CNBC TV18: With Modi 2.0 set to take office, here are some constructive suggestions to address national security challenges
- Standardising the operating principles among various security forces would be a priority for the new government.
- Indian arsenal remains woefully inadequate to meet immediate or long-term threats despite the government's best efforts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet again received a spectacular mandate to govern the country for the next five years. As issues related to national security were at the forefront of elections, they are likely to be top priorities for the new government, among other pressing challenges like economy, polity and foreign relations.
If one looks at the national security issues preceding or during elections, one can fairly say that almost all core issues – internal security challenges like terrorism, Left-wing extremism, national security challenges such as modernisation of armed forces, transparency in military procurement and human resources-related issues – were flagged and debated in public, subjects that were hitherto confined within relevant government agencies and departments. Breaking of barriers between the government and public serves as a very important pointer for the nation, which will lead to a healthy democratic tradition in time to come.
National security issues are often times ill defined, which results in confusion and hence impacts decision-making at the highest level. For example, prime duties of the national armed forces are to ensure security for citizens from external aggression as well as maintain territorial integrity, while prime duties of para-military as well as state police forces are essentially to maintain internal security as well as maintenance of law and order respectively. However, current Indian security situations, especially in matters of internal security, necessitate employment of armed forces in violence-prone areas within the country. Standardising the standard operating principles among various security forces would be a priority for the new government, which points to distinction between forces and effective coordination among forces for desirable results. Institutional fault lines need to be examined and corrective measures need to be contemplated accordingly.
Spheres of security threats have not only expanded but also overlapped in cases where it becomes a challenge for security forces to deal with them. Traditional threats like conventional war may appear obsolete, but in actual terms they still remain. Non-traditional threats like terrorism, transnational threats like illegal human or material transactions with security implications always pose challenges to the state. However, newer forms of threats like cyber warfare, militarisation of space and even protection of key national infrastructure have added to the already expanding spheres of security challenges. The new government, as is obvious, will need to address each and every of these threats.