Home   »   Current Affairs 2024   »   National Security Doctrine

National Security Doctrine, Background, Importance, Global Practices


  • At a recent book-release function, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) made a significant comment about the formulation of a National Security Strategy (NSS).
  • The CDS stated that while policy, processes, and practices are addressed in India, the only missing element is a written policy.
  • This statement, indicating a possible shift in policy, warrants analysis and debate.

Background of National Security Doctrine

  • India has been engaged in drafting the NSS for the past two decades with no final document
  • The Defence Planning Committee, chaired by the National Security Advisor and established in 2018, was tasked with formulating the NSS and National Defence Strategy. The status of this exercise remains unclear.
  • The current management relies on the RM’s (Raksha Mantri) Operational Directive, which is considered cryptic and inadequate.
  • There is ambiguity whether the CDS’s statement reflects a personal opinion or official policy.
  • Reference to former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s controversial statement on nuclear policy, which was later retracted, is highlighted.
  • The CDS’s detailed explanation and mention of recent successes like Balakot suggest a possible intent to halt the NSS codification process, citing Israel’s example of not having a written NSS.

Global Practices

  • Most relevant nations, including China, promulgate an NSS and publish periodic white papers.
  • Pakistan has issued its first National Security Policy (2022-26).
  • Israel and Pakistan’s approaches are not suitable for India due to differing challenges and needs.

What is National Security Doctrine?

  • A national security doctrine helps the statesmen identify and prioritise the country’s geopolitical interests.
  • It encompasses the totality of the country’s military, diplomatic, economic and social policies that will protect and promote the country’s national security interests.

Importance of a Written NSS

  • A well-crafted NSS would promote a “whole of nation” approach and harness comprehensive national power (CNP).
  • It would set milestones for capability-building in modernization, infrastructure, and the Atma Nirbhar mission.
  • Current defence planning formats, such as the Integrated Capability Plan (10 years) and Defence Capability Acquisition Plan (5 years), are still stabilising.
  • Despite the government’s efforts in defence modernization, the review systems by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and Auditor General are insufficient.
  • The NSS would enhance peer review by think tanks, reduce ambiguity, and build accountability.

Operational Clarity and Decision Making

  • The NSS is crucial for operational clarity and ease of decision making.
  • Currently, Army Commanders do not undertake meaningful handover procedures.
  • While theatre responses during the Doklam crisis were commendable, strategic guidance was insufficient.
  • The existing system is overly centralised and should transition to a decentralised Directive Style of Command (DSOC).
  • An NSS would define clear goals, methods, and resources while promoting delegation, synergy, and operational freedom.
  • It would encourage initiative, innovation, and improvisation at the cutting-edge level.
  • The NSS is essential for operationalizing theatre commands and overall transformation.
  • A clearly defined NSS would help develop audacious commanders like Field Marshal ‘Sam’ Manekshaw, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, and Lt Gen Sagat Singh.


  • As India enters Amrit Kaal, it is time to move away from hesitation and ambiguity.
  • A classified portion of the NSS can maintain confidentiality, and targeted ambiguity can be used for strategic messaging.
  • It is necessary to shift to informed debates based on the NSS rather than populist campaigns on social media platforms like Twitter.

Sharing is caring!

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *