National security challenges for Nepal in the 21st century – Telegraph Nepal

Lal babou Yadav

Associate Professor

Central Department of Political Science

Tribhuban University

Member of Constituent Assembly, Nepal


When we think about the national security of Nepal, the basic guiding document in this regard is the Constitution of Nepal 2015 itself and the subsequent laws made on this basis thereafter.

The Constitution defines the Nepalese state as a federal democratic republic.

Not only that, the Constitution also defines Nepal as a secular state and should also look to and protect the centuries-old religious and cultural tradition of the land.

It also rests the sovereignty of the state on the Nepalese citizen.

These are certainly very good aspects of the Constitution.

Besides that, there are other factors that make the Constitution more forward-looking. It also clearly defines national security factors per se.

National security is linked to the national interest and chapter one, article five of the Constitution emphasizes national interests and explains that safeguarding freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity, the nationality, independence and dignity of Nepal shall be the top priority of the State.

It further clarifies that the rights of the Nepalese people, border security, economic well-being and prosperity shall be the fundamental elements of Nepal’s national interest.

Any conduct or act contrary to the national interest is punishable by federal law.

That said, the national interest and national security are intrinsically linked and any threat to the national interest would amount to a threat to national security.

So how should a state like Nepal protect its national interests in order to enhance and protect its national security paradigm?

Nation states face many challenges in today’s world. We can only develop good national security doctrine if we understand these challenges in a nutshell.


Today, almost every country in the world faces many threats from various issues such as migration, cyber terrorism, environmental crisis, climate change, attacks by terrorist groups, rise of non-state actors, epidemic of contagious diseases like Covid-19. , ethnic, racial and religious conflicts, poverty, economic inequalities, among others, pose a real threat to national security. Although some of them are internal, they also have their external dimensions.

Such factors not only generate an interstate security crisis, but they also generate an intrastate crisis. In the past, Nepal has witnessed an insurgency and there are chances that in the days to come, it will face other threats to its security.

Growing geopolitical interests in Nepal would pose challenges to national security. In fact, security is not just about the absence of fear, but is also about securing livelihoods and the ability of the state to exercise a legitimate monopoly of power, which are essential preconditions for mastering internal chaos, breaking up criminal networks and forging a partnership with the international community. What is needed in our context is to synthesize the universal values ​​of democracy with the specific needs of the nation to effectively enforce national security.

the Information and communication technology (ICT) -induced socio-economic changesgeopolitical considerations, globalization and seismic political upheavals have become major defining factors of national security.

Citizens must demonstrate patriotic sentiment while political parties must rise above petty interests to robustly implement national security. Given the diversity of issues, Nepal needed the new security architecture required to ensure human development, security-citizen linkages, economic, diplomatic, military and communications effectiveness, anticipatory planning and security vigilance and early disaster preparedness.

The conventional threat posed by interstate conflict has diminished while intrastate conflict has increased with the emergence of a critical “minority” fueled by both the informational revolution and geopolitical penetration.

Now is the time to link the fragmentation of Nepalese society, weaving together individuals, families and communities and strengthening citizens’ social ties with the state.

According to the constitutional provisions, the method would be to examine the three factors.

Alternatively, what can be inferred from the above paragraph is that three important factors must be considered while keeping national interest and national security intact.

They are: Traditional Security Issues, Non-Traditional Security human security issues and problems. They can also be said as external, internal and human safety factors.

Traditional security issues:

As in many countries, which is evident in the courtesy of the state, traditional security issues are no less important despite the various changes brought about by the factors of globalization themselves.

Traditional security issues will remain there, and in many cases these issues are manifesting even more forcefully, mainly because countries are thinking more about themselves.

Covid-19 has brought new impetus to these questions and they will certainly take on even more importance in the days to come.

Internal factors:

Managing internal factors is the most important factor in maintaining national security.

Internal factors involve many things ranging from political management to managing people’s basic needs.

the perpetual political instability also poses a threat to state security.

In the context of Nepal, there is a high chance, as we said earlier, of erupting political instability if we cannot manage ourselves.

The biggest problem is how to balance the interests of competing groups.

Equally important is the management of non-state actors who could pose a national threat if their demands are not met.

External factors:

External factors are those that directly threaten the territorial security of the country (not the state) and the people residing in that territory.

In the context of Nepal, there are no imminent threats from outside elements but that does not necessarily mean that we do not need to take this factor into consideration.

Some latent threats emerged in part from the latest political restructuring of the state (federalism).

This certainly needs serious consideration in light of the simmer in the southern belt.

There are external factors (not necessarily our immediate neighbors who might have some vested interests to serve their own national interests by destabilizing Nepal’s security problem.

Human security is another important factor in national security.

Human security concerns the security of the human being living in that particular territory.

The concept of security in relation to human security is very broad.

It contains both internal and external factors and factors beyond the reach of humanity, i.e. the problems caused by climate change, natural calamities and, of course, cybersecurity.

Therefore, the minimum basic needs (livelihoods) as well as the security of the other factors mentioned above are quite important and should be taken into consideration when dealing with national security.

That being said, the State will be able to effectively mobilize the elements of good governance here. Otherwise, many nation states collapse and national security becomes anathema.

In sum, guaranteeing freedom from desires and freedom from desires are the fundamental principles of all national security.


The dimension of national security involves many factors.

The potential factors that can cause this are many and the number is increasing day by day.

Yet some of the important factors that can impact the security of any state also depend on how it governs itself.

That said, national insecurity includes the actions of other states (for example, a military or cyber attack), violent non-state actors (for example, a terrorist attack), organized criminal groups such as drug cartels, as well as the effects of natural disasters (e.g. floods, earthquakes).

Thus, in order to tackle these problems, the most important priority would be to strengthen the capacity of state institutions and to find the right balance in national and international politics as well.

It is equally important that the state also needs to bring its people to its fold. Nepal should develop its national security strategy incorporating the short and long term objective of the state vis-à-vis security which can provide a working model in times of crisis.

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Samuel P Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Reshaping of the World Order¸ Simon & Schuster; an edition (August 2, 2011).

Mary Kaldor, Human Security, Policy; 1st edition (October 22, 2007).

Norman A. Graebner, National Security: Its Theory and Practice, 1945-1960, Oxford University Press; 1st edition, August 1986.

Williamson Murray, National Security Challenges for the 21st Century, Strategic Studies
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Sridhar Khatri, Health and Human Security in Nepal and Possible Trajectories for 2025. NBR Special Report no. 36 available at

The Constitution of Nepal 2015. Nepal Law Society.

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# Thanks to eminent author Shri Lal Babu Yadav, Senior Political Scientist, Nepal.

#Our contact email address is: [email protected]

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