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October 2011: Homeland Security Daunting Challenges

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The Indian armed forces have extensive experience in both the High Intensity and Low Intensity genres of conflicts. From its very inception the Indian nation state has been beset with serious Internal Security challenges. In the last decade however, there has been a significant erosion of the political will to use force in any form. This erosion of political will is most dangerous and worrying. There is a dire need for a Whole of the Govt. Approach and an overarching vision that anticipates events and looks well ahead into the future. The time for critical decisions is now at hand. There is a need to look critically at the motivations and funding of some of our NGOs who have taken upon themselves to unite the entire gamut of terrorists and insurgents fighting in the remote corners of our country.

This also means that in all matters related with internal security, particularly at higher level policy measures, the core is the integration of issues and formulation of a holistic and assimilated view. This also means that while the various sub-units of the concept of internal security are definitely very important, the overall impact can be actually felt when the integrated view can be formulated in a more efficient, effective and combined manner. It is something like proper distribution of a pie. We know that the national resources - men, material, money, intellectual capacity and other requirements, existing with any nation are limited. At the same time, every nation is always faced with a plethora of problems and issues that have a direct bearing on internal security.

The latest revelation and warning by strategic affairs think-tank IDSA that China could do a Kargil on India ‘to teach India a lesson’, adding it could be a ‘limited war’. Projecting conflict scenarios between the two Asian giants, a report titled ‘A Consideration of Sino Indian Conflict’ by Ali Ahmed said, “The lower end of the conflict at this level could be a Kargil-like situation. China’s aim could be to teach India a lesson so as to influence India’s rise before its capacity building underway acquires traction.”

There is little time to lose. The state must act and act decisively. We cannot view external and internal threats in isolated and watertight compartments. These threats and challenges to national security require systematic evaluation by an apex body and the formulation of a comprehensive national security strategy to ensure that they are managed well and not allowed to spin out of control.

It is now well recognised all over the world that India does not have a tradition of strategic thinking. The lack of an integrated, long-term national security approach stands out as the biggest failure of nation-building in the half-century that India has been independent. Unless comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-departmental national security strategies are evolved and skilfully implemented, India’s adversaries will continue to bleed the country through a thousand cuts for many decades to come.



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