A modern state confronts multiple and simultaneous challenges across several domains. National security cannot be confined to the use of the state’s coercive power to overcome domestic and external threats.
By credible accounts, China, recently, publicly cautioned Indians to sit up and take notice by using cybertechnology to shut down Mumbai’s electric supply in populated areas of the city, for a few hours. This was to overawe Indians as we were clueless for hours as to what went wrong till reports emerged about a possible cyber attack.
Recent threats to India’s National Security
- Specific security-related episodes such as terrorist attacks at Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama on the Line of Control with Pakistan;
- Frequent conflicts with Chinese forces on the India-Bhutan-China border;
- The security operations in the disturbed state of Jammu and Kashmir;
- Frequent drone attacks on strategically important establishments.
- Frequent Cyber attacks on government and private machinery.
- Covid-19 Pandemic
Why do we need a National Security Policy?
- In this frequently changing world, India will have to prepare a National Security Strategy for dealing with bilateral conflicts in the 21st century that are more technology-driven warfare rather than in multilateral acts of conventional war or rely on military blocs for mobilisation.
- The Indian state does not possess an overarching national security strategy (NSS) that comprehensively assesses the challenges to the country’s security and spells out policies to deal effectively with them.
- In the absence of an overall strategy, the state relies on ad hoc responses of questionable utility.
- Moreover, ad hocism possesses no mechanism that permits it to learn from its experiences.
- Ad hocism also neglects the broader political, social and economic context within which specific episodes must be located and understood.
- National security cannot be confined to the use of the state’s coercive power to overcome domestic and external threats.
Major Security Threats for India in 21st Century
- Technological change and geopolitical shifts are impacting India’s nuclear security.
- Ecological degradation and climate change have significant impacts on national security.
- Spread of false news by hostile elements within and outside the country using social media.
|Cyber Warfare: Biggest Threat!
In the 21st century, after cybertechnology enters as an important variable in nations’ defence policies, the size of a country will cease to matter. Sri Lanka, or North Korea, empowered by cyber technology, will be equal to the United States, Russia, India or China, in their capability to cause unacceptable damage. Weapons in the 21st century will merely mean a cyber button on the desk of the nation’s military and the leader of the government. Geographical land size or GDP size will be irrelevant in war-making capacity or deterrence.
Drones, robots, satellites and advanced computers as weapons are already in use. More innovations are around the corner. Some examples of further innovations are artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.
What should be the framework of a National Security Policy in the 21st century?
- Choosing a nation’s priorities.
- Pointing to major domestic and external threats.
- Preparing a technology-driven security establishment
- Preparing for upcoming pandemics, Biological Wars, Nuclear Wars, etc.
- Creating new departments for supporting several frontiers of innovation and technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells, desalination of seawater, thorium for nuclear technology, anti-computer viruses, and new immunity-creating medicines.
- Compulsory science and mathematics education for all, especially in applications for analytical subjects.
- Every citizen will have to be alerted to new remote-controlled military technology and be ready for it.
- To anticipate our enemies in many dimensions and by demonstrative but limited pre-emptive strikes by developing a strategy of deterrence of the enemy.
- India has to devise against a new threat i.e. China cyber capability factor.
Methods to use
- Resource mobilisation
- Identification of critical infrastructure that may be vulnerable to cyber attacks, and the development of human resources capable of identifying attacks and protecting and restoring critical systems.
- To shape public perceptions through constant and consistent public outreach and to provide a channel for public opinion or feedback. This would enable the government to explain its policies, garner public understanding and support, and review and adjust policies on the basis of feedback received.
- To take a comprehensive approach, encompassing domestic and external and economic and ecological challenges
Drawing up an NSP for India must be a key item on the agenda of the government. This may be tasked to a group of eminent persons from different disciplines who could consider India’s national security in its multiple dimensions. In a democracy, an NSP should be citizen-centric and must reflect the values and beliefs of the people; at the same time, it must seek to raise public awareness of and shape public perceptions about national security issues. The proposed NSP must take the Constitution of India as its guide and its objective should be the safeguarding and consolidation of India’s democracy