Coun­ter­ing Land-based Threats

The way for­ward to strengthen the home­land se­cu­rity sce­nario in In­dia would re­quire ac­tive man­age­ment of the pol­icy frame­work, reg­u­la­tions, process and fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment to cre­ate an in­te­grated and self-re­liant home­land se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus by the gov­ernme

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch

The way for­ward to strengthen the home­land se­cu­rity sce­nario in In­dia would re­quire ac­tive man­age­ment of the pol­icy frame­work, reg­u­la­tions, process and fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment to cre­ate an in­te­grated and self-re­liant home­land se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus by the government.

POST 9/11, HOME­LAND SE­CU­RITY GOT fast tracked in the US and it is gen­er­ally be­lieved that the main­land has not suf­fered any ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent since then. But then, what is a ter­ror­ist act? The Au­gust 2012 shoot­ing at the Wis­con­sin Gu­rud­wara killing six peo­ple was pub­licly de­scribed by the US At­tor­ney Gen­eral as an act of ter­ror­ism mo­ti­vated by hate. There have been plenty other sim­i­lar hate crimes in the US which were not ac­knowl­edged as ter­ror­ist acts de­spite the ba­sis of any ter­ror­ist act be­ing ‘hate’. There­fore, home­land se­cu­rity should not be sim­plis­ti­cally re­lated to only ter­ror­ist acts. Most coun­tries have come to re­alise that home­land se­cu­rity has much wider can­vas than pro­tec­tion from acts of vi­o­lence. Within In­dia, the fab­ric of home­land se­cu­rity ap­par­ently com­prises a host of dots that are yet to be fully con­nected; in­te­gra­tion of the se­cu­rity sec­tor, in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance, na­tional net-cen­tric­ity, et al. The mere fact that the erst­while Home Min­is­ter had rec­om­mended es­tab­lish­ment of a Min­istry of Home­land Se­cu­rity while propos­ing the Na­tional Counter Ter­ror­ism Cen­tre (NCTC) is in­di­ca­tion enough that the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs (MHA) in its cur­rent shape and huge re­spon­si­bil­i­ties can­not holis­ti­cally cope with the re­quire­ments of home­land se­cu­rity.

Def­i­ni­tion

Akin to there be­ing no uni­ver­sal def­i­ni­tion of ‘ter­ror­ism’, there is no uni­ver­sal def­i­ni­tion of ‘home­land se­cu­rity’ ei­ther. There are many def­i­ni­tions and un­der­stand­ings of the lat­ter. How­ever, the fol­low­ing def­i­ni­tion by Kettl, coined in 2004, ap­pears ap­pro­pri­ate: “Home­land se­cu­rity is, at its core, about co­or­di­na­tion: co­or­di­na­tion be­tween func­tions and be­tween gov­ern­ments, de­vel­op­ing new tools, and ef­fec­tively weav­ing to­gether the na­tion’s ex­perts and re­sources to con­nect the dots; a mat­ter of do­ing some new things, many old things much bet­ter, and some old things dif­fer­ently, all in an en­vi­ron­ment that can pun­ish any mis­takes se­verely.” When Kettl says be­tween gov­ern­ments, we may ap­ply the same also to Cen­tre-state re­la­tions in In­dia.

Im­pli­ca­tions

Any state must en­sure that the cit­i­zenry can en­joy the re­sources and fruits of devel­op­ment in a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment. Home­land se­cu­rity is in­ex­orably a vi­tal part of na­tional se­cu­rity, the im­por­tance of which has height­ened man­i­fold in this age of asym­met­ric wars. In terms of na­tional se­cu­rity, a na­tion needs to pos­sess eco­nomic se­cu­rity, en­ergy se­cu­rity, en­vi­ron­men­tal se­cu­rity, etc. Se­cu­rity threats in­volve not only con­ven­tional foes such as other na­tion states but also non-state ac­tors such as ter­ror­ists, nar­cotic car­tels, multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions (MNCs) and non-government or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs); some even in­clude nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and events caus­ing se­vere en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age in this cat­e­gory. A Novem­ber 2012 report in the US high­lights the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of the power grid to ter­ror­ists, bring­ing out that power sys­tem dis­rup­tions even from nat­u­ral dis­as­ters or mal­func­tions have had im­mense eco­nomic im­pacts. Some in­ter­na­tional stud­ies even in­clude agri­cul­tural land se­cu­rity, pro­duc­tiv­ity, eco­log­i­cal se­cu­rity,

In­tel­li­gence

Tech­nol­ogy

food se­cu­rity, de­mo­graphic se­cu­rity (read refugees) and cy­ber se­cu­rity in­trin­sic to home­land se­cu­rity.

Home­land se­cu­rity in­volves proac­tive poli­cies and im­ple­men­ta­tion in terms of anal­y­sis, re­or­gan­i­sa­tion, di­plo­macy, in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, build­ing and syn­er­gis­ing the se­cu­rity sec­tor, or what­ever it takes to proac­tively de­fend the home­land. It goes far be­yond civil de­fence. The buzz­word is pre­emp­tive mit­i­ga­tion of threat by ac­tu­ally prevent­ing an at­tack/in­ci­dent in the first place. It is im­por­tant to dis­tin­guish home­land se­cu­rity from re­lated terms like na­tional se­cu­rity, anti-ter­ror­ism, dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, haz­ard man­age­ment, emer­gency ser­vices, crime preven­tion, strate­gic co­or­di­na­tion, threat mit­i­ga­tion, and risk as­sess­ment. Home­land se­cu­rity con­sists of all th­ese things and more. It is a broad con­cept rel­e­vant to safety and se­cu­rity, to be sure, but at its heart, the con­cept must in­clude the idea of balancing se­cu­rity and ci­ti­zens’ lib­erty. With ter­ror­ism as a ma­jor threat to home­land se­cu­rity, it re­quires a blend of both for­eign and domestic in­tel­li­gence. Ad­min­is­tra­tive lines of sep­a­ra­tion and ge­o­graph­i­cal bound­aries of agen­cies if not elim­i­nated through in­te­gra­tion, re­sult in poor in­tel­li­gence that is cap­i­talised by ter­ror­ists. While ad­vance warn­ing of a ter­ror­ist act may not al­ways be pos­si­ble, 100 per cent ef­fort must go to­wards rapid tran­sit of in­tel­li­gence col­lec­tion, anal­y­sis and dis­sem­i­na­tion, with the an­a­lytic process be­ing a syn­the­sis or fu­sion de­ci­sion sup­port pro­cesses based on all source in­tel­li­gence. Rapid ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy must be con­tin­u­ously op­ti­mised and in­te­grated into the home­land se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture to in­cre­men­tally up­grade the se­cu­rity lev­els. Be­sides fa­cil­i­tat­ing na­tional net-cen­tric­ity, tech­nol­ogy can ef­fec­tively cover threats like in­tru­sion preven­tion and ac­cess de­nial while so­lu­tions in­clude sur­veil­lance, ra­dio fre­quency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, etc. In­dia’s home­land se­cu­rity mar­ket is ex­pected to be worth $16 bil­lion (`80,000 crore) by 2018, grow­ing an­nu­ally at 35 per cent against seven per cent glob­ally. In­dia’s share in global ex­pen­di­ture in the sec­tor is also ex­pected to rise to six per cent by 2020 from 3.6 per cent now, of which, government con­sti­tutes about 30 per cent of the spend­ing within the coun­try.

In­dian Scene

In­dia has a land bor­der of 15,072 kilo­me­tres (3,431 kilo­me­tres with Pak­istan), mostly through rugged and/or por­ous ter­rain. The coast­line is 3,863 kilo­me­tres run­ning through nine states and four union ter­ri­to­ries. Some 29 ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions are op­er­at­ing within In­dia and both China and Pak­istan are ac­tively fan­ning th­ese fires. In ad­di­tion are the mafias, crime syn­di­cates and drug car­tels in large met­ros, par­tic­u­larly Mum­bai. The Min­is­ter of State for Home Af­fairs in­formed the Ra­jya Sabha on Au­gust 29, 2011, “A to­tal num­ber of 84 dis­tricts in In­dia wit­nessed vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties of some na­ture”, while 119 more dis­tricts re­ported Nax­alite pres­ence in the form of “over­ground ac­tiv­ity of the front or­gan­i­sa­tions of the CPI (Maoist) and other left-wing ex­trem­ist (LWE) out­fits”. Thus, “the to­tal num­ber of such dis­tricts (LWE af­fected) in 2011 was 203.”

The threats to home­land se­cu­rity are of a na­ture that re­quires a na­tional ef­fort. Take for ex­am­ple, in­tel­li­gence, which re­quires a bil­lion eyes on the ground con­cept. While the pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship as a whole needs in­te­gra­tion, the lead for this need is to be taken by the government, which does not ap­pear to be hap­pen­ing. The prob­lem is com­pounded by the fact that in a democ­racy like In­dia there is free move­ment. Then there is the prob­lem of the Cen­tre-state re­la­tion­ship, which in cer­tain cases amounts to re­sis­tance for the sake of re­sis­tance just be­cause both are ruled by dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties. The case in point is that of NCTC which should have been in place a decade back. Re­sis­tance from states is also par­tially due to the fact that de­spite cop­ing with ter­ror­ism for over two decades, we have not been able to clas­sify ‘ter­ror­ism’ as a sub­ject to be dealt with by the Cen­tre. States con­tinue to treat the is­sue as ‘law and or­der’. Re­sul­tantly, a strong NCTC is con­sid­ered by them as an in­fringe­ment on the power and sphere at the state level.

Though home­land se­cu­rity is in­creas­ingly per­ceived as crit­i­cal to the over­all se­cu­rity of the coun­try and steps are be­ing taken to up­grade the home­land se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture with in­creased bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions, in­tro­duc­tion of unique iden­ti­fi­ca­tion (UID) and es­tab­lish­ment of the Crime and Crim­i­nal Track­ing Net­work and Sys­tems (CCTNS), etc, much more is re­quired to be done. Some of the ar­eas that need fo­cus are as fol­lows: Re­con­sider the need for a sep­a­rate Min­istry of In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity. Ter­ror­ism should be clas­si­fied as a sub­ject to be dealt with by the Cen­tre. Speedy es­tab­lish­ment of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Grid (NAT­GRID) and a strong NCTC. Con­cur­rent es­tab­lish­ment of state level STCTs duly linked to the NCTC. To­tal in­te­gra­tion of all in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, which has not been fully es­tab­lished yet. UID cover to all ci­ti­zens. In­tro­duc­tion of ef­fec­tive leg­is­la­tion deal with ter­ror­ists and speedy jus­tice; changes to leg­is­la­tion made in re­cent times are largely cos­metic. Achiev­ing syn­ergy in the se­cu­rity sec­tor; armed forces, Spe­cial Forces, Para­mil­i­tary Forces, Cen­tral Armed Po­lice Forces (CAPF), po­lice forces, Coast Guards, in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, pri­vate se­cu­rity ser­vices, Cus­toms and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, Government—Min­istries of De­fence, Home/In­ter­nal Af­fairs, Law and Jus­tice, Hu­man Re­source and the like and most im­por­tantly the cit­i­zenry as a whole. Ini­ti­ate steps to deal with ex­ter­nally sourced threats to home­land se­cu­rity through covert and proac­tive em­ploy­ment of Spe­cial Forces, a po­ten­tial that has not been op­ti­mised to this end yet. Holis­tic po­lice re­forms are des­per­ately needed in­stead of mere in­crease in num­bers. CAPF and po­lice units ear­marked for coun­terin­sur­gency/counter-ter­ror­ist tasks must be re­or­gan­ised on the lines of As­sam Ri­fles/Rashtriya Ri­fles. Lever­age tech­nol­ogy and pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship to in­sti­tu­tion­alise the ‘safe and se­cure city’ con­cept against both nat­u­ral and man-made dis­as­ters and vi­o­lence. Crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture se­cu­rity op­ti­mis­ing lat­est tech­nolo­gies. Ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing of the masses. Ad­dress causes of dis­sent through im­proved gov­er­nance. The way for­ward to strengthen the home­land se­cu­rity sce­nario in In­dia would re­quire ac­tive man­age­ment of the pol­icy frame­work, reg­u­la­tions, process and fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment to cre­ate an in­te­grated and self-re­liant home­land se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus by the government. In­dia and the US are al­ready look­ing at ways to im­prove their in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing mech­a­nism and forg­ing co­op­er­a­tion in new ar­eas for strength­en­ing home­land se­cu­rity. Sim­i­larly, it would be pru­dent to es­tab­lish close co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries like Rus­sia and Is­rael also fac­ing ter­ror­ist threats.

Need for Holis­tic Re­view

The in­creased im­por­tance of home­land se­cu­rity re­quires lit­tle em­pha­sis with the en­vi­ron­ment in our neigh­bour­hood likely to de­te­ri­o­rate fur­ther with the US/North At­lantic Treaty Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NATO) pull­out from Afghanistan post-2014, in­creased Chi­nese ag­gres­sive­ness and ex­ist­ing ev­i­dence of Chi­nese and Pak­istani links with ter­ror­ist/ in­sur­gent out­fits op­er­at­ing in In­dia, di­rectly or by proxy. If the Bangladesh Na­tion­al­ist Party (BNP) re­turns to power in Bangladesh, we may wit­ness re­vival of ter­ror­ism in that coun­try. We need pe­ri­odic holis­tic re­view of home­land se­cu­rity, a roll on roadmap and its speedy im­ple­men­ta­tion.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: CRPF

CRPF per­son­nel with re­cov­ered arms

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