“We have stepped into an extremely dangerous and paradoxical time. We have built ourselves a political fine democracy but in society and economy there is no democracy and there is no equality. The tension between the inequality in the social and economic terms can explode our politicaldemocracy.”
- Primary architect of Indian Constitution, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in his speech after handing over the draft constitution in Parliament
And today almost 63 years after his speech, we can find he got it absolutely correct. The most dangerous threat to the internal security of India is the fastest growing inequality in the social and economic fields. The country is facing the consequences in the form of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, Naxalism and so on. The challenges are interconnected to each other.
Below are the major challenges to the internal security of India:
1. Fastest growing inequality in income between the rich and the poor
a. The inequality in income between the rich and the poor is increasing at fastest rate since 1991 i.e., the year of liberalization of India.
b. The benefits of globalization are not percolated to the lower strata of Indian society and thus they are ignored from the developmental stream.
c. This resulted into extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition, farmer suicides and so on.
Measures to be taken:
- To bridge the gap between rich and poor Government has to focus on the Directive Principles of State Policy (DSPS).
- The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines to the central and state governments of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies. These provisions, contained in Part IV of the Constitution of India, are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down therein are considered fundamental in the governance of the country, making it the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society in the country.
- Government scheme to the poor should reach to the last hand
- Self-employment like SHG(Self Help Groups) should be generated in rural and urban areas
- The most vital thing to reduce the inequality in income in the society is political will of the politicians
2. Maoist/Naxalites insurgency in the heart of India
a. The deprived and the marginalized sections of the society, unable to survive in the present system, get alienated from the growth of the country. The militant and extremist forces thrive in this environment.
b. The most prominent among the groups, that have mushroomed in the recent years, are the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Marxist Communist Centre (MCC)
c. The Naxalites have now been going after the innocent civilians after the Government security forces. Extortion is the only way of funding to Naxals.
Measures to be taken:
- Poverty and livelihood issues should be resolved
- Infrastructure in the Naxal affected areas must be improved
- The intelligence network has to be strengthened significantly
- The issue of Naxalites can be resolved by the only way of peaceful talk to Naxal leaders since this kind of insurgency is caused due to the ignorance of government towards these forest dwellers and seizing their lands for industrialization.
3. Fundamentalist forces (Terrorism):
a. This is the most serious threat to the India’s internal security
b. The organizations, like Al Qaida, and Jaish-e-Mohammad, are encouraging the so-called ‘Jehadis’ to enter India from outside
c. The break-up of the Indian Union continues to be the main goal of Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policy
d. Easy availability of deadly weapons with the subversive groups operating in India has created new dangers for India’s security.
Measures undertaken by Government:
- Sophisticated Counter-Terror Technology (CCTV cameras)
- Intelligence agencies, state police, customs, border security, cyber and public health departments to counter terror attacks.
- The state’s counter-terror mechanism must envision the creation of Special Forces meant specifically for the purpose of averting terror networks in India. These Special Forces must be established in vulnerable states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan Manipur and Assam
- The state’s land and coastal border security must be strengthened given the fact that terror attacks have been conducted and planned in the neighbouring states.
- Cyber specialization should be made a part of the counter-terror mechanism towards addressing hacking issues, tracing terror links in the virtual world, locating the computers, and countries where this transnational nature of terrorism originates, etc.
- India should establish a Federal Counter-Terrorism Mechanism, which will integrate with above mentioned institutions
4. Corruption and corrosion of public institutions
5. Environmental degradation at rapid pace
a. The Indian rivers on whose banks the Indian civilization was once flourished are on the verge of diminishing their beauties. They are highly degraded and the water is polluted due to discharge of the sewages from the industries.
b. The deforestation is taking place at rapid pace since Liberalization of the country in 1991. Deforestation became the serious threat to so many vulnerable species of flora and fauna.
Measures taken by the Government:
- Increased the area of Protected Area Networks with the increase in wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks.
- Enacted Project Tiger and Project Elephant to save these wild-lives from poaching
- Central Zoo Authority (CZA) provides assistance to various zoos for better upkeep and health facilities to the zoo animals
6. Illegal immigration to the north-east
a. Estimates of the total population of illegal immigrants in Nagaland or elsewhere in India is problematic due to the clandestine nature of the immigrants. Illegal immigration is getting recognised as one of the growing concerns in tribal-dominated Nagaland.
b. Most of the alleged illegal immigrants usually possess fraudulent voter identity cards, driving licenses and ration cards. This made the task of investigation extremely difficult.
Constraints in preventing the illegal immigration:
· Inadequate policing along the border
· Demographic dynamics
· Indifferent attitude of Bangladesh
· Lack of political will
· Communal politics
Impact of Illegal migration:
· Security impact
· Communal polarization
· Demographic impact
· Political impact
7. Armed ethnic insurgencies in the north east (Manipur and Nagaland) and north (Kashmir)
a. The Naga insurgency started way back in early 1950s. Some insurgent groups seek secession from the Indian Union, some others seek separate states and yet others greater autonomy within the existing state.
b. These insurgencies have affected the economic and social life of the region and posed a great threat to its stability
c. The lack of physical, cultural and emotional links has encouraged a feeling of alienation, which is being exploited by the neighbours to pursue their own agenda.
d. The NLFT and the ATTF continue to be active in Tripura.
e. Mizoram is not an exception, there are problems between the Mizos and the Chakmas, and the Mizos and the Reangs
Measures to be taken:
- Structural conditions like ethic alienation, lack of infrastructure, absence of land rights should be addressed.
- Processes of dialogue and negotiation with armed outfits must be conducted in a professional manner by people trained in negotiation techniques and not by generalized bureaucracy
- The conflicting issues between the Northeastern states like land issues/border should be settled at the local level.
- India must ensure that countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar are not used by insurgent groups as launching pads for violence in its border states. Dialogue mechanism in all three countries need to be institutionalized and activated on a daily basis
- Revenues from these states must be utilized for the development of the states themselves since they are backward states compared to other more developed states in India.
- Acts like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and amended in 1972 should be lifted from the Northeast in a phased manner as the common perception of this act is that it is unjust and repressive.
8. Fragile, unstable neighbours
a. Pakistan – failed state
b. China – Border issues
c. Sri-Lanka – Had a brutal civil war that does not address the underlying problems
d. Bangladesh – fragile democracy, so many times military has overtaken the government
e. Nepal – Maoist insurgency, democratic process is fragile
9. Armed “Sena” on caste and ethnic lines
a. Affected the police and administration
b. Loss of public confidence in the capacity of the state to protect their life and property is the primary cause of this dangerous development
c. In the Border States these movements become secessionist because of the support they receive from the hostile neighboring states.
10. Communal forces
a. The communal forces are the major challenge which wants to undermine the democratic secular fabric of the society.
b. Government needs to isolate such extremist forces which disturb the unity of the nation and its people.
c. The recent Muzaffarnagar riot is one of the example how communal forces play the bloody game of division in the society.
Measures to be taken:
There is need to strengthen and revitalize local "peace communities" in rural areas which have representatives from different communities and have in the past been effective in containing and resolving conflicts.
Measures to be taken at broader level
1. The Internal security issues should not be treated as merely law and order problems
2. There should be work on social, political and economic levels
3. Security requirements should be met by not giving the free hand to security agencies