Security is not only having a trained army, it is also political stability and economic prosperity
SEP 24 - For many people, the word security quickly brings to mind the military or the defence department. But the complexity of security has become so wide that it is not possible for only the military or the defence department to address it completely. For example, when we talk about external aggression, is it a threat against the territory or the national interest of a sovereign country? In the present context, security against external aggression is more concerned with preservation of national interest than protection of territory though both are equally vital. Moreover, the nature of modern conflicts has shifted to intra-state conflicts with multi-dimensional threats from the conventional nature of external aggression. Hence, the emerging security challenges of such a nature marked by non-traditional threats require a variety of tools to address their complexities. These tools can be categorised broadly under the headings of diplomacy, development and defence, or the “3D security initiative”.
Development refers to governmental and non-governmental organisational efforts to build economic, social and political foundations of stable communities and societies. Diplomacy refers to communications or negotiations between an individual or a country to solve shared problems and address conflicts through political and legal channels. Track I and Track II work on a parallel basis resulting in agreements that are legitimate, widely supported by the people of different walks of life and sustainable. Defence refers to a wide range of military tasks as a last resort and try to create a conducive environment for other departments to bring out sustainable solutions.
In Nepal, which is landlocked and sandwiched between two giant neighbours India and China, a high standard of diplomacy is needed to enhance the wellbeing of the people and ensure the survival of the country. Relations with the neighbours together with friendly countries elsewhere in the world will have a direct or indirect impact on the internal dimensions of each sector including the country’s security. Development plays a vital role in maintaining sustainable security by enhancing the capacity of the community by addressing the root causes of poverty and economic disparity through investment in education, healthcare, basic infrastructure and skills needed to meet the basic needs of the people.
Development also helps in creating jobs and community development projects which ultimately help to form a financially well secured and dignified society. A dignified individual and society can understand the crux of the issue of national security. The military will always be the cornerstone of our security, but they must be complemented by other tools like diplomacy, development and other elements of statecraft. Military power in isolation is often unable to achieve a sustainable solution to any conflict. It has been said that the military option is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
There should be a hand-in-hand approach between the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance to create a conducive condition for such complex issues to be addressed properly. The Ministry of Defence can support the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in maintaining diplomacy based on the country’s foreign policy, Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can help the Ministry of Defence on security-related issues. There is a need for a common platform where workshops, seminars and talk programmes can be conducted to share opinions to create a viable diplomatic as well as security environment and ultimately sustainable development in the country.
Why is Nepal lagging behind in the field of economic prosperity despite having so much potential for development? It is simply because foreign and domestic investors including NRNs are hesitating to put money in the country due to its uncertain and volatile security situation. It is quite simple that no one will be interested in investing anywhere unless the security of the investment is guaranteed. Defence and diplomacy can play an important role in creating a conducive environment for attracting investments that will lead to economic viability and ultimately sustainable peace and security in the country.
It is, therefore, necessary to have a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackle the country’s security issues properly in the present context. A unity of efforts between governmental and non-governmental institutions is the demand of the day to bring out pragmatic and sustainable solutions to such a complex issue. The emerging conflicts are so complex that they often consist of economic, social and political dimensions that need to be addressed with different types of efforts like diplomatic initiatives, economic assistance and so forth. It is because of this fact that the 3D initiative has come into existence. It is not that elements of the 3D initiative are sufficient to tackle all the issues properly. More elements and efforts may be required to deal with the issues depending on their nature and context, but the three elements should always be there in formulating a solution to any case.
Hence, taking into consideration the country’s geo-strategic location, fragile economic condition and deteriorating security situation, coupled with a prolonged transitional period, it is high time that the political leaders, policy makers and civil society gave due thought to such an initiative, and made sure that prompt action is taken to bring the country back to the right track without delay.
Ghale is a former Major General in the Nepal Army
Posted on: 2012-09-24 08:23