Growth is key to our national security

Feb 09 2013, 12:22 IST
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SummaryUntil recently, we had taken a very compartmentalised view of national security. Each threat to national security was neatly fitted into one compartment.

engineering which produce about 700,000 engineering graduates every year. None of the threats to national security can be effectively countered unless we embrace science and technology and impart instruction in science and technology beginning at the school level.

We also have a long coastline extending to 7,516 kms. It is only after the Mumbai terror attack that we took steps to strengthen coastal security. We created a coastal command, authorised and funded a number of coastal police stations, funded the purchase of boats for coastal policing, and installed some radars. However, given the thousands of boats--small and big--that are in the waters off the west coast, the threats to security still remain quite high. On the waters off the east coast, there is virtually no force other than the Navy. We have many defence and defence research installations on the east coast, the DRDO and the department of space use the east coast extensively, and there is a large programme for exploration of oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal. Except for the presence of naval and coast guard vessels, and some technology that they have brought in, we have not used technology in a big way to bolster our security along the coast line.

In the air, we rely on the Air Force. This is perhaps the most technology-driven arm of the defence forces. In space, we have a few satellites, mainly dedicated to communications, weather forecasting and other peaceful purposes. Some satellites are capable of surveillance, but we abide by the international regime that there should be no militarisation of space.

Apart from land, sea, air and space, there is another domain, which is cyber-space. Much of our critical infrastructure lies in cyber-space. Cyber crimes such as hacking, financial fraud, data theft, espionage etc. would, in certain circumstances, amount to terrorist acts. Further, the threat of disruption of financial, rail, air, power, critical information services through cyber attacks could also be construed as terrorist attacks. I need hardly emphasise that the latest advances in technology would be required to build our capacity to meet the threats in cyber-space and, only recently, we made a modest beginning to build capacity to counter threats in cyber-space.

Money is the third pillar of national security. Money comes out of growth. The revenues of the government are tax revenue and non-tax revenue. Non-tax revenue constitutes a small proportion of total revenue and is more

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