What are Non-State actors?

  • Any individual or a groupor an entity which has no direct or indirect linkages with any government or any government organization, and participates in the act of international relations or with sufficient powers to influence them are said to be non-state actors.
  • An organisation with a basic structure of command operating outside state control that uses force to achieve its political objectives. It will also include rebels
  • The emergence of non-state terrorist actors and the rise of their international influence is accelerating. Much of their activity is clandestine and outside the accepted international norms.

Various types of non-state actors & characteristics

A) Characteristics

  • Use of political violence as a defining aspect of their activities. They for certain relationships to the territory.

B) Role

  • Most of the today’s armed conflicts take place within state and are waged by at least one Non state actor. With frequent violation of Human rights both by state and non-state actors take place

C) Territory

  • Some NSAs operate openly in international fora and have representation in different countries while other operate in clandestine manner. Infact, most NSA control or significantly influence activities within a territory and lives of huge population.

D) Some notable current and past examples of NSAsare: –

  • LTTE in sri Lanka
  • Sudan’s people liberation movement
  • CPI-Maoist Nepal
  • Moro Islamic liberation front in Philippines
  • Whether they control territory, supply members and constituencies with services or are embedded as a vital part of society controlling or regulation the lives of lacs of people. They are also capable of endangering the lives of communities.

Threats posed by Non state actors to internal security of India

  • Bomb blasts, attacks on major establishments/public places (Akshardham, 26/11 etc.) which partially dismantles India’s stability
  • They bring fake currency to India and try to hit Indian economy. They smuggle weapons, drugs (in Punjab/Northeast) in India, directly targeting the youth
  • Extremist non state actors also include religious fanatics which propagate religious hatred which can led to communal tensions in the country. They can also incite people for regionalism thus demanding their separate state which further increases secessionist tendencies
  • Terrorists/insurgents are receiving weapons mainly from across the borders with the assistance of organised smuggling groups. Most of the arms are coming from Pakistan through the ISI, Pakistani based fundamentalist organisations, Afghan Mujahideen groups and the militants themselves, who bring arms from Durrah in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
  • The smugglers have also acquired high- powered speed boats, which can land at uncharted beaches and creeks. Arms are also coming through the long and porous Indo-Nepal border. In addition, arms are being smuggled via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Today’s terrorists, be they religious extremists, Jehadis, international cults like AumShinrikiyo or individual nihilists, may gain access to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons or raw materials. NBC terrorism today has moved from the stage of far-fetched horror to a contingency that could happen tomorrow. The advances in IT and communications have made terrorism with Weapons/Materials of Mass Destruction easier to carry out.


Democracy and Terrorism

A) Is promoting democracy a panacea for defeating terrorism ?

  • Radical Islamic terror was an expression of resentment against the values of liberal democracy and proves that represent them. Ideology of radical political Islam is directed against the west and its institutions. But if we assume that terrorism is a response to inequality, exclusion, disempowerment of certain groups and impossibility to express legitimate grievances the democracy is a political system that comes closest to resolving these issues.
  • Transitional or new democracies are most fragile. For example, in west Asia, the process of democratization may turn out to be destabilizing. As the totalitarian/ autocratic governments are replaced with democratically elected governments there is a surge in terrorist activities and attacks as the democratically elected govts are weak in fighting terrorism as compared to the totalitarian govts before.
  • Promotion of democratic values and institutions cannot always be a reliable antidote against proliferation of terror but it is safe to say that development of stable and consolidated democracies reduce the risk of terrorism developing into a critical problem.
  • International and state-sponsored terrorism, often motivated by fundamentalist ideologies, backed by secretive but efficient financial networks, use of IT, clandestine access to chemical-biological and nuclear materials, and illicit drug trafficking, has emerged as a major threat to international stability.
  • They pose threats to multireligious, multi-ethnic and pluralistic societies. India is at the receiving end of these violent elements and is likely to remain a target of international terrorism in the future. Strategies need to be evolved to counter the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) terrorism as well as cyber-terrorism; the latter especially against infrastructural and economic assets such as banking, power, water and transportation sectors.
  • Pakistan has been waging a proxy war against India since the 1980s. Since the Kargil War and the military coup of October 12, 1999, Pakistan’s support to cross border terrorism has intensified and is expected to continue in the future. The rapid growth of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan is also of serious concern to India.
  • Through its nexus with the Taliban and Jihadi elements, as well as its involvement in religious extremism, international terrorism and the narcotics trade, Pakistan poses a threat not only to India but to the stability of the region as well.

B) Causes of terrorism

  • Strong resentment against values of an institution and powers that represent it. Example: Radical Islamic terror against liberal west.
  • Poverty, sense of economic and social security and deprivation.
  • State itself, like Pakistan uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

Issues pertaining to Internal security in India

A) Intelligence failure

  • Pertaining to collection of information.
  • Its analysis
  • Response to the produced intelligence

Factors responsible for these intelligence failures:

  • External factors
    • The adversaries try to conceal and misrepresent their intentions and try to outwit us. Example: Pakistan army’s excellent use of stealth and deception to capture peaks in kargil-drass area in 1999.
  • Organisational
    • Negligent intelligent agents, firewalls and rivalry between agencies
    • Poor coordination between parent agencies and its subsidiaries and other agencies.
  • Innate
    • Limits of human capabilities.
    • Assessment of future behaviour of adversary many a times rest on extrapolations from patterns of past behaviour (ex: china in 1962 and Pakistan in 1999).
    • Other predispositions regarding our adversaries.

B) Capacity crunch and diabolical state of police force

  • Due to declining capacity of state police forces there has been a growing demand for central forces and military on the very first signs of mass violence and disorder.
  • Tendency of authorities to fall back constantly on paramilitary forces for conduct of internal security operations results in
    • Erosion of legitimacy of state police in the eyes of public.
    • Dwindling capacities and confidence level within public.
    • Military and Central Para military are increasingly being overstretched.
  • State has failed to recognise that the police forces are the strongest assets in maintaining law and order.
    • As they possess greater familiarity with terrain and mindset of actors involved in insurgency.
    • They have the potential to create intelligence resources in local communities.

C) Apathetic response to IB inputs by states and poor centre-state coordination.

  • This division of responsibility has created a fragmented system that has contributed to evasion of responsibility by both centre and states. After the attacks both states and centre blame each other for lapses in security.
  • Security deployments increase only when information is given to states, after some days deployment becomes passive which is like a shot in the arm for the terrorists, who then attack.

D) Currently no accountability is fixed

  • Due to the era of coalition politics centre-state coordination is suffering due to narrow political considerations.There has been a progressive decline in central government’s ability to influence states relating to Internal Security management.
  • There is a constant political influence and subordination of legal mandate to partisan political objectives which indermine the ability of the police to deal effectively with internal security problems.


E) Urban-Rural Polarization

  • Poorly managed urbanization is creating new and urgent security challenges. Urban vulnerability to terrorism, organised criminal violence and administration disorders have increased due to increased rural to urban areas migration.
  • Ghettoization: Due disparity in development between south India and the rest of India,(And Urban areas and rural areas). There has been an uncontrolled migration in search of livelihood and better living standards. Which has resulted into ghettoization of cities. Ghettoization is a consistent feature of Indian cities. Due to this, Indian cities lend itself far more easily to terrorism than the orderly cities of the west.

F) Links between Indian citizens with Pakistan based terrorist outfits

  • Communalism, disrespect for minorities has served as catalysts for a handful youth to travel to Pakistan to acquire training in arms etc. Example; Indian Mujahideen was born in this way.

Approach to improve civilian protection

  • Inclusive approach– dialogue and negotiations with NSAs – dissemination, capacity building and intermediation.
  • Coercive approach-denunciation, naming and shaming, sanction the individuals, their criminal prosecution and terrorist listing.The principle aim of this approach is to provide protection to civilians, to encourage NSAs to take responsibility of their actions. With a secondary aim of confidence building via humanitarian negotiations with NSAs along with an agreement towards concerned states to implementation of its obligations.

Solutions to enhance Internal security

  • Terrorism is not simply a law and order problem. It requires best intelligence, best coordination between center& states and a quick response. As KPS Gill notes that the harsh truth is that “the weak are never at peace”
  • Anti-terrorist squads, police, IB have to remain lucky everytime i.e they have to be alert every moment, single incidence of levitation may imply attack. Terrorists on the other hand need to be lucky once. i.e. they require a single moment of opportunity (security agencies going lethargic).
  • Take politics out of National Security : Some issues of no compromise such as security, non-conventional security issues, health etc would have to be identified. No matter who comes to power such issues must remain depoliticized.
  • States have to accept their deficient capacities in dealing with internal secutity problems and need to get out of the obsession of “paramilitary panacea” to deal with counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
    • Regrettably, a historical amnesia has resulted in forgetting three major and extra ordinary successful campaigns led by police namely Terrorism in Punjab, Insurgency in Tripura and Naxalism in Andhra Pradesh.
    • There should be a focus on capacity creation (both technological and tactical), strong police leadership, Inter-force coordination etc.
  • Counter- insurgency and counter-terrorism is a small commander’s war. The role of policy and leadership should be to materially and psychologically empower the 1st responders (i.e. police) to deal with all foreseeable contingencies. There should be decentralization for quick response and enhanced efficacy of CI-CT operations.
  • We need to prepare a list of federal and state crimes on the lines of USA. CIA/FBI require no permission from the govt to work on the federal crimes. USA has NCTC (National Counterterrorism Centre) for national and international counter-terrorism, it is an independent agency and has no powers of search and arrest. It
    • Maintains national crime and terrorism database.
    • Plans counter-terrorism activities
    • Analyse terrorism intelligence
    • Provides terrorism information to intelligence community
  • Currently India’s NCTC proposal have been put into a cold freezer,due to issues pertaining to India’s federalism. which may only thaw in wake of a terrorist attack like the Mumbai 2008 attacks.
  • Identifying who failed in the command chain ( if terrorist attacks occurs) and imposing accountability
  • Community policing
    • Community complements police actions by identifying and addressing issues of crime, social disorder, suspicions regarding activities of new migrants, keeping effective vigilance and ensuring law enforcement.
    • Citizens help police in identifying possible threats and implement preparedness plans.
    • It is generally citizens who observe unusual group of people, unusual behaviour in society and could be expected to report such observations to police.
    • Therefore, awareness regarding concept of COPS(community oriented policing services) should be disseminated by states.
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