The national security discourse is changing

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)

Mains level : Paper 3- Interplay between national security and domestic policies

Context

From a rising China to the pressures of climate change; from the challenges of counter-terrorism to the COVID-19 pandemic (the four Cs), the old order is collapsing much faster than the ability of nations to create the foundations of a new one.

The reduced difference between the domestic and foreign policy of the  U.S.

  • The idea that foreign and domestic policies are tightly intertwined is not a novel one.
  • All serious grand strategic thinking in democracies looks for sustenance in popular public support.
  • A process that was started by former U.S. President Donald Trump has been taken forward by the Biden Administration.
  • Asserting that “foreign policy is domestic policy and domestic policy is foreign policy,” the new administration has suggested that their task is to re-imagine American national security for the unprecedented combination of crises they face at home and abroad.
  • These crises include the pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruption, threats to democracy, racial injustice, and inequality in all forms”.
  • There is a growing bipartisan acknowledgment in the U.S. today that the requirements of American national security today are different from what they were during the Cold War.
  • Today’s strategic environment requires a different response for national security: one that shores up domestic industrial base helps in maintaining pre-eminence in critical technologies, makes supply chains for critical goods more resilient, protects critical infrastructure from cyberattacks and responds with a sense of urgency to climate change.

Indian situation: Dependence on the external supply chain is the national security challenge

  • In India too, there is greater recognition of the challenges emanating on national security from domestic vulnerabilities.
  • Dependence on Chinese manufacturing: One of the most significant consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to reveal how deeply India has been dependent on Chinese manufacturing for critical supplies.
  • At a time when Indian armed forces were facing the People’s Liberation Army, this exposed India to a new realization that dependence on overseas supply chains is a national security challenge of the highest order.
  • Dimensions of national security: The Indian Army chief has argued that “national security comprises not only warfare and defence but also financial security, health security, food security, energy security, and environmental security apart from information security”.

Way forward for India

  • Shore up domestic capacities: India has since moved towards increasing domestic capacities in critical areas and also started looking at free trade agreements through a new lens.
  • Whole-of-government approach: Army Chief had suggested that instead of viewing national security “primarily from the perspective of an armed conflict, there is a need to take a whole-of-government approach towards security”.
  • Investment in armed forces: The Army chief has pointed out that investment in the armed forces contributes to the national economy.
  • Therefore, indigenization of defence procurement provides an impetus to indigenous industries, aid to civil authorities, or Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
  • Demand for hi-tech military products by the armed forces helps entire industries.
  • Transportation and logistics capacities of the armed forces are acting as force enablers for the Government in times of emergencies.

Consider the question “The idea that foreign and domestic policies are tightly intertwined is not a novel one. In light of this, examine the challenges facing India’s national security that are linked with its domestic vulnerability. Suggest the ways forward.”

Conclusion

As nations across the world reconceptualise their strategic priorities, policymakers will need to think more creatively about the roles of various instruments of statecraft. National security thinking is undergoing a shift. India cannot be left behind.

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