In 2015, we need to get more serious about internal security

The year gone by witnessed turmoil on the internal security front. Whether, it was the Maoist attacks on security forces or massacre of tribals by Bodo militants in Assam, or the latest bomb blast in Bengaluru — everywhere there was a sense of helplessness and it was felt that both our intelligence system and security measures needed to be upgraded. The five key areas that need a revisit in 2015 are:

Debobrat Ghose January 01, 2015 17:29:00 IST
In 2015, we need to get more serious about internal security

New Delhi: There is a bag full of expectations from the year 2015 as a lot of wishes remained unfulfilled in 2014 on the nation’s defence, security and intelligence fronts.

The year gone by witnessed turmoil on the internal security front. Whether, it was the Maoist attacks on security forces or massacre of tribals by Bodo militants in Assam, or the latest bomb blast in Bengaluru — everywhere there was a sense of helplessness and it was felt that both our intelligence system and security measures needed to be upgraded.

The five key areas that need a revisit in 2015 are:

Policy

In 2015 we need to get more serious about internal security

Representational image. PTI

There is a need for the government to formulate a strong policy to counter terrorism. The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is in limbo. Post Mumbai serial blasts in 1993 and 26/11, it was decided to have a counter-terrorism centre like that in the US, which resulted into NCTC. But, the proposal got into a major dispute over its role, power and functions, and the centre is yet to see the light of day.
"There’s no firm policy to combat terrorism. After 9/11, no terror was reported in the US; whereas in India, terror strikes continue, even in the same city year after year like in Bengaluru. We’re only experimenting on new ideas after every attack,” says counter-terrorism analyst Anil Kamboj.

“There is no movement in the case of NCTC. We hope, the present government will do something on this,” says former director general, Border Security Force, Prakash Singh.

Manpower

"There is an urgent need for augmenting the police manpower, because due to shortage of staff, it becomes difficult to act during an emergency. There are over five lakh vacancies which must be filled up,” says Singh. At present, we’ve a ratio of 182 policemen per lakh of population as against the UN recommended ratio of 222 per lakh of population. “The states should try to achieve a ratio of 200 policemen per lakh of population.”

Same is with the defence. There is a shortage of 9,845 officers and more than 40,000 men.

Governance

Whether it’s Left-Wing Extremism or insurgency in the North-East region, poor governance and policy paralysis have given surge to extremism. The budgetary allocations couldn’t be rightly utilised, resulting into inequality in the Naxal-hit districts.

According to counter-terrorism experts, poor development and improper implementation of policies have led to severe inequity. “This helped Naxalism to spread in a big way. Similar is the case of NE states. The government has been dragging issues year after year,” Kamboj points out.

“On the Maoist front, the government needs to draw up a comprehensive strategic plan with equal emphasis on counter-insurgency operations as well as development. Development can’t be compromised,” observes Prakash Singh, an expert on Naxalism.

Internal security and intelligence

Stating internal security as a big challenge for the government, Singh in one of his articles has mentioned ‘Internal security as Modi’s Achilles Heels and complacency would be costly’. He points out that there has been no improvement in internal intelligence and lacks centre-state coordination, resulting into terror strikes. “The states also have to improve their own intelligence system, instead of looking up to the Centre”.

The recent case of Bengaluru-based executive Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the operator of Islamic State’s (IS) Twitter handle, has raised questions on our cyber-intelligence. “It was a British channel that exposed it. Cyber-intelligence continues to be poor in India,” remarks Kamboj.

Modernisation:

Bureaucratic hurdles, red-tapism and delays in taking decision have invariably delayed modernisation in India’s security forces — be it in police, CRPF or Border Security Force. “Whether it’s to combat Maoists or guarding our borders, absence of latest equipment has been dampening the spirit and morale of our personnel. Despite India being scientifically ahead of many nations, why do we fail to use the latest technology?” questions Kamboj.

In Y-2015, the nation expects to have installation of sensors on the border, which has been pending since 2011-12, purchase of modern equipment to monitor our porous borders, combat terrorism and insurgency, and improve policing. “Government has to give up its go-slow policy on the security front, or else the nation would have to pay a heavy price,” adds Kamboj.

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