"Democracy is one of the most powerful tools for dealing with security problems"
During his opening keynote at the 6th Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting in New Delhi today, India's National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval stressed the importance of the unity of democratic states in dealing with today’s biggest security challenges.
"The hope lies in the greater unity, understanding and commonality between the great democracies. If they don’t lead, it can lead to a state of anarchy", he said. In his programmatic speech on Indian foreign policy, four months after assuming the role of National Security Advisor in the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Doval also emphasized that "democracy is one of the most powerful tools for dealing with security problems."
Based on India's experience of a peaceful transition of power, he said that one key strategy concerned that question of "what can we do to strengthen democracy […] what can we do to have the relationships with democracies by which we can have bilateral and multilateral arrangements by which the security structure and architecture can be strengthened."
A second key point of strategy referred to India's neighborhood. Doval stressed that "if we had the strong democracy that we have in our country, if we have similar democracies in our region, that could one of the very surest drivers of India's security." One important aspect of Indian foreign policy was "developing very good neighborhood relations, and also seeing whether the fruits of India’s economic development could have a spillover effect which could bind the region together, which could create the vested interest of people to see that India’s growth is nothing which undermines their statehood but probably provides them with new opportunities."
Doval had a pessimistic view of the international ability to deal with conflicts and crisis. "The new genre of conflicts has no substantially proved correct response. We are just [grasping] at darkness. … We are trying, we are succeeding, we are failing … But most of the time, it doesn’t work." He stressed that today terrorism was much more intense than thirteen years ago when the war on terror was declared.
Video of the entire speech is available here.
About the MSC Core Group Meeting in New Delhi
On October 21 and 22, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) hosts a Core Group Meeting in New Delhi in partnership with the Indian Observer Research Foundation (ORF) to discuss key issues of international security policy with around 70 senior decision-makers from India as well as the Euro-Atlantic, Asian and the Middle East regions. Held at least once a year, the MSC Core Group Meetings bring together small, exclusive groups of a few dozen high-ranking participants in changing locations around the world. Previous Core Group Meeting have taken place in Washington (twice), Beijing, Moscow, and Doha. These meetings allow for an opportunity to discuss key issues of international security policy, with a special focus on the regions where a conference is held, in an intimate setting with key decision-makers from the respective regions.