India faces emerging internal security challenges

Indian experts discuss internal security at a Forum wokshop in New Delhi.

The Forum of Federations in collaboration with India’s Centre for Public Affairs organized a one-day workshop on internal security in New Delhi on March 19, 2010 for 22 participants working in the field.

The workshop was a prelude to a larger international conference on security challenges in federal countries. The Indian event sought to identify public policy issues with a federalism dimension which have a bearing on India’s internal security.

A number of ideas emerged from four working sessions, which were titled the Federal Perspective, the States’ Perspective, the Strategic Perspective and Peace and Human Rights.

In the discussions it was noted there is overlap of internal and external security, and more collaborative approaches were discussed.

Some participants raised concerns as to whether India’s central government understands the states’ compulsions. This issue came up because it was suggested that the police tend to slip in their duties when dealing with weaker sections of Indian society and with minority groups.

Workshop participants also listed a range of issues that could be taken up for research.

It was also contended that ground-level clashes, characterized by communal riots, Maoism, terrorism and insurgency in the North East pose strategic challenges to the security establishment of each order of Indian government. In this regard, a highly provocative proposition was suggested, one of taking an aggressive stance toward neighboring countries that create national security challenges by way of proxy wars.

Among the points of discussion was the question of whether the police ought to change their orientation and methods when dealing with militarized conflict and how the Indian central government should handle police and policing in the context of peace and human rights.

The following other issues were identified as topics to form the basis of future discussions:

  • Ideologies and techniques of various groups as well as their sources of funds and arms seen from a holistic, academic perspective
  • Good governance
  • Police reforms including capacity building, especially of local police and socialization of police personnel especially at the local level
  • Co-ordination mechanisms for Intergovernmental relations across all three tiers of government agencies
  • Rethinking the notion of law and order, and public order
  • Rearranging centre-state relations
  • Managing illegal immigration
  • Strengthening of intelligence systems and coordination, collection, analysis and use of information
  • Community policing
  • Private policing
  • Role of the media and transparency
  • It is expected that a follow-up a conference will be held in Delhi in the fall.

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