Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
The challenge faced by India today was from terrorist organisations that were not only equipped with the latest technologies and have immense access to funds, but were having active backing of various external agencies. There are different outfits active in J&K to create disturbances. Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT and Haqqani Network. Also, earlier there was Punjab militancy, then there was north east militancy and now there is J&K. Indian security forces go one after another. This is not the end of tackling terrorism but a beginning. Pakistan continues to abet trained terrorists into J&K. But now, suddenly new areas have been found to be vulnerable- Gurdaspur and Pathankot. Government has taken lot of measures to neutralise the terrorists and militants. In Jammu and Kashmir, there have been successes in combating terrorism along of the line of control guarded by BSF as well as Indian Army. There has been highest success in counter insurgency- counter terrorism grid (CICTG). A total of 130 terrorists were killed this year. However, lot of measures have to be taken while doing such operations- taking into consideration human right values, local perception and no or minimum collateral damage.
There has to be two fold action-
Stopping infiltration through border
Take on the hinterland militants
These actions have to go side by side. This is being done but more coordination is required in terms of intelligence sharing and operations planning.
More importantly, the government has taken good action against the financial network of militants. This is going to pay big dividends as it is was not touched earlier. This is going to give boost to anti-militancy operation. Currently, NIA is investigating against Hurriyat leaders in J&K. They have been arrested by NIA for having channelized various funds into stone felting or militancy in the state of J&K. These people have been in the front of face of separatists in the valley. The separatists now face two problems- demonetisation and tracking of their assets. Hence, the new breed of militants is not going to emerge strong as they won’t be able to survive without finance.
External opinions and actions
UN and US have been harsh on Hafeez Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim who have aided and abeted militancy in past. China backs ban on certain militants of Pakistan. But, China’s ban or no ban shouldn’t be bothered by India. India needs to clean its own area and not depend on someone else and neither be bothered by other influences. Focus should be on borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries with problems on borders as well as in hinterland.
Extremism and terrorism
Many areas in India have been attacked other than J&K. Kashmir militancy is only a gateway for militant action all over India. There is also presence of left wing extremism in India but there was no fool-proof evidence about operational relationship between militants and left-wing extremists. J&K is more of religion based than LWE.
Thus, India shouldn’t consider militancy as part of only J&K and pan India movement. So the anti-terrorist approach and policy should be pan-India based.
Lifting of AFSPA is frequently talked about as the act gives security powers to function in such areas affected by extremism. As it is said that, if the body is septic, the part should be severed to stop the poison from going ahead. Militancy is same septic for the nation and it is going to damage the nation if not severed.
The new militant from cross the border cannot do any fidayeen attack immediately. He needs to have good linkage, get network and financial support. It takes longer time to understand and have networking with the locals to carry out attacks. So when security forces cleanse up the terrorists and militancy, the breeding of their kind becomes difficult over a period of time.
Another notable fact is that the profile of terrorists is getting younger. This means that they are unable to indoctrinate the people with proper sensibility. The young people get monetary benefit back home and these are generally are coming from poor families with financial constraints. This makes them come here. Some of them may not do anything and merge with the population. That way it is limited motivation given by ISI for them to come for this kind of operations.
The LAC part has to be more vigilante. The benefit is that there is freedom to retaliate as the enemy is Pakistani. But in hinterland, it is a trivial job as the fight is against the unknown enemy as well as sometimes it’s the fellow citizen. Thus, difficulty is at different level which needs different kind of tackling.
Though there has been presence of insurgency in north east, some of them like nagas and mizos have agreement with government of India to maintain their autonomy, culture and also have a balanced relationship when it comes to sharing of resources. Yet, some are still there in Myanmar and parts of Bhutan. It was insurgency which started moving towards criminalisation and then extortionist. So more than militancy, there is now administrative issues which should be resolved by government. Armed retaliation should be the last resort.
Responses to terrorism must be similar across geographies and cultures and differential standards must not be accepted.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) is an encouraging development because combating terrorist usage of Internet has stakeholders beyond the government. Many major social networking sites emphasised their shared ambition to prevent terrorists from exploiting the Internet to radicalise, recruit and spread propaganda, and to protect their users from terrorists and violent extremists online.
Connecting the dots:
Government is taking adequate measures to tackle militancy and extremism across India. Identify the areas affected by militancy and extremism and actions taken to deal with them.