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The National opportunities and prospects of National Security Studies in Manipur

Aribam Uttam Sharma *



Manipur University offered the National Security Studies (NSS) subject for the first time in 2019. It is a broad subject that deals with India’s internal and external security concerns such as maritime security, international strategic environment, geopolitics, strategic thought, military history, military geography, international relations, etc. National Security Studies is a newer and broader phrase that has superseded the previous term Defence and Strategic Studies.

It is a very practical course that provides students with a greater understanding of global issues and their consequences and boosting their analytical thinking skills. But there is a widespread misunderstanding among certain academicians that National Security Studies is a sub-field of Political Science. National Security Studies is, in reality, a full-fledged academic discipline.

People believe it solely deals with security and strategic issues, but this is not fully accurate because it also covers non-military issues such as environmental security, disaster management, social security, human security, regional security, and comprehensive security. This subject has been increasingly technologically focused in recent years, including elements such as cyber security, maritime technology, and space technology, among others.

Students who pursue National Security Studies/Defence and Strategic Studies in higher education have several opportunities. After graduation, one can join the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, and other security services.

Following graduation, students can pursue advanced studies and work as research fellows at the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, the Observer Research Foundation, the Centre for Air Power Studies, the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, and other institutions.

Students can also apply for lectureships at colleges and universities, and work as security specialists in various government departments. Students with a post-graduate degree in National Security Studies can also pursue a career in defence journalism. It is one of India’s growing fields. This discipline is offered in 69 universities around the country.

Considering the strategic environment in North East India, it is critical to provide the essential knowledge to Manipur’s future young pupils. Manipur needs strategic specialists, intellectuals, and academics who are well-versed in the State’s varied security and strategic concerns.

Students from Manipur are already familiar with the current security situation and different concerns such as border management, law and order difficulties, and other social issues. Manipur’s geostrategic importance would grow as it acts as a gateway to South-East Asia in light of India’s Act East Policy. Manipur, an Indian State, shares a border with Myanmar, and the recent Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Force) coup had a significant influence on India.

The growing strategic importance of China in Southeast Asia prompted India to launch its Look East Policy in 1991, which was updated to Act East Policy in 2015. North-East India’s numerous strategic problems must be addressed. Manipur is regarded as one of India’s security priorities.

Manipur University’s two-year post-graduate National Security Studies programme focuses heavily on North East India strategic concerns. It also focuses on India’s strategic relationships with South-East Asian countries.

The Present Scope of National Security Studies in Manipur

Currently, just one college in Manipur provides Defence and Strategic Studies. Thousands of students desire to continue this field after finishing their 12th grade, but many were unable to do so due to a shortage of institutions offering it. Candidates with a strong background in Defence Studies/National Security Studies can pursue lucrative careers in academia, research, think tanks, and the armed forces.

However, most students in the North-East are unaware of this relatively new field. Manipur has about 100 colleges, with the majority of these colleges offering conventional courses like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Political Science, History, Geography, and so on.

This subject needs to be promoted and encouraged to be taught in institutions. Students from our State have no difficulty pursuing any of these traditional disciplines in any of Manipur’s colleges. Manipur State’s higher education authorities must address this issue. It is required to implement Defence Studies/National Security Studies in at least ten colleges in Manipur.

Northern India has a huge opportunity for Defence Studies/National Security Studies. However, due to a lack of awareness among students and the absence of availability of this field in most universities/colleges in Northeast India, the scope of this subject is limited.

A State like Uttar Pradesh, even made Defence and Strategic Studies an optional subject in their State civil services exam, conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC). Furthermore, there is no reason why the Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) should not include Defence and Strategic Studies/National Security Studies as an optional subject in the Manipur civil services examination.

Defence Studies has even been offered as a new subject at the school level in Maharashtra. Our State education system requires diversification by including numerous interdisciplinary disciplines in schools and colleges. There is a strong reason why our higher education authorities should be concerned about this issue. This course has a lot to offer us in terms of development and peace building.

The future security and strategic experts in our State will assist State Government on a variety of development and security initiatives. Students will aid and improve the effectiveness of State law enforcement agencies via a vis variety of research studies.

Aside from that, Government’s decisions will be influenced by a number of experts, intellectuals, and professors. Students from our state should not miss the opportunity to enrol in a full-time study in such a significant academic subject.

Our future students will take the lead in addressing the State’s most pressing issues. Our State needs a large number of strategic thinkers who can see the long term and contribute to the formation of our Government’s long-term strategy.

Manipur Government higher education body should take note of this and adopt such a highly relevant subject in schools and colleges, given the benefits that such a discipline may provide.


* Aribam Uttam Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on October 26 2021.



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