National security is a collective term that encompasses several dimensions starting from military advantage of a nation state over others to its survival through various means like arms race, diplomacy, economic power and many other forms of soft power. It is the highest order of protection of a nation state from external dangers as well as internal. Therefore, national security challenges can be broadly divided into two categories, domestic and external. The external security aspect cannot be delinked from domestic security. The term national security as a concept developed mostly in the United States in the post-World War-II scenario. The conventional definition of national security relied mostly on realist interpretation and it defines the term mainly from the military prospective. The international politics was considered to be a war game and it was a sort of maximization of power by the states through war, arms race etc. The non-conventional security threats and non-state actors remained missing in academic discourses and policy formulation. However, such sole focus on military might of a nation state started changing with the paradigm shifts in many spheres of geo-politics, economy, technology and culture after the World War-II. Since then, the concept of national security started including many other dimensions like energy security, environment security, food security, human security, economic security and more recently cyber security. The security threats are changing and there is an increased trend of limited and hybrid wars in the world politics.
India’s national security challenges are less conventional and they are more ambiguous. The country is having not only external threats but also facing various internal security threats like ethnic divide, regional disparity, caste atrocities, radical religious ideological divide, naxal extremism, separatist tendencies, insurgency etc. The root causes of such internal security threats are lack of development, inequal distribution of justice, narrow political motives, poor governance, unemployment, lack of effective participatory democracy.
So far as the external threats are concerned, the non-conventional national security dimensions did not receive much attention in India till the end of the 20th century. Until then understanding of India’s national security perspective was confined mainly to the threats modelled by its two neighbourhoods, Pakistan and China. Such external national security threats from Pakistan was meant to be dealt with through military means, whereas threats from China were dealt with through diplomatic engagement, trade, multilateral organisations and positioning forces across the borders. The threats like climate change, energy security, terrorism, communal conflicts, food security, cyber security etc. had started drawing attentions only from the beginning of the 21st century.
Whether it is to address the external or internal security threats, human resources and technology driven innovations are core factors for promoting national security. Military defence of country’s sovereignty from conventional national security threats too demands use of sophisticated technologies and for an effective national security set up, country requires huge investments of funds. Therefore, one of the important dimensions of national security is economic security. The importance of economic security has been acknowledged world over and its recent reflection has been seen in the new national security strategy declared by the US President Donald Trump in 2016 where he announced, “Economic Security as National Security”.Without funds it is hardly possible to develop technology, nurture human resources, develop skills, address issues of internal security, purchase of modern sophisticated defence equipment, deployment of arm forces and so on. It is the money that support national security order of a country.