Divisions, tensions and conflicts between different social, ethnic or religious
groups within a country are referred to as communal disharmony. The national
security can be impacted in various ways by such disharmony.
By diverting the attention of policymakers and officials away from other
critical developmental and security issues communal disharmony can undermine
Tourism, Trade and foreign investment can be negatively impacted by prolonged
communal strife and have a cascading effect on economic instability, which in
turn can create an environment conducive to radicalization and social unrest.
Communal tensions can spill across borders affecting neighbouring countries
thereby potentially leading to cross-border violence or refugee inflow, which
can disrupt regional stability and diplomatic relations and managing national
security threats, may turn complicated.
Communal tensions may permeate the security forces and military in countries
with diverse religious and ethnic groups potentially weakening the cohesion and
effectiveness of these institutions and leading to internal divisions.
Through social media and online platform communal tensions can be exacerbated
and spread. Online misinformation, propaganda and hate speech can increase
conflicts and contribute to a hostile environment which has the potential to
cyber attacks or violence threatening national security.
A country's international reputation, affecting its diplomatic alliance and
relations can be damaged by prolonged communal conflicts, which can reduce a
nation's ability to cooperate on matters of mutual security interest with other
A nation's ability to influence others through attraction and persuasion called
soft power may be eroded by communal conflicts. A country's ability to project a
positive image and garner support on the international stage may be compromised
by communal conflicts and internal divisions.
Communal conflicts can result in protests, social unrest and even violence,
affecting the stability of a nation, which can provide opportunities to
extremist elements to exploit the situation potentially leading to acts of
insurgency, terrorism and other forms of violence threatening national security.
It can also fuel radicalization within certain pockets of the population. A
group of people who feel victimized by communal disharmony may be more
susceptible to extremist ideologies resulting in formation of terrorist groups
or other violent outfits posing a direct threat to national security.
Both in terms of expenditure and manpower, efforts to manage communal strife
require substantial resources and this diversion of resources from important
segments like counterterrorism, intelligence and defense can weaken a nation's
overall security position.
Communal disharmony is the bane of any progressive society or nation. Any report
of communal violence or disharmony or mob lynching on the basis of religious
affiliation of a person or call for social and trade boycott of people of a
particular community may create a negative impact both on the psyche of people
of different communities and also on the psyche of officers, men and women
working in the security forces.
When the security forces meant for guarding the
borders of a country are deployed for combating internal strife by withdrawing
them from their original place of work, it creates a demoralising effect on them
and security of the national border with foreign countries also comes under
stress. When the ordinary people belonging to a particular community are
attacked by people belonging to another community without taking recourse to the
existing laws of the land, the members of that community in the security forces
may also feel threatened and despondent leading to an adverse impact on their
morale and a feeling of mistrust between members of different communities.
This internal strife between members of different communities makes the country
unstable and invites countries inimical to its interests to foment more trouble
in the country by exploiting the schism between different communities. It also
portrays a negative image of the country in the eyes of the international
community and organizations, who start giving sermons on the alleged violation
of human rights and persecution of members of a particular community.
members of one community are subjected to violence and boycott, members of other
minority communities also feel insecure and disheartened feeling that tomorrow
may be their turn to face the same type of consequences. It may also make a dent
in the pride of people of the persecuted community for having the privilege of
serving the nation through engagement in the security forces.
In short, communal disharmony for a country's security can have complex and
far-reaching consequences and managing and addressing these tensions will
require a comprehensive approach that encompasses social, economic, political,
and security measures to promote unity, social cohesion, and stability. Hence,
the security of a nation lies in the security of members of all communities
living in that country.
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565