Internal Security: challenges and reforms required

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The internal security situation of the country has not shown any marked improvement.

India’s complex internal security problems:

  • The internal security situation is on a slippery slope. Jammu and Kashmir continues to be in the news for wrong reasons with ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army, continuing infiltrations by terrorists, their audacious attacks on security forces, and radicalisation of the youth who have been challenging the security forces on the streets.

  • Al Qaida has, in a document entitled “Code of Conduct for Mujahideen in the Subcontinent”, while laying down the do’s and dont’s for the mujahideen, declared that it will be targeting Indian security installations and leaders of Hindu organisations.

  • The Islamic State in a video has threatened to wage jihad against India, and urged all Muslims to take revenge for the injustices to Indian Muslims in Kashmir and for the communal riots in Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar.

Issues/Problems:

  • Fundamentals of security management have not been given due importance. Successive governments have not cared to codify the country’s internal security doctrine. Ad hoc decisions are being taken on crucial matters.

  • The US and UK revise their national security doctrines every year and place them in the public domain. We have done nothing of the sort, despite the fact that our internal security problems are far more complex.

  • There is no long-term policy for Jammu and Kashmir, nor is there any strategic vision to tackle the Maoist insurgency.

  • Another flaw has been the absence of an institutional response. The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) was liquidated. The NSAB has now been revived, though in an emaciated form.

  • Successive governments has not paid adequate attention to strengthening the internal security apparatus.

  • The police continues to be in a shambles. The Supreme Court gave historic directions in 2006 for police reforms, but the states haven’t taken the suggested reforms seriously. The Government of India never showed the kind of seriousness it should have for the implementation of judicial directions.

  • The government is yet to finalise the Delhi Police Bill even though Soli Sorabjee had prepared the draft more than a decade back.

  • The prime minister’s concept of a SMART police could never take off because of the indifference of the states.

  • Even important counter-terrorism projects being shelved. It was proposed to set up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC). True, the scheme had some objectionable features, but those could have been rectified and the NCTC put in place. But he NCTC project remains in limbo.

Steps taken:

  • On the Naxal front- the Conference of Chief Ministers of the affected states held came up with a new formula of SAMADHAN to tackle the problem. S stands for smart leadership, A for aggressive strategy, M for motivation and training, A for actionable intelligence, D for dashboard-based key performance indicators and key result areas, H for harnessing technology, A for action plan for each theatre and N for no access to financing. However, the Naxal problem is much too complex and requires a very comprehensive strategy.

  • On the Northeastern front, a framework agreement has been negotiated between the Government of India and the Naga Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah group) in August 2015. However, it appears to have hit a road block. Muivah continues to harp on “Naga sovereignty”.

  • SMART police concept.

Challenge:

The founding fathers of the constitution had placed police and public order in the State List of the Seventh Schedule. They could not have foreseen the complex law and order scenario that would evolve in the coming decades.

Way ahead:

  • With the emergence of organised crime and the threat of terrorism the old order must be revamped. In the context of the police being misused and abused by the state leaders and the overwhelming dependence of state governments on central forces round the year, police should be transferred to the Concurrent List.

  • Police reforms suggested by Supreme court in Praksah Singh case, 2006 must be implemented in an expeditious manner.

  • It is high time that the government took the hard decisions necessary to strengthen our northern frontiers.

Conclusion:

A strategic vision and a comprehensive long term-plan are called for while the internal security apparatus is overhauled and modernised.