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About National Security Strategy

Context:

After years of deliberations, India has recently started the process of bringing in a National Security Strategy and the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) has started collating inputs from several Central ministries and departments.

Relevance:

GS III: Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Security Strategy
  2. India’s Persistent Need for a National Security Strategy
  3. Way Forward for National Security Strategy

National Security Strategy:

  • A National Security Strategy (NSS) is a comprehensive document outlining a nation’s security objectives and the means to attain them.
  • The NSS is a flexible document subject to periodic updates, adapting to evolving conditions and emerging threats.
Addressing Diverse Challenges:
  • The NSS encompasses a broad spectrum of contemporary challenges and threats, including both conventional and modern warfare issues, reflecting the interconnected nature of today’s world.
  • It encompasses not only traditional concerns like military and defense but also non-traditional ones such as financial and economic security, food and energy security, information warfare, critical information infrastructure vulnerabilities, supply chain disruptions, and environmental issues.
Comprehensive National Security View:
  • By presenting a holistic perspective of India’s national security landscape and a strategic plan to confront these challenges, the National Security Strategy plays a pivotal role in guiding significant defense and security reforms.
  • It serves as an indispensable tool in safeguarding the nation’s interests and promoting its security.

India’s Persistent Need for a National Security Strategy:

  • India has frequently discussed the idea of formulating a National Security Strategy, but practical implementation has been elusive, primarily due to the absence of a unified, whole-of-government approach.
  • The government has not publicly disclosed its national security objectives, which has added to the complexity of developing and implementing such a strategy.
  • In light of the multifaceted emerging threats and increased uncertainties in global geopolitics, the development of a comprehensive National Security Strategy for India is a critical necessity.
Call for Strategy Revision:
  • Notably, former Army Chief General emphasized the outdated nature of the existing political direction for the Armed Forces and advocated for its revision.
  • The sole existing political direction for the Armed Forces is the Defence Minister’s operational Directive of 2009.
  • Experts stress that substantial military reforms, like the theaterization of the armed forces, should be grounded in a comprehensive national security strategy.
  • The absence of such a strategy is likened to initiating military reforms without a clear roadmap.
International Precedents:
  • Most developed countries with advanced military and security structures have established National Security Strategies, subject to periodic updates.
  • Examples include the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China, which has a Comprehensive National Security strategy closely integrated into its governance structure.
  • Even Pakistan has introduced a National Security Policy 2022-2026, elucidating its national security objectives and priority areas.

Way Forward for National Security Strategy:

Defining Key Assets and Adversaries:

  • The 21st-century National Security Strategy should distinctly outline the assets that need protection and identify potential adversaries employing unconventional tactics to disorient the population. 

Focusing on Technological Priorities:

  • Prioritize the development of departments and initiatives to support innovation and technology advancements.
  • Areas of focus should include hydrogen fuel cells, seawater desalination, thorium for nuclear technology, anti-computer viruses, and new immunity-boosting medicines.

Multi-Dimensional Anticipation and Deterrence:

  • Develop a strategy that anticipates threats from multiple dimensions.
  • Employ demonstrative yet limited pre-emptive strikes to deter potential adversaries.
  • China’s cyber capabilities represent a new threat, necessitating a tailored strategy for countering it.

Cybersecurity Measures:

  • Allocate a separate budget for cybersecurity to address evolving cyber threats.
  • Establish a centralized body of cyber experts to counter state-sponsored hackers.
  • Leverage India’s software development talent pool by offering career opportunities in the field.
  • Bootstrap cybersecurity capability programs in states through central funding.

Defense, Deterrence, and Exploitation:

  • Emphasize the defense of critical information infrastructure, with individual ministries and private companies required to transparently report breaches.
  • Deterrence in national security should be addressed comprehensively, similar to nuclear deterrence, by establishing clarity on adversaries’ capabilities.

Military Intelligence and Preparedness:

  • Initiate preparations for a robust national security strategy by focusing on military intelligence gathering, target evaluation, and the development of specific tools to ensure long-term national security.

-Source: Indian Express


March 2024
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