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National security is a multidimensional, multifaceted and ever evolving concept. National security is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of “national” crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.

No other term can have as wider definitions as the term “National security”. Over the evolution of this concept the definition has undergone many changes. The variety of definitions provide an overview of the many usages of this concept. In simple definitions emphasis is on the freedom from military threat and political coercion while in complex terms there is increase in sophistication and include other forms of non-military security as suited the circumstances of the time.

Macmillan Dictionary defines the term as “the protection or the safety of a country’s secrets and its citizens” emphasising the overall security of a nation and a nation state. The 1996 definition propagated by the National Defence College of India accretes the elements of national power: “National security is an appropriate and aggressive blend of political resilience and maturity, human resources, economic structure and capacity, technological competence, industrial base and availability of natural resources and finally the military might.” Harold Brown, U.S. Secretary of Defence from 1977 to 1981 in the Carter administration, enlarged the definition of national security by including elements such as economic and environmental security.

Dimensions of National Security

National security in broad terms is divided into two heads-

  1. External security – related to challenges posed by external state and non state actors to military , economic security threatening sovereignty integrity and unity of nation.

It encompasses military threats, economic subjugation, neo colonialism, terrorism, impact of global warming and resultant climate change, ozone depletion, inter nation river water sharing obstacles and cyber security.

  1. Internal security – related to challenges posed by internal dynamics of the country threatening social, political, economic stability of the nation.

It includes naxalism, communalism, political instability, casteism, regional developmental imbalance, food security, water crisis, environmental degradation, resource depletion, social discrimination, crime against women, unutilised demographic dividend, rural urban divide, digital divide, rising crime, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, polarization, and declining moral and ethical values.

India is an emerging economy and rising star in uncertain environment. With the increasing complexities and shrinking world, India faces herculean task to manage its national security in coming decade.

External security challenges

On the external front the major issue is effective tackling of global terrorism. From state sponsored cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan to threat from ISIS, Al-Quaida India is prime target of terrorist activities. The role of non-state actors from Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal have further worsened the problem which is supposed to exacerbate in coming decade.

The greatest challenge faced by mankind today is global warming and resultant climate change which will change the environmental phenomena and processes. It poses the risk on very existence of many flora and fauna including human species.

The ozone depletion due to deleterious effect of unchecked emission of chloro-floro carbon in industrial revolution has made human being vulnerable to many diseases and disorders in which the role of our nation is bare minimum.

The modern era have five fronts of warfare. It includes air, water, land, space and cyber space. The space and cyber front have given rise to threats to space technology and cyber world, both being the lifeline of modern communication system. Cyber security is challenged by continuous attack by malware, trozen horse, viruses capable of disrupting financial system, defence system, law and order system.

The neo colonialism and economic warfare through shadow fronts of multinational organisation preached by major economic powers of the world will rise to many fold in coming decade as evident from US promoted Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and China promoted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Many a time we are strained on balance of payment situation.

Unfriendly relation with Pakistan and instability in the region is blocking the direct access to central Asia thereby hurting the economic interest of India by denying access to central Asian market and cheap petroleum resource of the region.

The challenge of sharing of river water flowing through other countries will become major bone of contention in coming decade. Unnecessary misuse of generous Indus water treaty by Pakistan has started doubt in the mind of people of India. This not only hit the interest of fragile Jammu and Kashmir but poses threat to energy security of the state. Construction of dams and hydro power project and diversion of river water from Brahmaputra and Sutlej by China without discussion with lower riparian State i.e. India is certainly a security threat. Similar issue with Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar have potential to become security threat in coming decade.

Internal security challenges

As stated by our former Prime Minister, naxalism is greatest internal security threat to India. The conundrum is worsened by support from communist elements and militant outfits from neighbouring countries. Naxalist do not have any faith in constitution of India but they are severely affecting the interest of the people whose cause they are supposed to be espousing.

Communal tension and riots have potential to cause rift in the hearts of citizens of our country. Vote bank politics and polarization can lead to major security threat to our nation.

Nothing can be more disturbing than political instability as it derails the governance, development and promotes hatred. It leads to lose of all the developmental achievements, causes increased poverty and all the side effects associated with it.

Social security is another major concern. It includes all the issue like absence of poverty, hunger, unemployment, social discrimination, casteism, health hazards and availability of social safety nets, etc. They are prime movers of social unrest.

Regional developmental imbalance is cause of increasing discontent among people from different regions. The son of soil issue, regionalism etc. are result of such a distorted developmental process. Ever increasing Rural Urban divide will lead to rural India into despair.

The rising population can be source of demographic dividend if harnessed properly through skill development, education etc. Otherwise it will result into demographic nightmare in following decade.

Food security for the growing population along with nutritional security is base for the vibrant workforce and flourishing economy. Without energy security India cannot be world leader in industrial production and human development. Water scarcity can lead to mass riot and next world war.

No nation can progress without the equal participation of half of its population in its developmental process. The political, social, cultural and economical dismal condition of women in India will hurt its objectives and goals. The rising crimes against women including heinous crime like dowry death, rape tell the story of dejection, deprivation and discrimination of unprecedented scale. Female foeticide, lower sex ratio, missing population, lower education ratio tell the deep rooted patriarchal mind-set of its citizens.

Environmental degradation of unparalleled scale including air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, nuclear hazards in coming decade will choke the wheels of developmental journey.

Rising crimes and slow rate of disposal of judicial cases are flouting the constitutional right of justice. Rule of law, equality, freedom are basis of good governance without which no man can attain the physical, mental and spiritual perfection.

In the era of digital revolution and information and communication technology, digital illiteracy is bane. Digital divide in coming decade will define the new class system in India. Digital rich class possessed with all the resources while Digital poor devoid of even basic amenities.

In the era of consumerism, the ethical and moral values have taken back seat.

Our preparedness

In the face of external and internal security threats which are not always exclusive in nature, the preparedness of Indian state will define the role of India at global stage. The dream of securing permanent Security Council membership of United Nations is dependent on how we as a nation face the security threats and achieve the developmental goals in coming decade. We have potential to become responsible global power in coming decade subject to our ability, capability and potential to neutralize all the national security threats. The national security challenges faced by us are opportunity to prove our real position in world power dynamics.

India is prepared to face all the national security challenges. The unity in diversity, peace, fraternity, scientific temper, ideals of Gandhiji, political stability, economic proliferation, social justice, constitutional government, rule of law, cultural harmony and international collaboration will not only empower us to face all the national security challenges but tread India into future of prosperity, empowered just egalitarian society devoid of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and inequality.

Our strength lies in harmonious existence, vibrant cultural heritage, traditional wisdom and flourishing modern science and technological innovations. The skilled human resource coupled with perseverance, zeal, nationalistic approach and secular fabric of our nation will lead us to path of secured frontiers and prosperous nation.

Today we have largest skilled workforce in the world. Political stability have provided us most opportune ambience for development. The scientific temper nurtured right from schools to university has provided us with one of the most innovative brains. The economic prosperity is providing us with all the required resources for securing excellence in different technological spheres.

We are leaders in space technology, nuclear technology, information and communication technology. We are near sufficient in defence technology like missile technology, nuclear arsenal, radar technology etc. Our Agni, Prithvi, Trishul, Nag, Surya, Nishant, Shourya missiles are capable of encircling the the

globe. Prithvi and advanced air defence is capable of defending our territory from foreign missile attack. Our nuclear arsenal is sufficient to handle any eventualities. Our regional navigation satellite system is capable to guide our communication system. Our indigenous nuclear plant is sufficient to power our indigenous nuclear-powered submarines. Arjuna the main battle tank is ready to answer the call of our enemies. Tejas will guard our air and space. The satellite system of India not only ushered us in information and communication revolution but is generating the revenues.

{ Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi), Defence Research Development Organisation (New Delhi), Institute of Physics (Bhubhaneswar), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (Pune), National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (Pune), Inter-University Consortium for DAE Facilities (Indore), Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (Bangalore), Institute of Mathematical Sciences (Chennai), Centre for Advanced Technology (Indore), Indian Spare Research Organisation- (1) Physical Research Laboratory (Ahmedabad); and (2) Space Physics Laboratory (Thiruvananthapuram), Mehta Research Institute of Mathematics and Mathematical Physics (Allahabad), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Mumbai), Physical Research Laboratory (Ahmedabad), Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (Kolkata) S N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (Kolkata), Raman Research Institute (Bangalore), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu), Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (Hyderabad), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (Bangalore), Institute of Plasma Research (Gandhinagar) etc. are the institutions which are leading the research and innovations in India. }

We are now spending sizeable budgetary resources in social sector for poverty reduction, education, skill development, health, reduction in malnutrition. We today have world class health infrastructure evident from booming health tourism.

Our universities are doing research in the field of biotechnology for production of different varieties of food grains to address food security. Our commitment to energy security is seen in development of green and renewable energy. The national solar mission in coming decade will help meet our energy demand without any deleterious impact on environment.

Our civil and criminal system along with justice system is being modernised to deliver justice. Women empowerment is turning into reality by various legal measures, economic empowerment and political and social awareness. Beti bachao, Beti padhao campaign have potential to create awareness and change in social mind-set for better.

Our commitment to environmental protection is seen in adoption of Paris agreement. Though we were not party to the problem of climate change we are ready to be part of solution. Through adoption of sustainable development goals

we have shown our will to change the face of humanity in general and our citizen in particular.

 Our limitations

Though we have made get strides in every sphere we have many limitations. We still have largest population of illiterate, we are in low per capita income group, we still vote on the basis of caste and religion, poverty is prevalent, our research in many fields is in incipient stage, health facilities are inadequate, we face resource scarcity, corruption is deep rooted, political class is narrow minded, demographic nightmare is looming large, social security is precarious, our competitive ness is lost in economic theory.

We are limited by technological deficiencies in defence research, we are still a developing country, our ease of doing business is low, we are slowed by red tapism. But these limitations are not permanent. Our historical wisdom, constitutional ideals, objectives of national movement, and democratic values nare guiding our path to development.

The Way forward

Our survival depends on the strengthening of our nation. In words of Chanakya the state should use all the means to secure itself so as to provide security, prosperity to its people and perpetuation of itself. We must strive for excellence in every sphere of life.

We must follow the Gandhian principles of truth and non-violence to establish peace and stability. The sarvodaya and trusteeship principle will guide us to path of sustainable and inclusive development. The swadeshi principle to become self reliant in all the crucial technology. In terms of Gandhiji weak have no power to forgive other so we must strive to become a responsible force to reckon with.

We need iron hand like Sardar patel to secure our territory and sovereignty. We need intelligence like Vivekanda to enlighten the world about the peace and spirituality.

The youth power and skilled development hold the key to secure economic and scientific frontier. International collaboration is need of the hour to fulfil technological and information gap to secure national security.

We the people of India have responsibility to secure economic, political, social and military security through peace, harmony, unity and scientific temper. While Constant vigilance is price to freedom, continuous evolution and innovation is way to national security.

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