Sunday, 11 November 2018

Essay on National Security Management through Diplomacy for UPSC

Essay on National Security Management through Diplomacy for UPSC

National security is a term, which is used very loosely today in common parlance. It is often associated with safeguards either against an enemy, country’s hostile incursions or manoeuvrings or against armed non-state actors out to challenge the authority of the state and cause irreparable damages to the unity and integrity of the state. However, national security subsumes these aspects and goes much beyond them and is much more inclusive and broader than commonly understood.

National Security Management
The topic as mentioned includes three terms namely ‘namely’, ‘security’ and ‘management’. Before we go on to discuss the theme in detail, it would be better if we seek to understand what these terms stand for. The first of these, i.e., ‘national’ means something that is related to ‘nation’, which is regarded as being co-terminus’ with the ‘state’. In case of India, it has often been said that it is more of a ‘state-nation’ than a ‘nation-state’. This is an allusion to the plurality of Indian society and to the fact that Indian state has not evolved as a nation like the European ones. Being a multi-cultural and multi-national State, some sections of Indian society are yet to come to terms with the ‘imagined’ Indian nation.

The common thread that arguably joins different ethno-cultural-linguistic groups within the Indian state is weakened by the idea of an essentially Hindu cultural Unity—interpreted in cultural, geographical and religious sense- as it tends to have a sectional flavour and leaves out a sizable chunk of Indian society and often alienates them. The historical reality of partition of British India on the principle of ‘Two Nation theory’ has its own corrupting influence on the making of the ‘state-nation’. The disaffection or dissatisfaction of ethno-cultural groups—who define themselves in national terms—often poses security threats, when it matures into separatist or secessionist movements. It has to be properly factored into national security management.

The second and most important of the three terms is ‘security’. Security is much more than the mere defence of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. Security of the nation means her security in every aspect of the national life including political, economic, cultural, environmental and social.

The last of these three terms, e.i., ‘management’ means the process of managing and relates to the administration and regulation of available resource to achieve the organisational goals. So, taken together, ‘national security management’ means the proper administration and regulation of a country’s entire available resources to provide effective security to the nation and its nationals in every sense of term.

Today threats to national security come not only from enemy states, but also from myriad internal sources and they all need to be attended to for a better national security management. And this is an era of ‘complex interdependence’ as described by security experts Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane. Today, it is difficult to define security in terms of ‘mine and thine’. Today, security means mutuality of approaches while dealing with security threats from various corners.

So, for tackling security problems like proliferation of small arms, environmental catastrophe, refugee influxes, international energy crisis, food crisis, religious fundamentalism, narco-terrorism, international terrorism and multiple threats from sinister non-state actors, we need to enter into global alliances. There is already a talk of ‘Concert of Democracies’, but we should also cooperate and collaborate with other countries [which do not carry the democratic labels] with a stake in international peace and security.

Problems of global nature require global cooperation to tackle them and here the high and mighty in the Comity of Nations should realise that they cannot continue to be islands of prosperity amid all round deprivation and at a time, when a ‘revolution of rising aspiration’ is taking place all over the world. After all, instability and insecurity elsewhere does not stop at one’s borders. In fact, such phenomena do not recognize borders at all and easily cross over into other’s territory, jeopardizing latter’s national interests and national security in the process. So, if the affluent countries want to secure their national interests effectively, they have to make compromises so that others, at least, can live a dignified life.

Only, through international cooperation, can a nation manage these aspects of threats to its security, and not by riding roughshod over such endeavours as the United States of America is trying to do by jettisoning the Kyoto Protocol and thereby inviting environmental insecurity for all. One can say that today security of one means security of all. In today’s world, Alexander Dumas’ famous motto [in his novel, The Three Musketeers], ‘all for one and one for all’ should be the motto of all the countries, if they are really serious about their national security management.

Even though there are always chances of one or the other country working against such principle of international cooperation, as far as possible,  a nation should try to build defences against war by investing more and more in peace. As the preamble to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation says, “It is in mind that war starts and it is there that the defences of peace should be build”. So, while a country needs to guard against the unwarranted invasion of its national culture, it should also see to it that an international culture of peace and prosperity develops through mutual cooperation and collaboration.   

A country not only needs to manage her bilateral and multilateral relations well through effective confidence building measures, but should also try to promote international treaties in disarmament and arms regulation aiming at the larger goal of international peace and security. For this, we also need to have strong international organisations in place and need to provide more teeth to organisations like the United Nations. Besides, potential of such established forums as Non-aligned Movement, G-77, G-24, G-15, ASEAN, SAARC and APEC need to the properly harnessed towards national and international security management as both the issues are intertwined.

Also, as far as possible a nation should try to use its diplomatic resources to the best. It should not only try to presume and neutralise possible enemy moves and manoeuvrings through confidence building measures and through proper preparations, but should also try to expand her area of cooperation by either co-opting neutral and friendly countries to the side or by trying to get a toe-hold in their area of influence. As about India, one can say that India  should strive to be a part of influential regional and international groupings like the APEC, the Asia-Europe Meeting and the United Nations Security Council.

Diplomatic resources should be properly harnessed and deployed for wooing the powerful members of international community to a country’s own point of view, for promoting its values, for cooperation is such fields as technological exchange and economic cooperation.

Also, India should utilize Indian diaspora and its resources abroad in such diplomatic exercises. India also has to realise that she cannot make much headway in national security management as long as South Asia remains hostage to the continuous confrontations between India and Pakistan. So, national security for any member country of South Asia should also mean rapprochement between India and Pakistan and only then can the vast resources of the region be properly channelled towards development. Hence, India, as the most powerful country in the region has to see to it that Cold War, which has ended elsewhere, ends in South Asia as well.

Apart from all the above, it is always advisable to have an inner circle of close allies and in India’s case, such allies could be Russia, Israel, China and France and at the same time India can improve its strategic relationship with the USA. There is already a talk of a ‘strategic triangle’ among India, Russia and China. India should seriously explore the feasibility of such a concept.

To conclude, one can say that an effective national security management requires strong institutions, a responsible government, an effective national security policy, a participative and vibrant civil society, a just social structure, a well-oiled economic and political system with a sense of distributive justice, a healthy culture of peace, a better war-preparedness, a good diplomatic machinery and cascading international cooperation in different spheres through continuous confidence building measures. 

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