Pragmatic | Always a handy excuse

Decisions (not) taken in the name of National Security

From this bit of news about Indian government’s indecision on allowing foreign investment in domestic airlines in India.

Currently, FDI up to 49 per cent is allowed in domestic airlines or 100 per cent for investments by NRIs, but foreign airlines are barred from investing primarily on security grounds.[Indian Express]

If 49% Foreign Direct Investment or 100% NRI ownership of domestic airlines doesn’t impinge on India’s “national security”, how would a 26% stake by foreign airlines do so?

What exactly does “national security” mean, anyway? It is an article of faith among most people, and not amenable to rational argument.

Obviously, “national security” is nothing but a subterfuge used by the government for additional local protectionism — to protect the commercial interests of some domestic airlines operators in India. “National security”, or safeguarding ‘strategic industries’ as it is called now, is simply another excuse for propping up uncompetitive businesses for political reasons.

And oftentimes excusing of a fault,
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse. (William Shakespeare)

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.