Thursday, June 13, 2024

Nuanced understanding of security


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Security or the lack of it creates distress for all living beings. These days we talk about animal rights in the same breath that we do human rights. The word “security” is often linked to the military and police establishment which provide safety to the citizen from criminal elements. National security is understood as being secured from external aggression. But the concept today has undergone tremendous change as nations are threatened more by internal dissensions than by external aggression. This is more pronounced after the end of the Cold War era. Conflicts across continents occur due to ethnic assertions, religious ideologies or conflict over resources. Increasingly we find that lack of access to food, health care, water, shelter, employment etc., often lead to grave human insecurity. In the North Eastern part of India, illegal immigration and influx from the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar also cause real and imagined fears.

The notion of security has therefore undergone tremendous change. The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) an advisory body set up by the Union Government to advice it on security issues therefore does not have the luxury of dealing only with military security. Its task has broadened to include even the insecurities created by climate change and whether farmers in particular have developed the mechanism to adapt to it because this is directly related to food security. Water bodies that have shrunk on account of over-exploitation or are poisoned through reckless mining procedures also need serious deliberation. Moreover, climate change is also linked to new infectious diseases appearing in the horizon and often nations are unable to tackle the crises. A body advising on comprehensive national security also has to look at the health aspects above all else. The NSAB has to undertake this task with utmost seriousness by listening to voices from governments and civil society before finalising its security doctrine.

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