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Impact of Communal Disharmony on National Security

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 effective governance.

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 countries.

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.

When 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

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