Warfare areas have shifted to civil society: Ajit Doval

Warfare areas have shifted from territorial frontier to civil society: Ajit Doval

National security planning needs to factor in all these challenges and strategies to maximum international cooperation, he added

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Thursday said "deliberate weaponization of dangerous pathogens" was a matter of serious concern, and called for the need to build comprehensive national capabilities and bio-defence, bio-safety, and bio-security.

Expressing concern over the issue of climate change, he said disasters and pandemics are borderless threats that cannot be combated in isolation and there was a need to evolve strategies to maximise our gains and minimise the losses.

Speaking on 'National security preparedness in the age of disasters and pandemics', at the Pune Dialogue on National Security (PDNS) 2021 organized by Pune International Centre here, Doval said the most enduring message of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change is that only the well-being of all will ensure the survival of all.

"The deliberate weaponization of dangerous pathogens is a serious concern. This has heightened the need to build comprehensive national capabilities and bio-defence, bio-safety, and bio-security," he asserted. The pandemic has further reinforced the need to predict threats and while biological research has legitimate scientific purposes, its dual-use application can be misused, he said.

Dwelling upon climate change, Doval said that it is another "threat" that multiplies with unpredictable consequences. "It impacts the availability of resources, which are increasingly becoming scarce and could become a source of conflict than the competition. Climate change can accelerate instability and cause massive population displacement," he said. "By 2030, 600 million people in India are expected to live in urban areas.

Migrations from low-lying coastal areas in South Asia due to climatic change can add to the already stressed urban infrastructure," he added. Doval said that all these will pose problems to internal security management, economic security, water, and food security, just to name a few.

"As far as national security and environment are concerned, there is a need to reinvent and innovate ourselves as rapid industrial developments are taking place with fourth industrial revolution technologies such as AI, autonomous and unmanned systems and digital infrastructures," he said.

Social media is adding to the complexity of national security management, according to him. "A full integration of science and technology and all aspects of development in security has therefore become essential. Advances in sciences and technology will help prevent hazards. The advanced technologies, lab prediction technology, and risk communication techniques are being applied to reduce the risk," he said.

According to him, India has initiated several steps for global and regional coordination. "Forums like BIMSTEC, Indian Ocean Rim Association, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and QUAD seamless exchange of information and intelligence, sharing experience and lessons learned, technology transfer and coordination are important for disaster management and mitigation," he said. Doval said that climate change, environmental degradation, and pollution are realities that threaten survival. "Businesses and security apparatuses need to focus on disaster-resilient structure and preserving natural resources for our future generations," he said.

He added that decisions about maintaining strategic national stockpiles, ensuring the availability, smooth supply of critical equipment, materials, and fortifying early alert framework have all become important elements of national security planning.

He said that the important climate change summit is coming up in Glasgow in early November. "India is committed to meeting its climatic goals and has already undertaken several measures. Harmony with nature has been a cornerstone of Indian civilization. Preservation of the environment, while perceiving its ambitious goals is a guiding doctrine of present government development policies," he said.

With a population of 1,300 million, India's per-capita greenhouse emission is 2.47 tonnes of carbon dioxide, he added. "As compared to the global average of 6.45 tonnes of CO2, this is 60 per cent lower than the global average. We have already met 50 per cent of our commitment to achieve 450-gigawatt renewable energy by 2030," Doval said. A series of measures are being undertaken to de-carbonize India's economy, he said.

"These targets have been widely applauded at the global level. At the same time, while Indian is taking all the steps which are important for the world to understand that given our size, population, and unique developmental requirements, our commitment can not be compared with those of the western world," he said. Those who have greater resources should expand their embrace so that it touches the lives of maximum people, Doval added. 

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