SYNOPSIS [24th DECEMBER,2020] Day 64: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

  • IASbaba
  • December 26, 2020
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [24th DECEMBER,2020] Day 64: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


Q 1.Border surveillance capability is a critical component of border security. Do you agree? What is India’s preparedness on this front? Discuss. 

Approach – It expects you to write about border surveillance its critical role in border security and highlight on India’s preparedness on such front.


India’s land border covers around 15,106 km sharing boundaries with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Varied terrains, climatic conditions and hostile neighbours make its borders complex and border management an important part of its security.


Border surveillance capability is a critical component of border security:

  1. Since the borders with six countries are having entirely different terrain and temperature profile the Indian Army needs for surveillance systems on these different border areas are also hugely varied. While the army would require the unmanned aerial vehicles for across the borders day-night monitoring in all the seasons, the ground level deployment of the night vision devices and other ground level intrusion detection systems are also very important.
  2. The border surveillance deal with major border security challenges such as to prevent cross-border terrorism for example Pathankot attack, Uri attackand Pulwama attack.
  3. Border surveillance is important for also preventing infiltration and exfiltration of armed militants and insurgents, narcotics and arms smuggling; illegal migration;and separatist movements aided by external powers.
  4. Border surveillance helps in maintaining peace and stability by controlling the security concerns related to inter-region and intra-region issues.
  5. Another important advantage of border surveillance is in proper and swift disaster management. Difficult and harsh terrains of Indian borders and relatively low development of bordering countries make it inevitable for India to prepared and self-sufficient to handle any kind of disasters.
  6. To increase capability tender for purchase of six Border Surveillance Management Systems (BSMS) to cater to the needs of Indian Army’s peace time requirements for countering the infiltration attempts from Pakistan. The border areas are already equipped with a strong surveillance mechanism which includes the three tier fencing, flood lighting, sensors, thermal imagers and manual patrolling.
  7. The Army expects to enhance its anti-infiltration capabilities through the BSMS.  With increasing challenges from across the border the army also needs to constantly improve upon its existing surveillance mechanism.

India’s border surveillance preparedness:

  • Space technology in Border Management:ISRO is set to launch a satellite exclusively for Home Ministry.The satellite will be used for improving communication and navigation, managing security, operational planning and border management.These satellites will help the security forces to know any activity occurring on border with the help of satellite imagery.
  • BOLD QIT: BOLD-QIT is a project to install technical systems under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), which enables the BSF to equip Indo-Bangla borders with different kinds of sensorsin the unfenced riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributaries. Now, the entire span of the river Brahmaputra has been covered with data network generated by Microwave communication, OFC Cables, DMR Communication, day and night surveillance Cameras and intrusion detection systems.
  • Flood lighting: Lack of floodlights on the border allows the smugglers to perpetrate cattle smuggling their devious activities during night. In order to curb the attempt of infiltration and cross-border crimes along the Indo- Pakistan border, the government has sanctioned 2,030.44 km of floodlights along the international border in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
  • Laser Fencing: In many areas, BSF had decided to install laser fencing two years ago. There are 45 such vulnerable spots along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir where it will be installed and eight infrared and laser beam intrusion detection systems have started functioning in the porous treacherous and riverine tracts along the international border in Punjab.
  • Third-generation thermal imagers: It is technology used in the highly sophisticated border security system of Israel which includes high-quality long- range day cameras along with night observation systems employing third generation thermal imagers.
  • LORROS: The Army has also deployed the LORROS (Long Range Reconnaissance and Observation System) which has some tactical advantage. This can cover an area of 4 by 4 kms and can give real time video imagery during day and night. It helps in easy detection, identification and recognition of targets. 
  • UAVs: The UAVs and other surveillance gadgets already under installations have significantly reduced the incidents taking place due to human error. The mini UAVs are also intended to carry out reconnaissance in Jammu and Kashmir for counter insurgency along with the LoC with Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control with China.


The traditional approach to border management, i.e. focussing only on border security, has become inadequate. India needs to not only ensure seamlessness but with the adoption of new technologies for border control and surveillance and the development of integrated systems for entering, exchange and storage of data, will facilitate the full proof border security without endangering security personnel and internal security of India. 

Q 2. Critically evaluate the evolving trend of India’s counterterrorism response in recent years. 

Approach – It expects students to write about counterterrorism and critically evaluate the evolving trend of India’s counterterrorism response in recent years. 


Several countries in South Asia, including India, have been facing the challenge of terrorism and over the past few years there have been numerous acts of terror in the region. Many of these incidents are found to have complex international linkages and possible connections with transnational organised crime. Terrorism is an evolving phenomenon, with terrorist organisations continuously changing their modus operandi, thereby adding to the complexity and challenges faced by agencies. 


Counter-terrorism also known as anti-terrorism, incorporates the practice, military tactics, techniques, and strategy that government, military, law enforcement, business, and intelligence agencies use to combat or prevent terrorism.

Evolving trend in India’s counterterrorism response:

  • The November 2008 attacks, brought into clear focus the inability of the Indian security apparatus to anticipate and appropriately respond to major terrorist incidents.
  • The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security related information.
  • The military which is primarily geared toward foreign threats, including terrorismalso generates intelligence with relevance to domestic terrorism, and there is a centrally controlled National Security Guard (NSG) that specialises in hostage and terrorist attack situations.
  • India has raised Regional Hubs of NSG battalions in important strategic locations, to meet any unforeseen challenges.
  • The major domestic response to Mumbai has been an emphasis on streamlined coordination between agencies across state and federal lines, and the creation of a new National Investigation Agency (NIA).  The aim of the NIA is to empower a federal agency to investigate major crimes such as terrorism and organized crime without having to be asked to do so by the states. There will be special courts that can rapidly hear terror-related cases.
  • Financial Intelligence Unit-IND (FIU-IND) is the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
  • A special Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Cell has been created in the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2011, to coordinate with the Central Intelligence/Enforcement Agencies and the State Law Enforcement Agencies for an integrated approach to tackle the problem of terror funding.
  • U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Indian security services in the wake of Mumbai, illustrating the dramatic improvement in Indo-U.S. relations. There has also been increased counter terrorism intelligence sharing with India, most of it obviously related to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Deepening cooperation to reaffirm the support for the central and coordinating role of the UN in combating international terrorism, the need for strict and full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to counter terrorism, comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced way, and implementation of the provisions of the relevant international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols.Broadening counter-terrorism cooperation with the United Nations, as well as the G-20 and the for example push for black listing Pakistan in FATF.
  • Counter the global threat of terrorism on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, where applicable. For example Azhar Masood.
  • Countering extremist narratives conducive to terrorism and the misuse of the Internet and social media for the purposes of terrorist recruitment, radicalisation and incitement and providing financial and material support for terrorists.
  • Strengthening cooperation against the misuse of information and telecommunication technology for terrorist and other criminal purposes; create counter-narratives disrupting the propaganda of terrorist and extremist ideas conducive to terrorism.
  • India will hosted the first counter-terrorism exercise for the ‘Quad’ countries at the NIA headquarters in national capital on November 2019. The ‘CT-TTX’ (counter-terrorism table-top exercise) is first such engagement among the Quad countries on regional and global issues of common interest and also in the domain of counter-terrorism and cooperation.
  • The Centre has designated 18 key operatives and leaders of extremists groups as individual terrorists under the recently-amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The biggest problem with India’s counter-terrorism strategy lies in the fact that it does not have a stated policy. India’s approach to fighting terrorism has often been shaped by the approach adopted by other countries such as Australia, Canada, and the US.

Evaluation of India’s counterterrorism response:

  • India mostly seeks to adopt ideas and concepts from abroad and mould it within the Indian socio-economic context. As a result, there is a lack of clarity in India’s approach to the issue. India’s response to terrorism has been episodic to a significant degree.
  • In many countries concurrent powers are given to the central government to intervene when a state fails to take security measures. Unfortunately, India does not have that system.
  • Many times India’s dossiers sent to the international community are not taken seriously because they lack evidentiary value, even though they may be of great intelligence value. In a democratic society like India, there is no greater deterrence to terrorism than having full evidence based investigations and intelligence prediction. Thus, a good counter-terrorism matrix needs to be based on both intelligence- and investigation-based foundations.
  • Within India’s counter-terrorism matrix, there is a serious lack of understanding as well as capacity to deal with data. India also does not have the necessary infrastructure in place at the moment to be able to properly analyse the data. Unless and until the analysis of the intelligence gathered is institutionalised, it will not be possible to obtain relevant intelligence material.
  • India’s counter-terror efforts continue to be thwarted due to lack of international collaboration in respect of exchange of information and evidence or of extradition of the accused persons who are hiding outside India’s territory.
  • Terrorism is handled by different state police systems with no legal role by the central government under Schedule 7 of our Constitution. Similarly, the intelligence provided by the central government to the states is only of advisory nature.


Counter-terrorism is a national security issue and political parties must resist the attempts at politicizing them. Such policies only serve to sharpen public fears. Effective counter-terrorism requires a more comprehensive strategy. It requires a constant process of evaluation and adjustment. Also Socio-economic development is a priority so that vulnerable sections of society do not fall prey to the propaganda of terrorists promising them wealth and equity.

Q 3. How do cross border linkages amongst terrorist and insurgent organisations create security threats? Examine.


It expects students to write about – in first part write about threats which emerges due to cross border linkages amongst terrorist and insurgent organisations – in second part write about measures taken by government to address the challenge.


Since independence, India has been grappling with insurgencies and terrorist campaigns. Growing sense of ethnic and religious identities, forcible merger of princely states with the Indian Union, perceived sense of neglect and alienation, and pervasive underdevelopment are variously cited as reasons that have led to the clamour of separatism and the rise of insurgency.


Following threats emerges due to cross border linkages amongst terrorist and insurgent organisations:

  • Drug smuggling: Inter and Intra state trafficking takes place, through golden crescent and golden triangle routes. Drug from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran has affected Punjab.
  • Human-trafficking: while child and women trafficking takes place via Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Counterfeit currency: Especially from Pakistan. It corrodes economy from inside, by facilitating black money and money laundering activities as well as funding terrorism, which itself creates a demand for fake currency, thereby creating a positive feedback loop.
  • Radicalisation: Propagandas are run and funded by enemy country and other non-state actors to destabilize India by damaging the socio-religious fabric and ensure riots.
  • North-East suffers from violent movements based upon ethnic identities leading to clashes. China is alleged to support such acts e.g. ULFA members of Assam was given shelter by China.
  • Pakistan has been a major exporter of terrorism to India. Non-state actors like terrorist groups (eg Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad) are a continuous threat.
  • Naxalism: Left wing extremism affects states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Measures taken by government to address the challenge:

  • Strengthening of the borders by the implementation of recommendations of Madhukar Gupta committee report and formation of the border protection grids along the eastern front.
  • Legislation like PMLA Act, NIA Act
  • Actively pursuing the agenda of comprehensive convention against terrorism to bring all the state actors on the same page in fight against terrorism.


To resolve this issue India needs comprehensive strategy. The strategy also needs to address long standing structural issues such as judicial and police reforms. Last but not the least, sectarian and collusive politics have been significant for causing and for the persistence of terrorist and insurgent movements. An effective strategy should be able to successfully eschew political manoeuvring and posturing.

Q 4. What are your views on the efficacy of India’s security intelligence establishment? Substantiate your views.


It expects aspirants to write about – in first part write about major intelligence agencies currently operating in the country and their mandate – in second part write about concerns about the existing intelligence network – in third part write way forward.


An intelligence agency is an agency of government that is responsible for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information which is in support of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives. They gather information directly or indirectly and that includes espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of sources (public).


The major intelligence agencies currently operating in the country and their mandate include-

  • Intelligence Bureau(IB) –  The Intelligence Bureau specialised agency used to garner intelligence from within India and also execute counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism tasks.
  • Counter-intelligence refers to information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducted for or on behalf of foreign powers, organizations or persons or international terrorist activities, but not including personnel, physical, document or communications security programs.
  • Counter-terrorism tasks include political or military activities designed to prevent or thwart terrorism thereby giving a wide remit to the agency.
  • Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – A specialised, independent agency dedicated to foreign intelligence gathering.
  • Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN)- Deals with the Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cybersecurity incidents.
  • Directorate of Enforcement (DE)- An economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)- A major intelligence agency which enforces the prohibition of the smuggling of items including drugs, gold, diamonds, electronics, foreign currency, and counterfeit Indian currency.
  • Intelligence units of different states with different mandates. For example, Maharashtra intelligence unit is concerned with organised crime and smuggling activities while north-eastern states also have to deal with secessionist movements.

Concerns about the existing intelligence network:

  • The changing nature of threats emanating from the Cyberspace and social media like ISIS using secure communications networks to further its propaganda and recruit people online which cannot be tackled through the traditional setup.
  • A chronic shortage of specialised personnel coupled with the inefficient use of human resources. Take for instance the IB, a major portion of its human resources gets diverted doing daily police work like verifications, something that the agency claims it does not do any better than the police forces.
  • Intelligence Agencies with different mandates, often overlapping each other’s, sometimes leading to duplication of efforts and non-cooperation between agencies. For Ex: The mandates of RAW and IB with respect to organised crimes like smuggling.
  • Intelligence collection is ad-hoc in the absence of clear-cut requirements from the consumers of intelligence.
  • Poor cadre management and inability to recruit qualified language specialists and technical skills.
  • Lack of intellectual capacity and investment in the education system exacerbate recruitment shortfalls in intelligence agencies. Engaging private players for specialist tasks is therefore necessary.
  • Agencies suffer from a chronic shortage of military expertise.
  • Lack of a comprehensive national-level database of suspected individuals. Initiatives like NATGRID are yet to take off due to differences over data sharing between the centre and states.
  • Failure to act swiftly over the gathered intelligence by the enforcement agencies due to doubts over the credibility of the data, a fact which came to light post the Pathankot airbase attacks.
  • The country’s inability in ending various armed conflicts, be it Naga insurgency or other northern movements or Kashmir militancy exposing the fault lines in our intelligence establishment. Neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and China also have a role in fomenting these movements.
  • The inability of the police forces to prevent communal violence and growing fundamentalism in many instances like the Muzaffarnagar violence, which is mainly due to the failure of the traditional intelligence networks.
  • Lack of parliamentary statute failing to enforce accountability in intelligence agencies.
  • The National Cyber Security Policy which aimed at creating a skilled workforce of 5,00,000 professionals to tackle the growing cyber-attacks fails to suggest ways to create such a talent pool.
  • Lack of political attention and effective guidance has prevented reform and optimal functioning of the intelligence system.
  • The absence of the Chief OfDefence staff has hampered the coordination between the military and other intelligence agencies.

Way forward:

  • Intelligence agencies need to anticipate threats in advance to prevent and mitigate possible security breaches.
  • The states must rise above politics in matters of national security to implement crucial initiatives like NATGRID and NCTC.
  • A comprehensive law bringing intelligence agencies under parliamentary scrutiny will help in delineating functions of different agencies and enforce accountability to the legislature rather than the present ad-hocism.
  • The Central Government should take active steps to ensure interagency, interstate and centre-state cooperation to plug the information gaps.
  • While the revenue outlays have been increasing, the capital outlays have seen troughs and crests in the last four years. Hence, expenditure on expanding manpower has to be balanced by commensurate expenditure on infrastructure like training schools, forensic laboratories, procuring additional vehicles etc.
  • The National Cyber Security Policy has to be strengthened to address the skill gap and develop cutting edge/bleeding edge technologies in the upcoming fields of big data and data analytics to detect early patterns of crime and effectively prevent it.


No security network would be strong enough to tackle security threats unless the centre and states focus on intelligence gathering and sharing. A coordinated plan of intelligence gathering involving all stakeholders and dissemination should come into place immediately without any delay so that we can tackle the present challenges effectively.

Q 5. Discuss the mandate of Border Security Force (BSF)? How is it different from the roles and responsibilities of the Indian Army? Examine.


In the introduction explain what is BSF and brief about its origin. In the first half of main body part explain about the mandate of BSF. In the next half compare and differentiate the BSF’s mandate from roles and responsibilities of Indian Army. 


The Border Security Force (BSF) is India’s Primary border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is one of the three Border Guarding Forces (BGF) of India, and was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, “for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with”.


Mandate of Border Security Force (BSF):

  • It is a border guarding force charged with guarding India’s land border with Pakistan and Bangladesh during peacetime and preventing transnational crime at the same, it has various active roles during an outbreak of war. It comes under Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The BSF are the border guards of the country and are called the ‘First Wall of Defense of Indian Territories’.
  • It ensures the security of the borders of India and headed by an officer from the Indian Police Service. It also undertakes defensive actions during wartime to free up Indian Army troops for offensive operations. 
  • The BSF has also been tasked with assisting the CRPF and army in counter-insurgency operations.

Mandate of Border Security forces differs from roles and responsibilities of the Indian Army in following ways: 

  • Indian Army or Bhartiya Thal Sena is the land-based component of the armed forces.
  • It is evolved from the armed forces of the East India Company, ultimately turned into the British Indian Army and the Indian Army after independence. 
  • It is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Indian Army comes under defence ministry of India. 
  • It aims to preserve national interests and safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India against any external threats by deterrence or by waging war.
  • It assist Government agencies to cope with ‘proxy war’ and other internal threats and provide aid to civil authority when requisitioned for the purpose.
  • The mission of the Indian Army is to guarantee the national security and defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and harmony of India from external aggression and intimidation. 
  • It also includes providing humanitarian support and aid to the common people during natural disasters and unexpected time. 
  • The Para Commandos are the most well known of the Indian Army’s special forces. 
  • It undertakes operations behind enemy lines, anti-terrorist and counterinsurgency missions as well as rescue operations during natural disasters.
  • The government created the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India’s land border with Pakistan and Bangladesh during peacetime and preventing transnational crime at the same, it has various active roles during an outbreak of war.
  • The BSF takes its officers from IPS on deputation at command and leadership levels, from the rank of Deputy Director General (DIG) and above.
  • It aims to  guard border and prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
  • It also aims to prevent  smuggling and any other illegal activities on the border.
  • It is also charged with Anti-infiltration duties, collection trans-border intelligence and to promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
  • During war time it holds ground in assigned sectors.
  • Besides looks for maintenance of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army’s control.
  • It acts as guide to the Army in border areas and aids in control of refugees.
  • It also Performs special tasks connected with intelligence including cross-border raids.


Border Security Force and  the Indian Army, work and strive hard to secure India from Internal and external threats respectively.  Although their mandate, roles-responsibilities are different, they have worked well as a fine ‘wall of defence’ against security threats to India.  Their personals  hard work and sacrifice to check security threat is non-comparable with  any other field of career which needs to be praised as we can avail  good sleep at night only because of their sacrifice. 


TLP HOT Synopsis Day 64 PDF

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