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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Why Bharat must pay immediate attention to Comprehensive National Security, explains Lt. General Vinod Khandare

In today’s world, strategic and diplomatic equations keep changing frequently. Bharat’s geographical location and hostile neighborhood add to its security concerns making it all the more important for the country to pay attention to the Comprehensive National Security so as to prevent any problems in the future.

To discuss this important issue, SMaRT4Bharat conducted a workshop on ‘Comprehensive National Security’, where Lt. Gen. Vinod Khandare (Advisor to the Ministry of Defence) put forth his views on this topic of utmost importance. This workshop was hosted by Swagna Panda and Anamika from SMaRT4Bharat. HinduPost was also invited to this workshop and we will share the important anecdotes of this highly enriching discussion for our readers.

According to Lt. Gen. Vinod Khandare, Comprehensive National Security is a very important concept for our nation. Unfortunately, people are not very much aware of it and it is not a constituent of our education system. People are still not aware of the relation between ‘Citizen and State’.

What is Comprehensive National Security?

Comprehensive National Security could entail the consolidation, mobilization, and operationalization of a complete spectrum of capabilities, structures, and tools for the fulfillment of national security objectives. This not only includes just defense or military capabilities and structures but could also encompass all other domains which have a national security implication and imprint.

Usually, people think that National Security means securing the national borders to preserve our sovereignty. This is being done by our existing security apparatus, which comprises of Indian Armed Forces, CAPF, BSF, and State Police.

Lt. Gen. Khandare further added that Bharat is witnessing a new kind of warfare, quite different from the conventional threats. He provided in-depth information about various types of warfare looming on us, and unfortunately, most of our people are not aware of these threats.

  1. Economic Warfare – If we take a historical example, then we would say that the British East-India company unleashed economic warfare on India. This is where a target nation is attacked and its economy is crippled by various strategic steps.
  2. Demographic Warfare – This is warfare where the demography of a region is changed with some strategic action. You can take the example of China, which is making demographic changes in the Xinjiang region. Look how Myanmar has forced Rohingyas which has caused issues for its neighbors.
  3. Religious Warfare – This is an old method of unleashing war on any religious group or nation. The Islamization of middle-east, Asia, and Europe is a striking example of such warfare.
  4. Ideological Warfare – This is another common type of warfare, especially in 20th and 21st centuries. We have seen how Mao changed the ideology of the Chinese people. How he completely wiped out the existing cultural values in mainland China, Tibet, and other provinces. This Maoism ideology has become a pain for India as well, as many districts are mired with Maoism and Naxal ideology.
  5. Information and Cyber Warfare – This is among the most used warfare in the modern era. It is also known as 5th and 6th generation warfare. This warfare is unleashed mostly during peacetime, and the sole objective is to create unrest in the target nation by spreading false narratives and misleading the people using social media.

Upon discussing the implication of a lack of comprehensive national security, Lt. Gen. Khandare further explained various dimensions which impact our nation’s security and sovereignty.

Dimensions of Comprehensive National Security

Physical Security – Well, as the name suggests this is more of the territorial security of our nation. Our Army, BSF, and CAPF forces are manning our borders. However we are still facing lots of challenges, we have seen the 26/11 attacks, Uri, Pathankot, and Pulwama attacks in recent times. We must adopt a proactive approach and a higher degree of surveillance to ensure adequate fortification of our borders.

IT Infrastructure Security – Due to digitalization, all our financial, defense, education, payment system, and other areas are completely dependent on our IT infrastructure. It is very important to ensure adequate security of our IT data, network, devices, etc.

Data Security – Keeping our personal and critical data secured must be our foremost priority. Privacy concerns and data breaches play a spoilsport role for any nation. The government has brought a data security bill, but a lot more things are yet to be done on this front.

Economic Security – It is very important for any nation to protect its economy and economic interests. We have seen how our neighbors are engulfed in economic crises these days, which led to various hardships for their citizens. Economically non-viable nations can’t have independent diplomacy and some other nation dictates their important decisions. A few examples are Srilanka and Pakistan, which are under intensive economic stress and currently at the peril of foreign aid.

Water Security – We must be ready for the Water war in the future. Our glaciers are melting rapidly, whereas China is doing lots of experiments on the Tibbat and Brahmaputra rivers, which may lead to a catastrophe in the future. India must ensure our water supply and other interests are protected at all costs.

Ecological Security – It encompasses issues that may impact our forest, land, water, and air. China has employed its Weather Modification department to influence the weather in this region. It could impact the rainfall and water flow in Tibet, on the other hand, it is ramping up its suspicious activities in the Bay of Bengal. Not many people know that China has been conducting hydrological surveys in the Bay of Bengal with the help of Myanmar and the Srilankan Army. China can influence the weather which may trigger the mass migration from selective Indian territories.

Space Security – The war will be fought via Space, and that’s not fiction anymore. ISRO must put more effort into outer space research. Although we have a satellite constellation, that’s not enough. The government has started engaging the private sector, which is an encouraging sign. The space domain influences agriculture, underground water, remote sensing, education, surveillance, and various other areas. Space security is paramount, as an attack on our satellites can cripple our communication, health, education, and defense preparedness. Strong Space security apparatus can prevent such issues in the future.

CBRN Security – CBRN stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear. All of them are critical for any nation. We have seen the COVID pandemic recently, we have seen what happened when the Union Carbide accident occurred, we know how the Chornobyl incident happened, and nuclear threats are known to everyone. Bharat must adopt an adequate prevention plan to prevent such security threats.

Political Security – having a stable system as per the will of the people. In a democracy, this is how it happens. In China, there is a continuity in their political system, in Pakistan ISI, clerics, and the Army rule…which means there is continuity there as well. We are, therefore, facing two front threats and hence, the nation should be strong.

Military Security – governed by quality and quantity. Bharat has enough experience due to our troubled neighborhood.

How to implement Comprehensive National Security?

Well, it is the collective responsibility of all citizens to implement comprehensive national security in the true sense. Although we have the Military, BSF, CAPF, and police to counter the conventional threats and fight against the non-conventional elements, we need a whole nation approach, where every citizen must contribute.

We must make everyone aware of these concepts, write about them on social media, and spread the word in our area of influence. That’s the way we can ensure our nation remains safe and secured from all kinds of threats.

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