A National Security Strategy is a comprehensive and integrated plan or document that outlines a country’s approach to safeguarding its national interests, protecting its sovereignty, and addressing various security challenges. Read here to understand the significance of it for India.
After years of deliberations in the military and strategic community, India has started the process of bringing in a National Security Strategy.
The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) is in the process of collating inputs from several Central ministries and departments to stitch together the draft of the strategy before seeking the final cabinet approval for it.
It typically involves a combination of military, political, economic, and diplomatic measures to ensure a nation’s security. National security strategies are developed by governments to provide a framework for addressing both internal and external threats and challenges.
India’s National Security Strategy
India has made several attempts to formulate a comprehensive national security strategy to address its security challenges and protect its interests. Here are some notable efforts:
- Subrahmanyam Committee Report (1979): This committee was established by the Indian government to examine India’s defense preparedness and recommend a national security strategy. The Subrahmanyam Committee’s report emphasized the need for a credible minimum deterrence, a focus on self-reliance in defense production, and an integrated approach to national security.
- Kargil Review Committee Report (2000): The Kargil Review Committee, formed in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict in 1999, submitted a comprehensive report that included recommendations on national security. While the report itself was made public, it did not lead to the immediate formulation of a formal NSS.
- Group of Ministers (GoM) Report on National Security (2001): In the wake of the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Indian government set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to review India’s national security system. The GoM made several recommendations to enhance India’s security apparatus, including improved intelligence sharing, military modernization, and strengthening counter-terrorism measures.
- Integrated Defense Staff (IDS): In 2001, India established the Integrated Defense Staff, which aimed to promote greater coordination among the three-armed services (Army, Navy, and Air Force) and enhance jointmanship. The IDS plays a crucial role in implementing India’s national security strategy.
- Draft National Security Strategy (2007): In 2007, the Indian National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) released a draft national security strategy document. It outlined India’s security objectives, including a focus on non-alignment, the protection of territorial integrity, and economic growth.
- D.S. Hooda’s Document (2019): In 2019, Lt. Gen. (retd) D.S. Hooda, a former Army Commander, prepared a national security strategy document that marked a significant step toward the development of an NSS for India.
Why does India need a National Security Strategy?
In the case of India, a national security strategy is essential for several reasons:
- India faces a range of security challenges, including terrorism, territorial disputes, cyber threats, economic security concerns, and the need to protect its borders. A national security strategy helps in prioritizing and addressing these varied threats.
- It helps define and protect India’s national interests, which can include territorial integrity, economic prosperity, regional stability, energy security, and the well-being of its citizens.
- A national security strategy facilitates coordination and cooperation among various government agencies, including the military, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and diplomatic channels, to work towards common objectives.
- It assists in the allocation of resources, ensuring that the country’s security needs are adequately funded and addressed.
- A well-defined strategy provides guidelines for how the government should respond to crises or emergencies, helping to ensure a more coordinated and effective response.
- It helps shape India’s foreign policy and relations with other countries by outlining its security priorities and interests.
- A national security strategy provides a long-term vision for security, helping India prepare for future challenges and uncertainties.
- It allows for greater transparency in government actions related to security and helps hold the government accountable for the implementation of the strategy.
Many countries around the world have developed national security strategies to outline their approaches to safeguarding their national interests and addressing various threats.
These strategies can vary significantly in scope and content. Some countries publish comprehensive national security strategies, while others may have more focused documents that address specific aspects of national security.
- The United States has a well-documented National Security Strategy that outlines its approach to national security, including its foreign policy, defense, and economic strategies.
- Other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China, and Australia have well-documented National Security strategies.
Challenges for India
India faces a range of challenges when formulating a national security strategy due to its diverse and complex geopolitical, economic, and social landscape.
- Geopolitical Complexity: India shares borders with multiple countries, each with its own unique political and security dynamics. Managing relations with neighboring countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal is critical. The ongoing territorial disputes and regional conflicts add complexity to India’s strategic considerations.
- Border Security: Securing India’s vast land and maritime borders is a formidable task. It requires a balance between border infrastructure development and robust border management to prevent illegal activities and incursions.
- Terrorism and Insurgency: India has faced various forms of domestic and cross-border terrorism, including insurgency in regions like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states. Combating terrorism while addressing the root causes is a significant security challenge.
- Internal Security: India faces internal security challenges such as communal and religious tensions, Naxalite-Maoist insurgency, and organized crime. Maintaining law and order while addressing these issues is crucial.
- Cybersecurity Threats: The increasing digitization of India’s economy and infrastructure exposes the country to cyber threats from state and non-state actors. Protecting critical infrastructure and sensitive information is essential for national security.
- Economic Vulnerabilities: Economic security is closely linked to national security. India’s dependence on energy imports, trade relationships, and global economic fluctuations can impact its security. Ensuring economic stability and resilience is a critical challenge.
- Military Modernization: India’s armed forces require modernization to meet evolving threats and challenges. Balancing defense budgets, technology acquisition, and indigenous defense production is a significant challenge.
- Environmental Concerns: Climate change and environmental degradation pose long-term security threats, affecting resources, displacement, and social stability. Mitigating these challenges and ensuring environmental security is essential.
- Intelligence and Information Sharing: Effective intelligence gathering, sharing, and analysis are vital for preempting security threats. Coordinating among various intelligence agencies and fostering international cooperation is challenging but necessary.
- Nuclear Deterrence: India’s nuclear doctrine and deterrence posture need to be managed to ensure security and stability, particularly given the complex regional dynamics with Pakistan and China.
- Political and Bureaucratic Coordination: Coordinating various government ministries, departments, and agencies involved in national security is often challenging. Streamlining decision-making processes and improving inter-agency cooperation are ongoing tasks.
- Civil-Military Relations: Ensuring public support for national security policies and maintaining a healthy civil-military relationship is essential for an effective national security strategy.
India, as a populous and geographically diverse nation, needs a national security strategy to address its complex security environment effectively. Given its regional and global significance, the country must protect its interests and ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens.
A well-crafted national security strategy helps in achieving these goals by providing a structured and comprehensive approach to security challenges.
To address the challenges, India must develop a comprehensive and adaptable strategy that integrates diplomatic, economic, military, and intelligence components. Regular review and adaptation to evolving threats and opportunities are crucial for safeguarding the country’s national interests and security.
-Article by Swathi Satish