During the Combined Commanders Conference, Prime Minister Vajpayee on November 1, 2003, defined the strategic boundaries of India. Two statements he made during his speech remain a benchmark of India’s security concerns and the geographical delineation of strategic boundaries. He said, “As we grow in international stature, our defence strategies should naturally reflect our political, economic and security concerns, extending well beyond the geographical confines of South Asia.”
The Prime Minister also said: “Our security environment ranges from the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca across the Indian Ocean, includes Central Asia and Afghanistan in the North West, China in the North East and South East Asia. Our strategic thinking has also to extend to these horizons.”
The two statements were unambiguous and indicative of India’s desire to exert its influence and aspiration as a regional power. The main issue is that before India embarks on its ultimate aspiration of expanding the strategic frontiers to the limits defined by Mr Vajpayee, there is a need to carry out reality check of how China and Pakistan are ensuring that India’s influence remains limited to its geographical boundaries.
The question is: Is it only a statement to please own domestic audience or is it a benchmark that India is slowly moving to achieve? Do we have the capabilities and capacity to really convert the geographical delimitation