Need For Internal Security Plan in India

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    Syllabus: GS3/Internal Security

    • India’s strength on the international stage is closely tied to its internal cohesion and ability to address domestic challenges effectively. As we look ahead to the next five years, it becomes crucial to formulate a comprehensive internal security plan. 
    • Post-Independence Turmoil: After gaining independence, India faced violent agitations, including Communist uprisings in Bengal and the south during the early 1950s.
    • Insurgencies and Regional Unrest: The 1960s and 1970s witnessed insurgencies in the Northeast (Nagaland and Manipur), linguistic tensions, and left extremist threats.
      • Left Wing Extremism (Naxalism): The Naxal-Maoist insurgency in the Red Corridor remains a persistent challenge. In 2010, there were 96 terror-affected districts; now, there are only 46, with a decline in violence.
      • In the 1980s and 1990s, India grappled with the Khalistan insurgency in Punjab.
    • Kashmir Issue and Separatist Movements: The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) following Partition remains a persistent problem. While violence levels have decreased, discontent persists.
      • Despite reduced violence, Kashmir remains an intractable issue. Indigenous militants contribute to the unrest, and achieving lasting peace remains elusive.
    • Terrorism involves the use of violence or threats to achieve political, ideological, or religious objectives. Both domestic and foreign terrorist organisations operate in India. Notable groups include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Indian Mujahideen, and Hizbul Mujahideen etc.
    • Cyber Attacks: With increasing technology use, cyber attacks pose a significant threat. These attacks can target critical infrastructure, financial systems, and sensitive information, impacting economic security.
    • Organised Crime: Smuggling, drug trafficking, and extortion harm India’s economy and threaten citizens’ safety.
    • Multidimensional Challenges: Internal security challenges have transformed from geographical to thematic. Thematic challenges include cyber security, data security, and narco terror. Fourth-generation warfare also poses risks.
    • Economic Disparities and Social Fissures: Economic inequalities and communalism create fissures in society, making it susceptible to external manipulation for security threats.
    • Technology and Cyber Warfare: Advances in technology, including AI, Machine Learning, and 5G, alter the security landscape.
      • Cyber terrorism, phishing attacks, and cyber fraud pose risks to individuals, businesses, and national infrastructure
    • India’s security is intertwined with global challenges, including population growth, poverty, and human rights concerns.
    • In April 2023, UN human rights experts raised concerns about the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of human rights defender Muhammad Ahsan Untoo in India.
    • India’s strategic location in South Asia, along important Indian Ocean trade routes, plays a crucial role in its internal security.
      • The country shares borders with several neighbouring nations, including China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
    • India’s population is projected to reach 7 to 8 billion within the next 25 years. Currently, half of the world’s population growth occurs in just six countries, including India.
      • Managing such population growth is crucial for internal security, as it impacts resources, infrastructure, and social stability.
    • Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971: It allowed for the detention of individuals in certain cases to prevent actions prejudicial to the defence, relations with foreign powers, and security of India.
      • It empowered the government to detain individuals if their actions posed risks to public order, maintenance of supplies and services, or the security of the state.
      • Although the MISA was repealed in 1978, it played a significant role during its existence.
    • Indian Maritime Security Strategy (2015): The Indian Navy formulated the Indian Maritime Security Strategy in 2015. It outlines measures to enhance maritime security, protect India’s maritime interests, and address challenges in the Indian Ocean region.
    • Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR): It was established by the Indian Navy to enhance maritime domain awareness and security in the Indian Ocean.
      • It facilitates information sharing, collaborative efforts, and coordination among regional navies and agencies.
    • Internal Security Doctrine: Ideally, India should have a National Security Doctrine (NSD) that outlines both internal and external challenges facing the country.
      • Unfortunately, despite drafts prepared by the National Security Advisory Board, an approved NSD remains elusive.
    • Streamlined Ministry for Internal Security: Urgent internal security matters often don’t receive the prompt attention they deserve. To address this, consider appointing a young, junior minister with independent charge of internal security, as demonstrated by Rajesh Pilot in the past.
    • The Northeast: Prime Minister has aptly called the Northeast ‘a piece of our heart’. However, challenges persist, including insurgency and ethnic tensions. A focused approach is necessary to ensure stability and development in this region.
      • The Home Ministry’s formation of a multi-ethnic peace committee has not been productive; it is time for the PM to take charge of the situation himself. The problems of illegal migration, drug trafficking and arms smuggling would require a comprehensive approach.
    • Naxal Problem: The Minister of State for Home Affairs, in a statement made in the Rajya Sabha, claimed that the implementation of the ‘national policy and action plan’ had resulted in a consistent decline in violence and shrinkage of the geographical spread of left-wing extremism’s (LWE) influence.
      • Violence and the resultant deaths had declined by 73% from a high in 2010.
      • He further stated that the number of police stations reporting LWE-related violence had come down from 465 police stations across 96 districts in 2010 to 171 police stations across 42 districts in 2023.
    • Restructuring Intelligence Bureau/CBI: The two premier central police organisations, Intelligence Bureau and the CBI, require restructuring.
      • It is high time that it is given a statutory basis to the IB, with safeguards to prevent the misuse of intelligence to bolster the party in power.
      • CBI is an anomalous arrangement and, as recommended in the 24th report of the Parliamentary Committee, ‘the need of the hour is to strengthen the CBI in terms of legal mandate, infrastructure and resources’.
    • Strengthening Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and State Police: The Prime Minister wants the PMO to function as People’s PMO. Indeed, it should! But of greater value, more relevant, would be the transformation of the ‘Ruler’s Police’ that we have inherited from the British into the ‘People’s Police’.
      • Robert Peel, former British PM, is remembered to this day for having reformed the country’s police.
      • The government would do well to appoint a high-powered commission to go into these problems for their long-term solution.
    • Use of Technology: There is enormous scope for technological inputs into the functioning of police in the country. These inputs would act as force multipliers.
      • As suggested by the PM himself at the DGPs’ conference in 2021, there is a need to set up a high-powered technology mission to recommend the adoption of latest technologies for the new challenges which the police are already facing or are likely to face in the future.
    • National Security Strategy (NSS): India lacks a well-crafted NSS, which would force the government to assess threats, opportunities, and global security trends comprehensively. A regular NSS would provide clarity on ends, ways, and means, essential for operationalizing theatre commands.
    • Integrated Security Policy and Intelligence Collection and Sharing: Given integrated security threats, India must develop a policy that encompasses economic, trade, defence, foreign policy, and domestic social challenges.
    • Other steps can be building infrastructures like roads, railways, and connectivity projects in troubled regions, focusing on financial inclusion, skills development, and quality education etc could be beneficial.
    • A country projects its strength at the international level in direct proportion to its internal cohesion, its ability to resolve the differences within and not have any swamps where terrorists or extremists of any shade can breed. The internal security scenario of the country would be much better if action on the above lines is initiated with foresight and imagination.
    • India’s internal security is a dynamic field that requires continuous efforts from the government, security forces, and citizens. Balancing development, social harmony, and safety remains a critical challenge.
    Daily Mains Practice Question
    [Q] What strategic measures should India prioritise in its internal security plan to address emerging threats such as cyberattacks, terrorism, and geopolitical tensions?