Need trained people, weapons, ideas to ensure security: NSA

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SummaryA rapidly changing world and India’s position in it demands a holistic view of national security, one that is not restricted to a militaristic approach

A rapidly changing world and India’s position in it demands a holistic view of national security, one that is not restricted to a militaristic approach, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said while delivering the Eighth Raja Ramanna Memorial lecture at the National Institute of Advanced studies Monday.

“The turmoil to the west of India warns us that our internal insurgents and militants will find more succour and support outside India in the future. The disturbed state of the (Muslim) Ummah should make us even more sensitive to dangers of communal incitement,’’ the NSA said during the talk on India’s internal and external security.

With India now being connected to the rest of the world more than ever, “each of our internal security challenges — terrorism, left-wing extremism, social cohesion in an aspirational society, communal harmony, cyber threats, energy security or food security — has some root outside India and is linked to what happens outside,’’ he said.

He said that while recent discussions on national security have focused only on the armed forces, India can no longer take a “limited view of our national security’’. While agreeing that “traditional military definitions of security” remain significant, he said that changes across the world also needed to be kept in mind.

International balances of power are changing fast and this can be seen in the fact that countries like China, India and others are beginning to play important roles in the world economy and regional balances of power, Menon said. “We see the strains of adjustment, of seeking new equilibrium, all around us in the international system — in the West Asian turmoil, in the new edge that existing territorial and maritime disputes have taken and in the use of new institutions like the G-20 to address economic crises,’’ he added.

A year of turmoil in India’s extended neighbourhood in West Asia, North Africa and the Gulf is a source of concern for energy and internal security, the NSA said, adding that “the Muslim Ummah is increasingly disturbed and politically radicalised, not so much by al-Qaeda type groups but by socio-political movements like that of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

India’s security can only be ensured by creating “capabilities to respond to the threats of today and tomorrow’’ in the form of trained people, weapons and ideas, Menon said.

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