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Last updated: 18 Jul, 2022  

India.Growth.9.Thmb.jpg The current paradigms of Internal Security

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DC PATHAK | 18 Jul, 2022
Security is essentially a combination of measures designed to protect the nation from the 'covert' offensives of an enemy. Security is not a one-time event as the threat scenario can change over a period of time -- it is also in principle to be regarded as a 'matter of degree' always open to improvement.

The spectrum of friends and enemies is not static and therefore an ongoing evaluation even of existing friendships is a requirement of security. Intelligence is the anchor of security- being the information that throws light on the hidden plans of the adversary.

Intelligence is defined also as 'information for action' and it is easy to understand how security classically fails when there is 'lack of information', but why it also fails -- and this is not uncommon -- for failure of 'communication' to the action taking authorities or for 'failure of action' itself.

Intelligence is not easy to come by in these times of covert offensives in which terrorism was used as an instrument and logically therefore no piece of Intelligence howsoever small can be dismissed as 'in actionable' for it might as well prove to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

A major task of the Intelligence set up is to operationally develop the available Intelligence for reducing the 'gap between information and action' and trace the source, place and time of the 'threat' for making its neutralisation possible.

The profession of Intelligence requires specially trained people who accepted anonymity by choice, had infinite persistence and worked with a commitment for the 'national cause'.

In the backdrop of this all, the challenge of handling the current threats to national security has become formidable calling for maximum Intelligence coordination and integral responses. Apart from the operational skills, Intelligence also depended on competent analysis of open-source information and it in this direction that data analytics and scan of cyber communications had emerged as the new Intelligence tasks of ever-growing importance.

NATGRID is the central data bank that would yield information of both operational and strategic value and NIC is the network facilitating information sharing and action. What is new on the security front is the advantage social media had provided to the adversary to conduct clandestine operations for raising 'sleeper cells', raising 'lone wolves' for acts of terrorism and spreading radicalisation.

Running scan of social media has to be made comprehensive enough and suspect websites have to be examined in depth to pick up signals of hostile activity. The cases of terrorists killing of two Hindus at Amravati and Udaipur to avenge the allegedly insulting remark about Prophet Mohammad made by now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a TV programme, have brought out how Pakistan linked WhatsApp groups were used in the run up to these gruesome events.

Intelligence -- both central and local -- has to identify all suspects for prompt Police action and legal pursuit. A far more audacious form of terror activity directed from across the border has come into play and a deterrence has to be created against it without losing time.

Pakistan's ISI is using both extremist Deobandi and Bareilvi streams of Islamic spectrum as instruments in the proxy war against India -- the vulnerability of India to this mischievous intrusion from outside has to be fully assessed and measures both punitive and sociological evolved for maintaining internal security.

Representative Muslim organisations must be persuaded to condemn the advocacy of Jehad for dealing with any Minority issues in democratic India that had a secular constitution. The Indian democratic State should give no quarters to political elements voicing 'separatism' and secession and - what is worse - doing so on a note of violence.

A new danger has arisen from a certain kind of civil society groups and 'think tanks' that devoted themselves -- for political reasons -- to building subversive narratives of majoritarianism, autocratic rule and anti-minority disposition of the Modi regime and in concert with foreign lobbies and elements of the opposition even questioned the need for India to have a 'national' identity.

Many of them deliberately project 'nationalism' as a symbol of Hindu India ignoring the fact that the Preamble of our Constitution called upon the people of India to promote unity and integrity of the 'nation'. All this amounts to playing 'politics by proxy' and makes it necessary to ascertain the undesirable links of that small number of NGOs which were different from the vast body of genuine forums working for philanthropy and public service.

India is presently facing a situation where our adversaries next door are focusing on fishing in our troubled waters and exploiting the internal differences here of creed, region and ideology.

Our domestic scene had always been vulnerable to these contradictions but a conscious policy of some opposition groups, of playing the 'Minority' card for political gain, has pushed the Hindu-Muslim divide in a direction of 'separatism' that was never in evidence even when the country witnessed stray communal riots arising from local causes in the decades after Independence.

The Constitution of India did not distinguish between one citizen and another on the basis of caste, creed or gender. The democratic process here firmly established the principle of 'one man one vote' to the advancement of all.

India had in the years after Independence also encountered regional separatism -- a striking illustration was the Dravidsthan movement of Ramaswamy Naikar-led Dravid Kazhgam (DK) that gave rise to the militant anti-Hindi agitation of mid-sixties in what is now Tamilnadu -- but the democratic assimilation of the regions soon made this particular state a frontline player of Indian nation with its representatives enjoying a significant place in the Central political executive as well as the national bureaucracy.

It is a matter of concern from the angle of internal security that some leaders are again fanning communal and regional sentiments for their narrow political ends. The democratic state of India should counter these harmful trends through socio- political and legal means. All communities want to live in peace with each other and a few of their leaders cannot be allowed to create internal divides for their vested interests -- some of them possibly doing this under external influences.

Post-Cold War, the world transited to a unipolar order a noticeable feature of which was the replacement of open warfare by 'proxy wars'. A record number of cross-border conflicts, insurgencies and 'covert' attacks have occurred in this era.

The anti-Soviet armed campaign in Afghanistan that succeeded in causing dismemberment of the mighty USSR was in effect run in the format of an 'asymmetric' war -- on the slogan of Jehad -- and it is ironic that Afghanistan subsequently became the hub of the new global terror resting on motivation of faith that would take on the US -- the remaining Superpower.

The 'war on terror' was a combat between Islamic radicals and the US-led world coalition. Both India and Pakistan came on board with this coalition -- Pakistan had to be coerced by US President George Bush to join in -- but Pakistan was able to start a parallel 'proxy war' against India by using Islamic militants as an instrument of cross-border terrorism against this country.

Down the years, Pakistan has drawn in radical elements of Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS- apart from outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkare Toiba and Jaishe Mohammad that were already under its control- in this proxy war.

Following the reinstallation of Taliban Emirate at Kabul with its total support, Pakistan ISI has stepped up its operations to spread radicalisation by exploiting communal issues and extend terrorist activity from Kashmir to other parts of India. The national Intelligence agencies are covering this threat but the top-down Intelligence they produced needs to be extensively backed by information of Intelligence value garnered by local units of state and district Police.

Finally, the Sino- Pak axis working against India is another new frontier required to be closely monitored by our central Intelligence agencies- China like Pakistan has a certain potential for interfering with the internal scene here particularly in the North East.

A new level of escalation of threat to internal security from this axis has arisen because of the collaboration of these prime adversaries of India in the matter of despatching drones from across our western borders, for surreptitiously dropping narcotic drugs, arms and explosives on our side. In recent months BSF is reported to have seized scores of such miniature drones. This has added a new dimension to the proxy war conducted by Pakistan against India over the years.

(The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are personal)
 
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