Pune: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Thursday called for the need to build comprehensive national capabilities and bio-defence, bio-safety, and bio-security, saying that “deliberate weaponisation of dangerous pathogens” was a matter of serious concern.
Doval was speaking on ‘National security preparedness in the age of disasters and pandemics’, at the Pune Dialogue on National Security (PDNS) 2021 organised by Pune International Centre. “The deliberate weaponisation 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 said.
The NSA also said that the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to predict threats and while biological research has legitimate scientific purposes, its dual-use application can be misused.
Doval said new areas of warfare have shifted from territorial frontiers to civil societies, adding that factors like people’s health, their sense of wellbeing and security, and their perception of government impact the will of a nation.
Pointing at the changes taking place in global security landscape, he said, “Wars are increasingly becoming cost-ineffective instruments of achieving the nation’s political and military objectives. The new areas of warfare have shifted from merely territorial frontiers to the civil societies. The common people’s thinking, health, sense of well-being and their perception of their government have assumed new importance.”
All these elements, Doval said, cumulatively impact the will of the nation.
Protecting people from false and motivated propaganda also becomes “absolutely necessary” in the age of information revolution, the NSA said. National security planning needs to factor in all these challenges and strategies to maximum international cooperation, he added.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and devastating natural disasters have the potential to impact the collective psyche of the people, their economic well-being, and instill fears about their survival,” the NSA said during the virtual address.
“It generates social imbalance that can threaten the political stability, economic growth, and even the capacity of a nation to resolutely meet its external and internal threats,” he added.
These new genres of security threats present multi-level dilemma on a massive scale, Doval said. “At the micro-level, they include saving individual lives, providing medical care and supporting people, ensuring the supplies of food and essential commodities, and maintaining law and order,” he added.
The issues include finding effective preventive and curative medicines and administering them to combat the ever-evolving new strains of viruses, and ensuring smooth supply chains, he said.
Expressing concern over the climate change as another “threat” that multiplies with unpredictable consequences, Doval said: “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.”
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