By Col Rajinder Singh (Retd)
National Security implies evaluation of threat, emanating from internal and external foes to a nation and undertaking suitable measures to meet the threat in all dimensions. In simple words: it is to ensure national integrity. Wise old sage, Chanakya, had said centuries ago, that danger to national security emanating from inside, aided and abetted from outside was the most serious threat to integrity and sanctity of a nation. It ought to be addressed at war footing.
Terrorism is to scare, undermine and immobilise mental faculties of an intended target, through extreme violence, whether physical, implied, intended or demonstrable so as to enforce an inability to oppose the perpetrator. It is thus aimed at undermining the legitimacy of state authority. Modern “terrorism” is a tool, as part of a “Sub – Conventional conflict”, between nations, resorted to by them because of changing form of war, actuated by WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). It is a “tool” and NOT the end by itself.
If we acknowledge this, then, our focus must not be on the “tool” of conflict but the “User” of this tool. Remember, when we carry out an appreciation of a problem, we must get our “aim” right so as to arrive at the most viable option. In evaluating “internal Security” dimensions of India we must focus on the “sub Conventional conflict” and not merely terrorism.
Conventional war has undergone a massive change due to RsMA (Revolutions In Military Affairs) because of WMD of deadly lethality, larger ranges and precision accuracy. ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) and NBC (Nuclear Chemical and Biological) weapons deter direct wars between “military equals”. China and USA or India and Pakistan would never cross the nuclear threshold. Even China cannot dare to indulge in a full scale war with India.
Recent Ukraine – Russian war has shown as to what happens in the case of two “Military unequals”, particularly when one is Nuclear power. NATO and EU dare not physically intervene in Ukraine due to the Russian threat of using WMD. And thus Ukraine suffers —- while the world watches.
Thus, there is a paradigm shift in waging war by two “Military Equal Nations” to achieve their political objectives. An indirect approach is made to exploit inner weaknesses of your adversary by using frustrated and dissatisfied segments of his internal population. This is called “Sub- Conventional” conflict or what I have been calling “WOM” (War By Other Means). It was launched on India in 1989 by Pakistan but till date we have been treating it as a state subject under Law and order problem. No wonder, poor CRPF jawans are getting killed in straight and simple ambushes by Maoists in the forests of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar and even J&K.
India needs specialised forces for internal security. There is a requirement to set up a national CI Grid to counter present and future problems, in short, India needs a comprehensive Internal security plan, as an appendage of External security. The dealing authority must be MOD or National Security Ministry. All resources, such as CRPF, CISF, RR, RPF, SFF and SB, must be clubbed under it, even all intelligence organisations.
In the past or even in the present, terrorism in India, emanated from internal conditions but actively abetted by outside forces whether it was North East, Maoists infested areas of central and South India, Punjab and J&K. The aim and objective of terrorism remains the same i.e. to scare and mentally immobilise masses to stand up against its perpetrators and thus undermine authority of the state. Objective and purpose remains one to balkanise India.
It is resorted to because a direct conflict can be catastrophic. It is “WOM”— “War by Other Means”, which our defence strategist must acknowledge. Do not treat it as mere terrorism or law and order Problem. We have been doing so and this is why we have not come upon an effective policy to tackle it.
The nation needs proper COUNTER TOOL and TACTICS to “PILE” terrorism. PILE stands for Prevention, Isolation, Limiting or Localising and Executing them, before they can act.
The problem is that India continues to focus on terrorism and not treating it as a War by other Means (WOM). Thus, it has not only lost sight of aim but treated this problem in a disconcerted manner— employing CRPF and state police forces against Maoists / Naxalites. It does not apply AFSPA – 1958 fully and thus tying down the hands of forces dealing with them.
In fact there was a need to redefine INTERNAL SECURITY to include communal riots, agitations, drug trafficking and so on. We must replace AFSPA-1958 by COMBAT ZONE ACT-2022 (COZA-22) by redefining “Enemy” and delinking ‘Law and order’ from internal security. As for as killing of two prime Minister was concerned, it must be treated as some kind of revenge and MOT really an act of terror.
Cross border terrorism and Naxalite issue are integral part of internal security problem as enunciated by Chanakya, many centuries ago. They are though emanating from inside because of any reason, but actively supported by Pakistan and China.
There are ample indications that China has “outsourced” its WOM on India to Pakistan, who is actively involved in bolstering Maoists movement and Terrorism in J&K.
The problem is that India does not understand the nuances of WOM and continues to deal with terror instruments in different parts of the country separately. AFSPA -1958 enacted in 1958, keeping in mind the NAGA problem. It has outlived its utility. As stated above there is a need for comprehensive COZA- 2022, redefining “Enemy” and Internal Security.
Enact this “Combat Zone Act” replacing AFSPA, which was enacted in 1958, when the conditions were different. Redefine the WAR and the ENEMY. And, 1958 cannot be 2022.
Finally, in conclusion, India ought to watch out for the China -Pak nexus. India cannot depend upon the USA. It can change sides anytime. There is already talk of a “shaky” alliance with the USA due to Ukraine. India must tell the USA that it cannot sacrifice its interests, just to be an ally of the USA. India must stay firm on its adopted stance on Ukraine—— to stay neutral. Remember, tie -up with India is the compelling need of the USA and not the other way around.
(The author is a renowned author and a defence analyst. His bestselling books are Kashmir- A Different Perspective and The ULFA Insurgency besides being a contribution to two other books. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited).