This article is written by Arryan Mohanty, 3rd year student from Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur. Here, it has been tried to understand the concept of National Security Strategy, its importance for a country like India & how media, especially social media have a huge role for the formation of NSS.
It has been published by Rachit Garg.
For a nation like India, access to information and freedom of expression continue to be the foundation of its democracy and the champion of its national interests. These factors support citizens’ ability to make informed decisions, encourage officials’ responsibility, offer suggestions for resolving conflicts, and support the diversity of opinions held by the nation’s many ethnic groups. As a result of this informational accessibility, the Indian media now serves as both the people’s sole outlet for expression and the watchdog that holds the government responsible for all of its actions.
Our Constitution places a strong focus on a vibrant, independent media that upholds the principles of freedom of speech and expression outlined in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and that enables Indian journalists to take an active role in the nation’s general governance. Following the guiding principles established by the architects of independent India over the years, the Indian media has been permitted to develop and go beyond its original role as an active information distributor to become an integral part of society.
It has the ability to question the legislature, the judiciary, and other institutions of the nation that are a part of the wider governing system, in addition to helping to construct, shape, or modify an individual’s perceptions. Media in India is now an independent tool of statecraft due to the expanding reach of regional and global communication systems and advanced technologies. The Indian media is still a source of channels for information interchange between the public and the government, aiding in education and information sharing. As a result, the government’s national strategic goals have been able to be launched thanks to the ability to influence international attitudes, behaviours, and policies through an integrated, coordinated, and combined media that serves as a tool and a channel for information dissemination and enlightenment.
However, to the extent that the Indian media still acts as an information activist for a well-informed populace and a responsible government, it merits a much more thorough and ongoing examination by those who advance democracy and good governance. Accordingly, the next chapters of the occasional article will show how the new generation of media is becoming more integrated into every nation’s security system.
As a result, the study attempts to analyse the significance of the media’s grasp of India’s demands for national security and the role that understanding can play in preserving a stable and effective government. It has become unavoidable to ignore the connection that any media has to the support of terrorists while discussing national security. As a result, the study also highlights in general terms how Indian media interacts with the country’s current security crisis and its role in counterterrorism tactics, which makes the task of including media in the national security policy even more imperative. It proposes to lay a practical and implementable framework for the State and policy guides to actively involve the media in maintaining security, peace, and stability in the region. It also not only aims to theoretically analyse the role of the Indian media in conflict resolution through the theoretical foundation of journalism.
Understanding National Security
Academician Hans Morgenthau gave the Cold War era definition of national security as limited to the security of the State and its borders and focusing on the role of the Defense and the security forces in his book “Politics among Nations” in 1948. Morgenthau defined national security as “the integrity of national territory and its institutions.” National security, however, has diverged from national defence in the modern era and expanded to include several facets of a globalised world, including human, economic, energy, cultural, and political security. National security has now entered the public discourse, though it is still heavily influenced and defined by the government. According to the majority of scholars, it is defined as “the creation of conditions that contribute to the nation’s political, social, and economic consolidation and ensure territorial integrity of the country, acquisition of capabilities to sustain these conditions, safeguard freedom of options, and capabilities to survive in a volatile security environment.”
The process of defining national security remains incredibly difficult since a variety of elements contribute to how it is seen at all levels and because it varies from State to State, making it impossible to confine to a single definition. While some definitions link the idea of national security to the State and centre all relevant policies on the Nation State, others include both the State and individuals as national security’s constituents. There has been a shift in the way strategists think, where the idea of security now only refers to the security of the citizens rather than the security of the State. The broader national security architecture has started to place a premium on the need to protect political systems, ideologies, societies, and their citizens.
Providing citizens with the right to life and liberty, equality in all spheres of activity, collaboration between the public and private sectors operating in the State, preservation of territorial sovereignty and integrity, maintaining a flexible civil and military relationship, robust economic development, and an active and independent media are all part of what is meant by national security. This is especially true of India. The survival of the Nation-State is regarded as dependent on national security, which is still dynamic, fluid, and multidirectional. It embodies both internal and exterior security (defending the country against attacks from abroad) (within the State). It also emphasises the country’s continued exercise of political, diplomatic, and military dominance over its neighbours and regional rivals. As a result, we can conclude that in the current security environment, national security cannot be solely equated with national defence because it encompasses a variety of issues that call for the cooperation and understanding of the State, its institutions, and its institutions’ forces as well as the general public.
In the era of globalisation and interdependence, security risks to national interests include non-state entities like terrorist organisations, drug and arms dealers, and multinational companies in addition to conventional dangers like other Nation States. Traditional threats to national security have been bypassed into a time where security challenges cannot be resolved by military forces alone. Instead, security forces must cooperate and collaborate with both State and Non-State organisations for support and expertise in order to lessen and eradicate the threat either completely or to a minimum level. The steps taken to protect national security in the face of these challenges have also sparked an ongoing discussion about governance, which may be improved through science and technology as well as through private organisations, among nations around the world. The current concern over national security and governance also centres on how national security laws and strategies are implemented, which, if not subject to good governance, may only serve as a reason for conflicts between the conservation and protection and sovereignty of the State and the rights and freedoms of its people in order to keep harmony and stability.
Even though widespread domestic problems like corruption, poverty, crime, insurgency, and homegrown terrorism continue to raise questions about a nation’s national security, including India, external threats like international terrorism, the use of nuclear weapons by State or Non-State actors, border disputes, and environmental disasters have emerged as eroding the country’s security and strength. The threat of terrorism, which has spread beyond national borders into other countries and is now a component of a worldwide threat to the security of the global system, continues to be one common threat to the national security of any State, regardless of location. The threat of terrorism continues to cloud public perceptions of national security, particularly for a nation like India, which is located in the centre of the Southern Asian subcontinent. Thus, while maintaining the threat’s relevance, the article attempts to identify terrorism as India’s urgent national security concern and discusses countermeasures that the State and its organisations must take into consideration in order to stop the violence from spreading quickly and efficiently.
National Security Strategy
A national security strategy or policy (NSS or NSP) is an important framework that a nation can use to handle both internal and foreign threats to the nation as well as citizens’ basic needs and security concerns. The Indian state lacks a broad national security strategy (NSS) that thoroughly evaluates the threats to national security and lays out strategies to successfully address them. The path India must follow to realise its national vision is crystal obvious in a well-defined national strategy. It also offers a manual on the policy guidelines that must be followed by all governmental organs.
Such a plan must be carried out within the constraints established by the Indian Constitution and the democratic political system in place in the nation. A modern state faces several, concurrent difficulties in a number of different areas. In order to combat both internal and external dangers, the state’s coercive authority cannot be the sole focus of national security. Threats to internal peace and stability, for instance, may result from social and economic complaints. A hasty response can leave these complaints unresolved while the exercise of coercive authority worsens rather than improves the circumstance. For instance, ongoing exploitation of tribal tribes is the basis of left-wing extremism in India. The distinction between what is domestic and what is external for a modern state operating in a more globalised environment is becoming increasingly hazy. For instance, terrorism poses a risk to national security but may also have exterior connections. Therefore, a mix of internal and external therapies may be required. Such intricate interrelationships between internal and external aspects can only be examined and coordinated policy responses developed within a thorough NSS. The NSS would make it possible to identify vital infrastructure that would be susceptible to cyberattacks and to create the human resources needed to spot attacks, defend against them, and bring important systems back online. There is a trade-off between increased security and the constitutionally given rights of residents, and this must be made plain to the nation’s population and addressed with thoughtful solutions. A monitoring state cannot be justified on the basis of national security.
National security is significantly impacted by environmental deterioration and climate change. The placement of troops in high-altitude areas along India’s mountainous borders may directly suffer from glacier melting. Naval outposts along the coast may be inundated by sea level rise brought on by global warming. The NSS must therefore plan ahead for the effects of ecological deterioration and climate change and develop coping mechanisms. Strategic communications, another frequently overlooked aspect of India’s national security, must be included in the NSS. It relates to the imperative necessity to constantly and consistently engage the public, especially in a democracy, in order to form public perceptions and give a forum for feedback or public opinion. The dissemination of false information by hostile individuals within and outside of the nation using social media may have a negative influence on national security. This will require powerful and sophisticated cyber capabilities, which may need to be updated frequently to keep up with the rapid advancement of technology. The NSS for India needs to adopt a comprehensive strategy that addresses both internal and external, economic and ecological challenges, highlighting the connections and feedback loops between them, and developing a cogent template for multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral interventions based on that strategy.
Understanding the role of media
In the modern strategic environment, media and politics are closely related. The media’s former function as a conduit for information and communication between the people and the government and between states has changed and expanded. The political actors today operate in a world that has been formed by the media. Leaders’ and people’s perspectives are shaped by the media. And the political actors create the policies based on these impressions, particularly during times of crisis or political upheaval, such as elections. However, because the media has turned into a lucrative sector, it is always subject to financial pressure or pressure from the government through regulations.
The connection between the media and the government largely determines the role of the media. There are three key theories in this regard:
- The media is under the control of the ruling government in an authoritarian system. The goal of the media is to support and advance state interests and policy. It is forbidden to criticise the functioning of the government.
- In a libertarian system, anyone who has the financial resources to do so owns the media. Here, the media serve the following three goals: to educate, to uncover the truth, and to hold the government accountable.
- Does the Social Responsibility system allow anyone who wants to say something to control the media? The mature form is this. Here, the main duty is to educate, amuse, and sell while simultaneously bringing the dispute to the fore of conversation. To illuminate the issue regions, to put it another way.
The media has been a potential player in politics since the 1980s. Not only has technology accelerated globalisation, but it has also encapsulated world politics. A significant resource in the modern, interconnected world is information. Since the media is a major source of information and has become politicised, it has the capacity to have an impact on the global order and even change it. Although the media plays a constructive role in international politics, important players occasionally utilise it as a means of propaganda to advance their own interests and bring about the desired changes in the established order. Similar to how foreign media and other information sources were used to advance the state’s agenda during the Cold War, such as the fight against terrorism, Nency E. Bernhard has examined how the US government and media worked closely to create the anti-communist cultural climate of the era. By spotlighting the economic decline in the Communist bloc, the US used the media to shame the former USSR in pro-Soviet republics.
As is evident from the post-9/11 scenario, the media has now evolved into a vehicle of the American global agenda to influence the rest of the world to support its strategic interest. Media should ideally be unbiased and devoid of any propaganda techniques. The people should receive a fair accounting from it. The media informs and educates the people about local, national, and international politics as well as other daily human realities. The goal of the media is to draw attention to the social problems and to pressure the public and the government to come up with effective solutions. The role of the media is to provide a link between citizens and national governments. By confirming that the government is operating within its authority, the media acts as a checkpoint. However, as a result of globalization, media obligations have also increased. It must play a part in upholding and advancing the state’s national interests and publicising those interests in relation to international concerns. In place of global security, it must study how international relations are conducted and once more draw attention to the global issue spots. Ilana Dayan, a media anchor, asserts that “the role of the press in a democratic society is not to take into account national security, not to carry out national policy, and not to be patriotic. It entails acting aggressively, with suspicion, scepticism, and hostility toward the government. “The media is sometimes referred to as the fourth estate,” according to Ikram Sehgal, “as the fourth pillar in support of the vital tripod of the government, the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.
National security, media and conflict resolution
A nation’s and its citizens’ national security continues to be the cornerstone of effective leadership, social welfare, and economic growth. In the modern setting of a Nation State, national security has been adopted to include human and social security as a priority in addition to national defence, focusing the core principles of security on the preservation of peace and the abolition of conflict. Since the conclusion of the Cold War and the rise of globalisation and technology, a number of conceptual frameworks have been developed to show how conflict resolution techniques are used in many contexts around the world. The various policy choices for peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building are being developed upon, including military and non-military measures, development and governance approaches, and preventive diplomacy. Along with the State, these new subfields are establishing the development of non-government and private organisations as major players in conflict resolution. They have been able to cut across the security and peace studies sectors. Similar to this, during the Cold War, analysts working in peace and security studies examined the role of mass media and socialisation practises as working primarily to resolve differences and being successful in maintaining a sense of security and stability in conflict-affected regions; this led to an international discussion and debate and behaviour change by countries around the world to integrate the mass media as a major contributor to conflict resolution in the State.
The Indian media and National Security Strategy
India’s media continues to be distinctive due to the nation’s rich cultural diversity, in addition to its importance and recognition as an institution in the maintenance of governance in the nation under the current security climate. India is a developing nation with strong religious and patriarchal systems that are cut off from the ideas and advancements of contemporary and technological life. On the other hand, India is politically and technologically sophisticated, upholding its strength in economy, democracy, and culture. The mainstream Indian media upholds the diversity of expression and perspectives of its multi-cultural population while showcasing the true spirit of India by supporting and catering to two types of media outlets and audiences: the English language media and the non-English language media, including various newspapers, magazines, and television channels.
Therefore, media remains an important component of statecraft, not only for India but even for the rest of the world, as it helps the States attain their goals and objectives, mainly due to the effect that media has on opinion-building of the public. However, in terms of matters of national security, media of any country including that of India follows a nationalistic approach, even though the dynamics of media are different and diverse in different countries. Sometimes, the States use media to create fear or hatred among countries, and sometimes prolong diplomatic ties. In the current strategic context, there is a very strong and symbiotic interaction between the media and the government. This relationship is thought to be evolving as even political players have begun operating in the environment set or prescribed by the media for carrying out their jobs. In the modern world, the media not only shapes public perceptions but also those of the government and other leaders, enabling them to create policies that respond to public demands.
Role of the Indian media in security issues
There are several instances where Indian media has demonstrated an effective role in informing the people and validating the acts of the government on issues of national security, which further elucidates the relationship between media and its function in preserving national security. The Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistan Navy Breguet Atlantique patrol plane in August 1999 as it flew dangerously close to the Indian border off the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat for violating Indian airspace. As the Kargil War had just finished, the issue heightened tensions between the two nations and disrupted ongoing peace talks between India and Pakistan. Questions were raised about why the plane was flying so near to the international boundary between the two countries, even though allegations that it was on a training trip were refuted by Pakistani authorities. Pakistan even requested a ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after the Indian Air Force shot down one of its planes. However, the support that the Indian media showed for its nation and the timely information that it disseminated to local and foreign audiences helped not only the Indian population but also the foreign media understand the reality on the ground, which in turn affected the ICJ’s ruling. The decision thus served to cast doubt on Pakistan’s objectivity in the matter and advised both nations to settle their differences directly. Similar to how it was utilised in other situations, the Indian government also used the media as a tool to correct falsehoods that would have damaged India’s relations with its neighbours, particularly Pakistan. The radar of the Indian Air Force at Nalia base in the Rann of Kutch detected a signal of a “flying object” on January 24, 2010. Initially claimed to be an intrusion, the government later recognised it as one of the Indian Air Force’s aircraft and declared a “no threat” situation.
In this case, the Indian government made use of the media to explain the situation to both the domestic and international public. Military and government representatives summoned editors and journalists from media outlets in India, gave them the plane’s specifications, and asked them to persuade the public that the radar detected an Indian plane, dispelling any suspicions of outside interference. As there had been prior reports of a potential terrorist threat and disturbance during India’s Republic Day celebration, which was to be held two days later, the media’s role during this period helped reduce the tension that existed between India and Pakistan. Examples of the enormous and drastic technological development in Indian media and its effects are thus still common, and the impact of the media on national security undoubtedly has clear strategic ramifications.
The ability of the global media to transmit data and images around the globe at a consistent rate and the nature of communication today have transcended all national and international boundaries, enabling the State to reach its public both at home and abroad and transforming it into a deadly weapon against the enemy. The expansion of information and communication technology, its practical use, and India’s growing economic and social development are motivating the Indian media to pursue the position of an independent overseer as the largest democratic country in the world. Due to the 24×7 idea, the Indian media’s ability to shape national and international public opinion through analysis and coverage of international events has greatly increased. It has made it easier for the media and journalists to have a bigger impact on important national and international decision-making. The media’s role in times of conflict or crisis is now understood to include more than just safeguarding localised activities; it also entails providing a comprehensive picture of all state policies, assisting the entire population in cooperating with the government and military on issues of economic, scientific, political, and social policy. The States must engage with various supranational and non-State actors as well as other States in the twenty-first century.
As a result of the need to use information tools, diplomacy in a linked globe becomes much more varied and sophisticated in its conduct than in prior times of a Nation State. According to strategist Gregory R. Copley, information used for soft power purposes turns into a strategic tool when used in the framework of grand strategy because governments and security institutions alike rely on public support for their initiatives and opinion shaping. In a democracy like India, the media has a duty to hold government officials and security officials under public scrutiny in order to cast doubt on their policies. In order to inform the public, help them comprehend national security policy, and keep policymakers accountable, it is crucial that the media and institutions of security collaborate. In order to enable the government and officials to uphold responsibility and accuracy in judgement and to deliver good governance to the general public, an independent and transparent media supports democratic ideals and operates to the fullest extent possible. Without motivation, a nation cannot maintain its freedom and ideology for very long because any danger to a national power source raises security concerns. Thus, the distinctive media coverage and impact can be accelerated to increase public security awareness and be employed for moral uplift. The media can serve more than just psychological operations in the framework of national security during a crisis; it can also serve as a link between the populace and the government. Strategists are so required to comprehend media behaviour patterns and participate in the media’s entire operation.
Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skills.
LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals, and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:
Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.