National security in times of lockdown

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The threat is real and it is relentless!!!

Almost 2 months of lockdown and COVID-19 is still on the rise. The past few weeks have been unkind to various small and medium businesses. The world at large is beginning to realize the scale of this coronavirus pandemic in terms of rising unemployment and erosion of wealth generation opportunities[1].

A similar trend seems to have appeared on security radars across the globe. According to a recent report by World Economic Forum, scientists predict that the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay, perhaps for years. In addition to accounting for unemployment and adverse economic implications, rising insecurities are poised to pave the way for geopolitical unrest and violence.

Our world has become dangerously volatile

With tension-related sentiments, groups of people in Kosovo, Brazil, South Africa and India have taken to the streets in protests opposing various lockdown initiatives by their respective governments. The escalating situation between the U.S. & other western countries and China isn’t helping ease global war-like tensions either. Diplomatic relations are completely strained to avoid war at all costs. We are thus, at a point where the balance could easily tip in favour of worldwide violence. Public confidence is frail at the moment. In times such as these when solidarity and collaboration are the urgent need of the hour, we are beginning to witness divisive and polarising tactics gain popularity[1].

What we need to also realize is that such situations are often ripe for exploitation by armed terror groups, militia and criminals, be it in the physical world or the cyber world. The world needs to come together and accept the severity of these emerging threats to society.

In spite of the prevailing dark undertone to life these days, not all might be lost. In such times, it might be worth considering whether technology can help avoid security crises across the world. With automated and self-learning security solutions in operation, critical areas and infrastructures such as national borders, government offices and other important state establishments can be secured around the clock with real time automated action orchestration and with minimized human involvement. Interestingly, companies such as Honeywell, Schlumberger Ltd., STL among many others have been doing some path-breaking developments in areas such as fibre optic sensing, IoT based surveillance, and AI-based action orchestration. These developments have the potential to make a great case for digitally enabled security.

Here are the top three imperatives that nations and global leaders should consider to avert these emerging threats

  1. First and foremost, our leaders must agree upon reprioritizing human value over economy. Through established platforms such as the UN, G20 and other regional bodies, sentiments of safety and security must be prioritized as key focus areas at least till the time a cure is found. A global ceasefire must be announced and implemented at all costs along with an alignment of respective strategies to ensure on ground peace and security.
  2. The situation, that this pandemic has put us in, should be viewed as an opportunity to strengthen digital transformation in the defence landscape and aggressive investments in strategizing and implementing technology-led security solutions must take precedence. One of the very first initiatives on this path must be to digitally enable security setups with secure connectivity and application frameworks. It will definitely help reduce dependence on human intervention while providing the much needed around the clock, real-time protection to our physical and existing digital infrastructures that allow essential services to reach us during these times.
  3. Member nations and non-member nations to the aforementioned forums must realize that they are fronting the on the ground situations and are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the lives they govern. Critical calls such as reallocation of budget and pooling of underutilised funds must be made to ensure a continuous supply of supply of essential products and services during these times.



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