Context: The war in Europe, political turmoils in South Asia dominates newspaper headlines today. This has pushed the debate on India’s many internal security problems on the backburner.
Upheaval in Kashmir
- While Jammu and Kashmir has been a troubled region ever since 1947, the situation has metamorphosed over the years — at times tending to become extremely violent followed by spells of near normalcy.
- Political angst over the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution is possibly one of the reasons for local support being available for the current crop of Jammu and Kashmir militants. A majority of them are believed to be home-grown militants, though backed by elements from across the border in Pakistan.
- Irrespective of the reasons for the latest upsurge in violence, what is evident is that Jammu and Kashmir has again become the vortex of violence, specialising currently on targeted killings of outsiders, mainly Kashmiri Pandits.
- Evidently, the doctrine of containment pursued by the Jammu and Kashmir police and security agencies is not having the desired effect.
- The Maoist shadow
- The combination of ideological ideation and brutal killings has often confused and confounded the police, intelligence and security establishments of the States and the Centre.
- In that sense, the Maoists represent the biggest challenge to the idea of India.
- While railing against the use of State violence, and from time to time displaying a willingness to hold peace talks with both the State and Central governments, the Maoists have seldom displayed a commitment to peaceful ways.
- More than any other militant or violent movement in the country, curbing the Maoist menace will require considerable doses of statecraft, as many of the purported demands of the Maoists find an echo among intellectuals in the cities and the ‘poorest of the poor’ in the rural areas.
In Punjab and the North-east
- The recent discovery of ‘sleeper cells’ in the Punjab clearly indicates the potential for the revival of a pro-Khalistan movement — which once ravaged large parts of the Punjab
- In Assam, the United Liberation Front of Assam–Independent (ULFA-I) is trying to revive its activities after a long spell of hibernation.
- Likewise in Nagaland, where the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has recently initiated a fresh push for a solution of the ‘Naga political issue
A threat in the South
- In the South, intelligence and police officials appear concerned about a likely revival of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-sponsored activities in Tamil Nadu.
- This stems from a possible revival of LTTE-sponsored militancy in Sri Lanka following the recent economic crises and uncertainty there.
- Security agencies in India believe that an attempt could be made to reach out to elements in Tamil Nadu to revive the spirit of the 1980s.
Limitations of a security vigil
- While the country’s security agencies do maintain a tight vigil, what is seldom realized is that security agencies can only deal with the immediate threat.
- Additional doses of security whenever a situation arises are at best a temporary solution. This does not amount to problem solving.
- To change the mindsets of both the authorities and those challenging the existing order, it may be first necessary to admit that more and more security has its limitations.
- The next step is even harder, viz., to admit that the forces threatening the state have lately become nimbler in adopting new technologies and modes of warfare.
- Long-term solutions require the use of statecraft.
- In many countries, both the authorities and security agencies are beginning to acknowledge the importance of resorting to statecraft as a vital adjunct to the role played by the security agencies.
- Statecraft involves fine-grained comprehension of inherent problems; also an ability to quickly respond to political challenges.
- It further involves strengthening the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise, and display a degree of political nimbleness rather than leaving everything to the security agencies.
- In short, it entails a shift from reposing all faith in the security establishment to putting equal emphasis on implementation of policies and programmes.
- In effect, it shifts the emphasis to formulating strategies that favour political deftness, strength and agility, after the initial phase.
Source: The Hindu
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