister Modi followed it up by landing in Lahore in a surprise trip on his way back from Kabul on a chilly December afternoon. It was hailed as a game-changing move.
It did not take long to come out of the surreal round of bonhomie as Indo-Pak relations plunged into a spiral of violence leading to a complete breakdown.
Pakistan proved that it remains the single biggest source of threat to India’s external security. It has kept the LoC on the boil. Pakistan has ensured that rising alienation in Jammu and Kashmir is exploited and the result is a total lockdown in the Valley where stone pelters have hijacked governance.
The Modi government maintained the approach of no talks till the violence ended and simultaneously paid back Pakistan in kind on the border. The biggest achievement of the Modi government till now is the surgical strike carried out last year to avenge the attack on the Indian army camp in Uri in September 2016.
The multiple strikes across the LoC in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir was the first major assertion by India that the de facto border no longer is a binding element for the Indian forces.
Even as the western frontier remains on edge, the eastern front has heated up. India refused to budge on China’s objection to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing reacted with anger but New Delhi has been able to handle the dragon’s verbal fire rather well.

By rejecting China’s ambitious new silk route plan, India has sent a strong signal that it will continue to oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which runs through the disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
As the relations with Pakistan and China are passing through a rough patch, the modernisation of Indian armed forces had to be accelerated to meet facing adversaries simultaneously in a two front scenario.
While India can effectively engage Pakistan with its current arsenal, taking on China will be a challenge considering the shortage of fighter jets and submarines.
Columnist: 
Gautam Datt
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