Keeping India safe
Guest Speaker: Ajit Doval
Former Director, Intelligence Bureau of India
Publication: CLSAU’s Speaker Series, India Strategy, Pp. 1- 42, 19 May, 2008
The issues surrounding security in India
India is arguably the biggest victim of global terrorism with more than 50,000 lives lost in the past decade. Various secessionist and separatist movements, often aided and abetted by neighbouring countries, have challenged the political status quo and threatened the nation's social fabric. Security issues remain of paramount concern. Ajit Doval discusses the security challenges facing India and why he believes that there is no threat to the country's sovereignty.
Sustaining economic growth and political stability while managing the competitive demands on its scarce resources and diverse aspirations of the huge population.
Containing Left-wing extremism, which threatens the country's democratic polity, challenges core values of India's constitution.
Ensuring minimum deterrence by modernising defence capability and maintaining defence preparedness relative to the country's size, challenges and strategic needs.
Islamic terrorism exported from troubled neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Large-scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which is changing the demographic profile of Indian states neighbouring Bangladesh.
Increased maritime ambitions of China in the Indian Ocean reflected in increased presence through ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Increased military push by China in South Asia through strategic partnerships with failed states like Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Internal insurgencies are law-and-order related and not secessionist movements. They are driven by poor local governance and exploitation of local population.
Improvement in governance can solve many of the problems. India also believes that solutions cannot be found just through the coercive power of the state.
Compulsions in a democracy which necessitate actions to solve short-term issues rather than important ones have resulted in India being branded a soft state. India needs a strong special anti-terrorist law.
India is well-equipped to handle any external/internal threat to its sovereignty. However, India urgently needs to upgrade its intelligence capabilities.
India and the US, with their faith in the democratic process and a free and open society, have a lot of common ground on which to pursue a strategic relationship.
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Former Director, Indian Intelligence Bureau
Ajit Doval joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1968. After a few years in uniform, he worked as a career intelligence officer for over than 33 years. In addition to serving at home in the North-East, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab, he held diplomatic assignments in Pakistan and the UK. He handled counter- terrorism, counter-intelligence and counter-insurgency related issues for 25 years, both in the field and in the headquarters. Doval retired as Director of the Intelligence Bureau in January 2005.
Doval is a graduate of the Indian National Defence College in New Delhi. He is a recipient of the Kirti Chakra, one of the highest military gallantry awards, the President's Police Medal for distinguished service, and the Indian Police Medal for meritorious service. Following retirement, he became the Secretary General of the Policy Perspective Foundation, a think-tank that examines national and global security issues.
The focus on India's numerous external and internal security challenges has been diluted in recent years as the investment community turned its attention to the country's strong economic growth. However, to sustain such expansion, it is of paramount importance that those at the helm address the security issues that threaten the Indian state, its constitution and society. This should be seen in the context that India is the only established democratic country in the region and is surrounded by fragile states.
The threat from global terrorism lies at the forefront, in particular, militant Islamic groups. In the past two decades, India has been, arguably, the world's biggest victim of such terror. Rising fundamentalism in neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh; unabated illegal immigration from Bangladesh; and the resurgence of the Taleban in Afghanistan are cause for serious concern domestically. This is compounded by various political parties' short-sighted vote-bank and appeasement policies.
Historically, India has faced numerous secessionist movements in different parts of the country. Violence continues to impact the northeast and Jammu & Kashmir on a regular basis. These movements are sustained and abetted by neighbours, such as Pakistan. One positive is that the characters of most of these movements have changed dramatically over the years. At one level, the movements have lost ground-level local support as the greater population has realised the futility of such agitations, and in turn strengthening their belief in the democratic process. At another level, these factions have become petty criminal movements and extortion rackets, particularly in the northeast.
Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is likely India's biggest internal threat today, followed by the Naxalism. But the Naxal movement is not secessionist in nature and therefore, while a threat to the democratic process and civil stability, does not threaten the country's integrity. As Sudeep Chakravarti in his recent book, The Red Sun, says, "India's Maoists do not want another country; they already have one. It is just that they do not like it -yet."
The world is watching China's rise -both economical and political -with a mixture of admiration, awe and apprehension. With its large shared border and a history of border disputes with China, India has additional cause for concern. In this report, our guest author Ajit Doval discusses at length what India should be worried about and why, parbcularly given the nature of China's strategic relationship with governments considered hostile to India's secular and democratic society and its long-term stability.
This report is timely as the issues examined here have already begun to garner attention worldwide. As guest speaker, Doval, the erstwhile Director of India's Intelligence Bureau is an eminent and highly respected intelligence professional, well versed on India's security challenges and issues at hand. However, it must be mentioned that the views in this report are not necessarily the views of CLSA or any of its employees.
Senior Investment Analyst
Keeping India safe
CLSA: What security challenges does India face today, and what are the major concerns that could impact the country's security?
Ajit Doval: Conceptually, the biggest challenge is how India, a developing nation, could achieve an inclusive socio-economic transformation in real time -peacefully, through democratic means, by upholding the rule of law. India has a huge population with complex disparities and inequalities, making competitive demands on its scarce resources. For sustainable development it requires a secure environment, both externally and internally, which in this regional, global, and domestic environment presents a formidable challenge. It is also a cost-intensive venture that works against fast economic growth. At the same time, as a democratic nation, we cannot take extreme measures.
Presently, the country is on an economic fast track with annual growth rate in the region of 9% which has created new hopes and aspirations. In a democracy, the gap between expectations and performance releases forces that have internal security implications with a bearing on economic growth, social cohesion and political stability. India, though, has historically had a good track record of coping with these conflicts by maintaining economic growth through free enterprise, nurturing and sustaining democracy and bringing about social and economic change with negligible violence or social unrest. The challenge, however, is far from over.
One problem is international terrorism intrinsically linked to the inexorable growth of radical Islam and the arms race in the region and beyond. It is also important to note that militarization of the Indian Ocean, political instabilities in the neighbourhood, social and economic conflicts, and food and energy security are some of the major security challenges confronting India.
Pakistan and Afghanistan, on India's western border, have emerged as global epicenters of Islamic terrorism, and this has serious implications for India. India has suffered over 70,000 deaths on account of religious terrorism exported by Pakistan. These terrorist groups still have sanctuaries in Pakistan and actively target India. Now that Pakistan is also on the hit list of some of the terrorist groups, the situation has become more complicated as the terrorist groups have acquired stand-alone capabilities of formidable proportions.
Pakistan's selective approach to the phenomenon, and continuing support of groups that target India specifically, in the long run is bound to prove expensive to Pakistan and rest of the world. But to India it constitutes a danger that is immediate and serious. All these groups have pan-Islamic linkages with sustainable sources of funding, weapons and manpower; the direction of fire can take any course any time. The re-entrenchment of the Taliban in large tracts of Afghanistan and border areas of Pakistan, as well as the radicalization of certain sects of Muslims in different parts of the world is a matter of serious concern to India, which has an indigenous Muslim population of over 150 million.
In Bangladesh, the Islamic radicals are fast expanding their numbers and influence, and are busy establishing new bases and increasing their political clout. Bangladesh, which started as a secular democracy, today is neither secular nor democratic. With serious economic problems faced by a country with a high-density population, India is facing the serious challenge of demographic invasion. Large scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh, estimated to be above 20 million is another area of serious internal security concern. In certain areas, the demographics have been totally changed, impacting the local political, social and economic situation. The Islamic radicals from Bangladesh are using this Diaspora to their advantage to find safe hideouts and support bases.
Bangladesh has become a base for North Eastern insurgent groups, a place they have their sanctuaries and training camps. It has also emerged as an important route used for gun running for Indian insurgent and extremist groups.
In Sri Lanka, LTTE has emerged as a powerful terrorist group which has implications for India's security. In Nepal, the Maoists, who for a long time have subscribed to the doctrine of armed revolution, have come to power thankfully through a democratic process. We hope that in their new incarnation they will bring stability and peace in Nepal, not disavowing any armed groups within and outside the country. India, however, beleaguered by its own variety of left-wing extremism, Naxalism, has to remain vigilant.
The developments in Tibet also impact security in India, particularly as we share a long border with China's Tibet Autonomous Region and are home to a large number of Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, living as political refugees in India. So, I think that managing security fallouts of our troubled neighbourhood and minimising their adverse impact on India is a major security concern for us.
Another challenge is to modernise and maintain India's defence preparedness relative to its size, challenges and strategic needs. The rapid technological changes and revolution in military sciences have made it a costly exercise, placing heavy demands on resources needed for social and economic improvement. India is sandwiched between two nuclear powers, both of whom have attacked Indian territories in the past. Effectively managing a 3,439km border with China and a 3,325km border with Pakistan, large tracts of which are snowed-in and difficult to navigate, pose a serious problem. Strategic partnership between China and Pakistan, further compounds the problem.
India has a long coastline of nearly 7,000 km and is a pre-eminent Indian Ocean power. The breadth of India's security interests extend beyond the narrow confines of its neighbourhood as the developments in its extended neighbourhood have a significant bearing on India's national interests. India's security interests extend from the Persian Gulf in the West to across the Straits of Malacca in the East, and from the Central Asian Republics in the North to the Equator in the South.
China's newly acquired economic strength, which has led to an increase in defence allocations, major military expansion plans -particularly of its navy, sharp upgradation in strategic weapon systems and integration of new technologies -has upset the strategic balance to India's disadvantage. Their southward push, entailing building warm water ports in Gwadar, Pakistan and Mawlamyaing, Myanmar, and plans to build one in Chittagong Bangladesh, have serious security implications for India. Similarly, Pakistan's nuclear programme, its acquisition of new long range missiles capabilities, and substantial accretion in its air power during last five years necessitates India keeping pace to ensure credible deterrence.
Jammu & Kashmir, which has been a victim of cross border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan for more than a decade and a half, continues to be a serious problem area for India. A large number of terrorists, over 70% of them Pakistani nationals belonging to Pakistani terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e- Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohmmad, Harkat-ul-Ansar etc have been regularly infiltrating through the porous borders and causing mayhem in India.
As per the revelations made by Pakistani scholars and writers themselves, these terrorist groups are provided sanctuaries, training, weapons and financing by Pakistani intelligence. A study by a Pakistani researcher with International Crisis Group (ICG) gave province-wide statistic of nearly 11,500 Pakistanis killed in Kashmiri Jihad through 2004. All this makes a mockery of Pakistan's claim as a frontline state in combating terrorism. Of late there has been a scaling down of violence in Jammu & Kashmir, mainly due to a lack of locals' $UPport of Islamic terrorists. However, by and large, the organisation, structure and sources of support for terrorist outfits within Pakistan remain intact.
CLSA: What about the rise of Left wing extremism?
Ajit Doval: Growth of left-wing extremism, sometimes referred as Naxalism, is another area of security concern for India on the domestic front. The leftover groups of the Naxalite movement of the 1970s began regrouping in the mid-90s and over the years have spread their influence to larger areas, building a strong force of armed cadres they call the People's Liberation Army (PLA). They have accumulated large numbers of weapons and found new sources of financing for the movement. They have been exploiting local grievances of social and economically weak segments of society, particularly in inaccessible tribal areas, to spread their influence. Using more coercion than persuasion, they have been propagating pernicious ideology that democracy is only a tool of exploitation in the hands of privileged and usurping power through armed action is the only viable option available to the underprivileged.
In the past few years, left-wing extremists have been able to extend their influence to over 160 out of 600-odd districts of India. The insurgencies in Punjab, Kashmir and North East affected about 8% of India's population, and in comparison, left wing extremism reaches 35% of India's population. Large reserves of country's mineral and forest wealth, in addition to economic arteries of transport and communications, are concentrated in the affected areas, thereby having a direct impact on the country's economic development. Because of the inaccessibility of the region and lack of adequate infrastructural support, it has been difficult to reach people in parts of these areas and provide them opportunities for growth and development. Poor infrastructure also adds to the woes of security forces in effectively maintaining law and order in affected areas.
Social and communal tensions and conflicts are an important part of internal security but these have been on the decline over the years. We have minimal lock-outs, strikes, caste and religious riots and these are now largely contained although potential eruptions always remain a concern.
CLSA: Can you elaborate on your concerns about the protection of India's maritime resources?
Ajit Doval: The number of players who feel they have economic or military stakes in the Indian-Ocean region has increased considerably, escalating conflict potential in what was once a peaceful area. Earlier, China had a very small navy and did not have any maritime ambitions in the Indian Ocean. However, with its new interests in Africa, the Middle East and littoral states along Indian-Ocean- rim countries; it is expanding and repositioning itself. Supported by its growing economic power and military acquisitions, both in civilian and defence areas, it is systematically pursuing a long-term strategic plan. As I said earlier, it is building ports in Gwadar, Pakistan, Mawlamyaing, Myanmar and planning one in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Connecting them via highways to mainland China is an attempt at providing easy access to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
The US already has a sizeable naval presence in the area as its energy security is linked to hydrocarbon resources of the Gulf and other countries in the Middle East. Besides oil, the US also has strategic military interests in this region. Pakistan is acquiring new naval capabilities in collaboration with China, which do not appear to be compatible with its genuine defence needs. All these have security implications of which india needs to remain alert.
Peninsular India has a coastline of 7,751 km, the longest of all the Indian Ocean countries. It also has an exclusive economic zone of over 2 million km2, which needs to be protected from intrusion and poaching. In addition to military threats, the long coastline has to be protected from terrorist infiltrations, gun running and drug smuggling. For free passage to its commercial ports and unhindered economic exploitation of its exclusive economic zone -particularly for oil and gas -India needs to effectively police its coastline and other physical assets in the area. For India, emergence of military rivalries and presence of naval ships in the Indian Ocean region is a serious source of security concern.
CLSA: Given the scenario you outlined, should India be deepening its strategic relationship with the US?
Ajit Doval: The concept of a strategic partnership by itself is an incomplete formulation. One cannot comment on it in isolation but only in the context of the objectives sought by each party. I presume the US would have well defined national, strategic objectives, both for the short and long term, and so would India. The extent of commonalities therein would define the scope of the partnership. As both are open democracies and their policies are publicly debated, much of their strategic goals and broad interests, at least at conceptual level, can be surmised.
Being democracies, both believe that strengthening existing democracies feeds their larger goal of global peace and order. This, if honestly pursued, opens up a whole area of strategic cooperation in supporting free regimes, free press, human rights and values, the rule of law etc. Both believe in the idea that free economies are powerful drivers of growth and development. This provides a scope for strategic cooperation in many areas of economic activity like trade, commerce, industry; energy, infrastructure, financial services etc, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
India, with its emerging economic profile, has acquired a new found relevance in an economic context and can be both a contributor and beneficiary of this process. Both countries have suffered from and face serious threat from international terrorism. Both are convinced that combating it requires global cooperation and India and the US can play an important role in fighting terrorism. We, together, also have common interest in stopping environmental degradation, even as there is a need for greater convergence of response strategy. Given a better understanding of each other's constraints and compulsions -particularly in India, which faces more serious developmental problems than the developed world -new avenues of co- operation can be explored. A strategy for energy security is another area where US could be of considerable assistance to India. These are only illustrative and one can work out a much longer inventory of items that have potential for strategic co-operation.
However, I feel that from a cultural perspective, India believes in strategic I partnership based on equality, fairness and sensitivity to each other's core concerns. When countries, asymmetric in State powers, get tied down to strategic relationships, often the stronger power assumes a dominant status which in the long run hurts the interests of the smaller power. This underlines the need to forge relationships based on equality, long term perspective and respect for each other's critical interests. I think that though the whole potential of an Indo-US strategic relationship has yet to unfold, the two countries are moving in the right direction and at the right pace, which is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. With greater trust and understanding there is ample scope for this to mature.
CLSA: To keep up with the rest of the world in military capabilities, would you advocate increased spending on defence? What else needs to be done to strengthen India's military capabilities?
Ajit Doval: Any country's economic and political power necessitates a certain level of military or defence capabilities or that country becomes vulnerable. Keeping in view its size, geo-strategic setting, regional and global security concerns, terrorism threats, covert warfare etc, India's defence spending is low and needs to be augmented. Compared to China or Pakistan, India spends much less of its GDP on defence. A significant part of apparent increase in the defence budgets goes towards increase in salaries and pensions of defence personnel necessitated by inflation. Modernisation of defence capabilities is an exorbitantly expensive exercise that requires huge expenditure on a continual basis. Given India's GDP growth rate is in the range of 8-9%, its security apparatus also needs to be modernised at an appropriate rate.
However, upgrading military capabilities does not mean just spending money, though clearly that constitutes an important ingredient. In the Indian context, it is important to develop an indigenous research capability, which is a costly proposition. We also need integration of equipment and systems, domestically produced and internationally acquired, with our war machine. Developing compatibility and complementary action between weapons systems, support systems, training, communications, etc is essential for India as its military hardware has been procured from diverse sources.
Consistent technological upgrading to maintain an edge over the enemy is also a critical requirement as many new technologies were denied to India after its nuclear tests. Streamlining defence production and making it cost- effective is another high priority area for India. We also need to decide what models are necessary for India's external security -whether we would fight on one or two fronts, sea or land. We talk too much of battle on land/ field.
CLSA: How grave is the Maoist threat? Is it the most serious internal security threat facing India, as described by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh?
Ajit Doval: The left-wing extremist threat has to be understood in context. The Maoist threat is not a threat to India's sovereignty or its integrity; it is not a secessionist or separatist movement. However, with its rejection of democracy as a viable political system to ensure equality, social justice, economic well- being, and freedom from exploitation, it challenges core values of India's Constitution, its democratic polity and internal political stability. Having said that I do not think left-wing extremists have any shot at threatening Indian democratic system in any significant inspite of the popular support they enjoy in areas where they are present, and their organization and resources, given the capacity of the Indian State to counter it.
What it really threatens is peace and tranquility. In a civil society, sustaining the rate of economic growth, development of rural areas where it has spread its tentacles, and upholding the rule of law are challenges. The political process in the areas of its influence also gets adversely affected because of the coercive power of these extremists. At times they give call for the boycott of elections and at others they prevent some candidates from contesting or carrying out electoral canvassing. This does not bode well for democracy, and prevents people from freely exercising their best political options.
The Maoists further challenge the State by imposing and collecting taxes, and dispensing rough and ready justice through their Jan Adalats (public courts) where they dispense with justice on local disputes, land matters and issues of law and order. The fact is that they are able to execute their orders, and their justice system is brutal. This is a threat to the governance in the country and it is becoming increasingly difficult to undertake any social and economic developmental activities in these regions.
Knowing India's ability to respond and strengths of its security apparatus, I am sure the country will be able to get over the Naxal problem or, at least, contain it at a manageable level until it ultimately falls in line to join mainstream national politics like its predecessors. Many political groups in India who once believed in a revolutionary armed struggle are today active participants in the electoral and democratic process. The communists in India owe allegiance to the Indian Constitution and are in power in three of the Indian states (West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura).
Globally, a majority of the Left extremist groups have shunned the path of violence and taken to democracy. Even in Nepal the Maoists have subscribed to a multi-party democracy, and recently won the battle at the ballot box. In India too, the Naxalites are bound to join the political mainstream one day. The question is how soon and after how much damage?
CLSA: Left-wing extremist violence had become serious in India in the early 1970s. How do you compare the situation then and now? We have also seen reports of a lack of coordination among various state governments, a result of Naxal violence. Your comments?
Ajit Doval: The situation in the 1970s and today is vastly different. Firstly, in the 70s, it was confined to relatively small pockets in the state of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Today its spread is much wider. Secondly, there is a sharp accretion in the resources of the extremists in terms of their financial strength, weapons power, and strength of armed cadres, which has added to its severity. The movement in the 70s was deeply rooted in revolutionary Marxist ideology while today it has undergone substantial dilution and has been substituted by monetary interests, a craving for power, criminal propensities, caste rivalries etc.
The change in tactics is also a relevant factor. Violence in those days was perpetrated by small and select armed groups who could be isolated and effectively fought. Today, the extremists are adopting a strategy of mobilising large groups of men and women to hit their targets. The response becomes difficult when you consider that 800 extremists attacked the Jehanabad jail to free their arrested colleagues. There were large number of women and children in the group and very few "soldiers" from their People's Liberation Army. If decisive force had been used in such a situation, the problem would have been aggravated, especially if innocent children and women were killed and finding a long lasting solution would have seen massive setbacks. Thus, at times the state's hands are tied in terms of how it can respond to a particular situation. Using excessive force against mob attacks can lead to collateral damage that is politically unaffordable in a democracy.
The other factor that has compounded the problem is the money factor. Naxals are financially much stronger today. In their annual budget, Rs600m (US$15m) has reportedly been earmarked for buying weapons and equipment this year. Even if a fraction of these funds are actually spent for procurement of weapons mayhem can be created. These kinds of funds cannot be generated by donations from poor villagers and tribals in the affected regions. With economic boom coming in these areas, there is a lot of capital flowing in. Naxalites resort to large scale extortions from businessmen, mines, power plants, contractors, transporters and even forcibly collect "taxes" (protection money). The local level corruption and lax governance in these far flung areas makes money collection a low risk venture for the Naxals.
Today the State response is twofold. Firstly, efforts are being made to improve the socio-economic conditions of affected people in remote and inaccessible areas; the government is redressing their grievances. For example, in tribal areas a new law has been enacted to restore traditional rights of the tribes, and forest dwellers in the forests. Education, health care, and communication facilities in affected areas are being improved and new employment opportunities are being created for youth through local developmental programmes and government recruitment. However, due to shortcomings of the delivery system and bureaucratic delays, the fruits of development are not reaching the needy at the required pace.
Streamlining the security apparatus and making it more effective on the ground is another part of the response strategy. Strengthening intelligence and improving coordination is one area that has been given high priority. Modernisation of police forces, liberal central assistance, increased presence of police in remote areas, enhanced training facilities, and improvements in police mobility and communications have produced some positive results. The Centre, in addition to providing funds, has been helping the states by deputing large bodies of central paramilitary forces to the affected areas. The Centre also plays a crucial role in bringing about inter-state coordination and synergising their counter-terrorist effort.
India has the experience, resources and an effective security apparatus capable of performing at an unexpectedly high level when situations become urgent. India's major strength also lies in its participative democracy, right down to the village communities. With the empowerment of village-level governments, a large number of local grievances are likely to be redressed, and local developmental activities initiated. This is expected to substantially improve the situation, marginalise the extremists and undermine their pernicious ideology of change through violence.
CLSA: Why is there no firm response from the central government on this issue and why is the response from different states not adequate?
Ajit Doval: At times the complex functioning of Indian states may seem confusing. The response has something to do with our laws and constitutional framework. Law and order is a state subject and the Centre cannot usurp the constitutional powers of the states, except for short periods of time in serious emergencies. The Centre can assist the state governments in terms of finances, training, expert advice, better equipment, coordination, etc, but not act directly. Responsibility and power remain with the local police and administration.
What has been happening in some states is that the central forces are not being utilized for the duties they are best suited for. Instead they are being deployed for routine law and order duties, which should be done by the local police. In guerrilla warfare, guerrillas want to tie down enemy forces; that gives them a free hand to operate. If the Maoists kill one patwari (a district level officer who maintains revenue records) and then every patwari, numbering in thousands, gets a police guard, a huge force gets occupied with static duties, reducing pressure on the extremists despite heavy deployment.
If protection duties are taken up by local police, the central forces -who are better trained and equipped -can be deployed for counter-terrorist operations to flush them out from their strongholds, seriously destabilizing them. I feel that Central forces, backed by good intelligence, should be used only in offence mode, like combing operations for instance.
Infrastructure facilities for carrying out operations in the interior areas also need attention. With limited roads and communication networks it is difficult to carry out operations in these difficult terrains. Infrastructure has to be rapidly augmented, an area in which the Centre can play an important role.
At another level, many people in the affected areas have grievances against the administration and departments like Revenue, Forest and the Public Works Department. These need to be addressed quickly and transparently. An Act was recently enacted to preserve tribal lands and restore traditional rights of tribes, which should be enforced.
States also need to choke the sources of funds that are collected by the extremists. For this, stricter implementation 'of laws is needed, and if necessary, new laws should be promulgated to work as a deterrent to individuals and businessmen paying protection money or taxes to the Maoists.
The role of the police has to move away from the conventional role of maintaining law and order to one of social transformation. Police should be an arm of the government that helps local people. Community policing has been done in Tamil Nadu successfully, although there are times when -partly out of fear and partly out of ignorance -do not give information.
CLSA: What can the private sector do, and would the Maoists be opposed to their activities?
Ajit Doval: The private sector, which is benefiting a lot from these geographic areas thanks to their rich mineral and forest wealth, should take on social responsibility and partner with the government to provide employment to the locals and undertake social development programmes. People living close to these projects should be given preference in employment; enhancing their skills and knowledge through training.
Big corporate houses are operating in the region but they have done very little for the locals. The local people deprived of their land have become mute spectators of the riches and wealth they see being created in the lands that, for generations, belonged to them. Due to the high illiteracy rate, they are not even able to make best use of the land prices given to them. Tribal people are thus at a great disadvantage; they lose their lands and have no permanent means to make a decent living thereafter. The compensation given to them should translate into economic sustainability.
Maoists are prone to opposing developmental works in their strongholds as progress weakens their support base. The private sector, both ideologically and empirically, is an anathema to them. Maoists stand for social control of the community and of economic resources. However, there is only a small portion of society that they have been able to influence, which means the vast majority of people want change through democratic, non-violent means. The Private sector has the opportunity to strengthen these forces by positively contributing to civil society. If they decide to develop projects that can provide jobs, education, health care and social improvement for the locals, it will be well received by all. The government, I am sure, will extend its full support to such projects, including providing adequate security protection. The private sector can also assist and work through credible non- governmental organizations (NGOs) and charitable foundations.
Mass media in the private sector can also play an important role. They can bring social education programmes to aid in community development and make locals realise the empowerment that democracy provides. Over the years, Maoists have mastered the art of manipulating the minds of people through false propaganda, accentuating imaginary fears and promising to make fantasies real. Responding to this with a message of the realities of democracy and economic development, in which the private sector and mass media can playa seminal role, would be very helpful. But finally, good governance is the solution.
CLSA: Some of us believe that the Indian state responds only when it has its back to the wall. Would you agree?
Ajit Doval: Yes and no. The Indian system of governance is very complex and bureaucratic. There are always competing demands on our nation's scarce resources and it is not always possible to devote enough attention to every problem concurrently. The ideal is not always doable. And in a democracy there are forces that upset the process of prioritisation. Often that which is immediate takes precedence over that which is important.
Though the Indian administrative machinery's intrinsic ability to tackle problems is not in doubt when it applies itself fully, it fails to do so, on a consistent basis. This is, to a large extent, a function of political will. When things get difficult and there is the pressure of public opinion, it increases the political drive and leads to more quick and effective action, which at times is misconstrued as the system only operating when pushed. There are many problems that are addressed in routine matter but do not make news.
Aggregate public opinion in the areas affected by Maoist extremists is still in favour of peace. It is more a result of coercion, and less due to conviction, that people support the violent Maoists. If one can avoid a danger by succumbing to fear then that is the natural human response. Hiring tribal people as constables would restrict Maoist recruitment. One need not relax the criteria for the service but put the locals through schools and then absorb them into the service; empower them, enable them, bring them into the system and upgrade their capabilities.
The funds that continue to go to the Maoists are a real problem. Contributions to Maoists should be punishable by law; this would act as a deterrent to individuals and corporations who pay protection money. In this context I personally believe that the withdrawal of POTA was not a good idea. The law serves many purposes and one of them is that it works as a deterrent to the law breaker. Every country impacted by terrorism, like USA, UK, etc has enacted new laws to address the threat of terrorism. But India, which is the worst affected country due to global terrorism for over two decades, by withdrawing POTA, is sending a wrong message that terrorism is just another normal crime. India needs a strong special anti-terrorist law.
CLSA: You mentioned the recruitment of locals by Maoists, but the Salwa Judum initiative has come under a lot of criticism. What are your views and thoughts on the same?
Ajit Doval: As I see it, Salva Judum is a resistance movement by people who stand against the violence and coercive high-handedness of the Naxals. As Naxals are brutal in dealing with those who are opposed to their ideology, the Government has to provide protection for them. They have been lodged in camps, as it is not always possible to provide safety in their homes or villages. Naxalites and think tanks sympathetic to them make a huge issue out of this as Naxalites get badly shaken by people's resistance.
Salva Judum started as a resistance against violence, forcible money collection and dispensation of rough and ready justice by the Maoists. It is possible that some members of Salva Judum might have given information regarding the Naxals to police or otherwise assisted them in law enforcement, but this is no more than the duty of every law-abiding citizen. Every citizen has a social responsibility and is a policeman without uniform. The state is not arming the civilians to kill law-abiding citizens. I do not think there is anything legally or morally wrong in the basic concept of Salwa Judum. How can you deny the people right to defend themselves and fight for what they believe in?
CLSA: Have the Maoists infiltrated urban areas?
Ajit Doval: The Maoists are trying to build up bases in the urban areas but have had very limited success so far. They have, however, been trying to build networks of supporters, sympathisers and ideologues in some of the urban centres.
CLSA: Let us move to the various insurgent movements in North-East India. What is the situation there?
Ajit Doval: As far as the North-East is concerned, there are two issues with respect to national security:
The first one concerns the local population and politicians.
The second is about military and defence issues.
Seven states in India's North-Eastern region -small in size, with relatively low-density population, covered extensively by forest areas, with 40% of its 32 million people belonging to 200 tribes -is referred as the North-East. The tribal people in this region for generations have been leading secluded and insular lives. During the colonial rule, the British did not allow other Indian people to travel to these regions. Only the British, military troops and Christian missionaries were allowed.
Unlike the rest of India, the British were neither keen on political integration of the area nor its development. They wanted strategic control over the area and consequently, anyone who challenged their authority was brutally suppressed; but barring that there was no interference in lives of the locals. At the civil society level the work was outsourced to the missionaries who opened schools, hospitals etc, but subtly, active at the political level, promoted the colonial interests of the British.
After independence, the scenario underwent a fundamental change. Many initiatives to improve their quality of life by providing political empowerment, education, health care, transport and communication facilities enabled them to come up to the level of the rest of India. To ensure better administration, the government divided the area into ethnically homogenous political units with full-fledged state governments. Democracy was brought into these areas to give power to the people and make them stakeholders in their own development.
While all these measures produced a number of favourable results, change in conventional lifestyle also gave rise to some doubts and misgivings. Some with vested interests, primarily supported from outside, exploited the situation to create imaginary fears and disaffection among the people about deceitful plans of the Indian government. Pakistan provided sanctuaries, weapons and training to some of these alienated youth in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and urged them to take recourse through an armed insurrection. Some misled tribal youths formed armed cadres and started indulging in acts of violence, extortion of money and other criminal activities.
Some of these groups also opened their camps in Myanmar. As most of the l,561km border with Bangladesh and l,961km border with Myanmar is easily navigable, and there is a population sharing common ethnicity and language on both sides, the insurgent groups found it easy to move back and forth. The intelligence agencies of Pakistan and later Bangladesh considered supporting insurgencies in the North-East as a potent tool to bleed India. Until the 70s even the Chinese provided weapons to some of the insurgent groups under the communist doctrine of supporting nationalist minorities, but of late, they have kept away from direct interference.
Geographically, the region has been inaccessible and consequently only semi- administered for generations. People hoped the newly elected governments of the locals would be able to ensure speedy economic growth, bring about social development and reduce alienation levels, but it did not happen to the levels desired. Corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency and inter-tribal rivalries prevented effective governance of the region.
The Government of India did pump huge resouoces into the region, but as it was not backed by an effective and accountable administrative structure, they did not get much value out of it. Excess money, rather than becoming a tool of economic and social transformation, became an incentive for lawless people to become rich through extortion. Kidnappings and the levying of taxes in the name of fighting political battles for the people became rampant. Though the number of people who joined insurgent groups was not very high, even small groups with large financial resources and sophisticated weaponry succeeded in creating political instability and serious law and order problems.
Today, neither the people nor the insurgent groups have any real political demands, and the separatist sentiments are almost non-existent. The fruits of development have started reaching the people, as has the realisation of the non-viability of small tribes as independent political entities. Presently, there are three main factors that contribute to the continuation of violence. Firstly, the money factor; even gun-totting groups of 5 to 10 boys are able to extract huge amounts of money, creating a vested interest in perpetuating the phenomenon. The second factor is the diabolical plotting of intelligence agencies in Pakistan and Bangladesh, who provide sanctuaries, weapons, strategic guidelines, etc to the insurgent groups. Third is the poor level of local governance. By not fully meeting the needs or desires of the people, disenfranchised youths turn to guns and violence.
The most important insurgent group at the moment is ULFA, operating in Assam. It started as a group opposed to Bangladeshis who illegally migrated into Assam, depriving the locals of their legitimate economic and political space. In its initial phase it did receive some support of the people because there was quite a bit of frustration with the Bangladeshis, who had divided their lands, employment opportunities and even political voice. However, when ULFA leaders began to depend on Bangladesh for their safety, secure sanctuaries and training camps, they were forced to change their stance and the group became a tool in the hands of their keepers.
Consequently, the public support for ULFA has completely died out and today it is perceived as a criminal group indulging in extortion and violence as per the directions of their masters across the border. In recent years, its violence has been directed primarily against workers from Indian states of U.P and Bihar, which has not received any popular support.
In Nagaland, NSCN (1M) and NSCN(K) are two large groups, but as a sequel to their ongoing negotiations with the Government of India, they have largely refrained from indulging in any violent activities for over a decade. In Mizoram, the peace talks were successfully concluded about two decades back and the MNF, which mounted the insurgency, has been in power in the State through elections.
In Tripura, National Liberation Tiger Force (NLTF) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) are two major groups. Although there has been sharp decline in their activities of late, they continue to have a large cadre with estimated strengths of 450 and 400 respectively. In Manipur, there are over a dozen armed groups, all of them with bases in neighbouring Myanmar. However, PLA and UNLF are two main insurgent groups with considerable strength.
Today, more than a security problem, North East is facing the issue of heightened criminality among the people. There is, however, no real political movement in the North East that has the intention or strength to cause harm to the Indian state. The situation in Assam is of course more serious; the ULFA has been targeting innocent civilians in large numbers.
Economic development and involvement of local people in political process helped eliminate the political content of the insurgency. Once elections are held every five years and people win or lose, they develop a vested interest in continuing participation. Democracy is a process that is able to take a lot of ill will out of the system. Involvement of people in the process of governance, even if the governance is bad, is okay. Though people may be unhappy, they are not disillusioned to the extent that they want to break away from the system and embrace violence as an alternative means.
While there is resentment of the government among people in North East, they are not willing to take a gun and fight the state. There is still a need for reducing the feeling of alienation, but people would not be participating in the electoral process if they were supporting violent groups. In the most recent elections for the state assemblies in the three states in North-East, voter turnout was as high as 75%.
CLSA: You have been quoted in the media as saying that infiltration from Bangladesh is the biggest security problem for India. Why do you think so? What has been the State response?
Ajit Doval: Illegal immigration from Bangladesh is a serious problem because it has the potential to worsen and become more serious with time unless it is firmly addressed. The population of Bangladesh is growing at nearly 2% per annum, adding three million people to its already large population of nearly 160 million. Population density stands at more than 1,100 persons per km2. The economy of the country is not expanding proportionately, and because of the slow rate of economic growth, new employment opportunities are not being created; this creates a powerful push factor for Bangladeshis who want a better life.
On the other hand, the Indian economy is expanding at a fast rate, the borders are porous, illegal immigrants have ethnic and linguistic affinity with people on the Indian side, and the poputation density in the adjoining North- Eastern region is less than 150 persons)km2. This is compounded by reluctance on the part of the Bangladesh government to control illegal immigration.
The people of the North-East, a large number of them tribal, require protection and support, and demographic invasion seriously upsets their economic, political and cultural life. Muslim immigrants have taken over large tracts of agricultural land in the North-Eastern region, particularly Assam. They have reduced the local population to landless minorities in many bordering districts of the state. With the push factors I mentioned, this phenomenon in the course of time may worsen. It will not only totally destroy the way of life and cultural identity of the people of North-East, but also lead to their economic ruin unless drastic measures are initiated to reverse the process. The problem becomes further complicated when some politicians practicing vote-bank politics, support the illegal immigrants and help them become enrolled as voters.
The other side of the issue is that Bangladeshi immigrants in India have begun to support Islamic terrorist groups, particularly those with bases in Bangladesh. The terrorists find ready shelters and support bases in the localities with a large Bangladeshi contingency. Now, the illegal immigrants are not confined only to the adjoining areas of North-East and West Bengal, but have spread in large numbers to different parts of the country. Their estimated total is over 20 million and their presence has been registered in over 14 states in India. All these factors add up, making it a serious security problem for India.
There is always some type of response from the state. However, if the number of people immigrating this year is up from the previous year, then the response is not adequate. In fact immigration into India has increased substantially in the last five years. Even at the diplomatic level it is necessary to engage with the Bangladeshi government to address this problem.
What is the Illegal Migration Determination by Tribunals Act?
On 15 October 1983, the Government of India passed an Ordinance to set up tribunals to determine whether a person is or is not an illegal migrant. On 12 December 1983, the IMDT Act was introduced and passed in Parliament.
Where is the Act applicable?
Act is applicable only in the state of Assam. In other states detection of foreigners is established under the Foreigners Act of 1946. Ironically, there was no member in the Lok Sabha from Assam's Brahmaputra Valley -a forested region along the border through which many illegal immigrants get into India -when the act was passed, as elections could not be held in the state in 1980.
What is the difference between the IMDT Act and the Foreigners Act?
Under the IMDT Act, the burden of proving the accused is not in fact Indian lies with the complainant (usually the police), whereas under the Foreigners Act, the onus is on the accused (the individual in question).
How did the Act define an illegal migrant?
According to this Act an illegal migrant is a person who: entered India on or after 25 March 1971; is a foreigner; and entered India without being in possession of a valid passport or other travel documents, or any other legal authority.
Clauses 4 and 9 of the IMDT Act said those who came before 25 March 1971 would not come under the scope of the Act as the issue of such cases "has been left for negotiations." But even in the case of post-1971 migrants, the procedures were deliberately cumbersome. For instance, the Act required two individuals living within a three km radius of a suspected illegal migrant to go to an IMDT Tribunal, deposit a sum Rs25 and then file a complaint. Although later the three km restriction was modified -the complainant could be from the same police station limits as the accused -and the deposit sum was reduced to Rs10, it was still difficult to enforce.
The most contentious provision of the Act was the condition that the burden of proving the citizenship credentials of the person in question falls on the complainant and the police, not on the accused. Under the Foreigners Act, which was used throughout the rest of the country, the onus is understandably on the accused. The Act also provided that "if the application is found,frivolous or vexatious" the Central Government may not accept it.
In mid-1999, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs admitted that the IMDT act was unsatisfactory and disclosed the certain statistics to prove it. The number of enquiries against suspected illegal migrants that were initiated totalled 3,02,554. Enquiries referred to the Screening Committee numbered 2,96,564. Of that, enquiry reports referred to the IMDT Tribunals only totalled 31,264. Just under one-third of that 9,625 -were declared illegal migrants by an IMDT Tribunal, but only 1,461 people were actually expelled from the country.
Chronology of the Act’s journey towards repeal
1992: The Asom Gana Parishad's Mangaldoi convention resolves to demand repeal the IMDT Act.
19 Sept 1992: Pachu Gopal Baruah and others challenge the validity of the IMDT Act in the Guwahati High Court.
1998: Tripartite discussion among AASU, the Government of Assam and the Government of India results in a consensus on repealing the IMDT Act "in the greater interest of the people of Assam.
1998: The All India Lawyers Forum for Civil Liberties files a petition in the Supreme Court for the repeal of the IMDT Act.
1 Sept 1999: The Government of Assam files an affidavit for the first time in Supreme Court, supporting the repeal of the IMDT Act.
8 March 2000: ID Swamy, Union Minister of State for Home tells Parliament: "Government is of the view that the IMDT Act in its application in the state of Assam alone is discriminatory. A proposal to repeal the Act is under consideration of the government."
April 2000: Sarbananda Sonowal, President of AASU, challenges the validity of the IMDT Act in Supreme Court.
Sept 2000: The Law Commission's 175th report recommends a repeal of the IMDT Act.
June 2001: The Assam government withdraws and changes its affidavit in Supreme Court after Congress comes to power. They now say the Act should remain.
6 May 2003: The union cabinet under Vajpayee decides to introduce a bill to repeal the IMDT Act.
9 May 2003: Government introduces a bill in Parliament to repeal the IMDT Act. August 2003: The repeal bill is referred to the Select Committee Parliament.
August to December 2003: Discussions in the Select Committee take place; Parliament is dissolved and the repeal bill falls through.
12 July 200S: Supreme Court strikes down the IMDT Act.
CLSA: There have been lingering border issues with China and recent reports of incursions by the Chinese Army into Arunachal Pradesh. Do you think the Indian government has been soft, underplaying these border tensions?
Ajit Doval: India has an unsettled border with China, falling along eastern, middle and western sectors of China's Autonomous Tibet Region. During the 1962 aggression, it annexed areas considered by India to be part of its territory. The border dispute has lingered for over four decades and India had at one time been making consistent efforts for a peaceful settlement. As a step toward conflict resolution, in 1981 Mrs. Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, asked China to spell out its position with respect to the disputed borders with maps. While India had no problem doing so using authenticated historical maps, it took two decades of intense persuasion before Beijing exchanged one map with India and that too of the least disputed middle sector. Despite repeated requests, till today China has not been able to define its position on border dispute with maps of western and eastern sectors.
In 2003, the two countries started working through an alternate route. This, after prolonged deliberations, led to laying down agreed upon principles, concepts and the framework for a border settlement. An institutional mechanism was established, under which India's National Security Advisor and China's Vice-Foreign Minister were tasked with working out a solution. They have held nearly a dozen rounds of talks so far, and six broad principles have been agreed upon, which should form the foundation for finding a solution. India's response to some of the recent developments is to be seen as a diplomatic partner in this process.
While the peace process is ongoing, albeit at a very slow pace, there have been a few instances of intrusive patrolling by the Chinese on the Indian side. The problem can be explained away easily, taking the stance that since the border is undefined; these were not deliberate intrusions but harmless movements which should not be construed as border violations. However, this is too simplistic an explanation and not convincing to anyone who understands the border and the Chinese behavioural pattern. The fact that there has been a heavy Chinese build up in the Autonomous Tibetan Region when there is no visible threat warranting such a step is a reality that cannot be brushed under the carpet.
India, however, is hopeful that China is sincerely interested in finding a peaceful solution to the border dispute. India wants to give peace a chance and has not reacted to some of the Chinese statements and actions, though it has created some anxiety among strategic thinkers on the Indian side. Personally, I believe that clarity on the fundamentals, and the ability to articulate them unequivocally in the long run makes for effective diplomacy. India should have been more vocal about its concerns.
CLSA: There has been a debate among commentators as to whether China's rise is pacifist in nature. What do you think?
Ajit Doval: China's rise is one of the most notable historical developments of the post- war era. Over the years, particularly after the launch of its modernisation and reforms programmes in the late 70s, there has been considerable accretion in its State power. While the world has been more focused on its impressive economic achievements, China has also been busy building its strategic strength -militarily, technologically and diplomatically.
China's defence budget for the year 2007 stood at US$45bn, which represents a double digit hike for the nineteenth year in a row. As the Chinese system of computing their expenditure is quite complex and opaque, arriving at exact figures would be any analyst's nightmare. The US Defence Intelligence Agency estimates China's defence budget in the range of US$85 to US$125bn. Experts estimate that in next 10 years Chinese military expenditure will cross US$ltn. Between 2000 and 2005 China imported weapons systems worth over US$llbn from Russia alone and the inventory included Kilo-class Submarines, Sovremenny-Class Destroyers, and Sukhoi- 27 and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets. China is rapidly modernising its 2.5 million strong People's Liberation Army (PLA), which includes building up a powerful blue water navy with offence capabilities, introducing new weapons systems, upgrading equipment and integrating new technologies.
China is a major world power, and considering its enhanced international status, one can understand a certain level of accretion to its war machine, but the magnitude and direction of its growth raises some uncomfortable strategic questions. China's military diplomacy in Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles are indicative of its intrusive maritime ambitions in the Indian Ocean, which is a disconcerting matter for India. Its technology demonstration to hit a satellite in outer space -is indicative of its developing strategic capabilities, which have far-reaching implications beyond the region. Beefed up by a powerful economy, and ruled by a one-party dictatorship, China will require close observation.
CLSA: With China acquiring strategic capabilities what are the security implications for India? What is driving the growing China-India bilateral relationship?
Ajit Doval: India has long-standing relationships with China. India considers China an emerging Asian power with which India can co-exist in peace on the basis of commonly agreed principles of respect for each other's territorial integrity, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and the ability to work together for peace and stability in the region. The two countries can also cooperate to improve living conditions for their over 2.4 billion people constituting one third of the world's population.
However, should China acquire military capabilities disproportionate to its needs, it will be a serious cause of concern for India. China shares a long border with India, and some of its policies negatively impact India's security interests. India in its strategic calculations will have to factor in these policies. In addition to China's military deployments in Tibet, the country is expanding military arrangements with Indian neighbours like Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and the Seychelles. This amounts to strategic encirclement of India, with serious implications. As I mentioned earlier, it is developing ports with military capabilities In Gwadar, Pakistan, Mawlamyaing, Myanmar and plans for one in Chittagong, in Bangladesh; these are worrisome to India. China has made no attempt to address to India's concerns, as should be the norm between two important neighbouring countries.
Presently, economic cooperation is driving the India-China bilateral relationship. Both the countries are fast growing economies, providing the basis for economic cooperation with mutual benefits. The border discussions are another important area of engagement. There is an attempt to develop better understanding on global issues concerning the environment, trade, economic cooperation etc. The two countries also share their views on international terrorism with one another. However, for long-lasting and meaningful bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the two countries will have to develop an understanding on many issues, and reduce the levels of mistrust.
CLSA: What are your views on Indo-US strategic relationship?
Ajit Doval: In the global scenario, beset with a whole range of conflicts, a partnership between these two important democracies is not only desirable, but also essential. Both countries, in their unique ways, have strengths that are complimentary, and together can contribute to global security, stability and growth. As important democracies they share many common values like freedom, rule of law, protection of human rights, free press etc. Like never before, the world today is threatened by problems of international terrorism, environmental degradation, a global food crisis, power insecurity, etc, which can be addressed only through a collective international effort. No singular response of one country, no matter how powerful it is, has any chance of success. Both India and the US have the political will, cutting across party lines in their respective countries, to cooperate in these areas.
Further, trust in a free-market economy as a powerful driver of economic growth, entrepreneurial cooperation, large Indian diaspora in the US, the advantage of the English language, and compatibility in legal, accounting and business practices are significant catalysts. Even on many global strategic issues there are commonly shared views. All these provide scope for wide ranging strategic partnership, the full potential of which has yet to unfold.
To what degree and in what time frame this potential will actually be realised will depend on many factors, both bilateral and global. From an Indian perspective, to achieve its full potential one of the important factors that US will have to realise is that India is a vibrant democracy with divergent political positions and ideologies, a country with a large population that has many economic, social and political diversities and strong social and cultural undercurrents that create genuine pressures through which Indian polity has to carve its path. India cannot be treated at par with military dictatorships or non-representative regimes in delineating bilateral relationships. Arrangements that are not seen as based on equality and fairness will not be viable and long-lasting; a government in India perceived as not working in the best interests of the country will not survive.
India has at times viewed the West as insensitive to India's genuine security interests; this perception needs to change. India was profusely bled by international Islamic terrorism for over a decade before 11 September 2001. India legitimately expected greater sensitivity and responsiveness, not a dismissal of its concerns as a squabble between two unruly neighbours. This creates mistrust of the US by the average person.
Fortunately, in the last few years, things have improved greatly. There is a much better understanding of each other's positions and compulsions, and a genuine desire to move forward. India's economic breakthrough, globally competitive human resources, the world's largest youth bulge, technological advancement and stable democracy, have all helped change the US view of India. There is discussion on a new level that opens up possibilities for the future. A strategic relationship between the two countries will, however, be an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary one, with its occasional hiccup. However, I am personally very optimistic and see some very promising and exciting possibilities of partnership between the two countries in future.
Strategic relationship also has one big implication which is normally not explicitly stated: Your enemy is my enemy and your friend is my friend. This restricts concerned country's decisional autonomy and limits its options. To what heights one should raise the level of strategic relationship depends on each country's net assessment of the anticipated gains and the costs involved.
CLSA: What is the extent of problem in Kashmir today?
Ajit Doval: In Kashmir today, the people's support for secession, merger with Pakistan or Jihadi terrorism, is totally non-existent. With new material in the open, largely from Pakistani sources, it is abundantly clear that all that had been happening in Kashmir for over fifteen gloomy years was not freedom struggle, but in fact Pakistani sponsored terrorism aimed at seizing control of Kashmir through a proxy war.
Many objective studies conducted by experts on Kashmir, including a survey conducted by Mori some time back, show that there is no support for violence and that the overwhelming desire of the people today is for peace, growth and stability. Enthusiastic participation by the people in the electoral process - both for Parliament and State Assembly, despite threats and boycott calls from terrorists -is indicative of the aspirations of the people for good governance, fast economic growth and creation of new employment and economic opportunities. Heavy losses suffered at the hands of terrorism, cynicism where Pakistan is concerned, global opinion of Muslims and terrorism, coupled with the growth of economic opportunities in India and a vested interest in participative politics, have all contributed to this positive shift in mood.
The local recruitment of local people into terrorist organisations has almost completely stopped. Terrorist groups active in Jammu and Kashmir -Lashkar- e- Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul-Ansar -are all predominantly manned by foreigners, mostly Pakistanis. As a consequence of this, the violence profile of Jammu & Kashmir has undergone a major shift, and there is sharp decline in terrorist incidents.
Political structures like All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), created to provide political legitimacy to the proxy war waged by Pakistan, have lost support and relevance in Kashmir. APHC, which was an umbrella organization of nearly 3 dozen splinter groups and was spearheading the separatist movement, is today a divided and discredited organisation.
CLSA: What has been India's response to terrorism, particularly in Kashmir, and how well do you think it has worked?
Ajit Doval: Indian strategic response to terrorism has been a nuanced use of hard and soft power of the State, which at times invites snide comments like, "a democracy that has room even for violence." In addition to safeguarding national security interests, Indian policy objectives have been protecting its democratic polity and constitutional values, maintaining communal harmony and ensuring the safety of its citizens.
One of the cornerstones of India's counter-terrorist strategy has been to separate Islam and terrorism, and to treat terrorists as a class devoid of any religious identity. India looks to eliminate terrorist attempts to project themselves as soldiers of Islam and seize control of Muslim society through coercion and persuasion. To achieve this, India prevented communal polarisation of civil society along religious fault lines. Muslims were victims of the phenomenon, not its perpetrators.
The government also used democracy as an effective weapon against terrorism. In Jammu & Kashmir, even at the height of terrorist violence when average killing figures reached 3,000 deaths per year, elections to state assembly were held in 1996 and 2002 (state assembly has a 6-year term) with an impressive turnout. Even parliamentary elections for the central government were held regularly along with rest of the country, with only one exception. Terrorist resistance to elections through violence against party leaders, candidates and voters was resolutely countered. Successful free and fair elections proved to be a silent but effective display of civil society's rejection of terrorists, both as a means and an ends. As elected governments had political interest in maintaining law and order and providing security to their voters, they became principal instruments of fighting terror unleashed by their neighbours of the same faith.
The next stage of strategic response was dealing with terrorism as essentially a problem of policing and criminal administration rather than a military problem. The police forces, which recruit locally and belong to the same religious, ethnic, linguistic and social milieu as the terrorists -were put on the front lines. The central forces, whenever deployed, were controlled by the elected civilian government with full accountability to the judiciary for any questionable actions. Central assistance -providing manpower, finances, equipment and intelligence -made up for any weakness in the police force.
Strengthening of intelligence apparatus was a high priority. Working on the doctrine, "if you fail to surprise the terrorists you are in for surprises," intelligence capabilities were substantially increased. A major part of India's counter-terrorist effort also centred on denying terrorists strategic targets and upgrading protection efforts. Neutralising collaborative networks of terrorists, gun-runners, funding channels, smugglers, organised crime syndicates and the like also figured prominently in India's response strategy.
While in security terms India pursued a zero tolerance policy on terrorism, in political terms the country also believed that solutions could not be found exclusively through the coercive power of the State. Political initiatives had to playa seminal role in complementing the security efforts, including the disclosure of terrorists’ plans, and building strong public support for government-led initiatives. In Kashmir, India kept its doors open for peace. It engaged separatist leaders to narrow their list of grievances, and convinced many of the pointlessness of violence. Over a period of time it had a moderating effect.
Tackling Pakistan, the primary exporter of terror to India, remained a high priority item on the agenda. Political and diplomatic pressures were exerted to try to make Pakistan abandon use of terror as an instrument by which to achieve strategic military objectives. It proved effective during the Kargil War. India initiated political engagement and initiation of confidence-building measures, but their net results have yet to be realised. So far there has been a gap in what Pakistan promised and what it delivered.
Indian security apparatus has worked well with limited collateral damage. There might have been errors of judgment but not of intent. The human rights record of the security forces in Kashmir is not without blemishes, but it is certainly much better than the record of international forces in Kosovo or other areas of conflict. The Indian Army is a disciplined force and rarely violates the law. There are a few isolated cases, but self-restraint is usually visible. As a result, the Indian security forces never lost popular public support.
CLSA: Among various separatist movements, are there any inter- organisational links, the exchange of arms, funding support, etc?
Ajit Doval: Insurgent groups in North-East maintain a certain degree of operational interaction, though there are groups with intense mutual hatred and rivalries. They all have camps near each other in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and they also have common sources of weapons procurement. Though on the ground they operate separately, some of the groups provide logistics assistance to each other, including safe shelter when under pressure by security forces. Having common patrons in hostile intelligence agencies also leads to some convergence. However, there are conflicts among some of the groups as well.
For example, Nagaland, NSCN (IM) and NSCN(K) are totally opposed to the others and there have even been some armed skirmishes. Similarly, the Meiti groups from the Valley in Manipur are not very favourably disposed to the armed groups from hilly tribal areas.
As far as groups in Kashmir are concerned, they have maintained close relationships with Islamic terrorist outfits operating in the mainland and Islamic Jihad is the binding force. Often weapons and explosives from Jammu & Kashmir find their way to the country's hinterland.
On the other hand, left wing extremists have been -by and large -operating independently; they have been using services of ULFA activists in Assam for the procurement of weapons through Bangladeshi sources.
CLSA: On the issue of Islamic terrorism, do you see it moving from the idea of being "exported to India" to being "developed in India"?
Ajit Doval: Though Indian Muslims have in the past shared a lot both socially and culturally with Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh, their attitudes about terrorism have been completely different. India has the world's second largest Muslim population after Indonesia; there are more Muslims living in India than in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Amongst India's over 44,000 civilians killed as a result of Islamic terrorism, a significant number are Muslims, falling prey to bullets of their brothers from across the border.
Indian Muslims have, by and large, refrained from joining international terrorist organizations. Recently, in a conference of over 4,000 Muslim religious leaders, held with support from the Deoband Seminary, a resolution was unanimously adopted denouncing terrorism in all its forms. Incidents in Glasgow and Spain, I believe, are rare exceptions that only prove the rule.
However, there have been some indigenous groups who have been showing a propensity towards Islamic radicalism and a reliance on violence to serve political Islam. The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and AI Ummah are two such examples. However, their following is still limited and confined to a few pockets. Nevertheless, the threat of subversion of Indian Muslims by pan-Islamic radical groups' remains and Muslim leadership of the country, government and security agencies will have to remain on high alert.
CLSA: Is the appeasement of minorities b~ some political parties undermining the fight against terrorism?
Ajit Doval: I personally believe that no political party should emphasise points of differences for political or electoral gains and that governments should be religion-neutral. It should not differentiate citizens on the basis of religion as it proves to be divisive, damaging the very interests of those who the government should be helping. Affirmative action, even in good faith, can create social antagonism -particularly if it is based on religion -against a certain community, making them net losers in the long run. Except for a particular section of society that has been historically suppressed, which makes them are poor and socially deprived, there should be a level playing field for the rest. The focus should be on genuinely making them nationally competitive rather than giving them a false sense of equality; this dependency will only lead to decay. Providing special concessions to Muslims, differentiating them from the rest because of religion is neither in their best interests nor in the country's best interests.
Muslims for centuries have been the privileged ruling class of India and if they have not been able to perform well in recent years, the right reasons for that have to be found. The correct diagnosis should lead to finding the right anti-dote. Muslims in free India have not been discriminated against either in law or in practice. They have held highest positions in the government, including, the posts of President, Cabinet Minister, Chief Justice of the country, senior I positions in the Defence and civil services, and the list goes on. Making special concessions to them will only lower their self esteem and make them less competitive.
CLSA: The intellectual leadership of the more violent movements, is it coming from India's elites as some news reports have indicated?
Ajit Doval: I do not think that this impression is well-founded. If some educated youth are misled and join extremist movements, you cannot characterise it as support from the elite. There are many factors that condition the stimulant- response relationship in the behavioural pattern of a youth, and cognitive intelligence is not always the reigning element. With emotional intelligence getting the better of them, youths, at times, become susceptible to emotional exploitation in the name of religion, ideology or grievances. The intellectual leadership of the country, however, is very mature and knowledgeable, and is totally convinced that violence is not the solution to any problem.
CLSA: Do you think illegal (terrorist) money was channeled into the Indian stock markets?
Ajit Doval: I do not think that is correct. What is true is that terrorists are always inventing new methodologies to outsmart systems developed by governments, particularly the transfer of money, for terrorist purposes. In India there is a lot of movement of international money, including investments in the stock markets that could be made to look like business interests in the markets. However, this is a very difficult exercise as Indian stock exchanges are very well regulated and professionally managed; they are able to detect the source of funding and keep track of the purchase and sale of stocks that appear abnormal. In my view, while funnelling terrorist funding through the markets is a possibility and India should remain aware of, it does not have great potential of success.
CLSA: News reports often tend to blame terrorist attacks on the failure of intelligence agencies. How do you respond to that criticism and how should the Indian intelligence organisation be strengthened?
Ajit Doval: Security interests of a State are best served when addressed from a position of knowledge; dominance in this arena is the mother of intelligence. Unfortunately, States often do not act in their best interest -a lack of useful and relevant knowledge is not always at fault. Barbara Tuchman in her famous book, The March of Folly, lament$ that, "A phenomenon noticeable throughout history, regardless of place 0,\ period, is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests". In modern times, most of these follies are passed off as intelligence failures.
Nevertheless, India -as well as most countries in the world -needs to significantly upgrade their intelligence capabilities, as the global community has to fight an increasing number of invisible enemies in diverse forms. To meet these challenges, intelligence is needed through transformation, not reformation. This means identifying and redressing past errors; transformation means bringing about changes that focus on the future. With reforms we assume that the shortcomings of the past will be corrected and the future is secure; but with the modern dynamic security scenario, this is an erroneous assumption and a sure recipe for inviting future disasters. The past is behind us and there is nothing to be defensive about it, but the future is more important and needs a focus: creating more sophisticated intelligence capabilities, smart trade with other intelligence partners, high-level skills, and the ability not only to obtain knowledge, but to act fast given what we know.
Terrorist incidents in the northeast
11 January 2005: 14 civilians, including a nine-year old girl and four women, were injured when suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) terrorists triggered
an explosion in the Marwaripatty area of Jorhat town.
23 May 2005: Three people, including a security force worker, were injured as suspected ULFA terrorists trigger an lED explosion in the Noonmati locality of Guwahati city.
26 June2005: 12 people, including six CRPF personnel, were injured in an lED explosion triggered by suspected ULFA terrorists in the Nine Mile area of Guwahati city. Two people died.
7 August2005: Four people were killed and 12 others sustained injuries in an explosion detonated by the ULFA at a bus stand at Boko, in the Kamrup district.
17 August 2005: 14 people sustained injuries in a grenade attack by suspected KLNLF militants in Diphu, in the Karbi Anglong district.
14 September 2005: Eight people were killed and several others injured as suspected Kuki Revolutionary Army militants opened fire in the village of Thekerajan in the Karbi Anglong district.
2 October 2005: Five members of a family were killed by unidentified militants in Hemari Terang, in the Karbi Anglong district.
8 October 2005: Suspected militants entered Karbi-dominated Borsing Bey village, seven km from Diphu, and killed five Karbi villagers, including a two- year-old child, and set fire to more than 60 huts.
9 October 2005: Six people from the Bura Fanchu and Longsing Engti villages were killed and hundreds of houses set ablaze by unidentified terrorists in separate incidents under the Diphu and Bokajan police stations in the Karbi Anglong district.
10 October 2005: Six people were killed in continuing ethnic clashes in the Karbi Anglong district. A group of 100 to 150 armed persons enter the village of Kheroni, inhabited by the Dimasa tribe, and open fire. Nearly 60 houses were also set ablaze by the terrorists.
17 October 2005: Suspected Dimasa militants stopped two passenger buses in the
Karbi Anglong district and killed 23 persons, including nine women, all belonging to the Karbi tribe.
The same group of armed militants later killed seven people in the nearby Sarsing village and five more people in Prseck village.
18 October 2005: Seven people were killed in the continuing ethnic clashes in Karbi Anglong district. Six bodies were recovered from the Doyangmukh area while another was recovered from the village of Borlangphar Tisso.
21 October 2005: Suspected DHD militants killed nine UPDS cadres in Tamulbari, in the Karbi Anglong district.
2 December 2005: Four civilians, including a two-month-old infant, were killed by DHD militants in the village of Sirkangnep in the Karbi Anglong district.
16 January 2005: The UNLF killed at least six security force personnel during an attack carried out by Manipur People's Army (MPA) cadres at a place between Tuilaphai and Sijon in the Churachandpur district.
17 February 2005: Five Assam Rifles personnel were killed and two others sustained injuries in an ambush by the KYKL terrorists in Kumbi, in the Bishnupur district.
23 April 2005: The KYKL killed five drug traffickers at Khetrigaon in the Imphal East district as part of its "anti-drug campaign".
30 June 2005: Five security force personnel and four PLA terrorists were killed and three others sustained injuries in an encounter in Thangjng Ching in the Churachandpur district.
10 July 2005: Three Assam Rifles personnel were killed, and seven people, including two civilians, were injured as PLA terrorists triggered a bomb and subsequently ambushed an SF patrol in the Waithou Area of the Thoubal district.
10 August 2005: The All Naga Students' Association Manipur, United Naga Council and Naga Students' Federation decided to temporarily withdraw the 52- day road blockade in the state.
Four civilians were killed, and two others sustained injuries in a crossfire between SF personnel and KYKL cadres in Umathel, in the Thoubal district.
19 September 2005: Ten SF personnel were killed in an attack by KYKL in the upper Ngaryan hills range in the Bishnupur district.
9 October 2005: Four soldiers were killed in an ambush by the UNLF at Zoupi in Chandel district.
8 November 2005: 21 people, including 13 women, were injured in an explosion in the Thangal market area in Imphal city. Two injured people succumbed to their injuries.Two suspected KCP-P cadres were killed in an encounter with the police in the foothills of Etam hill in the Imphal East district.
13 November 2005: Three CRPF personnel were killed and two others sustained injuries
in an ambush by the UNLF at a place between Kaimai and Sibilong, in the Tamenglong district
19 November 2005: Four member of a family were killed and a SF worker was injured in an encounter between Assam Rifles and a team of NSCN-K and UNLF militants in the village of Longmai Part-III in the Tamenglong district. The injured SF worker eventually died.
25 September 2005: NLFT terrorists killed eight non-tribal villagers, including four women
and two children, and injured three others in Debnath Para in the West Tripura district.
28 December 2005: Four tribal civilians were killed by unidentified militants in Panbari, located in the Khowai subdivision of the West Tripura district.
20 January 2006: Ten people, including eight CISF personnel, were injured in an ULFA triggered a grenade attack at the entrance of the Guwahati Refinery in Noonmati, in Guwahati city.
20 January 2006: Ten people, including eight CISF personnel, were injured in an ULFA triggered a grenade attack at the entrance of the Guwahati Refinery in Noonmati, in Guwahati city.
10 February 2006: Eight civilians and one SF employee were killed during clashes between the villagers and SF personnel following the alleged custodial death of a suspected ULFA militant in Kakopathar, in the upper Assam's Tinsukia district.
9 June 2006: Five people, including a 10-year-old boy and a woman, were killed, and 16 people were wounded in a powerful explosion triggered by the ULFA in the Machkowa vegetable market in Guwahati city in the Kamrup district.
11 August 2006: At least six police personnel were killed after suspected ULFA militants ambushed a police convoy at Ratanipathar, in the Tinsukia district.
6 October 2006: At least 13 Railway Protection Force personnel were killed in an ambush by DHD militants belonging to the Black Widow faction in the North Cachar Hills district.
Major terrorist incidents in the northeast
27 October 2006: At least three civilians were killed and 22 injured when an improvised explosive device planted on a bicycle parked in front of restaurant was triggered in Dhekiajuli, in the Sonitour district.
5 November 2006: At least 14 people were killed, and more than 52 others sustained injuries, in two separate bomb blasts triggered by suspected ULFA militants at the Fancy Bazaar and Noonmati areas in Guwahati.
23 November 2006: Three people, including a woman and a child, were killed, and 11 others were injured, when an explosion was triggered by suspected ULFA militants at the railway station in Guwahati.
6 February 2006: Fifteen BSF trainees were injured in a bomb explosion triggered by unidentified militants in Mualkawi, near Lamka, in the Churachandpur district.
Two youths were shot at and wounded by three suspected cadres of the proscribed KYKL for allegedly taking drugs in Kakching Kakyai Mayai Leikai, in the Thoubal district.
16 August 2006: At least five civilians, including two children, were killed while over 50 others, including five Americans and two French nationals, sustained injuries when suspected terrorists lobbed a powerful grenade at a crowded Krishna Janmashatami celebration held at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple complex in Sangaiprou, in Imphal.
12 September 2006: Four SF personnel belonging to the Assam Rifles were killed and. three others sustained injuries when a group of Assam Rifles was ambushed by PLA cadres at a place between Leisiphou and aksu in the Imphal West district.
7 August 2006: Three police personnel, including a Sub Inspector, were killed, and two others sustained injuries when suspected NLFT militants ambushed a security convoy at Hadukkoloy, along the National Highway 44, in the Dhalai district. 2007
6 January 5, 2007: At least 19 people were killed and 25 wounded when explosions were triggered to target migrant workers in six separate locations in the eastern districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sibsagar. Heavily armed ULFA militants attacked two brick kilns, fired indiscriminately on shops and business centres, and triggered an explosion near a tea garden.
Eight people were killed and 11 others sustained injuries when ULFA militants opened fire at Bandarkhat and Langswal Tea Estates in the Tinsukia district.
6 January 2007: Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) militants killed eight polling personnel and injured eight others during elections for the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. Militants detonated an explosive device and fired on polling personnel when they were returning after voting.
7 January 2007: Seven people belonging to Bihar died, and three others sustained injuries, when ULFA militants called them out of their homes at Borali Bari near Mahmara, in the Sibsagar district, and opened fire.
Six Hindi-speaking people were shot dead and one injured in an attack by the ULFA in Chokolia, near Dimow, in the Dibrugarh district.
Two Hindi-speaking people were killed and five injured when ULFA militants opened fire targeting a brick kiln in Sepon Chagolia, in Moran.
17 January 2007: Two civilians, including a child, were killed and 15 others were wounded when the ULFA militants triggered an explosion at a shopping area in Ganeshguri, Dispur, the capital of Assam. The Special Superintendent of Police, Nitul Gogoi, described the bomb as a timer device hidden in a carton of vegetables.
3 April 2007: Fifteen civilians sustained injuries in a ULFA-triggered grenade attack on a marketplace in the Machkhowa area of the Kamrup district.
6 May 2007: At least 19 people were injured when suspected ULFA militants triggered an lED planted on a motorbike near Hem Baruah Road in the Fancy Bazaar area of Guwahati.
15 May 2007: ULFA militants shot dead six unidentified Hindi-speaking people in various areas of the Dibrugarh and Sivsagar districts.
26 May 2007: Seven people were killed and 18 others injured in an explosion triggered by suspected ULFA militants in the Athgaon area of Guwahati city.
Security forces killed two unidentified ULFA militants in an encounter at the Pub Boragaon area in Guwahati. Two other militants managed to escape.
23 June 2007: Six people, including three children, were killed and 14 injured when suspected ULFA militants triggered an explosion in front of a mosque in Machkhowa, in Guwahati.
30 June 2007: Four people were killed and at least 40 others injured in four bomb blasts -three in upper Assam's Tinsukia district and one in central Assam's Karbi Anglong district. Three people were killed in two successive bomb blasts at a fish market and a textile market in the town of Tinsukia. 12 were injured in another blast that occurred almost simultaneously in front of a cinema hall in Doomdooma. One woman was killed and seven people were injured when suspected KLNLF militants lobbed a grenade in the marketplace of Diphu.
20 July 2007: Five civilians, including a four-year-old child, were killed and 18 others injured when suspected ULFA and KLO militants triggered a powerful bomb in Srirampur Chariali, in the Kokrajhar district.
8 August 2007: Nine civilians, including four women and three children, were killed and five others injured when a group of ULFA and KLNLF militants opened indiscriminate fire on Hindi-speaking people in the village of Ampahar Basti in the Karbi Anglong district.
Two civilians were wounded when suspected ULFA militants triggered .an explosion in Anandapur Tiniali, Guwahati.
One civilian was injured when suspected ULFA militants fired four rounds on him at his residence/shop in Kheroni, in the Tinsukia district.
Black Widow militants opened fire at a designated camp of the DHD in Haflong, in the North Cachar Hills district.
10 August 2007: A group of 10-15 suspected ULFA and KLNLF militants attacked a village in Dolamara, in the Karbi Anglong district. They shot dead 11 Hindi-speaking migrant workers. The dead include four women and two children belonging to two families originally hailing from the State of Bihar.
Suspected Karbi militants killed four college students in the Dolamara and Rongbong Ghat areas of the Karbi Anglong district.
13 December 2007: Five people were killed and four others injured in a bomb blast carried out by suspected ANLA militants on a Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express train in Assam's Golaghat district. The explosion, which occurred between Naujan and Sugajan, destroyed the luggage van of the train and a small portion of the railway track as well.
14 December 2007: At least four labourers were shot dead by suspected BW militants in the Longpo area of the North Cachar Hills district.
9 June 2007: Unidentified militants killed 11 Kuki tribe members in separate incidents in Moreh, in the Chandel district. Another person was in a critical condition after being shot. According to an official source, four people were shot dead at two different places: Moreh Ward numbers 5 and 7. Later, seven more bodies were recovered by the police from different locations including: a bridge constructed over the Minai river along the Indo-Myanmar border; near the water tank at Moreh Ward number 1; and at the Sunrise Cricket Ground of Moreh Ward number 4. The killings led to a series of clashes between the Kukwasand the the Meitewasin.
16 December 2007: At least eight people, including five women, were killed and 22 others wounded when unidentified militants blew up a crowded minibus using an lED near Paorabi, along the Imphal Ukhrul road in the Imphal East district.
4 September 2007: Twelve people were killed in 72 militant-related incidents that were reported through August 2007, as compared 26 deaths in 102 such incidents in 2006. During the previous eight months, 28 civilians were abducted from the West Tripura and Dhalai districts. A total of 31 such incidents were reported in the West district and 32 from the Dhalai district.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference: An overview
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was formed on 10 March 1993. It is a political front formed as an alliance of 26 political, social and religious organisations in Kashmir to further the cause of Kashmiri separatism. The Hurriyat succeeded another freedom-centric organisation, Tehreeki Hurriyat Kashmir (THK), headed by advocate Mian Qayoom, founded in 1989.
According to APHC, Jammu & Kashmir is a disputed territory and it supports the Pakistani claim that Kashmir is the "unfinished agenda of Partition" and needs to be solved ''as per the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir". The APHC sees itself as the sole representative of the Kashmiri people, a claim that has so far been endorsed only by Pakistan.
The group's primary role has historically been to project a negative image of counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir. The APHC does not recognise the Indian Constitution and has so far refrained from participating in elections held in Jsmmu & Kashmir. The APHC is divided into two factions: one, led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, favours independence; the second, the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani favours the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan. Since 2004, the Omar Farooq faction has held three rounds of talks with the Government of India. The Hurriyat boycotted the May 2006 roundtable conference in Srinagar, which leaders of Jammu & Kashmir and the Prime Minister of India attended.
Members of the Hurriat Conference
Aawami Action Committee
Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference Muslim Conference
Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front People's League
All Jammu & Kashmir Employees' Confederation
Employees and Workers Confederation
Anjaman-e- Tablig-ul Islam Liberation Council
Kashmir Bazme Tawheed Jamiat-e-Hamdania
Kashmir Bar Association Political Conference
Tehreek-e-Huriati Kashmiri Jamiate Ulama-E-Islam
Anjamani Auqafi Jama Masjid Muslim Khawateen Markaz
Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Committee
Jammu and Kashmir People's Basic Rights (Protection) Committee
Employees & Workers Confederation (Arsawi Group)
Students Islamic League
Islamic Study Circle
Auquaf Jama Masjid
Source: Various media sources
India- Terrorist, Insurgent and extremist groups
United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA)
National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)
United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS)
Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)
Bodo Liberation Tiger Force (BLTF)
Dima Halim Daogah (DHD)
Karbi Natlonal Votunteers(KNV)
Rabha National Security Force (RNSF)
Kocn-Rajbongshl Liberation Organisation (KRLO)
Hmar People's Convention- Democracy (HPC-D)
Karbi People’s Front (KPF)
Tiwa National Revolutionary Force (TNRF)
Bircha Commando force (BCF)
Bengali Tiger Force (BTF)
Adivasi Security force (ASF)
All Assam Adivasi Suraksha Samiti (AAASS)
Gorkha Tiger Force (GTF)
Barak Valley Youth Liberation Front (BVYLF)
Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA)
United Liberation Front of Barak Valley
Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam (MULFA)
Jammu &. Kashmir
Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA, presently known as Harkat-ul Mujahideen)
Lashkar-e- Toiba (LeT)
Jaish-e-Mohammad Mujahideen E-Tanzeem (JeM)
Harkat-ul Mujahideen (HuM, previously known as Harkat-ul-Ansar)
Jammu & Kashmir National Liberation Army
Muslim Janbaz Force
Kashmir Jehad Force
Al Jehad Force (combines Muslim Janbaz Force and Kashmir Jehad Force)
Al Umar Mujahideen
1slamj Jamaat-e- Tulba
Jammu & Kashmir Students Liberation Front
Islamic Students League
Tehrik-e- Nifaz-e-Fiqar Jafaria
Al Mustafa Liberation Fighters
Al Mujahid Force
Islami Inquilabi Mahaz
Other Extremist and Secessionist Groups
Mutahida Jehad Council (MJC) --A Pakistan based coordination body of terrorist outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) -- The dominant faction of this outfit declared a ceasefire in 1994 which still holds and the outfit restricts itself to a political struggle.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) --an alliance engineered by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of 26 diverse political and socio-religious outfits amalgamated to provide a political face for the terrorists in the State.
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) --an outfit run by women which uses community pressure to further the social norms dictated by Islamic fundamental groups.
1. United National liberation Front (UNLF)
2. People's Liberation Army (PLA)
3. People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PRAPAK)
The above mentioned three groups now operate from a unified platform, the Manipur People’s Liberation Front
4. Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)
5. Kangiei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
6. Manipur Liberation Tiger Army (MLTA)
7. Iripak Kanba Lup (IKL)
8. People's Republican Army (PRA)
9. Kangleipak Kanba Kanglup (KKK)
10. Kangleipak Liberation Organisation (KLO)
11. Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC)
12. National Socialist COuncil of Nagaland
13. People's United Liberation Front (PULF)
14. North East Minority Front (NEMF)
15. Islamic National Front (INF)
16. Islamic National Front (INF)
17. United Islamic Liberation Army (UILA)
18. United Islamic Revolutionary Army (UIRA)
19. Kuki National Front (KNF)
20. Kuki National Army (KNA)
21. Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA)
22. Kuki National Organisation (KNO),
23. Kukl Independent Army (KIA)
24. Kuki Defence Force (KDF)
26. Kuki National Volunteers (KNV)
28. Kuki Security Force (KSF)
29. Kuki Liberation Army (KLA)
30. Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF)
31. United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF)
32. Hmar People's Convention (HPC)
34. Hmar People's Convention Democracy (HPC-D)
35. Hmar Revolutionary Front (HRF)
36. Zomi Revolutionary Volunteers (ZRV)
37. Indigenous People’s Revolutionary Alliance (IRPA)
38. Kom Rem People's Convention (KRPC)
39. Chin Kuki Revolutionary Front (CKRF)
1. Hynniewtrep National liberation Council (HNLC)
2. Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC)
3. People's liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M)
4. Hajong United Liberation Army (HULA)
1. National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Mulvah) –NSCN (IM)
2. National. Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) -NSCN
3. Naga Naional Council (Adino) -NNC (Adino)
1. Babbar Khatsa,lhternatJonal (BKl)
2. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)
3. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
4. Khalistan Commando Force (KCF)
6. Bhindrawala Tigers Force of Khalistan (BTFK)
8. Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF)
9. Khalistan Armed Force (KAF)
10. Dashmesh Regiment
11. U.Khalistan Liberation Organisation (KLO)
12. Khalistan National Army (KNA)
India –Terrorist, insurgent and extremist groups
1. National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT)
2. All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF)
3. Trlpura Liberation Organisation Front (TLOF)
4. United Bengali Liberation Front (UBLF)
5. TripuraTribal Volunteer Force (TTVF)
6. Tripura Armed Tribal Commando Force (TATCF)
7. Tripura Tribal Democratic Force (TTDF)
8. Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF)
9. Trlpura LIberation Force (TLF)
10. Tripura Defence Force (TDF)
11. All Tripura Volunteer Force (ATVF)
12. Tribal Commando Force (TCF)
13. Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF)
14. All Tripura Bharat Suraksha Force (ATBSF)
15. Tripura TrIbal Action Committee Force (TTACF)
16. Socialist Democratic Front of Tripura (SDFT)
17. All Tripura National Force (ATNF)
18. TripuraTribal Sengkrak Force (TTSF)
19. Tiger Commando Force (TCF)
20. Tripura MuktlPollce (TMP)
21. Tripura Rajya Raksha Bahini (TRRB)
22. Tripura State Volunteers (TSV)
23. Tripura National Democratic Tribal Force (TNDTF)
24. National Militia of Tripura (NMT)
25. All Tripura Bengali Regiment (ATBR)
26. Bangla Mukti Sene (BMS)
27. All Tripura Liberation Organisation (ATLO)
28. Tripura National Army (TNA)
29. Tripura State Volunteers (TSV)
30. Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT)
1. Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF)
2. Hmar People's Convention- Democracy (HPC-D)
Left-wing extremist groups
1. People's Guerrilfa Army
2. Peopie's War Group
3. Maoist Communist Centre
4. Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)
5. Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Janashakti
Other extremist groups
1. Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT)
2. Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj (ABNES)
3. Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA)
4. Deendar Anjuman
5. Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
6. Asif Reza Commando Force
7. LiberatIon Tigers of Tamil EeJam (LTTE)
8. Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)
9. Ranvir Sena
Courtesy: CLSAU’s Speaker Series, India Strategy, 19 May, 2008
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