Independence Day
     


Counter-Terrorism

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in their first ever open acknowledgement in 2011 in US Court, said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsors terrorism in Kashmir and it oversees terrorist separatist groups in Kashmir

Issue: 5 / 2019 By Lt General Naresh Chand (Retd)Photo(s): By CRPF
In many of the Indian States, Central Armed Police Forces like the CRPF have the main responsibility to fight terrorists with the support of the local police.

The terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution in the late 18th century but became popular due to the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. Counter terrorism can be defined to prevent and eradicate terrorism. In the current international scenario every country is vulnerable to terrorism. Closer home in South Asia, several countries have been facing terrorism, especially India who has got affected by this plague from Pakistan on a daily basis. In fact Pakistan has made it a state policy to achieve their objectives. Terrorism is an evolving phenomenon, with new terrorist organisations continuously sprouting and changing their modus operandi. It is an illegal way of waging a war. UN has listed Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Cuba, Libya, South Yemen and Pakistan as countries which are the source of terrorism.

Pakistan

In the US annual report published in July 2017, which was mandated by the Congress titled “Country Report on Terrorism”, the State Department listed Pakistan among the nations and regions providing “safe havens” to terrorists. It stated that terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) continue to operate, train, organise and fundraise inside the country in 2016. Pakistan was accused by the US, UK, France, and India for supporting external groups, such as LeT and JeM in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan. Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf in October 2014 said during a TV interview that, “we have source (in Kashmir) besides the (Pakistan) army... People in Kashmir are fighting against (India). We just need to incite them.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in their first ever open acknowledgement in 2011 in US Court, said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsors terrorism in Kashmir and it oversees terrorist separatist groups in Kashmir.

A CAPF commando on counter-terrorism duty

Terrorism Threat to India

The main threat is in J&K from terrorists across the border. Left Wing Extremists (LWE) are in a few states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra, Telengana and Maharashtra. Currently it is very much under check. Some of the key Islamic terrorist organisations operating in Kashmir are:

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), whose name means “Army of the Pure,” is a militant Islamist group operating in Pakistan as well as in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jaish-e-Muhammad, meaning “Army of Mohammed,” is another Pakistan-based terrorist group operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Harakat-ul-Mujahadeen (HuM), or the “Islamic Freedom Fighters’ Group,” was founded as an anti-Soviet group fighting in Afghanistan but when the Soviet withdrew, the Pakistan-based HuM shifted its focus to Jammu and Kashmir. HuM seeks to battle “anti-Islamic forces.”

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is a pro-Pakistani militant organisation that seeks for the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan as an Islamic state.

Al-Badr. Al-Badr is an Islamic militant group operating in the Jammu Kashmir region. The group was allegedly formed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence in June 1998.

Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI) was founded in 1980 to fight Soviets in Afghanistan but has since concentrated its efforts in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jamiat-ul-Mujahadeen is a small group of pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatists operating in or near Pakistan.

National Investigation Agency is a central agency created by the Government of India following the terror attack in Mumbai on December 26, 2008. It was created mainly to specialise in investigations into innumerable incidents of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts in various parts of the country.

Counter-Terrorism

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is in the form of a resolution and an annexed Plan of Action (A/RES/60/288) composed of 4 pillars(2006)as follows:

  • Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
  • Measures to prevent and combat terrorism.
  • Measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard.
  • Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

European Union members are more biased towards human rights thus ‘Terrorism constitutes a serious threat to human rights and democracy. While action by states is necessary to prevent and effectively sanction terrorist acts, not all means are justifiable. There is a compelling duty for states to protect the general interest of public security and the rule of law without jeopardising the core of human rights’.

The Four Ps of Counter Terrorism

Finally there are the four Ps-‘Prevent, Pursue, Protect, and Prepare’. Prevent implies long term and short term intelligence, both of which failed in Pulwama where 42 CRPF personnel lost their life in suicidal car attack on February 14, 2019, 25 km short of Srinagar. Apart from failure of intelligence, protection measures which are routinely taken on the Jammu-Srinagar highway failed as nobody detected the car or prevented it from mingling with the CRPF convoy.

Financing Terrorism

The terrorist funding cycle is to raise, move, store and spend money. Money laundering is a three-step process consisting of placement, layering and integration. Funds are raised through donations, self-funding or criminal activity which can include drug trafficking, kidnapping, robbery etc. Poppy grown in Afghanistan is a big source of drug revenue for the Taliban. Nation who support terrorism, fund it through their covert agencies like Pakistan does through Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Money laundering is a process for disguising the proceeds of crime and integrating it into the legitimate financial system. Before proceeds of crime are laundered, it is problematic for criminals to use the illicit money because they cannot explain where it came from and it is easier to trace it back to the crime. Money laundering term is also loosely used when undisclosed funds are transferred to tax havens.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year. ATF sub-group held a review meeting with Pakistani officials on issues of antimoney laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. Of the 27-point action plan of the FATF, Pakistan has cleared only six. Pakistan is currently answering a 125 point questionnaire.

Indian Anti-Terrorist Organisation

Ministry of Home Affairs deals with all aspects of internal security including counter-terrorism.

Department of Internal Security is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It deals with the Indian Police Service, Central Police Forces, internal security and law and order, insurgency, ‘terrorism, Naxalism, activities of inimical foreign agencies, terrorist financing’, rehabilitation, grant of visa and other immigration matters, security clearances, “Protection of Human Rights Act and also matters relating to National integration and Communal Harmony and Ayodhya”, etc. Under this department is a division which specifically deals with counter-terrorism.

Counter-terrorism and Counter Radicalization Division deals with all matters relating to terrorism, counter-terrorism, radicalization, counter-radicalization, Unlawful and Prevention act (UAPA), National Investigation Act (NIA Act), Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) and Financial Action Task Force. FICN is a term used by officials and media to refer to counterfeit currency notes circulated in the Indian economy. A Joint Secretary heads this division and deals with Counter Terrorism (CT); NIA; Combating of funds for terrorism (CFT); the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008 aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. This division deals with seven Acts which include – The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019; The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019; The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008; The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004; The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008 and The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012. These acts are amplified by rules. They have the mandate to ban organisations and so far 42 organisations have been banned by them.

Terrorism is an evolving phenomenon, with new terrorist organisations continuously sprouting and changing their modus operandi. It is an illegal way of waging a war.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency created by the government of India following the terror attack in Mumbai on December 26, 2008. It came into being on December 31, 2008, with the passage of the NIA Act of 2008. NIA was created mainly to specialise in investigations into innumerable incidents of terrorist attacks and bomb blasts in various parts of the country. Majority of such incidents were found to have complex inter-state and international linkages while at the same time being linked to drug and arms smuggling among other activities. It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency and is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. It has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Raipur, and Jammu. As per media reports, until November 2016, the NIA has registered and investigated 93 cases, out of which convictions have been made in 11. In December 2016, a special court of the NIA awarded death sentence to Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and four others for the 2013 Hyderabad twin blasts.

Other Intelligence Agencies like IB, RAW, Intelligence organisations of the Defence Forces and states provide inputs to the NIA where ever possible/required.

Counter-Terrorism Force

There is no special force organised for this role. Central Armed Police Forces like the CRPF have the main responsibility to fight terrorists with the support of the local police. Many states have raised their own special forces like the commandoes for fighting the terrorists. At time this line gets blurred specially in J&K where on the border and other critical situations Army pitches in. Insurgents and terrorists both engage in violence in order to attain certain goals like political; politico-religious; independence, an Islamic form of government, restoration of the Caliphate, etc. Terrorism can be a strategy for insurgency which is being followed in Jammu and Kashmir. Rashtriya Rifles (RR) is a branch of the Indian Army which is a counter-insurgency force for J&K. It has five Counter Insurgency Force organisations deployed in critical areas of J&K and is very effective in countering terrorism/insurgency.

Equipment for Counter-Terrorism – A Snapshot

Equipment for counter-terrorism can be divided under the following categories:

  • Surveillance and intelligence gathering. Electronic intelligent (ELINT); night vision systems; UAVs and quadcopters (the stealth and reach of the UAVs is phenomenal); electronic jamming devices, radars which can penetrate heavy foliage; sniffer dogs etc.
  • Protection. Shields to take on stone pelting; bullet proof vests; light helmets with visor; bullet proof vehicles; mine resistant and ambush protection vehicle; sand bags; bomb disposal equipment including robot; Radio controlled Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Jammer for defeating the IEDs etc.
  • Lethal and non- lethal equipment. The riot police have numerous other equipment which includes tear gas, tasers etc. The firearms are 7.62 1A Self Loading Rifles, and SAF Carbine 2A1s which now have been replaced by AK-47 and INSAS rifles. Some special units in the state and CAPF use automatic weapons such as AK-47, AKM, INSAS assault rifles and Bren guns. Police Special Forces and SWAT units use Heckler and Koch MP5s, Br├╝gger and Thomet MP9s, AK-103s, and M4A1 Carbines and many more. Pepper Ball (A pepper-spray projectile that irritates the eyes and nose); A stun grenade, also known as a flash grenade or flash bang which is ideal in a hostage situation; Pellet guns use of which in J&K has caused loss of eyesight and adverse comments globally thus India needs to modernise to catch up with rest of the world in equipment for the law enforcement agencies.