Internal Security Trends and Incidents

May, 03, 2019

[op-ed snap] The Maoist challenge

CONTEXT

The IED blast that claimed the lives of 15 security personnel and their driver in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra on Wednesday is a grim reminder of the challenge the Maoist movement continues to pose to the country’s internal security.

Background

  • The dead men belong to the C-60 force, an elite commando group of Maharashtra police, modelled on the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The attack comes a year after Maharashtra police gunned down 40 suspected Maoists in the same region.
  • Clearly, the Maoists want to sent out a message that they still posses the firepower to take on the security forces and establish territorial dominance.

1.A base in  a tri-junction – The geographical location and forested terrain has enabled the Maoists to establish a base in Gadchiroli, a tri-junction of Maharashtra, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

Infiltration by police forces – However, the state police reportedly has infiltrated the Maoist organisation in the region and created its own network of informers.

Drop in activity in Maharashtra – Maoist actions in the region has drastically come down unlike in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, where in April an MLA was killed along with four security personnel.

False sense of security 

  • In fact, the success in containing Maoist activities may have given a false sense of security to the commandos, who ignored the standard operating procedure when they drove out, all of them in a single vehicle, to confront the ultras who had torched the vehicles of a road construction contractor in the area.
  • That they didn’t suspect any possible ambush on the way also points to intelligence failure.

Remarkable capacity to regroup – The Maoists have always shown a remarkable capacity to regroup and strike back even in places they have faced severe crackdown: For instance, they had killed an MLA and a former legislator in Araku Valley last year, when it was believed that the movement had been crushed in Andhra Pradesh.

Unable to address underdevelopment – It could also be that the state had failed to address the deprivation and underdevelopment that in the first place created an enabling climate for the Maoists to build a base.

Conclusion

Influential militarist political group -The Maoist movement or CPI (Maoist), born out of splits in the communist movement in the 1960s, has reinvented itself many times to become an influential militarist political group.

Shift to tribals – Its cadre base too has shifted from peasants in the 1960s to tribals in the 1990s and thereafter.

Restricted to central India – However, a decade since the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, described them as the gravest internal security threat, the ultra-left political movement is now restricted to pockets of Central India.

A focussed and co-ordinated effort by security agencies could further limit its footprint and finally end its violent run. That’s both a political and administrative challenge.

Feb, 22, 2019

[op-ed snap] Looking beyond Pulwama

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IED

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s response to security threats and measures to tackle them


Context

  • The death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a suicide bomb attack in Pulwama,  has shocked the nation, as it was unprecedented in recent times. An explosion of this magnitude was not ever presaged.
  • The CRPF has already ordered a court of inquiry into the lapses that may have led to the disaster, and to rectify the shortcomings.

Intelligence Failure

  • There has been an intelligence failure through the agencies claim to have sounded the security forces of a possible improvised explosive device attack.
  • Such information without any specifics could not have been acted upon with the seriousness it deserved.
  • Even an inkling of the possibility of an attack on the convoy could have put the road opening patrols and the officials manning the convoy on very high alert.
  • Intensive checking could then have been carried out of all vehicles so as to intercept and avert any mishap.
  • It seems, the intelligence feed was not given the attention and seriousness it warranted.

Operational Failures

  • Southern Kashmir has been the hotbed of terrorism with many young boys joining the militant ranks in recent months.
  • Intensive checking of vehicles and possible hideouts could have put breaks on their dirty mission that a long convoy of 78 vehicles with over 2,547 men had to move in the wee hours from Jammu is being questioned.
  • The convoy was split for better command and control and to avoid bunching, they are reported to have got close to each other on nearing Lethpora.
  • By no stretch of the imagination could any convoy commander have exercised proper command and control over the fleet and personnel extending over quite a few kilometres considering the mandatory distance that needs to be maintained between each vehicle as per the Standard Operating Procedure.

Measures  taken to enhance security

  • All civil vehicles need to be banned from plying on the highway when military/paramilitary convoys are on the move.
  • Ambulances and emergency service vehicles could be the sole exception to this rule.
  • While intelligence agencies need to beef up their sources, the security apparatus calls for a thorough review.
  • The J&K Police is already planning to install CCTVs all along the 400 km-stretch of the highway, right from the entry point to the state in Lakhanpur in Punjab to Sonmarg beyond Srinagar.

Proposed Measures

  • As a force multiplier, drones could also be pressed into service to hover along the highway and detect any suspicious movement of men or vehicles along the route.
  • Quick reaction teams deployed at vantage points along the highway could be rushed to spots where suspicious movements are noticed through real-time pictures and take remedial measures.
  • Similarly, the extensive use of sniffer and tracker dogs could lead to the recovery of explosives and even terrorists.
  • The Belgian Malinois dogs presently being used by the CRPF in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha have proved their mettle by way of being instrumental in the recovery of huge quantities of explosives in various operations.
Jan, 31, 2019

[op-ed snap] Stormy weather awaits India in 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2,3: International relations| Security| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of India’s security challenge both at external and internal fronts.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the difficult external and internal situation that India might face in the year 2019, in a brief manner.


Context

  • As India prepares for the general election this year, the country faces a difficult external and internal situation and it needs to remain alert to unexpected developments.

The World outlook looks gloomy in 2019

  • A global leadership vacuum is leading to chaos concerning rules governing the international order.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s utterances and actions are provoking strong counter-reactions, especially from China and Russia.
  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s attack on China, in October 2018, has signalled the beginning of a new Cold War.
  • Mr. Trump has threatened to pull out of a major arms control treaty with Russia.
  • Russia has also been talking of building stronger deterrence and Cold War 2 seems for real now.

Nations are today working at cross-purposes across the globe

Russia

  • Russia is vigorously pursuing its pivot to Asia and for greater influence in Eurasia.
  • It has deepened its partnership with China, and enhanced relations with Japan and South Korea.
  • Growing tensions in the Sea of Azov (following Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s ships) could well lead to a major conflagration between Russia and the West.

China

  • China is consolidating its position in Asia.
  • In addition to its strategic partnership with Russia, China has mended fences with Japan.
  • Its Belt and Road Initiative has become the most potent weapon in China’s armoury, with Vietnam and Japan endorsing this concept.
  • India finds itself increasingly isolated in Asia as a result.

Economic Challenge

  • Economic portents during 2018 for most of the world proved highly daunting.
  • The most challenging was the spectre of an all embracing U.S.-China trade war.
  • This had triggered highly unsettled conditions, and the situation was further aggravated by signs of a weakening Chinese economy.
  • At the beginning of 2019, it is amply evident that politics is conflicting with business across the world.
  • A decline in Britain’s financial assets and of the pound sterling following Brexit, as well as signs of increasing fragility of China’s economy, are newer concerns.
  • The likelihood of the U.S. moving into a period of slower long-term growth, one that is likely to continue for a fairly long time, is aggravating this situation.
  • India cannot hope to remain insulated from these trends.

India’s ties with Russia, Japan

  • Coming to India’s foreign policy concerns, relations with Russia and Japan could see a reset.
  • The strengthening of the Russia-China strategic relationship and the recent warmth in China-Japan relations could impact India’s relations with both countries.
  • Notwithstanding the warmth displayed in public by the leaders of India and Russia, and India and Japan, the character of our relations with these two countries could undergo a change.
  • What is evident is that India will need to expend a great deal of its diplomatic capital to ensure that relations do not decline to any considerable extent.

India’s relationship with China

  • Managing relations with China will be India’s top priority.
  • India-China relations are marked by a surface calm, but this masks an intrinsic struggle for influence in Asia and even beyond.
  • The Wuhan Spirit, notwithstanding, little has changed as far as India-China relations are concerned, except that there has not been any major Chinese incursion across the disputed India-China border.

China making in-roads in Indian Ocean region

  • In 2018, China had initiated certain moves to create a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor on the lines of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • The Chinese Navy is also poised to challenge India’s position in the Indian Ocean.
  • Chinese submarines already outnumber India’s here.
  •  China is preparing to outflank India by seeking control of the Kyaukpyu Port on the Arakan Coast in Myanmar, and planning a canal (the Kra canal), connecting the Andaman Sea with the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Together with China’s existing control over the Gwadar (Pakistan) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka) Ports, if China were to succeed in its attempts, it could give it a stranglehold across the Indian Ocean Region.
  • India’s capacity to counter such moves in 2019 appears extremely limited.

Consolidation of the ‘all weather friendship’

  • This year could also see a further consolidation of the ‘all weather friendship’ of China-Pakistan.
  • During 2018, Pakistan facilitated China’s involvement in Afghanistan (and also succeeded in co-opting Russia to be a party to talks with the Afghan Taliban).
  • The CPEC having weathered quite a few storms in 2018, seems well set to progress this further in 2019.

Indo-Pakistan relations and the Afghan Challenge

  • The prospects of India-Pakistan relations improving on the other hand, are extremely limited.
  • Cross-border terror attacks are likely to continue, as also sponsorship of terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
  • Where India will face even rougher weather is in Afghanistan where the Afghan state is perilously close to imploding.
  • India has been kept out of talks with the Afghan Taliban by all countries concerned, including the U.S., China, and Russia, apart from Pakistan.
  • This is making India’s position here highly invidious.

Mixed challenges for India in rest of South Asia

  • The outlook for India in the rest of South Asia is also mixed.
  • Towards the end of 2018, India could retrieve its position in the Maldives.
  • It also succeeded in re-establishing its influence in Bhutan.
  • The return of Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister after the general elections in Bangladesh has been a welcome relief.
  • Yet, India will need to work harder in 2019 to check China from weaning away its neighbours, including Nepal as also Bangladesh, with offers of economic and military aid.
  • India will also need to use all its resources to assist Bangladesh to limit the influence of radical Islamist groups there.

Internal Security Challenge

  • Internal security, for the better part of 2018, remained on a relatively even keel.
  • There were fewer Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks, but this is hardly an index of what lies ahead in 2019.

Left extremist violence

  • Left extremist violence went up marginally in 2018, but the movement remained circumscribed within a core area in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Ideologically, the movement has remained vibrant, and in 2019, both ideological and militant aspects will need deft handling.

Situation in Kashmir

  • In 2018, the situation in Kashmir sharply deteriorated, and the year witnessed some of the highest levels of violence since 1989.
  • There was again a sharp spurt in the number of security forces personnel being killed, alongside targeting of their families.
  • The deadlock between the Jammu and Kashmir administration and militants is unlikely to be resolved.
  • President’s rule has made little headway in sorting out the conflict-prone situation.
  • Militant outfits, the JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen, appear energised by the turn of events and can be expected to become still more active.
  • More educated locals are joining militant ranks.
  • Disclaimers notwithstanding, the presence of the Islamic State is also in evidence.
  • The consequences of this as far as 2019 is concerned could be considerable.

Resurgence of ethnic sub-nationalism in the Northeast

  • This has been simmering for some time, but now threatens to boil over, following the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  • The Bill has given rise to fears that it would drastically alter the status quo in the region.
  • The Amendment has helped unite vast segments of people across the entire Northeast.
  • The divisive potential of the recently enacted Act, will have special resonance in an election year.
  • It will demand sensitive and careful handling in 2019.

Farmers’ and Dalit unrest

  • Two other issues that kept the nation on the edge in 2018, i.e. farmers’ and Dalit unrest, still remain unattended as 2019 begins.
  • Both can ignite fires, especially in an election year.
  • There is little evidence, however, that the causes for the unrest are receiving careful consideration.

Conclusion

  • Considering the difficult external and internal situation, peace in 2019 may prove elusive.
  • On the diplomatic front, India will need to be more dexterous.
  • The internal situation will require to be dealt with far greater understanding.
Nov, 23, 2018

[op-ed snap] Using Religion and Culture to Fight Terrorism – Lessons From the Philippine Military

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Various strategies to combat terrorism across the world


Context

The Phillipines sets a new example of counter-terrorism

  1. The Philippine government is recruiting Muslims into the military in an attempt to counter terrorism through a mixture of religious and security approaches
  2. The Philippines faces increasing security pressure since the rise of the Maute, a terrorist group affiliated with IS (Islamic State), in Marawi city
  3. Aside from the threat of IS-affiliated terrorist groups, the Philippines is also still dealing with the local pirate group Abu Sayyaf
  4. The group hijacks and abducts the crews of foreign ships for exorbitant ransoms, which could be used to fund their other terrorist activities

Religion and Culture as Tools to Resist

  1. The effort to eradicate terrorism is a global agenda
  2. Governments generally use a military approach. In reality, this is not enough
  3. Governments must employ alternative approaches, such as using religion and culture, to confront violent extremism
  4. Indonesia has implemented deradicalisation programs to tame terrorists
  5. This method involves the communities and families of former terrorist convicts who have been reformed
  6. To reach out to millennials, the Indonesian government has also recruited young internet users with huge social media followings to spread the message of peace

Positive and negative impacts of special Muslim units

  • Positives
  1. It could create more room for dialogue when compared with conventional military manoeuvres
  2. With Muslim members, this special unit can be more sensitive to religious and cultural needs
  3. It could garner support from local communities
  4. Having a Muslim unit operate in a Muslim majority area will hopefully reduce suspicion in local communities towards the Philippines’ military deployments
  5. At the same time, this can be a counter-narrative to the local view that military deployment by the government is a form of invasion
  • Negatives
  1. It could create factions or disparities within the military between the Muslim unit and other units
  2. There have been plenty of cases in various countries such as Turkey and Myanmar that show how the military can be fragmented when different factions are hostile to each other
  3. If a spirit of nationalism isn’t properly planted, the special Muslim unit could actually pose a new problem for the Philippines
  4. Instead of making the process for peace easier, it could actually act as new fuel for a conflict that has long been there
  5. Such an approach might actually create a stigma that Muslim terrorists must be fought against by equally hardline Muslims soldiers
  6. These days, Islam is often regarded as a religion or faith that is steeped in a violence
  7. If this newly established special Muslim unit is not managed properly, the stigma could actually worsen

Lessons for other countries

  1. With limited military strength, the government is able to devise an alternative strategy to ruin the foundation of extremism
  2. At the same time, the government is reducing the potential conflict with local communities and building the Philippines’ military image within Southeast Asia
  3. Other countries can learn plenty of lessons from how the Philippines combats extremism, from operational strategies and fieldwork technicalities, to how to comprehensively handle perpetrators and the psychological impact of terrorism on society

Curated from the article: Using religion and culture to fight terrorism: lessons from the Philippine military

Oct, 01, 2018

Initiative to stop terrorist travel launched on UNGA sidelines

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mandate of the GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative

Mains level: Cross-border terrorism and ways to control it.


News

Context

  • The United States and Morocco launched the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Terrorist Travel Initiative.
  • The initiative brings together stakeholders to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism, watchlisting and screening tools.

GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative

  1. The initiative was announced on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
  2. The program will be run by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), a multilateral organization founded in 2011 by the European Union and 29 nations, including the United States and Russia.
  3. Reinforcing Resolution 2396, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council in December 2017, the initiative will reinforce methods for countries and organisations to stop terrorist travel.
  4. Terrorist travel is being curbed at the moment through Advanced Passenger Information (API), Passenger Name Record (PNR), and biometrics that have been prescribed in Resolution 2396.
  5. The initiative will convene a series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 to develop recommendations, to be endorsed by a GCTF ministerial in 2019, according to the release.

Back2Basics

Global Counterterrorism Forum

  1. The Global Counter-terrorism Forum is an informal, apolitical, multilateral counter-terrorism (CT) platform that was launched officially in New York on 22 September 2011.
  2. The GCTF’s mission is to diminish terrorist recruitment and increase countries’ civilian capabilities for dealing with terrorist threats within their borders and regions.
  3. The Forum works with partners around the globe to identify critical civilian needs to effectively counter terrorism, mobilize the necessary expertise and resources to address such needs, and enhance global CT cooperation.
  4. One of the key goals of the GCTF is to support and catalyze implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  5. In pursuance of this goal, the GCTF works closely with UN bodies and with other relevant international and regional organizations, to reinforce, complement, and support multilateral CT and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts.
  6. The GCTF’s Coordinating Committee, which meets twice per year and provides strategic guidance on how best to address the evolving terrorist threat.
  7. Both India and Pakistan are founding members of this forum.
Aug, 25, 2018

[op-ed snap] A blasphemous law

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Secularism

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Rising cases of populist view dominating rulemaking in the country & implications of such decisions on liberal secular principles of our democracy


Context

Punjab’s sacrilege law

  1. The Punjab government’s proposal to amend Article 295 of the Penal Code is deeply regressive and will have deep ramifications beyond Punjab
  2. The proposed amendment gives life imprisonment for whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to the Guru Granth Sahib, the Bhagwad Gita, the Quran and the Bible
  3. Using state power to enforce the sacred, both defiles the sacred and messes with the secular

Learnings from Pakistan

  1. The progressive strengthening of anti-blasphemy laws in Pakistan during the Seventies was a sign of a toxic combination of greater intolerance and authoritarianism

What should a liberal state strive for?

A liberal state needs two sensibilities

  1. The first is that many good things are good and derive their authentic meaning precisely from the fact that there is no coercion behind them
  2. The second is that personal beliefs and faith, even if entirely sound, do not by themselves provide sufficient ground for the state using its coercive power to enforce them

Populist laws are tearing apart secular fabric

  1. In India, we are constantly expanding the circle of deference to the religious sentiment
  2. Making religious sentiments the basis for law is a recipe for competitive political mobilisation and conflict, not of peace
  3. The law is sectarian as it protects four texts and the state has decided which texts get protection
  4. If the desecrators have a political purpose, it is to make sure that they can use religious sentiments to destroy India’s liberal democracy
  5. Religious sentiments need not be illiberal, but they become illiberal when they become the basis for the state enforcing the idea that everyone has to defer to those sentiments

Using present laws to deal with this problem

  1. It is true that in Punjab there were acts of desecration of several religious texts
  2. But there are enough existing laws to deal with those who would want to maliciously generate enmity between communities

Way Forward

  1. Caving in to some nebulous argument about religious sentiments does not just make us destroy both religion and the state, it also produces political cowardice of the highest order
  2. Any law that empowers the state to give up to life imprisonment for injury to the book is about nothing but creating a pall of fear
  3. Its effect will not be the number of prosecutions; its effect will be more palpably felt in people not even daring to push the boundaries of protest
Jul, 11, 2018

[op-ed snap] Don’t blame it on WhatsApp: on rumours and lynch mobs

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media & social networking sites in internal security challenges

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Mob lynchings cases and ways to prevent them


Context

Whatsapp is an emerging threat

  1. A ‘serial killer’ painted in a luminescent green is on the loose and travels in the pockets of more than 200 million people in India
  2. Rumours on WhatsApp that there are child kidnappers and cattle traders roaming around have led to mob lynchings
  3. Such rumours are posited as incontrovertible facts

Ignorant masses

  1. A debate has been framed around the growing use of technology by the “ignorant” masses and the responsibilities of a technology platform
  2. But these actions can largely be attributed to the sectarian discourse set by our political leadership
  3. It is easy to get swept in this wave of social panic and draw neat narratives which ignore factual complexity
  4. It is a deepening divide that is damaging fraternity within society, and the structural reforms necessary to restore law and order

Important facts

  1. The government maintains no central data on public lynchings
  2. The legal framework in India does not have any anti-lynching offences either
  3. In the absence of official data or a substantive law, media reports which quote the police become the principal source to build a public narrative
  4. The victims of mob lynchings are quite often members of nomadic tribes and religious minorities
  5. Some of the identities of the victims demonstrate that their distinction from the local communities and lack of power, their “othering”, and absence of state protection were significant factors in the distrust which rose to the level of organised mob violence

Is WhatsApp the sole offender?

  1. We ignore the problems within our legal framework and law enforcement
  2. Making policy choices with the same ease with which we install applications on our smartphones is leading to WhatsApp being made the principal offender in designing a technical architecture which offers security, privacy and has expanded the avenues of free expression and political organising for masses of Indians
  3. But WhatsApp cannot and should not perform the duties of our democratically elected government

Way Forward

  1. Our problematic framing is leading to public officials and police departments escaping accountability as they continue to place the onus of governance on a private corporation for maintaining an ordered and democratic society
  2. It is the duty of public commentary to fix responsibility and penetrate the clouds of deception, rhetoric, mystification, obscurity and indeterminacy
Jun, 16, 2018

[op-ed snap] The changing nature of violence

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Security | Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Not much

Mains level: The editorial highlights commonness amongst all mass agitations and protests and suggests security agencies understand their evolving nature. This will help them modify their tactics for effective handling of such situations.


News

Public Outrage vs. Police

  1. Events in Thoothukudi have helped turn the spotlight on the changing nature of violence, and the inadequacy of existing rules and procedures to deal with various new-era protests ranging from Stone Pelting , Dalit Angst to Farmers Agitation.
  2. This should be instructive, for new-era protests are redefining the internal security landscape.
  3. At present no one, the courts of judicature included, seems to understand the shifting taxonomy of violence.

What causes such Violence?

  1. In instances of this kind, it is vital to try to determine the actual trigger that led to the violence.
  2. For instance, in the December 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, it was the ‘unsynchronised eruption of simmering anger’ which seemed to have been the tipping point.
  3. A mere reference to the failure of intelligence, the usual charges against the administration, or to excessive use of force by the police is inadequate to explain the turn of events of such violence.

Absence of Leaders OR Provocateurs

  1. The widest gap separating the official version from that of the public is about the presence/absence of ‘agent provocateurs’ among the protesters.
  2. Agitations also tend more and more to be ‘leaderless’.
  3. It is no secret that many of today’s large-scale protests across the country are prompted by militant elements from outside, who are pre-programmed to create chaos through Social Media.
  4. Prolonged agitation multiplies its intensity. This is a phenomenon seen in other protest movements elsewhere as well.

Age of repressed anger

  1. This is the age of ‘high voltage’ revolt, basically an expression of repressed anger.
  2. Much of this arises from an “embedded wisdom” that the system is being “manipulated” in favour of the rich, the powerful, and the big multinationals.
  3. With several hundreds of workers now thrown out of work following the closure of the Sterlite factory, the danger is that they could become new nodes for instigating fresh rounds of violence.

Radicalization by LWE

  1. In Thoothukudi, the revolt was against Sterlite and its so-called disdain for the environment and the suffering of the locals.
  2. Far away in Bhangar, West Bengal, just a few miles away from Kolkata, for months villagers have been up in arms against a power grid project for which land had been acquired many years ago.
  3. The conditions may be different, but the opposition remains equally intense.
  4. In most instances, we see organisations genuinely interested in the welfare of the locals initially launching the agitations, which gradually tend to be taken over by extreme right-wing and left-wing organisations.
  5. The result remains the same: widespread disruption.

Initial nature of protests creates an Illusion

  1. It is possible that the initial peaceful nature of the protests lulled the authorities into believing that matters were well under control.
  2. What they failed to understand was the metastasising nature of the protests and signs of the growing revolt of an ‘underclass’ against the so-called ‘elite’.
  3. The police also do not seem to have taken into consideration the kind of impetus provided to agitational methodologies by the ‘digital wave’.
  4. This qualitative difference has not filtered down enough to effect changes in administrative policies and police methodologies.

Police effectiveness in Question

  1. Advice from old-timers in the police on how to manage today’s crowds, including the erection of barricades and promulgation of Section 144, have little relevance in the circumstances prevailing today.
  2. Police effectiveness is also hampered on account of several other reasons, including that they are often outnumbered by mobilised crowds, driven by indignation and rage, predisposed towards creating disorder.
  3. The police on their part need to realise that existing laws and procedures notwithstanding, merely putting faith and focus on strength is not likely to succeed.
  4. It ignores the asymmetrical measures available to today’s mobs, and the limits that these impose on tactics and policies of a bygone era.

The Way Forward

  1. Whenever situations of this kind arise, there are a spate of reports regarding revamping intelligence and introduction of new methods to overcome the lacunae in intelligence collection.
  2. These are equally unlikely to succeed, unless the police strengthen their ‘contextual’ intelligence to deal with today’s situations.
  3. This involves anticipating the meaning of ‘street power’ – enhanced by information technology and the presence of flash mobs.
  4. New ‘smart tactics’ have to be developed. Simply blaming the police is no answer to the growing volumes of protests everywhere.
Dec, 26, 2017

[op-ed snap] Tackling Maoism

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much 

Mains level: Very important newscard. The article talks about steps taken by government to counter the issue of Maoism(both development and security related).


News

Seriousness at the ground level

  1. The CRPF  has lost 40 personnel in two Maoist attacks in the first half of 2017 in Sukma, the most severely Maoist-affected district of Chhattisgarh
  2. But forces spirit to fight back has not dampened

Things are changes from government’s side

  1. The government’s response has matured in terms of deliverance, from reactive it has become proactive, and from localised it has become holistic

Positive work done against Maoism by the government

  1. Many new police stations and security camps were set up to prevent any major Maoist attack
  2. The cadre strength of the Maoists has consequently reduced
  3. When the Maoists decided to create a new zone, the target districts were immediately put on alert, so as not to allow them to gain ground. Security forces were redeployed to ensure better territorial command
  4. As the Chhattisgarh police have experience in tackling Maoists in Bastar, they are now coordinating with the bordering States to strengthen intelligence and ground presence
  5. Such coordinated proactive policing will dampen the Maoists’ plans

Not merely a Law and Order problem

  1. The Maoist problem is not merely a law and order issue
  2. A permanent solution lies in eliminating the root cause of the problem that led to the alienation of tribals in this area
    Government’s focus on development
  3. The focus now is to build roads and install communication towers to increase administrative and political access of the tribals, and improve the reach of government schemes
  4. The government has enhanced the support price of minor forest produce likeimli(tamarind)
  5. More bank branches have been opened to ensure financial inclusion
  6. All India Radio stations in the three southern districts of Bastar will now broadcast regional programmes to increase entertainment options
  7. And a new rail service in Bastar is set to throw open a new market for wooden artefacts and bell metal

‘Children in Armed Conflict’: A UN report

  1. According to the report, he Maoists are providing combat training to children in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh
  2. Despite the Maoists not wanting their children to study and get government jobs, remarkable work has been done in the field of school education and skill development

Role of civil society

  1. Civil society must join hands with the government in realising the villagers’ right to development
  2. Loopholes in implementing government schemes must not be used as a tool to strengthen the hands of the Maoists

The way forward

  1. If the youth are constructively engaged by the government, the recruitment of youth by the Maoists will slowly stop
  2. The paradigm of proactive policing and holistic development should ensure more such significant results in the future
Nov, 27, 2017

IAF banks on Tejas, new fighter to bolster fleet

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of Sukhoi 30MKI, Jaguar, Mirage, etc.

Mains level: Concerns of the IAF and steps taken by it to counter these concerns.


News

Faster induction of Tejas

  1. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking at Tejas and a single-engine fighter to be procured soon to arrest the dramatic fall in its squadron strength

Concerns of the IAF

  1. The rate of decommissioning of aircraft is way higher than the planned and even proposed inductions
  2. Tejas is a good aircraft, and 123 of them will be inducted in the force as planned
  3. But the numbers are not coming fast enough, and the requirement is much beyond that in other categories
  4. The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons and a projected requirement of 45 to face the anticipated threat of a two-front war
  5. Now, the force has 33 squadrons and by December-end, it will be down to 31

Steps taken by the IAF

  1. The IAF is upgrading most of the aircraft in its inventory. But from 2025, most of those aircraft such as the Jaguars and the MiG-29s will start going out
  2. In a month, the IAF is expected to issue the Request for Information (RFI) for over a 100 single-engine fighter aircraft under the Strategic Partnership model
  3. Lockheed F-16 and Saab Gripen are in the race for the order and have already tied up with the Tatas and the Adani group, respectively, to build the jets locally with technology transfer
  4. The order for 83 Tejas Mk-1A jets is expected soon
Nov, 21, 2017

New J&K surrender policy for local ultras

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Crucial for internal security


News

New policy

  1. The new surrender policy is considering provision of
    (1) “passports and jobs to any local youth who gives up the gun” and
    (2) “support for his full assimilation into society”
  2. Meanwhile, parents of two more militants have appealed through the media to their sons to give up militancy and rejoin the family
  3. Around 60 boys have already been brought back into the main stream

What was the old policy?

  1. Earlier, the surrender policy was limited to those who crossed the Line of Control into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the early 1990s and were stuck there

 

Oct, 18, 2017

Centre plans 13 new Integrated Check Posts to encourage engagement with neighbours

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Security challenges and their management in border areas.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level: This article is important for mains, it talks about Integrated Check posts and why are they needed?


News

Context

  1. A Cabinet proposal to set up 13 new Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) is being mooted by the Union Home Ministry to encourage India’s engagement with its neighbours belonging to SAARC region, as also Thailand and Myanmar.
  2. Among the 13 ICPs, seven will be along the India-Bangladesh border, apart from the three already operational there.
  3. Only one will be on the India-Pakistan border while four will be on the India-Nepal border and one on the India-Myanmar border.
  4. The cost of setting up 13 ICPs will be Rs 3,000 crore.

 

ICP- Integarted Check Post

  1. An ICP not only provides various services under one roof but is also equipped with cargo process building, cargo inspection sheds, warehouse, cold storage, currency exchange counters, Internet hubs, clearing agents, banks, vehicle scanners, isolation bay and parking.
  2. The new ICPs are able to interdict such elements while facilitating legitimate trade and comm
  3. The setting up of new ICPs was first proposed by the UPA government, which set up a separate body, Land Port Authority of India (LPAI), in 2011 for their management.
  4. The borders need to be secured against interests hostile to the country.
  5. It is therefore necessary to undertake integrated development of infrastructure at the entry points on our land borders.
  6. The Ministry of External Affairs was the first to recommend the four ICPs on the India-Nepal border, and the cost of ICPs on the Nepalese side will be funded by the ministry.
  7. Following the constitution of LPAI, an Empowered Steering Committee headed by the Secretary, Border Management (MHA) and secretaries or senior representatives from the Ministries of Finance (Expenditure & Revenue), External Affairs, Commerce, Defence, Road Transport and Highways, Planning Commission and Railways were involved to expedite the projects.
  8. However, after nearly 10 years, only seven ICPs have been set up, of which five are operational. One is expected to start functioning this year and another by next year.
Oct, 18, 2017

[op-ed snap] The right balance

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Particulars of the SCO

Mains level: The article comprehensively explains the current issues related to India and the SCO. The UPSC is known to ask direct questions on such kind of topics. Very important for Mains Paper 2.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the relations between India and the SCO.

Speculations about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  1. India’s relations with Pakistan and China have entered a difficult phase has also generated apprehensions in India about the forum creating new pressures on Jammu and Kashmir

Is the SCO’s objective and India’s expectations same?

  1. Countering extremism, terrorism and separatism is a major objective of the SCO
  2. Sceptics would say the apparent convergence between what the SCO does and India wants may be somewhat deceptive
  3. They would insist that the difficulties encountered by the recent Indian bid to isolate Pakistan in various international forums should caution India against expecting too much on this front at the SCO

What India should do?

  1. India must persist in the belief that change is inevitable and purposeful diplomacy can allow India to probe for new opportunities for regional security cooperation
  2. The recent kidnapping and killing of two Chinese nationals in Pakistan underlines the prospect that Beijing can’t forever remain untouched by the terror nurtured by Pakistan

Issues related to Belt and road initiative

  1. Differences between China’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not be masked
  2. If Xi argued that the SCO could become a major vehicle for its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, Modi articulated India’s reservations, especially the impact of the project on India’s sovereignty in Kashmir

Effective steps by the Indian PM

  1. The PM appears to have found the right balance between articulating India’s concerns and underlining India’s promise to strengthen inner Asian regionalism
  2. He outlined a realistic approach towards the SCO that combined a strong emphasis on countering terrorism and a readiness to explore win-win solutions for expanding connectivity
Sep, 29, 2017

[op-ed snap] Reforms money can,t buy

Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Prelims: Cabinet Committee on Security, Central sector schemes and centrally sponsored schemes, Finance Commission

Mains level: The article  recommends that the government’s umbrella scheme modernization of police force must be followed by steps to grant the force autonomy from political masters.


News

Context

The Centre recently approved Rs 25000 Cr modernisation of police force scheme which will be implemented between 2017 and 2020.

Modernisation of police forces

  1. It will strengthen the law and order apparatus, modernise state police forces and enhance their capacity to combat terrorism.
  2. It also has special provisions for women’s security, mobility of police forces, logistical support, hiring of helicopters, upgradation of police wireless, satellite communications, crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) and e-prisons.
  3. The idea is to assist the states to upgrade their police infrastructure, especially in respect of transport, communications and forensic support, to enable them to effectively tackle the emerging challenges.

Funding Pattern of the scheme

  1. Out of the total outlay, the Centre will about 75 per cent while the states’ share will be the rest. Under the scheme, J&K, north-eastern states and states affected by Left-Wing Extremism will get a boost of Rs 10,132 crore.
  2. 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations increased the state’s share of central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent, following which Centre de-linked eight centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) from its support in 2015.
  3. While central funding of modernisation of police was stopped, non-plan funding for the same would continued.
  4. Thereafter, majority of state governments were disinclined to make any investments in police.
  5. But, the Centre again started its funding in internal security with modernisation of police forces scheme on the recommendation of Cabinet Committee on Security.

Smart Police

  • The PM in 2014 enunciated the concept of SMART police. The smartness has two dimensions external and internal.
  • External Dimension refers to the uniform a policeman wears, the way he carries himself, his weapons, the communication equipment on his person, his mobility, response time, et al. The scheme would enhance his capabilities to respond to and deal with the kind of challenges he is confronted with in his day to day work.
  • Internal Dimension refers to the expanded acronym of SMART that is, the police should be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained. This is far more important than the external dimension but the scheme hardly improves this aspect .

Problems with the police force

  1. Today we have Ruler’s police but what we need is People’s police.
  2. Accountability has to be to the Constitution, the laws of the land and the people of the country.
  3. The police is being accused of being insensitive to poor and tribals.

Way Forward

  1. Reliability would increase only when the police are objective, fair and impartial. Gadgetry won’t help here.
  2. It is the state of mind which matters. And to achieve that state of mind, police must be freed from the stranglehold of politicians.
  3. The scheme must be followed by structural reforms, institutions like the state security commission, police establishment board and complaints authority must be set up in every state in keeping with the directions of the Court.
  4. The GOI should bring police and public order in the Concurrent List of Schedule VII of the Constitution. Constitutional experts like Fali S. Nariman have strongly spoken in favour of such an amendment.
  5. Sustained economic progress needs the solid foundation of good law and order, and we cannot have good law and order in the country unless the police are reorganised, restructured and rejuvenated.

Back2basics

Cabinet Committee on Security

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Central Government of India decides on India’s defence expenditure, matters of National Security, and makes significant appointments.
  2. CCS is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and comprises the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Minister of External Affairs.

Central Sector Scheme
It is entirely (100%) funded by the Union Government and implemented by central agencies.
These schemes are mainly related to the subjects in the Union list. Example- Golden Quadrilateral

Centrally Sponsored Schemes
A certain percentage of the funding is borne by the States in the ratio of 50:50, 70:30, 75:25 or 90:10 and the implementation is by the State Governments. These schemes are mainly related to the subjects in the State List. Example-MGNREGA

 

 

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