India faces severe security challenges

India faces severe security challenges

Decimating every chance of Indian youths being lured by the Islamic State (IS) besides tackling terror exported from across the border and insurgency in the Northeast will be high on the security establishment’s agenda in 2016.

The authorities will also keep a close watch on the communal situation. With the right-wing groups on a shrill campaign, the government will have to remain on its toes to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.

Though the IS has not been able to get much traction in India, security agencies are unlikely to leave anything to chance.

The cyberspace is being watched as pro-IS elements are active on the social media and even posting propaganda in regional languages.

At present, there are around 15 Indians fighting in IS-held areas while two have been killed. Around 150, mostly from South India, are being monitored. The government is now adopting a counter-radicalisation mode to tackle the issue.

Northeast a challenge
Though the country has not witnessed any major terror incident or Maoist attack this year, security experts feel that the Northeast could witness a flare-up in 2016 like the attack on an Army convoy in Manipur on June 4 this year.

Eighteen soldiers were killed in the attack by NSCN (K) insurgents. It is to be seen how the Northeast theatre evolves  with the NSCN(IM) coming on board for a framework agreement that could lead to a peace accord. Though the Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) did not play a major role in its formulation, it would have to ensure that other parameters remain stable for its effective implementation.

The NSCN(K), which had unilaterally walked out of a ceasefire agreement earlier this year, may try to execute some strikes and it would be a huge challenge for the establishment to ensure that the region does not fall into chaos.

Maoist threat
The security establishment can not loosen its vigil on the Maoist challenge either. Though the MHA boasts of declining incidents of Maoist menace, the extremists are not yet a defeated force.

Experts are taking the figures with a pinch of salt, as they believe it is because of forces’ not engaging them frontally. Another area of concern would be Pakistan-sponsored terrorism through the Lashkar-e-Toiba and other outfits.

While the internal security scenario would keep the establishment busy throughout, the MHA will also have a herculean task of making the states take up tasks related to modernisation of police forces even as the finance ministry has reduced allocation for several reform programmes.

Areas of concern
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs said in April this year that expenditure on salary and ration eat up maximum of budget allocation earmarked for central police forces and police organisations.

It also said modernisation of police scheme is suffering due to insufficient funding. The ambitious Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems, aimed at linking police stations across the country and making a national database on criminals, has also to be put on track.

Another task is to take forward the establishment of the Rs 500-crore India Cyber Crime Coordination Centre to tackle cyber crime.

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