National Security Strategy:   No Progress


National Security Strategy:   No Progress

The absence of a National Security Strategy (NSS), “is disquieting”  writes Rahul Bedi (Senior Journalist) “despite the plethora of high-powered consultative and advisory bodies and think tanks in India’s strategic and military planning realms.

“……It is especially troubling as this hiatus persists at a juncture when India confronts threats from nuclear neighbours China and Pakistan and faces technological challenges on the 21st-century battlefield frequently enumerated by the country’s military chiefs.”


Impacting the reorganisation of the military

The absence of an NSS, “from which would also flow the long-delayed and equally vital National Defence Strategy, is believed to be impacting the reorganisation of the military into tri-service integrated theatre commands (ITCs) by harnessing their combined financial, materiel and overall operational capabilities. The architecture of the ITCs was to be forwarded to the government for approval by 2022 by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) before operationalising them the following year, but it remains a work in progress.”


DPC and the SPG

Bedi  refers to the “cluster of recommendatory organisations established over decades to devise a robust NSS. Topping this list is the high-rolling, but seemingly dormant, Defence Planning Committee (DPC) created in April 2018 as an ‘overarching’ body to manage India’s defence and security strategy, prepare military capability plans, fast-track materiel acquisitions and augment military diplomacy.

“In tandem is the attendant Strategic Policy Group (SPG), revamped some six months later the same year as the first level of the three-tiered National Security Council. The group’s founding responsibility was to foster inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs for formulating national security policies like the NSS and related policies and procedures.”

Both the DPC and the SPG “were more than qualified to construct an NSS and the attendant national defence strategy. But senior service veterans and security officials concurred that both these organisations had little or no output to show for themselves over the past eight years, with little of policy import forthcoming from either…..”

Furthermore, according to Bedi “these two bodies are supplemented by a host of think tanks backed by either the Ministry of Defence or hand-held by the individual services. These include the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in Delhi, the country’s foremost think tank whose founding charter encompasses advanced research in defence, strategic and security issues and other related matters.”

Also, "there are three service-sponsored think tanks, the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, the National Maritime Foundation and the Centre for Air Power Studies, all operating out of Delhi. Complementing them is the high-maintenance — but low-performance — Centre for Joint Warfare Studies created in 2007 in Delhi to “rise above sectoral and departmental legacies and to examine joint warfare and synergy issues in their entirety” to provide inputs for an NSS.”

However, these bodies “remain mum publicly on anything to do with an NSS..”

All Defence Articles