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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 9

  • IASbaba
  • October 22, 2017
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SYNOPSIS : IASbaba’s Current Affairs Focus (CAF) Mains 2017: Day 9

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1. What are the sources of terror financing? Examine the nexus between terrorism and organised crime. What steps have been taken to stifle terror financing in India? Discuss.

Introduction:

Organized crime is the main source of finance for terrorism. Terrorism and Organized crime are two sides of same coin where both co-exists with each other. Without the one, other cannot survive. Both depend on each other for their needs and form linkages of different levels.

Body:

Types of Linkages:

  • Finance: OC provides finance to terrorists in exchange for help in money laundering, fake Indian currency smuggling into borders etc. Ex: Kashmir
  • Goods: Terrorists are provided with arms and ammunitions by OC for smuggling of drugs, precious metals etc. into borders or across borders. Ex: North eastern states.
  • Man power: OC provides man power to terrorist organization through human trafficking. Ex: OC traffics humans and provides them to LeT, AL-Qaeda etc.
  • Security: Terrorists provide protection to OC in exchange for protection money. Ex: Dawood provided security by LeT in exchange for protection money.

Factors contributing to their linkage:

  • Against law and nation: Both operate under anti-national activities.
  • Finance: Both need money to survive and carry out their business.
  • Expertise: Both need expertise of each other.
  • Goods: Both require illegal goods like arms, drugs etc.
  • Protection: Both require safe passage and protection from each other.

Steps taken to stifle terror financing:

  • Demonetization: It was a major blow to them as it stopped fake currencies circulation, large denominations which were easier to launder and use.
  • Cashless economy: Move towards cash-less will reduce flow of cash to them.
  • Financial MOU’s: To stop round tripping, money laundering and intelligence sharing of financial data.

Conclusion:

It is due to unequal growth and development of world, religious extremism, intolerance to others views and ideologues terrorism has developed to be a global phenomenon. The organized crime link has provided them with the base for their expansion.


2. What is Quantum Cryptography? Examine its significance.

Introduction:

China recently became the first country to launch quantum satellite to establish secure communication line.  It uses quantum cryptography that is based on quantum physics and uses spin of polarized electrons as a key for encryption. Since the spin is the key, it is nearly impossible to crack it without destroying message.

Body:

Significance of Quantum Cryptography:

  1. Security:
  • Secure communication: Between different military bases and various commands during war and peace time.
  • Edge in warfare: Enemy cannot intercept the plans.
  • Hotline: Between world leaders, from tackling rogue nations to planning for combined surgical strikes.
  • Securing VVIPs: It will help in securing the heads of country from threat during their movements across globe.
  1. Civilian:
  • Increase efficiency: Due to superimposition of photons, large amount of data can be transmitted in small span of time
  • Digital revolution: Use of quantum cryptography can increase user confidence in digital economy and increase its penetration and density, benefitting the economy.
  • Efficiency and business growth: Secure communications between various office destinations without competitors hacking or stealing ideas.

Conclusion:

Quantum cryptography seems very promising and usher in an era of change in digital communication. However, much work remains to be done to explore all it’s uses. Government labs like DRDO, ISRO should work more on this technology and take it forward to improve our defense forces ability to tackle future threats.


3. The potential of NATGRID remains under-utilised. Comment. How can NATGRID be made more effective? Analyse.

Introduction:

The National Intelligence Grid is the integrated intelligence grid connecting databases of core security agencies of the Government of India to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies. It utilises technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyse the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.

Potential:

  • In a data-driven, digitised world, the big data holds immense power and potential to provide real time tip-offs and predictive intelligence to deal with the terrorist threat.
  • It would also help the police and the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds. The police would have access to all his/her data and any movement by this person could be tracked with the help of this data base.
  • It will help identify, capture and prosecute terrorists and help preempt terrorist plots.
  • Thus, it will help to collate scattered information into a transparent, accessible, integrated grid and do away with the inefficiencies associated with information asymmetries that leads to delayed counter-terror operations.

Under-utilized potential:

  • Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
  • The Union Home Ministry has raised the issue that it couldn’t get qualified IT professionals to fill vacant posts in the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), this despite India being in the forefront when it comes to IT.
  • It is expected that NATGRID will fall under the control of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Since agencies like IB and Research and Analysis Wing are not institutions established by Acts of Parliament, this raises the additional question of accountability.
  • NATGRID also faces issues like consolidating data from a huge population, lack of compatibility with data sets in regional languages, risk of spies ratting out vital information to outside sources and security from external attacks.

Making NATGRID more effective:

  • When so much sensitive information about individuals is available on a single source, the potential for its misuse would dramatically go up. Keeping in mind the poor track record of the Indian security and intelligence agencies on individual privacy and liberty it is necessary to strengthen security of the database.
  • To attract good talent the government needs to offer remuneration commensurate with that of the private sector to attract the most qualified professionals.
  • If states are to actively contribute towards updating the NATGRID database in the spirit of cooperative federalism, they should be among the ones who benefit from it.

Conclusion:

In its present form, NATGRID suffers from few inadequacies, some due to bureaucratic red tape and others due to fundamental flaws in the system. If the government takes enough measures, NATGRID has the potential to become India’s go-to grid for a 360-degree perspective to prevent and contain crises.


4. Analyse the security challenges associated with Indo-Myanmar border.

SYNOPSIS:

Myanmar is important to India due to historical, ethnic and cultural ties. Myanmar is of great strategic importance as it is a gateway to South East Asia and holds huge economic potential for India. India shares a 1643 km long border with Myanmar, of which 171 km is not demarcated. The northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share the border with Myanmar.

Terrain on the Indo-Myanmar border is semi mountainous with steep slopes covered with dense forest. This border is manned jointly by the army and Assam Rifles


Challenges:

Challenges faced by India and Myanmar are partly due to inherited borders as post colonial states. The formation of Myanmar as a separate State in 1935 and decolonization of the sub-continent in 1947 divided ethnic communities living along the Indo-Myanmar border.

  • Cross-border ethnic ties have facilitated in creation of safe havens for various northeast insurgent groups in Myanmar. Several insurgent groups have secured sanctuaries for themselves in Myanmar.
  • The cross border movement of Nagas and Mizos for training, purchase of arms and shelter when pursued by Indian security forces, combined with the difficult terrain obtaining in the area makes this border extremely challenging to manage.
  • Identical tribes live on both sides of the boundary pose difficulty in restricting the movement of the people.
  • Apart from that the border area is vulnerable due to the narco-terrorism, smuggling of arms and fake Indian currencies compared to other borders.
  • The Intelligence inputs indicate that a major modernization drive of the Chinese Army has released vast quantities of old weapons, some of them are offloaded to the arm dealers who supply it to the insurgent groups.
  • Myanmar also provides China a route to the second coastline into the Arabian Sea from Kunming through the Sittwe port. The border as well as the Arakan coast can become vulnerable for India due to increasing Chinese economic ties with Myanmar.
  • Security concerns along Indo-Myanmar Border need to be viewed holistically, particularly with reference to the influence and physical presence of China in socio-economic and military affairs of Myanmar.
  • The junction of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar is also vulnerable due to the Chakma problem and frequent infiltration of Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
  • The recent Rohingya crisis has also put the border security on tenter hooks as it has turned into both a security and humanitarian challenge as the economically deprived Rohingyas can turn into vulnerable to indoctrination and can result in carrying out anti national activities against the Indian state.
  • India does not have a border policy or a national security policy. The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) has formulated the Draft National Security Policy, which is still under consideration.

Options such as selective fencing, better use of technology, and regulated flow of cross-border movement, among other initiatives, should be examined. Regulated borders with greater emphasis on developing people-to-people contact and cross-border trade initiatives are likely to yield greater security benefits.

It is however essential to take into confidence the affected populace and the local stakeholders prior to the finalization and implementation of such plans.


5. What suggestions would you give to upgrade the coastal security management in India? Discuss.

With a vast coastline of about 7600 kilometres, island territories on both sides of the peninsula are sizeable Exclusive Economic Zone and sea borne trade, the greater part of which moves by ship; there are many strands to India’s composite maritime security including the safety of major ports plus aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines at strategic levels. India’s maritime vulnerability came into sharp focus in November 2008 when Mumbai was the target of an audacious terrorist attack and many lessons were learnt in that tragic experience.

There have been considerable improvements since the Mumbai attack in the coastal security of India. Both capacity and capability has been built across all the maritime forces especially in the navy and coastguard. There has also been a structured attempt to improve coordination between these forces.

There are some areas where still India needs to work on primarily in the field of intelligence, coordination among intelligence agencies and in setting up a structure i.e. a National Apex Maritime Authority which would help to coordinate policy and to ensure that there is no duplication of effort and iron out all the differences which do come up. Coastal security involves a host of organizations and departments of Government of India and it is not an easy task to coordinate policy among these organizations.

The issue of establishing a Central Marine Police Force started when it was proposed by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and some other states endorsed this idea as well. However, some of the states are reluctant of all this and believe that the marine police should be funded by the Centre. The business of state police versus coastal police is basically a question of funding and money. States find it difficult in allocating funds for the coastal police set ups.

The new Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2015 has not been passed by the Parliament yet. It says that there would be a convoy system for piracy and the Indian navy proved that India became piracy free near its coast waters. There needs to be some sort of registration for every boat and Mumbai police even ordered for some sort of colours on the boats to recognize this. Coastguards can be given the overall authority for coastal security.

Improved surveillance of the coast through automatic identification systems and radars -though they are already employed in various parts gaps exist.

Cultivating local intelligence through fishing communities. They are eyes and ears of armed forces in seas.

Greater coordination between center and states, states think that it is mainly center’s responsibility and neglect the working of state marine police. This attitude should be changed.

At the end of the day, India’s maritime security challenges and opportunities are both complex and varied. While 2008 Mumbai attack was a dramatic experience, in the intervening years a concentrated effort has been made to enhance capacity and coordination among different agencies. Yet there are many wrinkles that need to be ironed and capacity gaps that call for an effective National Maritime blueprint and a steady infusion of funds both material and human resources.

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had been advocating SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) with India as the net security provider. This focus on the maritime domain is valuable and hopefully marks the beginning of the end of India’s traditional sea blindness. But still it is a long voyage while sustaining the collective effort.

 

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