NEED FOR A NEW APPROACH TO NATIONAL SECURITY

The complex security challenges faced by India from a dual China-Pak threat of war, to terrorism often sponsored by Pakistan is further amplified by the sheer size of the country, spread over 3.2 million square kilometres with a 7,500 km coast line and a land border of another 15,000 km.

Furthermore, with a growing population, social and political tensions within, a dated legal architecture and the dire need for speedy technological upgradation of India’s police network, the challenges for India’s security agencies are many. And though the wish list of India’s armed forces is often discussed with concerns expressed about it in public, the country’s Internal Security/Homeland Security requirement has also begun to attract the attention of the military weapons and equipment industries in India and abroad. Thus, it is now essential to develop a holistic approach to have a strategy to simultaneously address our internal and external security challenges.

The police forces are equally important to guard our leadership and our citizens, as are the armed forces. Moreover, the increasing level of sophistication of terror groups and the current day complexities of policing and border management have created a situation for better quality hardware and platforms, thereby creating major areas of convergence (at least in certain areas) between the needs of the Indian Armed Forces, Central Police Forces and the State Police Forces. Additionally, the risk of terror threats have led almost all the States of India, to create their own special forces out of their state police units, to be equipped for threats ranging from cyber attacks to the protection of critical infrastructure, and sabotage to emergency response mechanisms to terror attacks.

The importance that India is giving to its internal security affairs can be gauged from the fact that the combined manpower of its Central Armed Police Forces (consisting of SSB, BSF, ITBP, CISF, CRPF, RPF) and Para Military Forces(Assam Rifles, NSG and Coast Guard) is almost touching the million mark and may even in the coming years surpass that of the Indian Army. Thus the allocation of funds to the Home Ministry for 2017-18, was Rs 83,000 crore, under which all the Central Armed Police Forces (except RPF) and Central law Enforcement Agencies come. This apart, the central government has over the years been spending a considerable amount of money on the modernisation of many other central agencies such as the intelligence and investigative agencies, as well as on special projects.

The CCTNS program of the Union Home Ministry was one such, aimed at integrating the 14,000 police stations of the country and 5000 higher offices has witnessed major spending by Govt. of India. Similar spending can also be witnessed by the Central Government in development of a new type of armed police force namely the India Reserve Battalions which are to be raised in respective states, but with significant contribution of initial funds from the central government, as well as for annual expenditures. The other is India’s quest for development of 100 Smart Cities has further increased the need for modernisation of city level police forces since there cannot be any Smart City without Smart Security. In this context the city surveillance and Safe City projects have been gaining major ground.

While considerable time is devoted in India over debates regarding modernisation of the armed forces, and from time to time, on alleged wrong doings in the procurement of military weapons, there is little public attention given to the modernisation of the police forces. This, despite the increasing instances of terrorism and subversive attacks, often sponsored by Pakistan, as also to the threat posed by left wing extremism. In other words, the importance of modernisation of Central and State Police Forces as well as the investigation and disaster management agencies is essential for fortifying India. It is thus about time we stop looking at the modernisation of each service in a compartmentalised manner, instead we must consider modernisation of India’s security apparatus, comprehensively.

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