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National Security Conference, July 05-06 2008
<span style='color:red'>Conference on Challenges to National Identity and Security in 21st Century</span>
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

July 05-06, 2008
Ashutosh Mookerjee Auditorium,
National Museum,
Chowranghee Kolkata

India's rising political, economic, and military might, her scientific and technological abilities, and entrepreneurial talent, all combine to make her a significant power in the world. Vast tracts of the world were historically deeply influenced by Indian culture and civilization, a truth immortalized by Zimmer in his memorable phrase 'Indian Asia.'

The pulsating vitality of Hindu civilization, its unmatched ability to be contemporary, has helped India march into the modern era with equanimity, carrying an immeasurably diverse populace into a democratic system that, despite odds and failings, strives sincerely to give a meaningful and dignified life to all.

India's very geographical location places her at the cusp of very difficult international crossroads, which impact upon her security, and often place strains upon her economic interests and religious demography. These challenges can only become more acute in coming times. The post Cold War power equations are being rapidly undermined by new emerging economic power equations and alignments, and India is well-placed to seize the opportunity presented by this nascent order, where old friends of the Cold War era are well represented. Missing the bus could certainly adversely affect India's energy security, and hence her economic strengths and emerging Asian power status.

The old international hegemonies are being rapidly undermined by larger historical forces, and nations well advanced on the path of economic decline cannot easily retrieve their declining fortunes. Nations that control natural resources as national (sovereign) rather than as private wealth, are on the right side of history. It is hardly an accident that in ancient India, all mineral wealth belonged to the State. Current narratives that peddle globalization as the only path to the future are already in disrepute.

Co-current with changing international realities are the intensified regional challenges arising from increased instabilities in the neighborhood, and posing a serious politico-security threat to India. The rise of China is self-evident, as is the instability of other neighbouring countries. India's is yet to formulate a cogent response which will determine its status in Asia and the world. Few challenges wither away themselves, and it seems this may have happened with the ill-conceived Indo-US nuclear deal, if only because of domestic compulsions!

The threat posed by terrorism, however, needs to be tackled head-on, at multiple levels, by security agencies, and by society and civilization. Terrorism is not merely a threat to life and property, a breadkdown of law and order, or a challenge to security agencies . It is an intentional insult to the Hindu-centric civilizational ethos of India, which provides honourable space and harmony for all constituent units of society, never aspiring for a dead uniformity, yet seeking unity in the throbbing vitality of diversity.

Calculated, calibrated, and motivated assaults upon this tradition cannot be allowed to succeed. The persistent nature of the challenge, the near-total concentration upon India for jihadi terror (with only stray incidents in other parts of the world), point to a larger gameplan to destabilize the world's only living non-monotheistic tradition. The security challenge is therefore, the least of the challenges, and one our armed forces are fully competent to meet.

Simply put, Indian civilization poses a continuing threat to Monotheistic traditions, and is thus being undermined at multiple levels. The real challenge is in the mind. India has to demonstrate the intellectual vigour to beat back the ideological challenge posed by jihad in all parts of the country, and spreading Maoist and other insurgencies, and more sophisticated and insidious threats from the West, which seeks to coopt India as a junior partner into its own renewed quest for world dominion.

In order to discuss the multiple issues impinging on India's national identity and security, we are organizing a two-day national seminar in Kolkata on 5th and 6th July 2008. The seminar will feature sessions which will seek to comprehensively address major issues and trends in the Indian security context; assess major challenges and suggest creative solutions for shaping policy options in the new century.

Following is an outline of the sessions to be held:

1. Inaugural Session: Challenges to National Identity and Security in 21st Century

2. International Factors Shaping National Identity & Security

- Jihad's Impact on India

3. Regional Security Challenges

- Unstable Neighborhood and Its Politico-Security Consequences

- Maoism in Nepal, HuJI in Bangladesh

- Growing Talibanization of Pakistan

- Dealing with Rising China

4. Emerging National Security Challenges

- Challenges to India's Nuclear Policy

- Nature and Responses to the Threat of Terrorism

- Emerging Military Threats & Defence Policy Options

5. Internal Security Challenges

- Insurgency Movements (Northeast & Kashmir)

- Naxalite menace

6.Concluding Session
Keynote Addresses, Paper Presentations and Panel:

Lt. Gen(Retd) S K Sinha, Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
Gen. (Retd) V P Malik
Sri Arun Shourie, Former Union Minister, and writer
Sri Jaswant Singh, Former Union Minister
Sri Chandan Mitra, MP and Managing Editor The Pioneer
Smt. Sandhya Jain, Senior Journalist
Sri M.J. Akbar, Senior Journalist
Sri P. Stobdan, senior fellow, IDSA
Sri Thupstan Chhewang, M.P.(Ladakh)
Sri Tarun Vijay, Senior Journalist and Director, Research Foundation
Sri D. N. Bezbaruah, former editor, The Sentinel

Many other analysts from major think tanks in India.
<b>Programme Outline</b>

<b>Day 1: Saturday, July 05, 2008</b>

0930 onwards Registration, Seminar secretariat

1000 - 1100 Inaugural Session

Inaugural Address
Keynote Address: Challenges to National Identity and Security in 21st Century
Vote of Thanks

1100 – 1130 Tea

1130 - 1300 Session 1: International Factors Shaping National Identity and Security

Globalization and its Impact
Islamic Identity Movements and Its Impact on India & Its Neighborhood
India's Role in the Changing International Order

1300 – 1400 Lunch <i>(Not Served. Available at the museum cafetaria for a nominal charge)</i>

1400 – 1600 Session 2: Regional Security Challenges

Unstable Neighborhood and Its Politico-Security
Consequences (Maoism in Nepal, HuJI in Bangladesh)
Dealing with Rising China
Future of Indo-Pak Relations
Multilateralism & Regionalism as an Option

<b>Day 2: Sunday, July 06, 2008</b>

0930 – 1130 Session 3: Emerging National Security Challenges

Challenges to India's Nuclear Policy
Nature and Responses to the Threat of Terrorism
Emerging Military Threats & Defence Policy Options

1130 – 1330 Session 4: Internal Security Challenges
Ethnic Identity Movements (Northeast & Kashmir)
The Rise of Left-Wing Extremism
Religious Fundamentalism and India's National Identity

1330 – 1430 Lunch <i>(Not Served. Available at the museum cafetaria for a nominal charge)</i>

1430 – 1630 Session 5: The Way Forward

Crafting a Foreign Policy in the 21st Century
Challenges of Democracy and Authoritarianism to Indian Foreign Policy
Independent Foreign Policy and Strategic Partnership
Reshaping Indian Cultural Values in 21st Century
Governance, Development and Deepening of Democracy in India

1630 – 1700 Concluding Session

Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation
(Centre for Civilisational Values and Policy Research)
11 Ashok Road, New Delhi 110001
Tel: +91 11 23382569 / 23382234.
Can we have synopsis on the topics posted here? Check the Telegraph and Statesman papers.

As an aside we can debate the topics here on IF too as a parallel discussion.
Theme and schedule of sessions

<b>1. Inaugural Session: </b>
9:30 am - 10:45 am

Welcome – Shri Kedar Nath Sahani
SPMRF introduction- Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Concept introduction- Prof. P.Stobdan
Theme presentation – Shri Tarun Vijay
Inaugural address - Gen. V.P.Malik

(Co-ordinators- Shri Bimal Lath, Shri Bikash Bhattacharya)

10:45 am - Tea break -15 mts.

<b>Second session – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm</b>
2. Emerging National Security Challenges
Challenges to India’s Nuclear Policy; Nature and Responses to the Threat of Terrorism; Emerging Military Threats & Defence Policy Options,
<b>Chair - Shri Bhaskar Ray </b>
Gen. V.P.Malik (Theme-Indian defence forces’ preparedness to face challenges in 21st century)
Kiran Rijiju
Lt. Gen N.S.Malik
Shri Ajai Sahani
Jatin Mohanty
(Coordinators- Dr. Debabrata Chowdhary, Shri Anirban Ganguly)
Lunch break - 1:30 to 2:30pm

<b>Third session – 2:30 to 4:30pm</b>
Regional Security Challenges; Unstable neighborhood and its politico-security consequences; Maoism in Nepal, HuJI in Bangladesh, Multilateralism & Regionalism as an Option;

<b>Chair - Shri BB Nandi</b>
Maj. Gen Ashok Mehta
Shri Manas Ghosh
Shri Ajai Sahani
Col. Sabyasachi Bagchi
Bijoy Kumar Adya
Thanks-Shri Shyam Jaju
(Coordinator- Dr.Jatin Mohanty, Shri Tathagat Ray, Shri Shyam Jaju)

4:30 – 4:45 Tea break

<b>Fourth session - 4:45 - 6:30 pm </b>
Challenges to national identity (What forms a national identity, space for regional identities and aspirations, the thread that binds India as one people, one nation?)

<b>Chair - Shri G. Parthasarathy</b>
Key note - Shri Thupstan Chhewang
Shri Manas Ghosh
Ms. Sandhya Jain
Shri Tathagata Roy
Shri Asim Kumar Mitra
Shri Rabi Ranjan Sen
Dr. S. Trivedi

(Coordinators- Shri Bimal Lath, Shri Manmohan Garodia,)

<b>6th July 2008, Sunday,
First session – 9:30 am to 11:00 am</b>
Dealing with rising China; International factors, security, border issue and the road ahead

<b>Chair - Shri Arun Shourie</b>
Shri P. Stobdan
Shri Bhaskar Roy
Shri B.B.Nandi
Shri Dattatreya Hosbale
(Coordinator-Shri AsimKumar Mitra, Shri Arindam Mukherji)
11:00 am to 11:15 am – tea break

<b>Second session 11:15 am to 12:00 pm </b>
Developments in the neighbouring Islamic countries

<b>Chair - Shri Chandan Mitra</b>
Shri G.Parthasarathy
Shri Manas Ghosh
Ms. Sandhya Jain

(Coordinators-Dr. Debobrata Chowdhary , Shri Anirban Ganguly)

12:00 pm:
Valedictory address - <b>Shri Jaswant Singh, Leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha</b>
Theme-Shaping a national security and foreign Policy in the 21st Century
Chair-Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee, former chief justice, Kolkata High Court
Foundational note and conclusions - Dr. Harsh Vardhan
The road ahead and thanks - Shri Kidar Nath Sahani
(Coordinators-Shri Rabi Ranjan Sen, Shri Amitabh Chakravarty)

Concluding session with Vande Mataram

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