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National Security Strategy (NSS) UPSC NOTE


  • A National Security Strategy document outlines the country’s security objectives and the ways to be adopted to achieve these.

  • An NSS should consider traditional (affect only the state) and non-traditional threats(affect the state, individual and the entirety of humanity)

  • Also, It must work within the framework of India's Constitution and democratic principles.

  • The strategy often includes assessments of potential threats, resource allocation, diplomatic and military actions, and policies related to intelligence, defense, and other security-related areas.

Importance of a National Security Strategy (NSS) for India

  • The end of the Cold War has created a complex and unpredictable global landscape, with a growing number of potential adversaries and expanding missions for armed forces

  • Key challenges include terrorism, ethnic diversity, small arms proliferation, narcotics trafficking, and religious extremism, which require vigilant attention.

  • The future of nuclear deterrence is a vital aspect of India's security. India has long been concerned about the nuclear capabilities of China and Pakistan in its neighborhood.

  • An emerging security framework envisions "competitive cooperation" within a matrix of "cooperative security" in the Indo- Pacific Region

  • Domestic stability can be threatened by economic and social issues, such as left-wing extremism in tribal areas.

  • Technology impacts national security, by both enhancing capabilities and creating vulnerabilities.

  • Cybersecurity is a major concern, requiring advanced technological capabilities.

Benefits of an NSS

  • A regular and well-crafted NSS would give India five critical benefits that it currently lacks. 

  • First and logically foremost, it would force the government to undertake a comprehensive strategic assessment — a review of the country’s threats and opportunities, and a stocktake of global security trends. 

  • Such a periodic review would force New Delhi to spotlight evolving challenges, such as the growth of the Chinese navy, even though it does not pose an urgent and lethal threat today. 

  • Second, an NSS would provide a coherent framework for long-term planning

  • An NSS, done rigorously, would give the government an overarching strategic blueprint to adjudicate, for example, between the Indian Navy demanding a new aircraft carrier, or the Indian Army seeking to raise a new infantry division. 

  • Third, an NSS would provide an instrument for signalling to friend and foe alike

  • It would help to clarify India’s strategic intent — declaring that, for example, India takes seriously its role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean, so that it will counter armed coercion against other, smaller countries.

  • Fourth, an NSS would create a mechanism to force various arms of the government to synchronise their efforts

  • Beyond the military, an NSS would provide common goals and plans so that various national security agencies, including the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, and Home Affairs, and the intelligence agencies, could better coordinate daily at the working level, rather than episodically at the Cabinet level.

Comparison with Current System

  • A well-crafted NSS would foster a “whole of nation” approach and build synergy for harnessing comprehensive national power 

  • It would also enable the setting of milestones for capability-building for modernisation, infrastructure and the Atma Nirbhar mission.

  • The current status of defence planning is worrying and in transition as Defence Plans (five years) and Long Term Perspective Plans (15 years) have been discontinued. 

  • The new formats of the Integrated Capability Plan (10 years) and Defence Capability Acquisition Plan (5 years), are yet to stabilise. 

  • The present system of reviews by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and Auditor General are sub-optimal

  • These need to be backed up with net-assessment and statistical tools both for periodic audits and, more importantly, for predictive and dynamic goal setting

  • The NSS, as a reference for peer review by think tanks, will hopefully reduce ambiguity and build meaningful accountability.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: National Security Strategy (NSS) UPSC NOTE
National Security Strategy (NSS) UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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