Internal Security Or Local Law-Order Problem?

India has for long been a victim of terrorist activity . It’s geography—7,000 km of coast and 15,000 kilometre land border—large population, social and political exigencies, out-dated security and scrutiny technological tools pose peculiar challenges for its security. A quasi-federal system with multi and regional party system also throws open the challenge of centre and state co-ordination. Given these constraints, successive governments face a formidable task in identifying and containing security threats. The internal security situation in India today is worse than at any time since Independence. The country is being torn apart by conflicts of all kinds. What is worse, many of these conflicts enjoy the tacit, if not open. support of different parties. The ‘divide and rule’ policy appears to be the order of the day and an increasingly divided polity is finding it difficult to cope with them. The threat to India’s unity and integrity is not just confined to the border-states in the Northeast and Jammu and Kaashmir; India’s heartland is threatened by communal violence and left-wing extremism like never witnessed before. The country today is besieged by both, internal and external, security threats, and the threats are expanding, not just vertically but horizontally as well. Dangerous fissures have appeared in relation between communities. We can no longer pretend that all our troubles come from across the border, though undoubtedly many do! Radicalisation in the name of the religion and ethnicity are finding nerw recruits inside the country. The increasing frequency and the ease with which extremist forces are able to operate should ring alarm bells in the new security apparatus of the country.

In todays world the line dividing external and internal security is getting thinner and thinner. It is no longer possible to dismiss internal security issues as ‘ local law and order’ problems. India in turmoil gives an overview of the internal security situation in the country and how it is being dealt with in the worst-affected areas. The author of the book Ved Marwah, was a former member of the Indian Police Service. He has the unique distinction of serving in most troubled states, including Jammu and Kashnir, Northeast, Punjab and left extremism affected states of Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. His first-hand account of the resounding success of the security operations in Punjab and bungling in Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and the left-wing extremism affected states make India in Turmoil a compelling read. The reader is given interesting insights into the functioning of the government at the highest level and how casually vital decisions concerning national security are taken. The narrative brings out the glaring flaws in the decision- making, administrative and political system.

Ved Marwah’s observations are supported by extensively- researched facts that make it a useful reference book. Drawing on his own experience, Marwah has made a number of suggestions. India in Turmoil will be of interest not only to security experts and policy- makers, but to all those who are interested in knowing more about contemporary India and its politics.

By Nilabh Krishna

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