- The dooming attack and the violence on Amarnath pilgrims showcases the limitations and loopholes of Indian internal security.
- Terrorists targeted three places in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag and killed at least seven pilgrims and injured 19 others, who were returning from the case shrine in a bus.
Left- wing Extremism (LWE)
- The left extremist movement poses greatest challenge to internal security today.
- It is largely rural in nature and have gained people’s confidence, grown in strength, particularly in forest and tribal areas, by mobilizing dispossessed and marginalized sections.
- The Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in its report on the Demands for Grants for 2013-2014, had described left wing extremism as ‘the single biggest threat to India’s internal security’ and as a challenge to the democratic fabric of the country.
- The sentiments of ever growing disparities in Indian society is seen by the poor as exploitative of their basic rights.
- The ever growing disparities among the many layers in our society is seen by the poor as exploitative of their basic rights.
- Such sentiments consequently get the underprivileged fall into the trap of the Naxal-Maoists.
- Intelligence reports also indicate that LWE is slowly but surely spreading its tentacles to urban centers and the National Capital Region.
Insurgencies in the north-east area
- The historical connections among the traditional tribes in the Northeast are largely of Tibeto-Burman/Mongoloid stock and closer to Southeast Asia than to South Asia.
- The Northeast is territorially organized in such a manner that ethnic and cultural specificities were ignored during the process of demarcation of state boundaries in the 1950s.
- It gave rise to discontentment and assertion of one’s identity.
- The Centre still is not fully acquainted with the large parts of north-eastern hill areas.
- The Indian government’s past and ongoing processes of national assimilation, state-building and democratic consolidation have further intensified the conflict scenario in the region.
- The politico-administrative arrangements made by the Centre have also been lacking.
- The presence of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) shows the inability and reluctance of the government to solve the conflict with adequate political measures.
Militancy and cross-border terrorism
- Jammu and Kashmir pose a major security challenge for the Indian establishment with both distinct external and internal dimensions.
- Since J&K’s tumultuous accession to the Union of India in Oct 1947, the state’s bond with its Centre has been turbulent.
- Pakistan crafted a well-conceived tactic to destabilize India by inciting terror, encouraging separatism within the state and indulging in regular cease fire violations along the line of control and the international border.
- The contemporary turmoil in the Kashmir Valley in which hundreds of youth have been motivated to join the stone-pelters is a serious set-back to normalcy in the Valley.
- The separatist leaders in the Hurriyat, are spreading Hate-India vehemence amongst the Kashmiri youth which needs to be tackled with firmness.
Reasons behind weak internal security
- The nitty-gritties of security management have not been given due importance by Indian Centre.
- The US and UK revise their national security doctrines every year and place them in the public domain, where India lacks such mechanism altogether.
- There is no long-term policy for Jammu and Kashmir, nor is there any strategic vision to tackle the Maoist insurgency.
- The absenteeism of an institutional response is major concern.
- The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) was liquidated, which again shows government’s weakness.
- The status of police continues to be in a shambles. The Supreme Court gave historic directions in 2006 for police reforms, but the states have been dragging it for too long.
- A federal system with multi and regional party system also throws open the challenge of centre and state co-ordination.
- Given the constraints, successive governments face a formidable task in identifying and containing security threats.
Repercussions of weak internal security
- India is being recurrently subjected to terror and cyber-attacks and hostile groups have also established front organizations in cities.
- As India’s counter-terror effort is distant dream, detached from the global sophistication levels, it has been estimated that by 2020, a significant 6 percent of the global procurement in homeland security (HLS) will be from India, which is huge.
- India has disparate technologies and procedures that do not necessarily interoperate optimally, which again is a big weakness.
What is required to be done? New dimensions of terrorism required
- Terrorism since 2012 has assumed different dimensions and is significantly different from its form a decade back.
- Terrorists today are anonymous, using sophisticated weapons and technologies which are supposed to be the domain of security forces.
- Such new dimensions of the threats require a very swift security governance.
New Technologies and devices needed to counter IEDs
- India need fast disposition of manpower and technologies not just to secure cities but also to ensure that India’s growth rate continues to flourish.
- Terrorists are updated to use Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), containing Ammonium nitrate, a main component in powerful IEDs for attacks, including in the Mumbai attacks.
- There is a dire need to secure the supply-chain of ammonium nitrate.
- Domestic buyers must authenticate genuine use and sellers must preserve records and report theft or loss of ammonium nitrate to authorities.
- The use of a magnetic bomb employed to target an Israel embassy car in a high security area in New Delhi, have become a more serious matter of concern for the security forces than IEDs.
Cyber-attacks need counter measures
- Government websites getting hacked is becoming repeated occurrence indicating the fact that the setup which controls important websites was very fragile.
- India needs shift from reactive to anticipatory strategy which would require significant IT and management effort.
- Technology will have to play increasing role in the entire scope of security components in counter terrorism, border security, immigration, entry and exit point monitoring.
Grass-root policies to counter LWE
- Sharpening India’s intelligence capabilities at the grassroots level in the LWE infested areas should be undertaken.
- Established on hard intelligence, small detachments of Special Forces could be used for executing lightning raids on the LWE leadership.
- Indian Army should undertake training of CPOs and state police personnel in special operations tasks including in fighting through ambushes, night and stealth ops, bomb diffusing and IED neutralization missions.
- The Centre must take determined out-of-the box political initiatives addressing the core socio-economic causes of north-eastern states.
Kashmir valley issues
- The current state in the Kashmir Valley requires the personal attention of Centre.
- A fusion of firmness in re-establishing normalcy, followed by a healing touch with genuine and generous economic development packages for the state in the long run is the only answer.
- Intelligence agencies must keep an eye on the increasing number of Wahabi oriented madrassas whose numbers are growing in the Valley fuelled by Saudi funds.
- India needs to send moderate Islamic leaders/ulemas to the Valley to appease and put Kashmiri youth on the right track before Salafi radicalism overwhelms them.
Government initiatives NATGRID The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA’s) National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) initiative has come to the rescue. The formation of an intelligence database designed to consolidate and make searchable data gathered by existing security and law enforcement agencies, will prove to be a vital link in India’s intelligence infrastructure. CCTNS The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and System (CCTNS) is an initiative of the MHA, to facilitate storage, transfer and sharing of data and information between police stations. CERT-In The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) carried out an analysis on the web server logs of the hacked websites and suggested specific steps and countermeasures to patch the existing vulnerabilities and strengthen the security of these websites. SAMADHAN On the Naxal front, the Conference of Chief Ministers of the affected states held in Delhi came up with a new formula of SAMADHAN to tackle the problem. NAGA SOVEREIGNITY On the Northeastern front, the framework agreement negotiated between the Government of India and the Naga Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah group) in August 2015 appears to have hit a road block. Muivah continues to harp on “Naga sovereignty”. Conclusion
- Internal threats require deep attention with greater development technologies.
- The huge financial and infrastructure requirements, needs a large potential for corporates to play a role in the internal security sector.
- They can develop critical technologies for the country’s unique challenges, supply sophisticated equipment and ensure timely implementation of a variety of security solutions.
- Government and private sector can together come to counter the grim reality of internal security.