Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 07 November 2023

Why India must have its own National Security Strategy?

Why in news?

After Years of debate and deliberations, India is planning to launch its National Security Strategy (NSS). The union government has asked for suggestions from the states also.

What is National Security Strategy (NSS):

  • It is a detailed document that outlines the country’s security objectives, and the ways that need to be adopted to achieve these. It defines traditional, and non-traditional threats and opportunities while introducing accountability of agencies tasked with the implementation of such responsibilities while being timely updated according to the need of the hour.
  • It will guide the military as well as critical defence and security reforms with strategic implications, providing a holistic view of the overall national security, the threats and the roadmap to address them.

Key Components of NSS:

  • It sets the specific goals and objectives that the country seeks to achieve in the realm of national security.
  • It describes the strategies, policies, and approaches that the government will employ to protect national security interests.
  • Guidance on how resources, including military, economic, and diplomatic assets, will be allocated to support the national security strategy.
  • The strategy may address the importance of cooperation with other countries, international organizations, and domestic agencies to achieve security objectives.
  • Depending on the country, the NSS may incorporate various strategic doctrines, such as military, nuclear, cyber, or other specialized doctrines.
  • Evaluation of potential risks and challenges in implementing the strategy, along with plans for risk management and mitigation.

Developed by: 

  • The strategy will be developed by the National Security Council Secretariat under the National Security Council (NSC)
    • The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India Chaired by the National Security Advisor
  • It exercises its power through the National Security Council Secretariat having four verticals namely Strategic Planning, Internal Affairs, Intelligence and Technology and a Military vertical

Countries having NSS: 

Most developed countries with an advanced military and security infrastructure have a National Security Strategy in place, updated from time to time. 

  • United States: The major point in the USA's NSS is a rules-based international order. It highlights the importance of global alliances and partnerships, stressing the role of NATO in collective defence and advocating for a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. NSS is notable for its emphasis on the protection of American interests, both at home and abroad, through military strength, diplomacy, and economic engagement.
  • United Kingdom: A unique aspect of the UK's NSS is its emphasis on science and technology as crucial to national security. It outlines plans for investing in research and development in emerging technologies, such as cyber, space, and artificial intelligence.
  • China: China's approach to national security is based on the concept of "comprehensive national security." It encompasses political, economic, military, social, and cultural security. The unique aspect of China's NSS is its focus on "cyber sovereignty," advocating for strict control over the internet and information flow within its borders.
  • Russia: Russia's national security strategy prioritizes the protection of its sovereignty and national identity. It emphasizes a strong military as a means of deterrence. A unique aspect of Russia's NSS is its focus on countering NATO expansion and opposing the eastward expansion of military infrastructure.
  • Japan:  Earlier Japan's national security strategy was shaped by its pacifist constitution, which limits its military capabilities. As a result, its NSS emphasizes the importance of alliances and international partnerships. However, recently Japan released its new NSS in which there is a significant shift from its long-time post-war pacifist approach. Japan announced a $320 billion plan for a military build-up, the biggest since the Second World War. The New NSS highlights China as its top most threat and India as its top ally.
  • Israel: Israel's NSS is influenced by its unique security challenges in a volatile region. It emphasizes self-reliance in defence and intelligence capabilities. A key aspect is its commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, often leading to tensions with regional adversaries.
  • Pakistan, too, has brought out a National Security Policy 2022-2026, underlining its national security objectives and priority areas. 

India’s Need for NSS: 

There are numerous reasons for having an NSS but few prominent ones are: 

  • Currently, the only political directive for defence forces is the document called “Raksha Mantri’s operational Directive of 2009” and it needs to be revised. 
  • The complex nature of the various traditional and non-traditional threats, especially when rising geopolitical tensions have created uncertainties, India strongly felt an urgent need to draft a national security strategy. 
  • Having hostile neighbors like Pakistan, China who constantly tries to create roadblocks in our path via non state actors.
  • It helps various government agencies and departments to work cohesively and harmoniously toward common security goals, avoiding confusion and duplication of efforts.
  • It ensures that the public understands the nation's security interests and the government's commitments in this regard, fostering a sense of national security consciousness.
  • It helps in signaling the nation's position on international security issues and fosters confidence among allies and partners while deterring potential adversaries.
  • By periodically reviewing and revising the NSS, India can remain responsive to emerging threats, such as those in the cyber domain or environmental security.
  • It demonstrates that India is taking a proactive approach to its national security, aligning with its growing stature as a significant player in global affairs.
  • When a contingency arises, the NSS guides the government's response in accordance with the established strategy, preventing ad hoc decision-making and ensuring that strategic objectives are met.
  • It can facilitate the establishment of integrated theater commands and step up the pace of military modernization by offering clear directives to address India's evolving security challenges.


In the ongoing debate the counter argument is given that it might place the critical defence installation in public light, however the benefits of having a well-structured NSS surely outweigh the challenges. Also in recent times as we are witnessing India's rise on the global stage, a clear and comprehensive NSS is essential for protecting the nation's interests and enhancing its national security.


Mains PYQ

Q. Analyse the multidimensional challenges posed by external state and non-state actors, to the internal security of India. Also discuss measures required to be taken to combat these threats. (UPSC 2021)

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