17th October 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
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GS III- NATIONAL SECURITY
Q1. Discuss the reasons that are responsible for India’s deteriorating national security environment.
- India’s national security environment has steadily deteriorated since 2014. Both the overall violence in Jammu and Kashmir and ceasefire violations on the Line of Control reached a 14-year high in 2017, a trend that refuses to subside in 2018. There are far more attacks on security forces and security installations in J&K, and militant recruitments and violence against civilians in the State than at any time in the past decade-and-a-half. The pressure from China is on the rise. Following are the reasons for the same:
Absence of defence reforms
- India spends close to $50 billion annually on defence and yet there are serious concerns about the level of our defence preparedness. One reason why there is little bang for the buck from the $50 billion lies in our almost non-functional higher defence organisation. India’s defence policy is on auto-pilot with hardly any political oversight or vision. There is little conversation between the armed forces and the political class, and even lesser conversation among the various arms of the forces. This will soon become unsustainable for a country that aspires to be a modern great power.
- Besides setting up or revamping these bureaucratic committees, there is little talk about serious defence reforms in the country. One of the most serious lacunas in our defence management is the absence of jointness in the Indian armed forces. Our doctrines, command structures, force deployments and defence acquisition continue as though each arm is going to fight a future war on its own. Not only do the various arms of the Indian armed forces plan their strategies in silos but even their rhetoric is partisan.
- China has progressed a great deal in military jointmanship, and Pakistan is doing a lot better than India. In India, talk of appointing a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has all but died down. Leave alone appointing a CDS, even the key post of military adviser in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) remains vacant. The NSC, which replicates the membership of the Cabinet Committee on Security, almost never meets and the National Security Advisory Board, initially set up to seek ‘outside expertise’ on strategic matters, is today a space for retired officials. As a result, there is little fresh thinking within the government or perspective planning on the country’s national security or defence.
Lack of a national level vision
- At the end of the day, many of India’s national security inadequacies stem from the absence of a national security/defence vision. Ideally, the country should have an overall national security document from which the various agencies and the arms of the armed forces draw their mandate and create their own respective and joint doctrines which would then translate into operational doctrines for tactical engagement. In the absence of this, as is the case in India today, national strategy is broadly a function of ad hocism and personal preferences.