Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] India Urgently Needs a National Security Doctrine


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IED

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s response to security threats and need of a national security vision.



Tragic loss of 40 gallant CRPF jawans, killed in a “fidayeen” attack has unearthed how India remain deficient in intelligence-analysis, inter-agency coordination, and, above all, a national security doctrine.

Ramifications of recent attack

  • The success of vehicle-borne IED being used in J&K could mark a new phase in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
  • An urgent review of the quality and timeliness of intelligence inputs and the standard operating procedures (SOP) being followed by the armed police force convoys is required.
  • It’s another opportunity for reflection and introspection about our management of crisis situations in general, and of Pakistan’s role in Kashmir, in particular.

Uncertain trumpet

  • Woolly-headed thinking, lack of resolve and absence of a coherent long-term vision iregarding national security perspective
  • Crisis after crisis has caught our nation by surprise — unprepared and invariably in the reactive mode.
  • Kashmir issue to become a pressure-point for exploitation by our western and eastern neighbours,

India’s “strategic restraint” has resulted into

  • Pakistan waging war on us four times since Partition.
  • Pakistan’s three-decade-long strategy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts” — using terrorists and religious fanatics .

Major missteps by India

  • Describing, “acts of war” by Pakistan as “cross-border terrorism
  • Labeling Pakistani perpetrators as “non-state actors”; providing Pakistan the opening to declare that they were Kashmiri “freedom fighters”.

National Security Doctrine Revival

  • National security has suffered neglect for decades due to pre-occupation of our politicians with electoral politics.
  • National Security should be first priority on the government’s and Parliament’s time .
  • There has been a gap in political pronouncements in our military capabilities — material as well as organisational.

Grave Instances of National Security Failure

  • In 2001,there was a terrorist attack on Parliament.
  • In 2008, a handful of seaborne terrorists held Mumbai hostage for 96 hours
  • Pakistani fidayeen attacks on the Pathankot air base, followed by the Uri and Nagrota army camps — and now, Pulwama.

Way forward

  • Having created an elaborate national security framework, post Pokhran II, India has strangely shied away from promulgating a doctrine .
  • The current juncture would be apt for the urgent promulgation of a security-cum-defence doctrine.
  • Benefits Of such doctrine
    • Public version defines India’s vital interests, aims and objectives .
    • It will not only become the basis for strategy-formulation, contingency-planning and evolution of SOPs, but also send a reassuring message to our public.


Setting in place clear “red lines” for adversary nations and non-state entities will mean that, in future, no further notice is required for instant punitive or retaliatory actions for any infringement of India’s red lines.

By Er S

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