1. VIP Security: Who, How?
Dera Sacha Sauda chief has been provided Z plus category security by the Haryana government. This decision has generated considerable interest as the person was serving a 20-year sentence and was released on furlough.
The protection given to someone who holds a position of consequence either in the government or in civil society is informally called “VIP security”.
Who decides the level of security protection?
- The level of security is decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the case of the Center and by the state government in the case of states.
- The assessment is based on inputs received from intelligence agencies, which include the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing at the level of the Centre and the state intelligence department in the case of the state government.
- However, the intelligence inputs generated by these agencies are not out in the public domain and hence can be used manipulatively by executive.
Who gets the security cover automatically?
- Certain individuals, by reason of positions they hold in government, are automatically entitled to security cover. They include the Prime Minister and his immediate family, Home Minister, officials such as the National Security Advisor.
|The SPG was raised in 1985 to provide security cover to the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members.
The SPG comprises of the personnel from the CRPF, Border Security Force and other Central and State forces.
What about convicts?
- Legally there is no bar on the government providing protection to a convict if it is felt that his life may be in danger.
- It is actually the duty of the state to protect the lives of prisoners and convicts.
Different types of security cover provided:
- There are largely six types of security cover: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus, and SPG (Special Protection Group).
- The SPG cover is meant only for the PM and his immediate family.
- The number of personnel guarding the protectee differs from category to category. For example, the X category on average entails just one gunman protecting the individual. On the other hand, Z-plus category protectees have 10 security personnel for mobile security and two (plus 8 on rotation) for residence security.
Which officers provide security cover?
- For VIPs other than the PM, the government has mandated the National Security Guard (NSG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to provide security cover. In case a state accords security, the state police provides protection.
- The government bears the cost of the security. However, in certain cases government may choose to bill a private individual.
2. Stay the Course
Recently, India abstained on a US-sponsored UNSC resolution that “deplores in the strongest terms” Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, with New Delhi saying dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes and voicing “regret” that the path of diplomacy was given up.
How will India be impacted by this Conflict?
- The Russia-Ukraine crisis will send cooking gas, petrol and other fuel bills soaring for Indian households and businesses. Higher oil prices add to freight/transportation costs.
- The surge in crude oil prices will lead to an increase in India’s oil import bills, and gold imports could jump back up, keeping the rupee under pressure.
- India’s imports of petroleum products from Russia are only a fraction of its total oil import bill and, thus, replaceable. However, getting alternative sources for fertilisers and sunflower oil may not be as easy.
- Exports to Russia account for less than 1% of India’s total exports, but exports of pharmaceuticals and tea could face some challenges, as will shipments to CIS countries. Freight rate hikes could make overall exports less competitive, too.
What is an India-Specific Way Forward?
- Geopolitical Aspect: It will have to balance the pressure from one strategic partner to condemn the violation of international law, with that from another to understand its legitimate concerns. India managed these pressures during the 2014 crisis of Crimea annexation, it shall again manage it effectively.
- Economic Aspect: Government has the room to pre-emptively cut domestic fuel taxes to reduce inflationary expectations, stoke faltering consumption levels and sustain India’s fragile post-Covid-19 recovery through this global churn.
- By abstaining from voting, India could establish its neutrality in a matter involving Russia and the USA.
- India has been on a path of strategic partnership with the USA, in which the Indian government has invested a lot.
- At the same time, Russia is an all-weather friend of India. It is a matter of regret that the path of diplomacy was given up.
- Moreover, India’s vote was in any way inconsequential given Russia has the veto power to block the resolution from getting passed. Therefore, India had the luxury to be seen as neutral on a matter that it supports but not by going against an all-weather and tested ally.
- It must be highlighted that Ukraine has a chequered past with respect to India in international relations. Ukraine has opposed the Indian action of removing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 in Parliament, and has also sold weapons to Pakistan.
- India is sympathetic to the cause of territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine but also shares the Russian security concern vis-à-vis Ukraine joining NATO.
- Though India is in-principle in agreement with the rest of the world that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is non-negotiable, it did not want Russia to be penalized with onerous international sanctions.
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