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dna exclusive: UPA to unveil national security doctrine soon

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 - 7:54am IST | Agency: dna

With just two months to sign off from power, the UPA government led by prime minister Manmohan Singh is set to unveil a draft of national security doctrine for public debate.
Sources told dna that hectic parleys were on within the security establishment led by national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon to come out with what they called a well-defined strategic policy framework to be adopted by the new government after a public debate.

Despite pessimism against the UPA government on domestic front, key security mandarins point out that under Manmohan Singh, India has secured its borders and not only avoided any big threat from outside, but also made a mark at high tables like as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, a permanent seat at the Arctic Council and a chair at G-8 negotiations.

However, officials said at the same time perception of insecurity in the country too was strong. Chorus for national security doctrine was growing shrill coinciding with the submission of report by a 14-member task force headed by former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra in May 2012, which undertook a comprehensive review of security a decade after the Kargil Review Committee and a Group of Ministers had attempted the first major revamp of defence management in the country.

India already has a doctrine for its defence as well as strategic forces, both for conventional and sub-conventional wars. But the new doctrine will be over-arching, comprehensive and will incorporate elements of foreign and internal security policies.

Though the draft of the doctrine was still at an elementary stage, official sources said it will define India's security concerns and would be a guide book on how to approach them. The doctrine would look at all aspects of security including the economic, technological, political, cyber as well as scientific. "It would also streamline the security strategy and address the systemic lacunae in the absence of a clear and comprehensive policy," sources said.

Baring 26/11 Mumbai attack, security analysts believe even as neighboring nuclear-powered countries have avoided conflict with India, there was need to enable mechanisms to protect core interests while maintaining international peace. "Rolling out an effective security doctrine can go a long way in assuaging public concerns as well as acting as a deterrent for adversaries," they said.
Identifying economic growth as a key driver for national security and self-reliance in defence, the draft doctrine shall also look into water and energy access, human rights, youth bulge, social unrest due to unemployment and lack of resources and also climate change factors through the prism of national defence and security capability. Further lack of accountability within the security establishment has been a grey area to be taken up by the doctrine. "A well-defined national security objectives shall help in inculcating higher level of accountability among all concerned," said an official.

India's new foreign policy doctrine lays considerable emphasis on promoting economic interests, stable neighborhood, maintaining substantial growth and exploring markets for economy as viable ways to claim leadership in the region. In most developed countries, national security doctrines are key to governments to define national interests and security priorities. In the US by law every president spells out his security strategy before the Congress.

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