Since the present caretaker government took office, a big segment of civil society and some factions of political parties hailed them. With the massive support from national media under the state of emergency, this unusual form of government, leaped for over-ambitious policies with great confidence. Just within two months of stay in power, this government put National Security Council (NSC) on their agenda. Unlike other issues, drive against corruption, voter ID, national ID, Human Rights Commission, Election Commission reform, the idea of NSC did not get overwhelming support, rather it was viewed with suspicion, though some politicians supported it. Whatever the ends and objectives of the planners, NSC cannot have a strong basis without constitutional arrangement and constitutional arrangement is not plausible without a democratically elected government.
Today people fear that NSC might have a direct role to influence politics and might have the power to topple the executive council of a government. However , as the discussion goes on, it is an opportunity for us to define national security. Now we have to consider external threat and ultimately that will refer to India, despite their invaluable contribution during our great liberation war.
Only strong democratic institutions will have the courage to face such security threat. Professor Talukder Maniruzzaman defines security in the context of least developed countries as the protection and preservation of the minimum core values of a nation : political independence and territorial integrity. But since the 1970s national security has begun to be redefined. Robert McNamara, the former World Bank president, defined security as “Security is not military hardware, though it may include it, security is not military force , though it may involve it, security is not traditional military activity, though it may encompass it. Security is development and without development there can be no security.” For a country like Bangladesh , security perception should be development oriented where security and development are intertwined.
Now coming back to NSC. NSC is not quite a new topic for Bangladesh.
In 1982, a nine member National Security Council was formed with the president as its chairman. The primary objective of NSC was to prescribe and assist the government regarding security matters. But now the situation is different as the country is being run by an interim government.