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What is External Security? What are the threats to India’s external security. Discuss?

Model answer:


  • External Security refers to any threat that a country, a nation, a State or a nation-State perceives to its identity, its economy and its components, its stability, its borders and its population and in particular the feel of the people, their mental and physical health as well as to its social, technological and industrial infrastructure.  The threat can be perceived which has not been negated and real whose solution doesn’t seem to be materializing.
  • A country is almost always in a state of threat to its external security, and it is perennially in a process of negating these threats through diplomacy, alliances, geostrategies, etc.

Threats that affects

  1. The mindset of the people, such as a colonial mindset, and being unaware of the loss of its own identity
  2. The health of the people both mental and physical
  3. The threats to country’s economy like its gradual sabotage, by eating into market and also with the help of currency counterfeits, etc.
  4. The susceptibility of the country towards cyber attacks, cyber warfare warfare information manipulation and electronic warfare.
  • At the same time, India really faces some challenges on its external front some of it on its borders both land borders and maritime borders, its territories and through some military actions and its plan. These challenges include:
  1. Existence and Opening of a two war front, if India safeguards itself against any nefarious designs of Pakistan to thwart and to crush country destabilizing threats of terrorism emanating from that region.
  2. The nuclear Threat emanating from both of its neighbors
  3. China Pakistan Networking
  4. Threats to Arunachal Pradesh and Siliguri corridor, and
  5. Maritime threats
  • India in reality faces all these threats, and there is no country in the world that actually faces threats of such dimension and such diversity with little to protect itself either from getting supported by the citizens of India and its psyche and or structure of its economy or even its defense preparedness.
  • India is the only country in the world that faces two nuclear arms loaded countries, one going insanely jealous and other lusting for its territory and people.
  • While all the threats are real and they exist, the emphasis of this chapter is mostly on the geostrategic perspective.

Multiple Challenges

  • In considering India’s external security the country’s policy makers have to bear in mind the economic backwardness and political instabilities of its smaller neighbors, the continued inimical relations that Pakistan has maintained with India. It has used terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy and as a force equalizer. India has to contend with the intentions of a powerful China that would seek to be the paramount power in Asia. External security would demand assessment of conventional military threats but in addition, terrorism, energy security, environmental degradation, demographic changes and access to natural resources including water and markets are the new factors.
  • The nature of threats that emanate from the weakness of the smaller countries and those from the intentions of the bigger countries, China and Pakistan, are different and need different responses.

Cross-border threats

  • Most external threats emanate from an unsettled boundary dispute with China that has been forced on India and ongoing cross-border jihadi terrorism in J&K sponsored terrorism, supported by ISI and Pakistan-based Islamist fundamentalist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad who, in turn, are inextricably linked with international jihadi groups like Taliban and Al Qaida.
  • Threat from Bangladesh assumes serious dimensions since it became a base for northeast insurgent groups like ULFA and Naga factions. Of late, it has also been serving as a conduit for ISI sponsored infiltration of terrorists along India and Bangladesh’s porous border.
  • To cap it, nuclear threats from neighboring states and from jihadi groups have the potential of using nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future, significant being China-Pakistan nuclear nexus.

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