26th November 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
• India observed the 10th anniversary of the ghastly Mumbai terror attack on 26 November 2008 (or 26/11 attacks), which resulted in more than 150 fatalities and over 600 injuries.
• Also, 13th December 2001, marks the 17th anniversary of the attack on Indian Parliament.
What is Terrorism?
• As per United Nations Security Council report, Terrorism is any act “Intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”.
Terrorism in India:
• According to Global Terrorism Index 2017, the number of deaths due to terrorism in India between 2000 and 2016 is 8238.
Fatal Effects of Terrorism:
• Economic: It damages nation’s economic growth, ability to attract foreign investment, tourism etc.
• Political: It creates socio-political instability, may breeds communal disharmony, breaks social fabric and may become a cause of clash of civilizations and cultures.
• Development: Due to ubiquitous prevalence of insecurity due to terrorism, the resources meant for social welfare and development are channelized for continuous modernization of armed and intelligence agencies.
• Displacement and Migration: Terror activities are largely responsible for the continuous migration of people from Syria, Iraq and Africa.
Types of Terrorism:
• Ethno-nationalist terrorism: Khalistani,
• Religious terrorism (In Kashmir such as Indian Mujahedeen),
• Ideology oriented terrorism such as left wing/ right wing terrorism (mainly in Central India),
• State-sponsored terrorism (Pakistan supported groups such as Jaish-e Mohammad), and Narco terrorism (due of India’s proximity to Golden crescent and Golden Triangle region).
• New Forms of Terror: One new variant is the concept of ‘enabled terror’ or ‘remote controlled terror’, viz. violence conceived and guided by a controller thousands of miles away. It can take the form of Internet-enabled terrorism.
• Another form is that of Lone Wolf Attacks, where terror attacks are carried out alone without having any direct contact with any organization.
• Threats for India: India faces threats spilling out of radicalization of Indian youth, porous borders and weak governments in neighborhood both to the east (Bangladesh) and to the west (Pakistan).
• Terror Financing: It is done via various means such as:
- State sponsors of terrorism: Pakistan funded terrorism in India.
- Funding from criminal activities and business: Example, Islamic state terrorists sold Iraqi oil for generating resources.
- Charitable organizations and Hawala means to transfer money and resources etc.
Steps taken to Counter Terrorism:
Strategic and organizational:
• Coastal security: India has 3 tiered coastal security structure made up of India Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Marine Police working under integrated and comprehensive Coastal Security Scheme.
- Joint Operation Centers for monitoring the marine activities in the near seas is also launched.
• National Investigation Agency: NIA was set up as a specialized agency to deal with terrorist offences since January 2009.
• National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID): It has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security related information.
• Central Monitoring System: Real-time, actionable intelligenc eis processed through government’s Central Monitoring System (CMS) and the Lawful Interception System (LIS).
- As per International Telecom Union, based in Geneva India is periodically obtaining a Global Cell Identity (GCI )and Location Area Identity (LAI) from the Telecom Service
• Operation All Out: Operation All Out (OAO) is a joint offensiv elaunched by Indian security forces in 2017 to flush out militants and terrorists in Kashmir.
• Operation Sadbhavana: Army has undertaken a large number of Military Civic Action programmes aimed at ‘Winning the Hearts and Minds’ of the people in J&K and North Eastern States, as part of a strategy for conflict resolution. This programme aims to achieve the following:
• Fulfilling the needs of the Peoples and to alleviate their problems.
• Development of remote and inaccessible areas where civil administration is barely existent.
- Assuaging the feeling of alienation and moulding public opinion towards peace and development.
- Fan the desire for firmer integration with the nation.
• India’s Counter Terrorism (CT) Strategy: There are 3 major pillars on which the Indian counter terrorism strategy rests:
- Recognizing that terrorism is a political issue demanding political solution. Till consensus is not achieved, Military force remains an instrument to bring stability.
- Distinction between local violent uprisings as a result of dissatisfaction amongst a section of population and the employment of terrorism as a state policy by a country like Pakistan.
- Using Minimum force while conducting CT: This is the reason for not using the heavy artillery and attack helicopters.
Issues with India’s Counter Terrorism Strategy:
• High fragmentation and poor coordination in India’s police and internal security system.
• Police is a state subject which leaves most policing responsibilities to the states. State police lacks specialized training and equipment and also faces technology-deficit to deal with terror incidents.
Global Initiatives for Counter Terrorism:
• The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: It is based on four main pillars:
- Tackling the conditions that lead to the spread of terrorism;
- Increasing the capabilities of States to prevent and deal with terrorism;
- Ensuring respect for human rights for everyone, and
- Guaranteeing the rule of law in the fight against terrorism.
• Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF):
- Launched in 2011, it is an informal, a-political, multilateral counterterrorism (CT) platform of 29 countries and the European Union.
- Currently, it is co-chaired by Morocco and Netherlands. India is a founding member of GCTF.
• Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT): It was proposed by India in 1996 but still there is no consensus among world nations especially from USA and Organization of Islamic countries.
- CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups along with creating a universal definition
• The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF): The mandate of the (CTITF) is to step up the coordination and coherence of United Nations activities in the field of the global fight against terrorism.
• The Resolution 1267 Committee: It establishes the lists of sanctions on individuals and groups associated with Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
Further, the following steps have to be taken up for addressing the menace of terrorism..
• To ensure the passage and implementation of the CCIT framework by the global community.. The CCIT is currently being discussed at the Sixth Ad Hoc Committee of the United Nations.
• Sensitization, modernization and capacity building of intelligence and armed forces along with increasing police-population ratio.
• India must frame National Security Strategy and National Counter Terrorism Policy to have a coherent and visionary guidelines to address the issue of terrorism.
• Using Diplomatic Platforms: India should use diplomatic channels like BRICS platform or Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) to prevent state sponsored terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
• Surgical strikes: Resort to punitive cross-border surgical strikes as a matter of continued policy.
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism
Objectives of CCIT:
• To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law
• To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps
• To prosecute all terrorists under special laws
• To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
• India condemned terrorism in its all forms and stressed that it requires a holistic approachand collective action to tackle it.
• Issues: Despite India’s efforts, the conclusion and ratification of the CCIT remains deadlocked, mainly due to opposition from three main blocs – the US, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), and the Latin American countries.
• Objections raised: All three have objections over the “definition of terrorism” and seek exclusions to safeguard their strategic interests. For example, the OIC wants
exclusion of national liberation movements, especially in the context of Israel-Palestinian conflict. The US wanted the draft to exclude acts committed by military forces of states during peacetime.