New Delhi: Indian nation today is a target for terrorist attacks. Guwahati, Hyderabad and Gorakhpur are immediate signposts in the long war that India has been fighting against terrorism. Current signposts indicate two things to the discerning. First, that terrorism is in a position to target religious places with the purpose of creating communal tension. Second, use of technology to maintain an element of surprise means that the state will have to improve its security measures for preventive and policing means.
Of concern has been India’s response to this menace and we have often been labeled as a sot state due to our inability to tackle terrorism with a firm hand. Legal, political and social steps have been taken but they do not seem to have had an effect. The nation continues to simmer in the Northeast, Jammu & Kashmir and over 165 districts of the country which are Naxalite infested. That is not a happy augury for the security establishment of the nation.
Crucial to the security establishment’s efforts to contain the terrorist menace, is the intelligence machinery. Starting from colonial patterns of intelligence organization and operations, we have come a long way to the post-Kargil situation, where intelligence agencies can provide information to decision makers on a regular basis, on both internal and external security issues.
However, there are several issues that need addressing in the light of the present security environment, especially in the context of terrorism. India faces a dual internal-external security threat in the form of transnational terrorism. Facets of this problem have manifested themselves in various forms, over a period of time. Therefore, it should be possible to understand broad trends and evolve specific responses.
Identifying terrorist organizations
Our intelligence agencies need to be focused on identifying terrorist organizations and their cells within India. Broadly, one can distinguish between those organizations which are Islamic fundamentalist groups with cross border affiliation, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
These groups are today operating all over India, as was witnessed in Malegaon last year and possibly in Hyderabad more recently. Then there are home grown organizations like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which have developed along traditional lines and have similar patterns of recruitment, as do the cross-border affiliated groups, operating in J&K and other parts of India.