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In the 21st century, India faces challenges of unprecedented scale and complexity that necessitate new ways of thinking about national security. We propose that yogakshema, an idea pioneered in the Arthashastra , should be the guiding light of India’s national security doctrine. Simply put, the State must provide security, kshema, and economic opportunities, yoga, to all its citizens. In June 2019, we proposed a doctrine to achieve this.
1. To create and defend a conducive environment for yogakshema (well-being, prosperity, and happiness) of all Indians. At this stage of India’s development, national security is primarily focused on protecting and promoting India’s economic development.
2. National security also includes protecting the constitutional order, individual liberty, territory, social cohesion, and national resources.
3. Amass and project power across all domains.
4. Reimagine national security capacity.
This document aims to elaborate on these points and elucidate the strategic reasoning behind them. In the first section of this document, we address the question of how a national security doctrine can provide opportunities for prosperity. India has a special place in the global order thanks to its large, young population and its critical geopolitical position. Its status as a swing power should be leveraged to shape global debates in ways that benefit its citizens. This is a matter of critical national interest: India’s economy is deeply connected to the world, and citizens’ prosperity depends on them being able to import and export goods and services on favourable terms.
The rest of the document addresses questions of kshema. Within India’s borders, the State must ensure that the rule of law is implemented within the bounds laid out by the Constitution. The Republic of India’s institutions must be kept effective and efficient. And citizens’ rights – no matter their caste, class, gender, or creed – must be defended.
Beyond India’s borders, in an anarchic, multipolar world, we argue that India must amass and project power across all domains, so it can defend its citizens’ interests in all domains. This means thinking about India’s “territory” in new ways – it’s no longer just about land, but about maritime domains, air, space and cyberspace. It also means that India needs to think about power as something the State can leverage in many ways in the global order. India needs to use all the means at its disposal to shape the world’s diplomatic, economic, and technological order. In summary, the overriding imperative of a national security doctrine is to provide yogakshema.