In­te­grated home­land chal­lenge


Dis­clo­sures by Abu Jun­dal re­veal how in­tri­cately the Pak­istani state plans and ex­e­cutes the proxy war against us. Leave aside 26/11 Mum­bai ter­ror at­tack and year 2000 Chit­tis­ingh­pora mas­sacre of Sikhs by LeT cadres in mil­i­tary uni­form, even spec­ta­tors to Indo-Pak cricket matches are used for ter­ror­ism – re­mem­ber the 500 Pak­istani spec­ta­tors who van­ished from Mo­hali a few years back?

Ear­lier this year, the ar­rest of two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) cadres plan­ning ter­ror strikes in Chan­dini Chowk in Delhi had come from Jhark­hand, were pro­vided ex­plo­sives by Maoists and for the first time the gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edged the Strate­gic United Front of Maoists. It con­clu­sively con­firms the LeT-Maoists link. In­tel­li­gence had in the past re­ported LeT rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tend­ing Maoist meet­ings.

Post-26/11, Pak­istan has ac­ti­vated her sleeper mod­ules in­ducted pan-In­dia in early 1980s who have nur­tured youth to rad­i­calise and adopt the ter­ror route. While Al Qaeda started de­ploy­ing home grown ter­ror­ists in re­cent years, Pak­istan had pre­pared for such op­er­a­tions in In­dia decades back. An in­te­grated ter­ror-cumin­sur­gent home­land chal­lenge is star­ing us in the face at point­blank range and it will be fool­ish not to recog­nise it. There should be lit­tle doubt that we will have to con­tend with ter­ror­ism and in­sur­gen­cies in the fore­see­able fu­ture. These are man­i­fes­ta­tions of asym­met­ric war and the re­sponse will nec­es­sary have to be syn­er­gised through the se­cu­rity sec­tor with the fight­ing el­e­ments com­pris­ing the mil­i­tary, para­mil­i­tary forces (PMF), cen­tral armed po­lice forces (CAPF), po­lice, in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, pri­vate se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions, so on and so forth with the cit­i­zenry pro­vid­ing a bil­lion eyes on ground for hu­man in­tel­li­gence as an in­te­grated whole.

We are al­ready wit­ness­ing tech savvy ter­ror­ism and so­phis­ti­ca­tion in in­sur­gent ac­tions in­clud­ing state-ofthe-art weaponry, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and ex­plo­sives be­sides chang­ing tac­tics. In fu­ture, we could well wit­ness cy­ber at­tacks on crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture, fi­nan­cial and ki­netic at­tacks, dirty bombs, maritime, chemi- cal and bio ter­ror­ism, and even ra­di­o­log­i­cal/nu­clear black­mail to spread panic and cre­ate hys­te­ria. In such an en­vi­ron­ment, threats will be om­nipresent that can oc­cur with­out warn­ing. Our in­tran­si­gence has pro­vided an asym­met­ric bat­tle­field within our home­land that is be­ing ex­ploited by both China and Pak­istan.

The Min­istry of Home Af­fairs’ list of some three score ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions oper­at­ing within In­dia makes no men­tion of or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Pop­u­lar Front of In­dia (PFI) that is fast emerg­ing as a threat par­tic­u­larly with its links with LeT es­tab­lished in Ker­ala. Re­ports of the Maoists es­tab­lish­ing in ur­ban cen­tres in­clud­ing Delhi/NCR and sim­i­lar re­ports of the PFI should be a cause of con­cern. Con­sol­i­da­tion of Is­lamic ter­ror­ism in In­dia and its in­ter­na­tional links is a re­al­ity that can­not be ig­nored. In­te­gra­tion and in­ter­de­pen­dence of ter­ror­ist and in­sur­gent or­gan­i­sa­tions in In­dia is hap­pen­ing at a fast pace and there is no op­tion but to re­spond at the na­tional level.

Dishing out com­pa­nies of CAPF to the states along with pro­vi­sion of pe­ri­odic in­tel­li­gence in­puts is not go­ing to work. Acts of ter­ror­ism and in­sur­gent strikes must be delinked from law and or­der ac­cred­ited to states and re­sponse made the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Cen­tre. Nec­es­sary con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment, if nec­es­sary, must be done. Dis­cus­sion with all po­lit­i­cal par­ties post pub­lish­ing a white pa­per on in­te­grated home­land chal­lenges should fa­cil­i­tate ar­riv­ing at a con­sen­sus. When the Home Min­is­ter him­self rec­om­mends set­ting up of a Min­istry of In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity (MIS), it in­di­cates the ex­ist­ing set up is in­ad­e­quate. In­te­grated chal­lenges to home­land se­cu­rity have to be han­dled at the na­tional level with a cen­tralised frame­work. The MIS must have a strong NCTC linked to State Counter Ter­ror­ism Cen­tres in ev­ery state linked through NAT­GRID and thereon to the fight­ing forces on the ground be­sides other mea­sures that must be in­sti­tuted for ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse. The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

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