India is externally prone to multiple vulnerability owing to a myriad of factors, geopolitical positioning hostile neighbourhood, long and treacherous borders, long maritime belt, etc internally, its communal, caste, linguistic and ethnic economic disparities, political conflicts and turmoil, etc. contribute to its vulnerability. But the genesis of India’s internal security has undergone a radical change, of late, for the worse. In the conventional breed, the internal threats used to be home¬spun, contrary to the external which were of an external genesis. In the new setting, the politico-strategic objectives, planning, finances, motivation, etc. of an internal threat are often of external origin. Clandestine in nature, these operations are connected to some domestic fault-lines which lend them a character and colour of an internal security problem.
India has since long been paying dearly for these externally- sponsored internal security threats. It is a unanimously accepted fact that the internal security is the most vulnerable segment of the country’s national security. This fact has been concurred by the reports of the Kargil Committee.
Some studies have tried to quantify this external factor in India’s internal security, and it has been placed at as high as 80 per cent. This will have calamitous effects and, to cope with such an alarming situation, what is called for is not intelligence reforms but, as Deborah Barger propounded, intelligence transformation. Our security measures have to be so aligned as to address the peculiarities of this emerging exigencies rather than aligning them as we wish things to be.
There are various factors for the paradigm shift in the approach to the perpetration of security threats by cross-border agencies. Conventional and formal wars are becoming more and more costly and obsolete. In such a scenario, covert action has evolved as suitable alternative to many nations and agencies. It is a low cost and sustainable offensive. This offensive strategy is being employed not only by asymmetric powers too weak to employ formal and conventional means, but even by major powers. The political doctrine prescribed by the US for “protecting supreme national interests” is yet another facade for this diabolic scheme.
This covert scheme has cost India dearly so far with nearly 70,000 human lives including over 9,000 security personnel and untold miseries and incalculable losses. The nuclear-empowered Pakistan has repositioned its massive apparatus to destabilise India. Pakistan has been trying to use Kashmir as a pretext for jihad for all Muslims over the years.
The jihadi irregulars have become an integral part of Pakistani offensive machinery as evidenced by the Kargil War. Our responsive doctrines need to be re-visited and reviewed in the light of the massive Pak operations which have so far caused the death of over 12,000 Pakistani terrorists on the Indian soil. Powerful jihadi Wahabism is yet another threat targetted towards Muslim population. A sizeable population of Afghanistan and Pakistan has come under its spate and desperate attempts are being made to spread its tentacles to India.
The superimposition of this exported variant of Islam has to be countered- ideologically and strategically.
In the North-Eastern Border States, demographic invasion from Bangladesh has become so frequent that the natives are forced to sell their lands and flee to other parts. It has resulted in a total demographic transformation and has assumed an inexorable proportion.
The gravity of the situation has grown to the extent of voices, subdued though, in support of greater Bangladesh, emerging both in Assam and Bangladesh this illegal migrant population, exceeding 20 million, is not confined just to the seriously affected states like Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, but have found new habitations in the entire length and breadth of the nation. Unscrupulous political patronages at the connivance of corrupt public officials have even won for these illegal immigrants’ identity documents establishing their legitimate existence in the land.
The repeal of the IMDT by the Supreme Court of India and the introduction of new rules formed under Foreigners Act have facilitated an easier mobility for this growing population.
In the North-East India, militant Islamic groups linked to extremist organisations in Bangladesh have already formed over a dozen militant outfits with highly sinister objectives. The revelations made by the arrested Kari Salim and his associates indeed were shocking. It is learnt that for tactical reasons, the mentors of these outfits in Pakistan and Bangladesh have advised their groups not to strike until they are fully mature in their preparedness and congenial political environment.
Alongside, a concerted, campaign aimed at the consolidation of the immigrant Muslims in collaboration with local Muslim leaders has started. Clearly, a violent uprising is aimed at, with weaponry, trained cadres, strategic guidance and operating funds sponsored from across the border.
The insurgents in the North- Eastern states have their bases in Bangladesh and Myanmar which is the sustaining factors of insurgencies in the North-East. The peculiar ethno-political climate of this region is a safe haven for the spread of fundamentalist operations.
Yet another upcoming threat to India’s internal security is the operations of the CPM (Maoists) in Nepal. This outfit, which has known linkages with Indian Left-Wing Extremists, has become shareholders in Nepal’s new power dispensation. Already, the revelations made by the Nepalese Maoists with respect to bilateral relationship between the two countries, have been quite disturbing. The Maoists in Nepal are believed to be working with this agenda of ousting the monarchy with political support.
Subjecting the points of security concern to be a close-knit and comprehensive scrutiny, it is quite clear that a formidable challenge lies ahead. Admittedly, maintaining a constant vigil over a country with a population of over one billion people occupying a landmass of 3 million sq km and having treacherous borders of 15000 sq km is not an easy task. Obviously, to deal with such a highly demanding situation calls for high-calibre intelligence capability-intelligence timely overhauled to meet the upcoming challenges.
Upgradation of the weaponry, numerical strengthening of the security forces and their training, strengthening protective cover for the targeted entities are vital. What should be of priority concern is intelligence and smart operations. It should be borne in mind that what the whole brigades and battalions with their weaponry and battleships cannot accomplish can be achieved by a handful of real-time professionals.