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India’s National Security Strategy

The National Security Strategy (NSS) of a country is a comprehensive document outlining the security goals of the nation and the corresponding strategies employed to achieve these goals. The document encompasses various aspects of national security including military, security reforms, security threats and precautionary steps. Considering Bharat's role in external security, particularly near its borders, an NSS remains a crucial need for India at the moment.

Illustration of India's National Strategic Strategy

Illustration by The Geostrata

Most countries possessing a secure intelligence infrastructure along with a powerful military, publish an NSS providing a comprehensive overview of the nation’s security objectives. The United States Government publishes a National Security Strategy that deals with the current and future actions of the government to address national security issues. Therefore, the demand for India’s NSS has been pushed forth by former military generals and national security advisors. 

The Secretariat of the National Security Council has formally started drafting the NSS and is formulating the doctrines that will constitute the foundation of the document. Once the document is complete, it will undergo Cabinet approval before being formally implemented as the definitive National Security Strategy.


The most important role of the NSS is to provide a cohesive understanding of national security to the public and the government itself. This will create a unified policy, preventing any random interpretations of India's security strategy. NSS (National Security Strategy) will offer clarity on numerous aspects, such as India's neighbourhood security, intelligence gathering, the theaterisation of the tri-services, and internal security.

The creation of the NSS will require consideration and accumulation of all aspects related to India’s security including diplomacy, intelligence gathering and military operations. The creation of India's security policy strategy will provide a roadmap for cooperation between various government ministries, the armed forces, and the intelligence community.

Former Chief of Army Staff General Manoj M. Naravane stressed the importance of national defence strategy as the ultimate objective, stating that, “Theaterisation is not an end, it is only a means to an end.”

His statement made in support of the National Security Strategy highlights its role in establishing combined theatre commands and the unification of the tri-services with the defence ministry.


Before drafting the document, all government entities involved must agree upon a set doctrine for India’s security. Strategies will then be derived from this doctrine in the NSS. The doctrine outlines the country's security approach, while the strategy provides a concrete plan of action to execute that approach. 

Over time, the NSS allows for careful reassessment of India’s national security doctrines and strategies. This process considers the evolving conditions and variables associated with the nation’s security interests.

The existence of a hierarchy of doctrines indicates that at each level there is a different doctrine and strategy which is influenced by the doctrines at higher levels. At the national level, doctrines address issues such as nuclear weapons while at the lower levels, they focus on military strategies and tactics. Hence, doctrines at the lower level such as the formulation of theatre commands are influenced by national-level doctrines such as theaterisation.


The Indian Intelligence Community comprises external and internal intelligence agencies, including the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Military Intelligence. This intelligence community is responsible for acquiring prior knowledge of security threats. The overlapping operational mandates necessitate intelligence exchange and cooperation among the community, making it an important aspect of the NSS.

The NSS will define the intelligence community’s approach in terms of gathering information. As of now, Indian agencies rely mostly on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) assets to acquire information. However, there is a growing importance of Technological Intelligence (TECHINT). Henceforth, the NSS would introduce any intelligence reforms planned by the National Security Council (NSC).


Deliberations on the National Security Strategy (NSS) are ongoing within the National Security Council, as its formulation signifies a significant revolution in India's security approach. However, the government has not disclosed the document's release date or indicated when it will be implemented. 

The drafting process requires deliberations as the document will introduce relevant reforms to India’s security strategy with the ever-changing state of India’s relations and internal matters.  The formulation of the National Security Strategy will mark a significant revolution in India’s security.




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