India's National Security in the 21st Century

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Through ages, nation's survival is the most important aspect of security. The pertinent question is how nation manages the different elements of security rationally. Otherwise, if not managed properly it might lead to war. War is deeply related to human, social, political, economic, military aspects of nations survival. In other words, it encompasses internal and international security. Today, after the second world war major powers (nuclear powers) have avoided war by developing the theories of deterrence, collective security, detente, balance of power, disarmament and arms control and so on. Against this background, how does one explains Indian national security? The task is not an easy one. It is easy to describe India's conflictual engagement with its neighbours. Napoleon once said that the foreign policy of a country flows from its geographic position. In case of India, its geography has been both a curse and a blessing. No doubt, India's geo-strategic location is important to regional security. But in the past, we have seen India's war with Pakistan and China, peace keeping debacle in Sri Lanka and the strained relations with Myanmar and Nepal. This is one dimension of India's security. The other dimension is India's position in international community. At international level, it is embedded in the policy of non-alignment as an instrument of foreign policy's goal. Today, when the world has changed after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, India's position has also been elevated and the external powers feel that India will play a dominant role in international politics. As a consequence, India has made considerable efforts to resume strategic partnership with all the major countries of the western world as well with ASEAN countries. India's emphasis on Look East and Look West are aimed to improve the economic and strategic linkages with them. This has been possible due to the emergence of India as an economic power.