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Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Internal security for any country is of prime importance. If the internal security issues are undertaken effectively, rebellion by the external forces to that extent becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, the rise of quarrelsome politics based on sectarian, ethnic, linguistic or other divisive criteria, is mainly responsible for the many communal and secessionist movements thriving in India. The presence of hostile neighbours allows the internal conflicts to get external support, which includes money, arms and sanctuaries. The vested interests exploit these conditions to pursue their own schema.

In strong political system and a developed economy, conflicts between the various group identities are kept under surveillance as in due course they get assimilated into the national identity. But in India, it is not possible because the partition and the colonial rule have still not fully rehabilitated. Furthermore, the dependence on the government by a large section of our people for their survival sharpens these conflicts among them. The democratic institutions and the state structures are still not good to fully synchronise these conflicts in a peaceable manner. Violence blow up when conflicting interests cannot be consensually reconciled. The hostile external forces, taking advantage of this situation through subversive propaganda, further highlight these conflicts. They give material and political support to worsen this sense of grievance to such an extent that a small minority are willing to become tools in their hands to undermine the stability and security of the nation.

Transnational organized crimes, drug trafficking and international terrorism, are labelled as “non-state actors”. These are, today, major challenges for internal and international security and strength.

In present situation, India faces manifold security challenges. India’s security concerns is its ‘internal security’ and it is a major national security challenge. Among many indeterminable factors of India’s security system, internal security is considered as one of the principal fundamental aspects.

Awkwardly, in current scenario, there is an obscuring distinction between internal and external threats. Some experts debated that “India does not face an external threat in the conventional sense” but only internal security threats from external sources. These external sources, consist of both state and non-state actors, combined with those anti-state forces within India, have made the situation more intricate. All over the world, few countries are placed in an unfavourable, troubled and uncertain security environment as India is. External sources of threats to India’s internal security spring from almost all countries of its neighbourhood.

According to famous economist of Maura times, Kautilya, a state could be at risk from four types of threats such as internal, external, externally-aided internal and internally-aided external. Among all threats, the internal threats should be tackled immediately for internal troubles, like the fear of the lurking snake, are far more serious than external threats. Thus, the most dangerous opponent is the enemy within. However, external state and non-state actors both have played an active role to disturb internal security and raise numerous problems in India.

India is currently facing four major threats such as
- Separatism in Jammu and Kashmir
- Insurgency in North East India
- Left Wing Extremism
- Terrorism in the Hinterland.

Out of them, the first and the last are a direct appearance of Pakistani influence, which includes the ISI and Pak military. Recently, these two threats are more serious due to rise of ISIS in Middle East. The rebels in north east get direct and indirect support from neighbours of India around its permeable north east border. The left wing extremism has direct and indirect support from Nepal, China and other countries of South East Asia. Traditionally, India has border clashes with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. The problem with India is that it is situated on the epicentre of terrorism and dealing with so many hostile neighbours, all at once. India had direct wars with our neighbours in 1947-48, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999.

Major grounds for India’s security circles include Nuclear Competences of China and Pakistan Military assertiveness and String of Pearls strategy of China Pakistan’s military rule beneath the civilian government, Anti-India sentiments in Nepal and Bangladesh, Uncertainty of Sri Lanka in Tamil cause and fishermen issues, the anxiety of Bhutan to move closer to China, illegal immigration from Bangladesh to create cultural issues in North East.

Therefore, the entire matter can be divided into following:
- Role of state and non state actors in Pakistan
- Role of state and non-state actors in China
- Role of state and non-state actors in Nepal
- Role of actors in Bangladesh.

Role of state and non-state actors in Pakistan:

It is evident that there is covert and overt threat from Pakistan to India’s internal and external security system. Since its origin, India has fought four wars in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1998 with this rogue country. Resulting to its military inability to confront with India in direct war, India is facing low intensity conflict in J&K assisted and sponsored by Pakistani military, in the North-East and through support to various fringe extremist groups within the country. India also face huge economic challenges due to the fake currency rackets. Pakistan is one of India’s main concerns both on external and internal security fronts. Due to its continued strategic partnership with China, it can stretch Indian armed forces capabilities in the Eastern sector also. The Chi-Pak link has given rise to external concerns such as modernization plans of Karakoram highway, development of Gwadar as a naval port and covert assistance in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program.

The various state and non-state actors in Pakistan include:

Inter-services Intelligence and Pak Military Islamic terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the Pakistani Taliban along with various other Jehadi Tanjims. The surreptitious activities of these apart from terrorist attacks in various parts of the country, include training and facilitation to armed insurgents by ISI in various training camps in Pakistan. Apart from Kashmiri militants, ISI has in past and present trained the Sikh Separatists also. Recently, according to union government, the ISI has been trying to revive the Sikh Militancy to perform terrorist attacks in Punjab and other parts of the country.

State and Non-State Actors in China:

Conventionally, China has provided financial support, arms and sanctuaries to Naga, Mizo and Meitei extremist’s right since the British Period. The military encroachments and conflict of 1962, India was defeated and became psychologically weak. Since then, China has been astutely following a policy of strategic containment of India by regional coalitions and arming India’s neighbours Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

As far as internal security is concerned, China’s interest lies in North East as well as the Left Wing Extremism. The Nagas were the first to approach Beijing, but China made best use of it. Other groups such as MNF, ULFA, PLA, ATTF and NDFB followed. However, it cannot confirm that the linkage was unilateral. It was a relationship of convenience and an alliance of opportunism between China and Indian militant groups. Both Issac Swu and Muivah have been visiting the Chinese embassy officials in Geneva and there are reports of Chinese offer of basses in Yunan. The Maoist movement got philosophical, moral, financial and intellectual support from China.

State and Non-state actors in Nepal:

India and Nepal are good neighbours and share an open border with free exchange of people and currency across the borders. The CPN (Maoists) have become difficult political power (non-state actors so far, but state actors now) and this brings new implications for India’s internal security mainly in view of their known linkages with Indian Left Wing Extremists. Furthermore, India’s dominance in Nepal is not remains the same as in past as the Maoists have been continually upping the ante against India, accusing India of invoking in internal Nepali affairs. Consequently, Nepal can significantly add to India’s Maoist threat by supporting the rebels in the red corridors of India. Thus, the clarifying political and security scenario in Nepal would have to be closely monitored.

Role of various players in Bangladesh:

Trans-border relocation from Bangladesh is a major issue in Assam and other areas of the North East.

It is well recognised that Bangladesh refugees create communal and ethnic tension. It was well proved by the Assam agitation and successive events. There are estimated to be 15 to 18 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India, who expanded their network to all the North Eastern States with majority of them being in Assam. In some states, these illegal immigrants have turned the majorities into minorities. The invasion is likely to continue unless checked and those already identified are deported. Their wrongdoing into land and providing cheap labour is a cause of social and economic insecurity for local communities and a cause of tension and violence. Such problems are intense. India needs to make strong policies to curb immigration.

The electoral politics since 1980 have resulted in diffusion of both the state and politics, the institutions of governance have been diluted and politics have lost their philosophical and moral anchorages. While on one hand, it has led to increase of the social base of politics, on the other hand, due to corrupt politics, it has resulted in politicisation and exacerbation of all problems. Democratic freedom and electoral politics have led to agitation and turbulence.

The exploitation of diversities has caused breakdown of the cohesiveness of the society, created uncertainty of cultural identity, stimulated religious revivalism in its fundamentalist form, intensified ethnicity and broadened the gap between the sub national groups and nationalism. The assurance of the distortion of the system is political pragmatism. In the economic and developmental field, it has resulted in bewilderment, subversion of the system, permissiveness and malpractices with corruption as the natural outcome.

Information Technology has revolutionized conflict and in the internal security area, it has provided means to the underworld to increase their reach for criminal activities without direct physical involvement. Pak ISI has exploited it by linking up with the Bombay underworld. India’s responses have to be quicker and based on the developing technological inputs. This will require updating educational levels in the security forces and developing a technological temper. Likewise, liberalisation of economy has resulted in prominence of economic disparities as benefits have not reached to the masses. This is bound to increase social and economic tensions.

To summarize, there are several challenges to India’s internal security. Most external threats originate from a troubled boundary dispute with China and ongoing cross-border jihadi terrorism in J & K sponsored terrorism, supported by ISI and Pakistan-based Islamist fundamentalist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad who, in turn, are inextricably linked with international jihadi groups like Taliban and Al Qaida. Threat from Bangladesh undertakes serious magnitudes since it became a base for northeast rebellious groups like ULFA and Naga factions. In order to handle external threats to security, it is important to observe internal threat. The opponent within has to be recognised. Numerous socio-economic and religious conflicts within Indian society exist but forging unity in a diverse society.