Use of statecraft for long-term solutions to security problems


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Use of statecraft in finding solutions to security problems


In many countries, both the authorities and security agencies are beginning to acknowledge the importance of resorting to statecraft as a vital adjunct to the role played by the security agencies.

The important role of statecraft in security

  •  Statecraft involves fine-grained comprehension of inherent problems; also an ability to quickly respond to political challenges.
  • It further involves strengthening the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise, and display a degree of political nimbleness rather than leaving everything to the security agencies.
  • It entails a shift from reposing all faith in the security establishment to putting equal emphasis on implementation of policies and programmes.
  • Two prime examples which provide grist to the above proposition are the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the continuing problem involving Maoists.
  • The need to use statecraft to deal with quite a few other internal security problems — some of which have lain dormant for years — is also becoming more manifest by the day.

Security issues in various regions

  • Jammu and Kashmir: While Jammu and Kashmir has been a troubled region ever since 1947, the situation has metamorphosed over the years.
  • No proper solution has emerged to a long-standing problem.
  •  Irrespective of the reasons for the latest upsurge in violence, what is evident is that Jammu and Kashmir has again become the vortex of violence.
  • Evidently, the doctrine of containment pursued by the Jammu and Kashmir police and security agencies is not having the desired effect.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir today, as also elsewhere, there is no all-in-one grand strategy to deal with the situation.
  • The missing ingredient is statecraft which alone can walk in step with the changing contours of a long-standing problem.
  • Punjab: The recent discovery of ‘sleeper cells’ in the Punjab clearly indicates the potential for the revival of a pro-Khalistan movement — which once ravaged large parts of the Punjab.
  • While pro-Khalistani sentiment is present in pockets in the United Kingdom and in Europe, it has not been in evidence in India for some time.
  • Hence, the recent attack by pro-Khalistan elements on the headquarters of the Punjab Police Intelligence wing in Mohali was a rude shock to the security establishment.
  • The incident is a reminder that militancy in the Punjab has not been permanently extinguished, and will need deft statecraft to nip it in the bud.
  • North-east: In India’s North-east, more specifically in the States of Assam and Nagaland, there are again incipient signs of trouble which, for the present, may need use of statecraft rather than the security forces. 
  • In Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom–Independent (ULFA-I) is trying to revive its activities after a long spell of hibernation.
  • Likewise in Nagaland, where the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has recently initiated a fresh push for a solution of the ‘Naga political issue’, the situation is pregnant with serious possibilities.
  • Both instances merit the use of statecraft so that the situation does not get out of hand.
  • South India: In the South, intelligence and police officials appear concerned about a likely revival of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-sponsored activities in Tamil Nadu.
  • This stems from a possible revival of LTTE-sponsored militancy in Sri Lanka following the recent economic crises and uncertainty there.
  • This situation again needs deft statecraft to prevent a resurgence of the past.


India faces several challenges today, but the answer to this is neither grand strategy nor grand simplifications nor resort to higher doses of security. A properly structured set of policies, having liberal doses of statecraft in addition to a proper set of security measures, is the best answer to India’s needs, now and in the future.

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2 years ago

nice explanation!


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