Chapter 1: Border Management

Border Management

India Perspective

India shares border with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. All over world, most conflict free borders are those which are Geographical and have been there from times immemorial.

Here, civilizations settled on either side of geographical barriers like rivers or mountain ranges and limited exchange takes place from very beginning. However, other boundaries are political ones, and they carry historical burdens as in case of India with neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar etc.

Security Challenges and Border Management In India | ENSURE IAS

  • In this case there has been a common historical cultural flow on either side of the border and as a result these are Claims or Counter Claims. This doesn’t imply that natural boundaries are always undisputed, river often changes their course in long term and this river (If internal boundary) can result into fluctuation of political boundaries.
  • Further, in case of Mountain ranges, a state with expansionist designs (as China is) can exert its claim unilaterally, resulting into tense situations. It is pertinent to mention that these areas between china and India were once inaccessible, but technological advancements have not only made them accessible, but also strategically important.
  • In Indian case, borders are quite complex and almost every type of extreme geography is present at different borders viz. deserts, fertile lands, swampy marshes or tropical evergreen jungles, high altitude etc.
  • Border Management becomes more important for the fact that, India is like an island of democracy between seas of anarchical or instable states. Probably, no other neighbouring country has experienced uninterrupted democratic regime for more than 15 years.
  • Additionally, in some countries there is cultural radicalism which is targeted on India, and terrorists and mafia groups are patronised by some of India’s neighbouring states.
  • Unfortunately, in this scenario, our border forces appear to be severely undermanned and under-equipped which is taking heavy toll on economic, social and political stability of our country.

 Objectives of Border Management:

  1. Securing the country’s borders against interest’s hostile to the country and putting in place the systems that are able to interdict such elements, while facilitating legitimates Trade and Commerce are among the principal objectives of Border Management.
  2. As part of the strategy to secure the borders, as also to create infrastructure in the border areas of the country, initiatives like the following are being taken up:
  • Construction of fence
  • Flood lightings
  • Roads
  • Border outposts
  • Company operating bases (COBs)

 Border Management:

  • The Department of Border Management, MoHA has been implementing the “Border Area Development Programme (BAD) through the State Governments, as part of a comprehensive approach to Border Management.
  • The programme aims to meet the Special Developmental needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the International Border and to saturate the border areas with the essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/State/BADP/Local Schemes and participating approach.
  • The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was introduced during the 7th plan in the year 1993-94 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). Initially the programme was implemented in the Western Border States with an emphasis on the development of infrastructure to facilitate deployment of Border Security Force (BSF). Later, the ambit of the programme was widened to include other Socio-Economic aspects such as education, health, agriculture and other allied sectors.
  • During the Eighth Plan, the coverage was extended to include the Eastern States that shared a border with Bangladesh. Also, the implementation of BADP Schemes should be on participatory and decentralised basis through the Panchayati Raj Institutions, Autonomous Councils and local bodies.
  • The BADP programme now covers 394 border blocks of 111 border blocks in 55 districts of 8 NE States (Including Sikkim).
  • Funds are allocated to states on the basis of 3 parameters bearing equal weightage.

 These parameters are as follows:

  1. a) Length of international border
  2. b) Population of Border Block
  3. c) Areas of Border Block

In addition, 15% weightage is given to hilly, desert and Rann of Kutch areas on account of difficult terrain, scarcity of resources and relatively higher cost of construction.

  • The BADP is a core centrally sponsored scheme. The funding pattern of BADP is centre 90%, state 10% for 8 NE States and 3 Himalayan States, viz., Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir & Uttarakhand.
  • For the rest of the states the funding pattern is centre 60% and State 40%. The new funding pattern has been implemented from FY 2016-17.

States with International Border:

  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Gujarat
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Punjab
  • Rajasthan
  • Sikkim
  • Tripura
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • West Bengal


  • Under BADP, priority will be given to those villages which are locate within 0-10 kms from International Border and within that villages identified by the Border Guarding Forces (BGG) shall get uppermost priority and will be known as strategic village. The village development profile of each and every village is being prepared.
  • All the major developmental infrastructure facilities like pucca road connectivity, electricity, safe drinking water, telephone facility, primary school building, PDS shop, and community centre are being developed in a planned way. Only after saturation of 0-10 km villages, state Government may take up the next set of villages with 0-20 km distance and so on up to 0-50 km can be taken up under the BADP. Aerial Distance is taken into
  • As per the guidelines of BADP, District Level Committee (DLCs) headed by District Magistrate and having superintendent of Police (SP), District Forest Officer (DFO), District Planning Officer and Commandant/Dy. Commandant of the Border Guarding Force as member have been made responsible for preparation of Annual Action Plan of BADP in consultation with the local member of Parliament/MLA, Member of PRls, autonomous bodies. The DLC shall be responsible for monitoring of implementation of works under BADP.

Border Area Development Programme (BADP) – Dept. of Rural Development,  Uttarakhand

Special Initiatives taken under the BADP:

  • These initiatives are aimed at eliminating the sense of alienation and answering from minds of the people.

1)    Model Village: Composite development of at least one village of sizeable population surrounded by 5-6 or more villages closer to the border.

2)    Health: Construction of dispensaries, mobile dispensary/ambulance.

3)    Livelihood: Community based infrastructure like pastureland, sheds for livestock, Fishery, Ponds, Marketing Yards etc.

4)    Promotion of Organic Farming.

5)    Power: New and Renewable Energy.

6)    Tourism: Tourist guest houses, protection of heritage sites etc.

7)    Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.

8)    Warehouses for food grains and fodder. Particularly in snow bound states.

9)    E-Chawpals, agri-shops etc.

Approach to Border Management:

  • The approach as employed by the Government towards managing the boarder has four important elements, viz.
  1. Border Guarding force
  2. Regulation
  3. Development of border areas.
  4. Constituting bilateral institutional mechanisms

Centre approves Rs 13,020 crore for border management plan up to 2025-26 :  The Tribune India

  1. Guarding Force Assigned Responsibility
  2. i) Border Security Force India-Pakistan (BSF)                                                 India-Bangladesh
  1. ii) Assam Rifles India-Myanmar

iii) ITBP                                            India – China

  1. iv) Sashastra Seema Bal India-Nepal

(SSB)                                                 India-Bhutan

  • For managing the Borders effectively, surveillance is carried out by conducting regular patrols by the personnel guarding our borders.
  • To house these personnel and to send regular patrols and to interact with nearby villages, Border Outposts (BOPs) have been established all along the border.
  • The recommended Inter BoP distance is 2.5 kms.
  • For securing the riverine and creek areas along the India-Bangladesh and India-Pakistan borders, the Water Wing of BSF is deployed.

Special Equipments:

  • Night Vision Devices
  • MMTI
  • BFSR
  • Direction Finders
  • Unattended Ground Sensors
  • High Powered Telescope etc.

 B     Regulation:

  • Efficient regulation of movement of people and goods is the hallmark of an effective border management strategy.
  • For this Govt. has to facilitate legitimate trade and travel while simultaneously checking illegal migration, infiltration of insurgents and terrorists and prevent smuggling.
  • Building barriers is an effective means, and for this fencing is employed, but it is not an easy task.

 Some problem areas are:

  1. a) Acquisition of land.
  2. b) Inordinate delay due to non-cooperation of local bodies.
  3. c) Vested interests try to halt the process due to vote bank politics.

Another method of regulation is issuance of multi-purpose national identify cards and construction of “Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) to facilitate legal trade and movement.

 Integrated Check Post:

An integrated check post provides various services under one roof to include.

  • Cargo process building
  • Cargo inspection sheds
  • Warehouse
  • Cold Storage
  • Currency exchange counters
  • Internet hubs
  • Clearing agents
  • Banks
  • Insurance providers
  • Vehicle scanners
  • Isolation bay and parking.

 Functional ICPs

  • ICP Raxaul and Jogbani – India – Nepal border
  • ICP Petrapole and Agartala – India-Bangladesh border.
  • ICP Attari – India-Pakistan border
  • ICP Birgunj (Nepal Side) – India-Nepal (Apr 2018)
  • ICP Moreh – India – Myanmar
  • ICP Dawki – India-Bangladesh

Additional 13 ICPs:

A cabinet proposed for construction of 13 additional ICPs has been mooted.

Out of 13          –     7-India-Bangladesh

                            –     4-India-Nepal

                            –     1-India-Pakistan

                            –     1-India-Myanmar

  1. Border Area Development:

Border areas remain inaccessible and underdevelopment due to difficult terrain and lack of facilities like proper roads, educational institutions and hospitals.

Lack of economic opportunities makes the border population more susceptible to take up smuggling and trafficking. Keeping in mind these problems, the government initiated (BADP).

  1. Constituting Bilateral Institutional Mechanisms:

To facilitate bilateral dialogue on matters of mutual concern regarding border management, the Government of India has constituted a system of institutional interactions.

  • Meetings of Home Secretaries.
  • Area commanders of BGF
  • Meetings of Foreign Secretaries.
  • Border Liaison Meetings (Every Six Months).
  • Meeting of surveyor Generals.

(For inspection, repair, restoration of border pillars).

The primary objective of these meeting is to maintain peace and tranquillity all along the border.

Challenges in India’s Borders:

  1. There is a difference in the ground situation in every Indian border.

(a)   Line of Control and Siachen Glacier-War like situation always.

(b) Migration problems-India Bangladesh border.

(c)   Increased smuggling-India-Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar borders.

(d)  India-Srilanka-International Maritime Boundary Line.

  • Seizure of b
  • Katchateevu Islands i
  • Captures shooting of Indian Fisherman

        (e)  India-China-relatively peaceful, except for some incursions reported rarely that is solved peacefully.

  1. Some borders are physically unguarded because of difficult terrain and due to toughness in approachability.
  2. Each border area has its own unique culture and religion that are completely different from mainland.
  3. The remoteness of the border area helps in illegal migration, smuggling etc.
  4. Multiplicity of forces in single areas, which has ended up in improper command and control.
  5. Influx of high quantity fake Indian currency notes.
  6. Illegal infiltration and smuggling of arms and explosives.
  7. Foreign support to the insurgent groups by foreign states and non-state actors.
  8. Poor infrastructure development-mobilisation delayed in times of war etc.
  9. Impenetration of armed militants.
  10. Unsettled boundary disputes with neighbours.
  11. Absence of National Security doctrine.
  12. Continuous withdrawal of paramilitary and armed forces from the border areas for counter insurgency duties, at the neglect of border areas.
  13. The training of border management agencies is designed for countermeasures and not preventive measures; they have to be trained for pro-active approach.
  14. Inter-agency co-ordination on the lines of sharing intelligence information and working in tandem at all levels is highly important.

 The Way Forward:

  1. Border Management Policy
  • To give a framework on overall response process and concerns in the area of command and control.
  • With Nodal Agency on top-with clear chain of command.
  1. Technology:
  • Drones
  • Electric fencing
  • Floodlighting
  • Increased ground sensors
  • CCTV Cameras etc.
  1. Economic Cooperation:
  • Border Heats.
  1. Development of Infrastructure:
  • Single window clearance.
  • Develop as a National Mission.
  • Road Infra Connectivity. (Physical Infra) & Social Infra.
  1. Dealing with Illegal Migrants:
  • Registration of citizens. (To be updated frequently).
  1. Integrating Local Population with Border Management.
  • Village development Council
  • Reporting of illegal and subversive activities.
  • Incentives for reporting.
  1. Operational Freedom to Commanders on Ground:

Kargil Review Committee on Border Management:

  • The concept of border management assumed greater importance in the government lexicon only in the wake of Kargil conflict of 1999

Chairman: K. Subrahmanyam


  1. National Security Council:

(a) Should be further strengthened.

(b) Periodic intelligence briefings to the Cabinet Committee on Security.

(c) Members of NSC should be continually sensitised to assessed intelligence pertaining to the country.

  1. Intelligence:

(a) Adequate funds to meet world standards.

(b) Development of Communication intelligence.

(c) Development of encryption and decryption skills.

(d) Single agency like NSA of US.

  1. The Joint Intelligence Committee should be further strengthened.
  2. Behavioural patterns of top military leaders have to be closely monitored.
  3. Reduce the age profile of the Army.
  4. Border management
  5. Defence budget and Modernisation
  6. Structural reforms to bring about a much closer and more constructive interaction between the civil government and the services.
  7. Publication of white paper on Indian Nuclear Weapons Programme. (Highlight how Pakistan became Nuclear).
  8. Media relations and Information
  9. Dedicated TV and Radio Channels for the Armed Forces.
  10. Periodic review of the defence procurement policy in the light of changing circumstances.
  11. Civil Military Liaison
  12. Declaratory policy for Line of Control (LOC) The response of the Indian security forces to any misadventure of the enemy has to be clearly written to avoid any confusion and ensure correct response irrespective of the will of the political set up.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Review Committee, the Government of India, in April 2001, set up “A Task Force” on Border Management under the chairmanship of Madhav Godbole. This task force was part of Group of Ministers constituted to review the national security system as a whole and the recommendations of Kargil Review Committee.

 Report of GOM:

  1. The report observed that the country’s borders cannot be effectively managed because of certain inherent problems, such as their disputed nature, artificiality and porosity, which gives rise to multiple problems like illegal migration smuggling, drug trafficking and trans-border movement of insurgents.
  2. Multiplicity of forces employed to guard the same border their repeated withdrawal from border for other duties lack of adequate infra along the border etc., prevent them from efficiently guarding the border.


  1. Concerted efforts to settle border disputes and demarcate the borders at the earliest opportunity.
  2. Department of Border Management be created.
  3. One Border-One Force Principle.
  4. Eastablishment of marine police force.
  5. Accelerated development of infrastructure.
  6. Not deploying BGF for law-and-order duties and CI
  7. Recommendation to strengthen coast guard and police.

Problems faced by People Living Border Areas:

  • Harsh living conditions
  • Vulnerability to the terror actions and aggression by the enemy forces.
  • Spreading of a feeling of alienation by the neighbouring countries.
  • Lack of infrastructure, education, social progress and employment opportunities.
  • No freedom of movement due to restrictions by the forces by cross-border shelling and firing.
  • Improper reach of Government Schemes and Policies and the Government’s neglect.
Chapter 2: Border Disputes with our Neighbours

India-China Border Issues:

  • India and China share a 3488 km long boundary. The boundary runs along the 5 Indian sates bordering China.
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • Sikkim
  • Arunachal Pradesh

The line, which delineates the boundary between the two counties, is popularly called the Mc Mahon Line, after its author sir Henry Mc Mahon.

The area is characterised by High Altitude terrain and thick habitation which have resulted in inadequate development of infrastructure in these regions.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is the Border Guarding Force at Indo-China Border.

The India-China border flare-up | IASbaba

 Shimla Agreement of 1914:

  • To demarcate boundary between Tibet and North East India, a convention was held at Shimla in 1914, with representatives of Tibet, British India and China. After the discussion, the agreement was signed by India and Tibet but not by Chinese officials. The Chinese said that India is ruled for a colonial power, so doesn’t have a write to sign boundary agreements and Tibet is not a sovereign country and cannot sign a boundary treaty.
  • Presently India recognises the Mc Mahon line, as agreed by the Shimla Convention, as the legal boundary between India and China. However, China rejects the Shimla agreement and the Mc Mahon Line.
  • It is interesting that, in the same agreement, boundary up to Myanmar was settled, and China accepts Mc Mahon line with Myanmar as its boundary.

India-China Border Dispute : Decoded

Johnson Line Vs Mc Donald Line:

  • William Johnson, a civil servant with the Survey of India proposed the “Johnson Line” in 1865, which put Aksai Chin in Jammu and Kashmir. This was accepted by China until 1893.
  • However, by 1896, China showed interest in Aksai Chin, reportedly with Russian Instigation, as part of the Great Game between Britain and Russia. British India decided on a revised boundary ceding under populated border territory (Aksai Chin) to China, via its envoy Sir Claud Mc Donald.
  • The Chinese did not give any response to the proposal. Subsequently, the British Indian government is said to have reverted to its traditional boundary, the “Johnson Line” which clearly depicts that the Aksai Chin belongs to India.
  • Mc Donald Line was a proposed boundary in the disputed area of Aksai Chin. As per this Aksai Chin was shown as part of China. Though British India proposed this, China didn’t respond officially.

India is “an artificial British Creation”

  • Since Mao’s days, Chinese leaders have expressed doubts about the historical authenticity of the Indian nation. They perceive their southern rivals (India) as a pawn in western designs to contain China, and worried about the strategic ramifications of India’s power with regarding to Tibet’s Future.
  • It looked at India as a backward neighbour that sold opium to China, sent soldiers to crush the Boxer Rebellion, provided Sikh Policeman for the pre-1949 International settlements in Shanghai, copied British Parliamentary democracy, adopted English as its official language, gave refuge to Dalai Lama and last, but not the least, pursued British India’s expansionist policies.

Border Disputes between India and China:

  • The India-China borders can be broken down into three sectors:

 Western Sector- (Disputed)

  • This comprises the Aksai Chin in Jammu and Kashmir and small tracts of land in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. This region which originally was part of Jammu and Kashmir is claimed by China as part of its autonomous Xinjiang Region. After 1962, it is administered by China. It is the second largest area covering over 38,000 However it is an uninhabited land.
  • While India claims the entire Aksai Chin Territory as well as the Shaksgam Valley (Indian Territory) gifted to China by Pakistan, China contests Indian Control over Daulat Beg Oldi (a tehsil in Leh, South of Aksai Chin which is believed to host the world’s highest airstrip).

 Central Sector (Un Disputed):

  • Although China has recognised India’s sovereignty Over Sikkim and had initiated the trade at Nathu La, the Doklam fiasco could mean trouble for India.
  • Nathu La Jelep La are two important passes in Sikkim.

 Sikkim: Protectorate of India-During British.

  • 1950: The arrangement continued after Independence through a treaty in 1950. India assumed responsibility for Communication, Defence Foreign affairs of the Sikkim Nation. Sikkim had autonomy in International Affairs. In 1974 General Elections were held in Sikkim. India friendly Sikkim National Congress came to power. It wanted deeper integration with India, however, the Chogyal dynasty objected to this deeper integration with India. In this backdrop, a referendum was held in  In this referendum 97.55% of the population in Sikkim voted in favour of joining India. Finally, on 16 May 1975 sikkim became 22nd State of Indian Union. However, China recognised Sikkim as integral part of India only in the year 2003.
  1. Eastern Sector (Disputed):
  • China still claims the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh to be its own territory as part of south Tibet. It is the largest disputed area, covering around 90,000 It was formally called North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). During the 1962 war, the PLA occupied it, but they announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrawn respecting the International Boundary (Mc Mahon Line). However, it has continued to assert its claim over the whole of Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet.

The India-China War of 1962.

  • The pretext of war was a dispute over the sovereignty of Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • But there were many other reasons, and the prominent one was China’s perception of India as threat to its rule of Tibet.
  • The war was preceded by various conflicts and military incidents between India and China throughout the summer of 1962.
  • Then on October 20, 1962, PLA of China invaded India in Ladakh and across the Mc Mahon line in the Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Until the war, India was confident that a war would not happen and made little preparations.
  • After a month-long war, China unilaterally declared a ceasefire on 19 November 1962. By then, China had made significant advances on both the fronts. India suffered a huge set back and was badly defeated.
  • China achieved its objective of acquiring control in Aksai Chin. In the Eastern Sector, their troops went back to the north of Mc Mahon Line.

India-China border conflicts after the War:

  • There have been several instances of Chinese troops entering the Indian side and Indian troops entering the Chinese side.
  • Still, the Indo-China border has remained largely peaceful-except in 1967, when, two incidents of armed conflict first at Nathu La and then at Cho La.
  • The conflict at Nathu La lasted for 5 days.
  • The conflict at Cho La ended the same day.
  • The outcome was more pleasing to India as they were able to send back the Chinese military and therefore the 1967 conflicts are seen as success for India.
  • The boundary which came into existence after the war, came to be known as “line of Actual Control” (LAC), it is a military held line.

Agreements and initiatives to resolve the border disputes.

  1. Shimla Agreement of 1914.
  2. Panchsheel Agreement of 1954.
  • The Panchsheel doctrine clearly indicated the willingness to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Although, we have come a long way since, from 1962 war to the cold peace era of 1962-1989 to the revived tension of the present. It has successfully acted as a safeguard against any such disputes arising at the first place.
  1. In 1989, India-China formed a “Joint Working Group” for “Confidence Building Measures” CBMs and agreed to mutually settle all border disputes.
  2. In 1993, when PM Narasimha Rao visited China “The Agreement for Maintenance of Peace & Tranquillity along the LAC” has been signed. This agreement is considered to be one of the landmark agreements between both the countries that reduced the rivalry to a large extent and brought in a strong feeling of trust and friendship between India and China.
  3. In 1996, an agreement took place on “Confidence Building Measurers in the military field” along the LAC.
  4. In 2003- India and China signed a “Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation and also mutually decided to appoint “Special Representative” to explore the framework of a boundary settlement, from the political perspective. Till now 21 Rounds of talks have been conducted. From India’s side National security Advisor Shri Ajith Doval has been nominated as the Special Representative.
  5. In 2003, China recognised India’s sovereignty over Sikkim.
  6. The 2003 meeting proposed a three-step resolution to the border disputes.

(a)   A bilateral agreement on the laid down principles.

(b)   This was to be followed by exchange of maps between the two countries.

(c) Once satisfied with the markings, the final demarcation of borders was to take place.

  1. In 2005-a protocol was agreed on modalities of the implementation of CBMs in military field along the LAC.
  2. In 2012-Both agreed on establishment of a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on Indo-China borders.

Clearly, the policies have not sufficed in realising a solution to the long-standing disputes. Besides the changing global and regional picture-from China’s move towards “Assertive Regionalism”. Its strengthening piece with Pakistan and its complete disregard for counter-opinions on contentious issues like South-China Sea- has only worsened the chances of a quick resolution.

What is the recent Doklam Issue:

  • It started when India (Indian Army) objected a road construction by the PLA of China in the Doklam Plateau which China claims to be a part of its Donglang region. However, India and Bhutan recognise it as Doklam, a Bhutan Territory.
  • Later, China accused Indian troops of entering in its territory and India accused the Chinese of destroying an old Indian Bunker in Doklam.
  • Therefore, China stopped the passage of pilgrims heading towards Kailash-Manasarovar through the Nathula Pass, Sikkim. The route is considered to be a better alternative to Lipu Lekh route via Uttarkhand.

Why is Doklam so Critical:

  • Doklam (Zhoglam or Droklam or Donglang) is a narrow plateau lying in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.
  • China believes Doklam to be a disputed territory between Bhutan and China and contests the presence of Indian Army in the region as a transgression.
  • The disputed region is very close to India’s Siliguri corridor which connects the 7 NE States to the Indian mainland.

Why is India Supporting Bhutan in Doklam Issue?

  • Bhutan and India have a very cordial relationship, whereas Bhutan and China do not have formal relations.
  • Bhutan has a very strategic position considering India’s geography.
  • To foster the relationship, India and Bhutan signed “Friendship Treaty” in 2007-that commits India to protect Bhutan’s interests and close coordination between the two militaries.
  • Also, India is worried, that if the road is completed, it will give china greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable “Chicken’s neck” (Siliguri Corridor).

 Indo-China Border Trade:

  • Presently, there are only three designated areas along the India-China border through which border trade takes place; these are Lipu Lekh (Uttara Khand), Shipki La (Himachal Pradesh) and Nathu La (Sikkim). The volume of trade in these trading points is not large.
  • However, large scale smuggling of Chinese electronic and other consumer goods take place through these border points.

 Is India Ready to Face Challenges on the Chinese Borders:

  • India clearly is far ahead of what it was in 1962, both militarily and infra-structurally. However, to undermine China would be to relive the fallacies that led to the 1962 war. The “Theory of Asymmetry” doesn’t hold good when dealing with China. Therefore, a “Rational Policy of Dialogue is Essential”.


  1. Border Readiness – Total -142 BOPs established by ITBP.: China has a stark distinction with upper hand-infra-structurally with last mile connectivity till the forward posts.
  • India-Out of 73 roads proposed-Only 21 have been completed.
  • China-On the pretext of CPEC, OBOR or even otherwise has largely developed all the strategic roads/rail networks.
  1. The proposed “Mountain Strike Corps” at Panagarh has a strength which is much less than the proposed strengths.
  • Also, the force is not yet equipped with advanced armouries that were envisioned for them.


  1. Recently inaugurated Dhola-Sadiya Bridge (Bhupen Hazarika Setu 9.2 kms connecting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) are a welcome step as they help reduce the travel time and as such, a military response time as well.
  2. A Brahmos Cruise Missile Regiment is being deployed in Arunachal Pradesh. This clearly signals Indian intentions to China.
  3. Many abandoned air strips in India are also being reactivated.

Other Issues between India and China:

  • The recent Doklam Standoff is seen as a culmination of number of disagreements between India and China and the relations between the two sides has sound in the last 2-3 years.

Few of them are:

India’s entering into the UNSC and NSG.

India’s opposition to OBOR.

  • India has been opposing China’s flagship OBOR-as the CPEC, a part of OBOR is passing through POK and acceding to OBOR would mean undermining India’s sovereignty.

 Strengthening of India-USA Relations

  • China is critical of India-USA relations and it is not merely a co-incidence that the escalation at the tri-junction coincided with The Indian PM’s visit to us. India supports the US and other countries in reaffirming the freedom of navigation in International Waters, which includes the South China Sea. Along with this, ‘The Malabar Naval Exercise’ between India-Japan-US is also a matter of worry for China.

 Issue of Tibet and Dalai Lama

  • The fact that Tibet’s spiritual leader Dalai lama lives in India is a tension area in India-China relations. The recent visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh has been a matter of conflict between the two sides.

 Issue of Masood Azhar

  • India’s bid to get Jaish-E-Mohammad Chief masood Azhar be declared as a UN-designated terrorist has been blocked by China again and again.

 Way Forward:

  • From the recent incidents, although the possibility of an India-China armed conflict cannot be ruled out any kind of military conflict is not in the interest of any country. The need of the hour is realising that our “Strategic Partnership” could serve us both and help see Asia as the Core of World Economy.
  • This dream of “India-China Millennium of Exceptional Synergies” that both the nations envision, however, needs magnanimity and willingness on part of both the nations.

 India-Bangladesh Border Issues:


  • India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km of their land border with each other. The Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are the 5 states that share border with Bangladesh. Out of 4096.7 kms, 2216 km is the border of West Bengal with Bangladesh.
  • The India-Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) border was drawn by the Bengal Boundary Commission chaired by Sri Cyril Rad cliff. The border was drawn on the basis of old district maps.
  • This made the boundary random. Instead of following natural barriers, it meanders through villages, agricultural lands, and rivers, rendering the border extremely porous with many disputed pockets.
  • Un-demarcated stretches, existence of enclaves (chhit Mohols), and adverse possessions had been causing constant friction between the border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh.
  • The complete stretch consists of plain, river line, hills/jungles and with barely any natural hindrance. The area is deeply populated, and agriculture is being carried out till the last inch of the border. The entire border is under the responsibility of BSF.

 Some of the concepts related to land disputes with Bangladesh


1974 Land Border Agreement between India and Bangladesh came into effect

  • In geography, an enclave is a piece of land which is totally surrounded by a foreign territory.
  • These enclaves were reputedly part of a high-stake chess games centuries ago between two regional kings, the Raja of Cooch Behar and Maharaja of Rangpur. After the partition of India, coach Behar district merged with India and Rangpur went to East Pakistan.
  • Inside the main part of Bangladesh, there were (17,160 Acres) Indian 111 Enclaves.
  • Inside the main part of India, there were (7110.02 Acres) 51 Bangladesh Enclaves.

India-Bangladesh Relations - UPSC IAS

Adverse Possessions:

  • Adverse possession is a legal principle that applies when a person who doesn’t have legal title to piece of property, usually land, attempts to claim legal ownership based upon a history of possession or occupation of the land without the permission of its legal owner

Problems in these Enclaves & adverse possessions

  • India didn’t have access to these enclaves in Bangladesh, and hence, no administrative set up to provide facilities like police stations, courts, schools, roads, hospitals, banks, markets etc. Over a period of time, due to absence of day to day administration by both the countries, these places have become breeding grounds for criminal activities and raising of anti-India sentiments.

Border issues:

  1. Illegal Immigration:
  • The Indo-Bangladesh border is marked by a high degree of porosity and the checking of illegal cross border activities and illegal migration from Bangladesh into India have been major challenges.
  • There are both push and pull factors working along on this border. Under development, religious persuasion, environmental concerns etc., are the push factors. India’s huge economy, work culture, secular state, accommodative society, cultural ties are some of the pull factors.
  • According to “Task Force on Border Management” 2001 report-there were 15 million Bangladesh Illegal Immigrants in India, increasing @3 lakh per month. Recent eruption of communal violence in Assam has direct link with this immigration.
  • To check this issue, National Register of Citizens (NRC) was first updated in 1951 based upon the census of that year. Ever since 1951, the updating of NRC is pending due to political compulsions. Recently, the government has updated the NRC in Assam, as per the promise made under the Assam Accord signed in 1985.
  • As a result of the same, approx. 20 lakh illegal immigrants have been identified. The government has not yet decided the decision on these illegal immigrants. In the meanwhile, Bangladesh has made public statements that these people will not be accepted by them. In this backdrop, we need to wait and watch the next move of the government in this regard.
  • This illegal migration has changed the demographic profile of many border states, which has resulted in separatist movements.
  1. Cattle and Other Smuggling:
  • It is said that cattle from as far as Haryana, Utter Pradesh, Bihar is taken to borders for grazing and then smuggled to Bangladesh. This way the government is losing revenue of around 10,000 crores annually.
  • Along with cattle, smuggling of arms, and other essential items such as sugar, salt, diesel, human and narcotic trafficking, counterfeit Indian currency, kidnapping and thefts are quite rampant along the India-Bangladesh border.
  1. Bases of Anti-India Elements:
  • The porosity of border also allows Indian Insurgents to cross over to Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries for asylum.
  • Presently, The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), The All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) as well as several other insurgent outfits from the NE have bases in Chittagong, Khagrachari and Sylhet districts of Bangladesh.
  • According to reports, there are 97 hideouts or camps of Indian Insurgent groups in Bangladesh. It is also reported that, as many as 77 Indian Insurgents/criminals figuring in Interpol Red Corner Notice are being harboured by Bangladesh.

Land Boundary Agreement India-Bangladesh:

  • Bangladesh and India exchanged 162 adversely held enclaves on August 01, 2015 at the stroke of midnight, ending one of the world’s most complex border dispute that had lingered since 7 decades. 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres became Bangladesh territory and similarly, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves measuring 7,110 acres became Indian Territory.
  • All the Indian Enclaves are located in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar District.
  • The exchange of enclaves was made possible under the Land Boundary Agreement signed between the two countries recently.
  • Although 14,000 people staying in Bangladesh enclaves in India have opted to stay in India, only about 979 have opted to return to India out of the estimated 37,000 people living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh.
  • The boundary dispute has been lingering since British colonialists carved “Pakistan out of India in 1947 and granted Independence to the two countries. This agreement will help to solve border issues with Bangladesh.

Efforts/Measures to solve Boundary Disputes Since Independence.

  • India-Pakistan boundary dispute commission was setup in 1949- it settled many, disputes-but they soon resurfaced with new problems of enclaves.
  • To address the boundary disputes and to reduce tensions between the two countries, the “Nehru-Noon Agreement on India-East Pakistan Border was signed in New Delhi in 1958. (Jawaharlal Nehru, PM of India and Feroz Khan Noon PM of Bangladesh). These efforts, however, failed to bring disputes to end.
  • It was only in 1974, barely 3 years after Liberation of Bangladesh, the “Indira-Mujibur Agreement” laid down The methods for demarcating various disputed stretches of the India-Bangladesh boundary. This agreement was called ‘Land Boundary Agreement’, and India and Bangladesh, both the countries committed to exchange the enclaves and code adverse possessions.
  • Though Bangladesh parliament immediately ratified the Land Boundary agreement, Indian Parliament didn’t ratify the same, leading which these enclaves couldn’t be exchanged.
  • It was only in 2015, that both the Parliaments ratified the Land Boundary Agreement, and finally the exchange of enclaves happened.

Key Programmes for Effective Management of Border:

  1. Commissioning of Border Outposts (BOPs).
  • The Border Outposts (BOPs) are the main workstation of the BSF along the borders. These are self-contained defence outpost with a specified area of responsibility established along the entire range of land borders.
  • The BOPs are meant to provide appropriate Show of Force to deter trans-border criminals, infiltrators and the hostile elements from indulging in the activities of intrusion/encroachment and border violations.
  • Each BOP is provided with the necessary infrastructure for accommodation, logistic support and combat functions.
  • At present 802 BOPs exist along the Indo to Bangladesh border. In pursuance of GOM recommendations to reduce the Inter-BOP distance to 3.5 km, the g has approved construction of additional 509 BOPs. Out of 509 BOPs, 383 BOPs are to be constructed along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
  • The project was targeted to be completed by 2013-14. However, the work has been spilled over due to constraints like public protest, delay in land acquisition and statutory clearances etc., the work is still in progress.
  1. Border Fencing:
  • In the early 1980’s thousands of Bangladeshis illegally moved to neighbouring Indian states in search of land and employment.
  • By 1982, the steady influx of bengali speakers sparked a major ethnic backlash in the Indian state of Assam leading to the slaughter of thousands of non-Assamese. The fire that was ignited some decades back is still igniting.
  • By 2015, the Government of India had sanctioned barbed wire fencing of 3326 km along the India-Bangladesh border.
  • Out of this 2708 km of fencing had been completed. The target for the completion of project was by March 2019.

 Smart Fencing:

  • Along 55 km of riverine stretch in Assam. It uses infrared cameras and laser walls, heat sensing systems radars for surveillance. It is being called Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS).
  • India and Bangladesh have taken a major decision to erect a new fence to secure over 250 villages ahead of the present barbed-wire fence along the IB to curb cross border crimes and instil a sense of security among the people living in the area.
  • This new fence will be a single row fence, but behind the IB. As the population lives and works here, the fence will have gates for people to cross over to the side and come back. This decision was taken at the 43rd bi-annual Director-General level talks between BSF and its counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

 Construction of Border Roads:

  • To facilitate smooth guarding and patrolling of border areas, order road of 4347 kms has been constructed in 3 phases.

 Installation of Floodlight:

  • Government of India has taken a decision to install flood lights along 2840 kms stretch of border with Bangladesh. Sensitive/Strategic areas have been identified that would be floodlighted to keep a close vigil along the border.
  • As of June 2017, the Government has flood light 647 kms of the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Border protection Grid (BPG):

  • A Border Protection Grid has been setup along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh Border. The grid will have 5 layers.
  1. Elements ahead of the Border Fence
  2. Physical Border Infrastructure.
  3. Border Guarding Force
  4. Intelligence Grid
  5. Intelligence Grid
  6. Police
  • The BPG, comprising the state authorities and all other stake holders, will continuously evaluate threats from across the border. It will observe and analyse crime patterns and other suspicious activities and formulate an appropriate response mechanism.

Way Forward:

  • Open border trade of local produce in the form of border haats.
  • Generate local employment by encouraging small scale cooperative farming of products of that area.
  • A number of rail connectivity points need to be activated for trans-border transit routes from India to Bangladesh.
  • The opening up of Water Ways as a medium of transportation may also be explored.
  • Increased use of technology like drones, CCTV Cameras may be carried out for effective surveillance increased border-flag meetings for improved co-ordination between the two border guarding forces.

The initiation of BOLD-QIT is right step forward in this regard.

The Union Home Minister has inaugurated the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique).

The project has been constructed under the CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam.


Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for the safeguarding of 4,096 Km long International Border with Bangladesh. At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.

The 61 Kilometers of the Border area in District Dhubri, Assam where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guards in this area, a tough task especially during rainy season.

To overcome this problem, in the year 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to go for a technological solution besides the physical presence of BSF.

In January 2018, Information and Technology Wing of BSF undertook the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique).


BOLD-QIT is the project to install technical systems which enable BSF to equip Indo-Bangla borders with different kind of sensors in the unfenced riverine area of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Now, the entire span of River Brahmaputra is covered with data network generated by Microwave communication, Optical fibers cable (OFC), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Communication, day and night surveillance Cameras, and intrusion detection system.


These modern gadgets provide feeds to BSF Control Rooms on the Border and enable BSF Quick Reaction Teams to thwart any possibility of Illegal Cross Border Crossing/ Crimes.

The implementation of this project will not only help BSF to curb all type of cross border crimes but also provide respite to the troops from round the clock human surveillance.

 Integrated Check Posts:

  • There are several designated entries and exist points on the International border through which cross border movement of persons, goods and traffic takes place. Conventional infrastructure for discharge of various sovereign functions at these points is neither adequate or integrated nor coordinated, and no single agency is responsible for coordination of various government functions and services at the points.
  • As a response to the situation of inadequate infrastructure for cross border movement of persons, vehicles and goods, it was decided to setup integrated check posts that would house all regulatory agencies like immigration, customs, Border Security, Quarantine etc., along with support facilities in a single complex equipped will all modern amenities.
  • Accordingly, two integrated check posts were established along India-Bangladesh border.
  • ICP Agartala-2013 (Opposite is Akhaura of Bangladesh).
  • ICP Petrapole-2016 (Opposite to Petrapole is beanpole of Bangladesh.
  • ICP Petrapole is one of the busiest land customs station in Asia and accounts for 70% India-Bangladesh trade. Petrapole is handling maximum number of passengers commuting through any Land Border Crossing in the country. The main purpose for their visit being Medical, Religious and Business. Other than citizens from India and Bangladesh, third country nationals also use this facility for entry into India or exit from India.
  • ICP Agartala is a most important trade route for Bangladesh, through which cross-border movement of people and goods takes place. Located at India-Bangladesh Border in the close vicinity of Agartala, the capital city of State of Tripura, this is the only ICP located in the capital city and that too within the Municipal Area.

 India Pakistan Border Issues:

  • India shares 3,323 kms of border (land) with Pakistan. This border runs along the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The Indo-Pakistan border has varied terrain and distinct geographical features.
  • This is spread across extreme climatic conditions given that the boundary runs from the hot Thar Desert in Rajasthan to the Cold Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • This border is characterised by attempts of infiltrations by the terrorists and smuggling of arms, ammunition and contraband.
  • Like the Bangladesh boundary, the India-Pakistan boundary also does not follow any geographical barrier. It runs through diverse terrain like desert, marshes, plains, snow clad mountains, and finds its way through villages, houses and agricultural lands making it extremely porous.
  • Porosity of this border has facilitated various illegal activities such as smuggling, drugs and arms trafficking, and infiltration. Heroin and FICN are two predominant items of smuggling along this border. Other items include saffron, textile, mercury, which are smuggled from Pakistan.

Indo-Pakistan Border Layout:

The India Pakistan boundary in categorised under three different heads.

  1. The first is the International Boundary, also known as “Redcliff Line” it is 2308 km long and stretches from Gujarat to parts of Jammu district in Jammu and Kahsmir.
  2. The second is the “Line of Control” (LOC), or the Cease Fire Line, which come into existence after the 1948 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. This line is 776 kms long and runs along the districts of Jammu (some parts), Rajouri, Poonch, Baramulla, Kupwara and Kargil. Some portions of the border is guarded by the Army, and the remaining entire, borderline is the responsibility of BSF.
  3. And the third is the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), which is 110 kms long and extends from NJ9842 (grid co-ordinates of the northern most demarcated point of the Indo-Pak ceasefire line to Indira Col in the North in Siachen Glacier.

Issues Along the Border:

  1. State (Pakistan) sponsored/trained infiltration along the border to carryout terrorist activities along the border or hinterland.
  2. Smuggling of arms, ammunition, human trafficking etc.,
  3. Heroin and FICN smuggling.
  4. The villagers adjacent to the border are alleged to be involved in smuggling in a big way.
  5. Money laundering is also quite rampant along the border. A large scale hawala network is flourishing in Punjab.
  6. The border population has also been subjected to hostile propaganda by Pakistan designed to mislead and sway their loyalties.
  7. Frequent cross firing to divert the attention of Border Guarding Forces to help terrorists to infiltrate and to demotivate the troops.
  8. Terrorist funding using (Fake Indian Currency Note) FICN.
  9. Establishment of Training camps for training of terrorists. Training support by regular army officers of Pakistan Army.

Various Issues along the Indo-Pak Border

I Sir Creek Issue:

  • Sir Creek (Local name Baan Ganga) is a 96 km long estuary in the marshes of Rann of kutch where Arabian sea joins the land mass. It currently lies on the border of India’s Gujarat and Pakistan’s Sindh Province. In marshy areas like the Rann, landmasses emerge and slip back into water. The joint survey held by India and Pakistan in 2007, claimed Sir Greek had shifted 1.5 kms eastwards.

Sir Creek Dispute, Sir Creek Issue between India and Pakistan [Indo-Pak  Relations Notes]


  • Out of the total 7417 kms of total coastline of India shared by nine states, Gujarat with 1663 kms is state with largest coastline. A part of Pakistan’s coastline is adjacent to that of the India’s Gujarat Coast. But there are no bilateral agreements defining the maritime boundaries. Not only these boundaries are unsettled, but also there is absence of clear fishing laws.
  • The Maritime Zone Act of both India and Pakistan are almost twins, but none of them is said to be corresponding to the United Nations Convention of Law of Sea (UNCLOS).
  • The Marshlands of Sir Creek became first disputed between the Rao of Princely State of Kutch and Chief Commissioner of Sindh province of British India due to different perceptions of the boundaries.
  • The case was taken up by the Government of Bombay, which conducted a survey and mandated its verdict in 1914. This verdict had two contradictory paragraphs which make the India and Pakistan contenders on the same issue.
  • Paragraph 9 of the verdict says that the boundary between the Kutch and the Sindh lies “to the east of the Creek”, which effectively implied that the Creek belonged to Sindh, and therefore to Pakistan.
  • On the other hand, Paragraph 10 says, Sir Creek is navigable most of the year, and directs the chief commissioner of Sindh to buttress the point (buttress means removing the silt deposited along the floor to ensure the channel is deep enough for a ship to sail). According to international law, a boundary can only be fixed in the middle of the navigable channel, which meant that it has to be divided between Kutch and Sindh, and thereby India and Pakistan. India has used this para to consistently argue that, the boundary needs to be fixed in the middle of the Creek.

Sir Creek issue:

A Cartographic Dilemma

  • The map of the region was chalked out in 1925 and in this map, a ‘Green Riband’ was shown to the east of the Creek. Pakistan says, that this “Green Line” is the marked boundary between sindh and Kutch and argued that the Creek belonged to Sindh and so to Pakistan.
  • India countered, saying depiction was part of ‘Normal Cartographic Practice” and should not be used to make any territorial claims. Thus, this dispute is a classic example of cartographic dilemma.
  • Till 1954, the borders around the Sir Creek were virtually open and there was free movement of people and material from both sides. After 1954, the countries started rigid stances on borders and a controversy evolved around Sir Creek.

 Importance of Sir Creek:

  • The strategic or military importance of Sir Creek is little. The core importance of Sir Creek is because of the fishing resources. Sir Creek is one of the largest fishing grounds in Asia. Further, immense potential economic benefits as the marshlands are estimated to be rich in hydrocarbons and shale gas, is another importance of Sir Creek.

Stands of India and Pakistan:

  • In arguments made at the UN tribunal, India claimed that Kutch was a well-defined entity and Rao’s of Kutch paid tribute to imperial powers, firstly Mughals and then British. Pakistan uses different colonial sources to say that Kutch never had an existence of its own, and that the rulers of Sindh invaded and occupied parts of the Rann in the 8th century, and that the whole breadth of the Rann was the boundary between Kutch and Sindhu.
  • The tribunal supported India’s claim to 90 percent of the Rann, fixed the land border up to a point called ‘Western Terminus”, but left the western most part of the border fluid. This includes the stretch of water now under dispute.

Current Position:

  • India and Pakistan have held talks in 2012 in Sir Creek dispute. Neither has changed its claims on the Creek since then in 2007, both the countries had exchanged maps that matched. But the process was derailed by the by the Mumbai Attacks. The dispute between India and Pakistan is on 3 issues.
  • The actual demarcation “from the mouth of Sir Creek to the Top of the Sir Creek”.
  • The actual demarcation “from the Top of the Sir Creek Eastward to a point on the line designated on the “Western Terminus”.
  • Demarcation of Maritime Boundary between India and Pakistan in Arabian Sea.

Way Forward:

  • If Sir Creek is to be treated as a water border, it must be divided according to International law that govern such boundaries. Further, if India gives Up control of the Creek, these is no guarantee that Pakistan would not claim any new territory in the sector, particularly when some oil or gas resource is discovered. Thus, despite being a small issue, it doesn’t solve due to trust deficit.

II Operation Meghdoot:

  • Operation Meghdoot (Operation Cloud Messenger after a famous Sanskrit Poem by Kalidasa) was the code name for the Indian Armed Forces operation to capture the Siachen Glacier in the Kashmir region. Launched on 13 April 1984, this military operation was unique as the first assault launched in the world’s highest battle field. The military action resulted in Indian troops gaining control of the entire Siachen Glacier.

How RAW Outsmarted ISI To Win Siachen For India Through 'Operation Meghdoot'

Cause of Conflict:

  • The Siachen Glacier became a bone of contention following a vague demarcation of territories in the “Karachi Agreement” of July 1949 which did not exactly specify who had authority over the Siachen Glacier area.
  • Indian interpretation was that the Pakistan territory extended only to about Saltoro Ridge based on the Shimla Agreement, where the territorial lines route after the last demarcated Point NI9842 was “thence north to the Glaciers” whereas Pakistan’s interpretation was that their territory continued northeast from NI9842 to the Karakoram Pass. As a result, both nations claimed the barren heights and the Siachen Glaciers.

Early 1979’s and 1980s:

  • In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Pakistan permitted several mountaineering expeditions to climb the peaks in the Siachen region from the Pakistan side, perhaps in an attempt to reinforce their claim on the area, as these expeditions received permits obtained from the Government of Pakistan and in many causes a Liaison Officer from the Pakistan Army accompanied the teams.
  • In 1978 the Indian Army also allowed mountaineering expeditions to the glacier, approaching from its sides. The most notable expedition was the one launched by Colonel Narinder “Bull” Kumar of the Indian Army.
  • The Indian Airforce provided valuable support to this expedition in 1978 through logistic support and supply of Fresh Rations. Contention over the glaciers was aggravated by these expeditions, through both sides asserting their claim.
  • In 1984, Pakistan gave permission to Japanese expedition to scale an important peak (Rimo I). This further fuelled the suspicion of Indian government of Pakistani attempts to legitimize their claims on the glacier. Rimo I, located east of the Siachen Glacier, also overlooks the north western areas of the Aksai Chin area which is occupied by China, but claimed by India.
  • The Indian military believed that such an expedition could further a link for a trade route from the north eastern (Chinese) to the South western (Pakistan) side of the karakoram range and the eventually provide a strategic, if not facial, advantage to the Pakistan Armed Forces.

The Operation:

  • The Indian Military decided to deploy troops from Northern Ladakh Region was well as some paramilitary forces to the glacier area. Most of the troops had been acclimatized to the extremities of the flakier through a training expedition to Antarctica in 1982 before eventually launching the operation to occupy complete glacier.
  • After analysing the Indian Army’s mountaineering expeditions in the Siachen glacier, Pakistani top military brass decided to stake their claim through troop deployments to the Siachen glacier in 1983. They feared that India might capture key ridges and passes near the glacier and decided to send their troops first.
  • Islamabad ordered Arctic-weather gear from a London supplier, unaware that the same supplier provided outfits development and initiated their own plan, providing them with a head start.
  • Indian Army intelligence reported that Pakistan is planning to occupy the glacier by 17 April 1984. The Indian Army planned an operation to control the glacier by 13 April 1984 to pre-empt the Pakistan Army by about 4 days.
  • The task of occupying the Saltoro Ridge was given to 26 Sector, commanded by Brig. Vijay Channa. He chose April 13, supposedly an unlucky date, and also because it was the Vaisakhi day, when the Pakistanis would be least expecting the Indians to launch an operation.
  • The first phase of the operation began in March 1984 with the march on foot to the eastern base of the glacier. All full battalion of Kumaon Regiment and Units from the Ladakh Scouts marched with full battle packs through an ice bound (Zojila Pass) for days. They were moved on foot to avoid detection of large troops movements by Pakistani Radars.
  • By April 13, approximately 300 Indian troops were dug into critical peaks and passes of the glacier. Before Pakistan came to know about the Indian Pre-emptive occupation of the glacier, all these major mountain passes of Sia-la, Bilafold-La and by 1987 Gyong-la and all the commanding heights of Saltoro Ridge west of Saltoro glacier were occupied by Indian troops.


  • There are divergent views on the strategic value of the operation. Some view it as a futile capture of non-strategic land which antagonized relations between India and Pakistan.
  • Others consider the operation to be a “Daring” success by the Indian Military and ensured that the Indian Army held tactical high ground on the strategic Saltoro Ridge west of the glacier, albeit at a high cost.
  • The Indian Army currently controls all of the 70 kms long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge i.e., Sia La, Bilafond La and Gyong La.
  • The operation and the continued cost of maintaining logistics to the area is a major drain on both militaries.
  • Pakistan launched an all-out assault in 1987 and again in 1989 to capture the Ridge and passes held by India. Initially it managed to capture a few height points but was eventually pushed back by India.
  • One of high points occupied by Pakistan was called “Quaid Post”. India launched an attack codenamed “Operation Rajiv” to gain back the post.
  • Once occupied, the post was renamed as “Bana Post” in recognition of Bana Singh who launched a daring day light attack, after climbing 1500 ft. (460m) of ice cliff. Bana singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra (PVC)-the highest gallantry award of India, for the assault that captured the Quaid Post.
  • As a mark of respect to the brave act, the post is renamed as the Bana Post. Bana Post is the highest battlefield post in the world today at a height of 22,143 ft. (6749 m) above sea level.
  • In Siachen glacier operation Meghdoot, from 1984 till Jan 2017, 35 officers and 887 JCOs/OR have lost their lives. However, most of the casualties are incurred from the weather and terrain. A large number of soldiers suffered frostbite and high-altitude sickness (HAPO) or were lost in avalanches or crevasses during patrols.

India-Myanmar border

The India-Myanmar border has recently made the headlines after the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) reportedly conducted counter insurgency operations against Indian insurgent’s groups. But cross border movement of insurgents is only one of several security challenges facing the policing of the border.

Introduction - INSIGHTSIAS

In February 2019 the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) reportedly conducted counter insurgency operations against the Indian insurgent’s groups based at the Naga self-administered zone in Sagaing region of Myanmar.

The news reports alleged that the Tatmadaw destroyed a number of insurgent groups camps, seized arms and ammunition, and arrested several cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K) and Meitei insurgent groups.

It is also reported that the Tatmadaw asked all non-Myanmar insurgents to leave the country and warned the NSCN (K) against giving shelter to any Indian insurgent groups in their headquarters at Ta Ga.

It is estimated that around 2,000 cadres of Indian insurgent groups active in the Northeast, such as the United Liberation Front of Asom – Independent (ULFA-I), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland – Songbijit (NDFB-S), the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), etc. continue to hide in Myanmar.

The normality of crossing the border

That the Indian insurgents can cross the international border and hide in the neighbouring country is not new.

Since the inception of insurgency in the Northeast in the 1950s, the Naga, Mizo, Meitei, and Assamese insurgents have been crossing over into Myanmar to set up bases, especially in the Chin state and Sagaing Region, where they rest, recoup, train, plan and launch future offensives, and take shelter when pursued by the Indian security forces.

Tacit approval of the Myanmar government and fraternal ties with other insurgent groups have facilitated the establishment of these safe havens. 

In fact, the shelter and support that the Indian insurgent groups receive from across the border have been one of the most important factors which has helped them in sustaining their rebellion even when faced with the superior might of the Indian security forces.

Gun running and drug trafficking across the India-Myanmar border

Besides cross border movement of insurgents, rampant gun running, and drug trafficking are other significant security challenges emanating across the India-Myanmar border. The Indian insurgent groups have been procuring arms from the black markets of Southeast Asia as well as from Myanmar-based rebel groups such as the United Wa State Army (UWSA). While the bulk of the weapons from Thailand and Cambodia are smuggled through the sea route, some of them are also smuggled overland through the India-Myanmar border with the help of Chin and Arakanese insurgents. These weapons are often brought in as headloads by the insurgents as well as the local villagers because these headloads are seldom checked by the border guarding forces. Weapons produced in China are also routed across the Myanmar border at Ruili and then trucked via Lashio, Mandalay and Monywa to enter the Indian border through Phek, Chandel, Churachandpur and Champai.

 Narcotics and the ‘Golden Triangle’

Proximity to Myanmar in the ‘Golden Triangle’ makes the India-Myanmar border vulnerable to trafficking of heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) produced in Myanmar.

These narcotics are trafficked into India through the states of Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland from Bhamo, Lashio and Mandalay.

The most important trafficking route is the one which enters Moreh in Manipur through Tamu and travels thence to Imphal and Kohima via National Highway-39 – vividly described by Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy in Opium: Uncovering the Politics of the Poppy (Harvard, 2011). 

Reverse trafficking of precursor chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine as well as codeine-based medicinal preparations from India to Myanmar takes place through the same route.

While the bigger insurgent groups are not directly involved in drug trafficking to generate funds, they do so indirectly by demanding protection money from drug mafia for allowing safe passage to the drug consignments through their area.

The 1967 boundary agreement

The susceptibility of the India-Myanmar border to these threats and challenges stems from a number of factors.

First, even though the international boundary between the two countries had been formally delimited and demarcated (except the northern tri-junction where India-Myanmar and China meet, pending the final resolution of the India-China boundary dispute) following the boundary agreement on March 10, 1967, the boundary has not crystallised on the ground as lines separating two sovereign countries.

This is because like most of the boundaries that India shares with its neighbours, the India-Myanmar boundary is also superimposed on the socio-cultural landscape of the borderland, dividing several tribes and forcing them to reside as citizens of different countries.

These tribes, however, refuse to accept the artificial line and continue to maintain strong cross-border ethnic linkages. Such linkages are often exploited by the insurgents to find shelter across the border among their own kinsmen who are sympathetic towards their cause’.

The Free Movement Regime

Second, the India-Myanmar border has a unique arrangement in place called the Free Movement Regime (FMR). The FMR permits the tribes residing along the border to travel 16-km across the boundary without visa restrictions.

While the FMR has helped the tribes continue maintain their age-old ties, it has also become a cause of concern for the security establishment as its provisions are exploited by the Indian insurgents to cross over to Myanmar unrestricted and establish safe havens. 

Another provision in the FMR, which allows tribal people to carry headload has also been misused to smuggle in drugs, weapons and other contraband.

The terrain of the India-Myanmar border

Third, the terrain of the India-Myanmar border also adds to its vulnerability. High mountains, deep river channels together with lush forest characterise the borderland.

Such a terrain does not lend itself easily to the construction of means of transportation and communication, and as a result, the border area remains sparsely populated with depressed economic development.

Absence of roads, communication links and other border guarding infrastructure also adversely affect policing as they hamper the easy and rapid movement of the border guarding forces along the border.

Last but not least, attention accorded to the India-Myanmar border by the Indian government has been woefully inadequate.

The Assam Rifles, which is the designated border guarding force for the India-Myanmar border, deploy only 15 battalions out of 46 battalions for border guarding purposes and the rest are engaged in counter insurgency operations.

These 15 battalions are also not deployed at the border or spread along the entire border but clustered as company-operated bases (COBs) stationed deep inside, thereby preventing the force from dominating the border domination and restricting their ability to prevent illegal cross-border movements.

Efforts to build a 10 km fence to prevent cross-border movement of insurgents have also been stalled because of protests by local residents. More importantly, the Indian government’s efforts to garner Myanmar’s help in addressing the insurgency issue by jointly managing the India-Myanmar border have not produced desired results in the past.

Given that poor security along the India-Myanmar border poses a challenge to India’s security, it is imperative that India strengthens security of the border and redoubles its efforts to meaningfully engage Myanmar to effectively manage this border.

To begin with, it should give the Assam Rifles the sole responsibility of guarding the India-Myanmar border and strengthen it with adequate manpower and equipment.

At the same time, through sustained community interaction programmes, the border community should be sensitized to participate in the nation building project. International borders are best managed when neighbours cooperate to secure their mutual borders.

For such cooperation to materialise, political and diplomatic initiatives require to be carefully crafted. India has been constructively engaging Myanmar so that it remains sensitive to India’s security concerns.

In fact, the latest crack down on Indian insurgent groups by the Tatmadaw is a successful outcome of such engagements. India should maintain this momentum of cooperation with Myanmar for better managing their shared border.

India-Nepal Border Dispute

Recently, Nepal has released a new political map that claims Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand as part of Nepal’s territory. The area of Susta (West Champaran district, Bihar) can also be noted in the new map.

Key Points

India rejected the new map of Nepal saying that Nepal’s new map involves artificial enlargement of territories, which is not based on historical facts and evidence.

Nepal’s act is an unilateral act and is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue.

India has urged the Government of Nepal to refrain from such an unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. India has also asked Nepal to return to dialogue.

Nepal’s move came after India’ Defence Minister recently inaugurated a motorable link road that connects India and China, significantly reducing the time of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

The road passes through territory at the Lipulekh pass that Nepal claims as its own territory.

Earlier, Nepal had protested strongly against India, when India published a new map which showed the region of Kalapani as part of the Indian territory.

Nepal had also expressed displeasure on the 2015 agreement between India and China for using the Lipulekh pass for trade, without consulting Nepal.

Border Dispute Between India and Nepal

Currently, India and Nepal have border disputes over Kalapani – Limpiyadhura – Lipulekh trijunction between India-Nepal and China and Susta area (West Champaran district, Bihar).

Kalapani Region:

Kalapani is a valley that is administered by India as a part of the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is situated on the Kailash Mansarovar route.

India-Nepal border dispute: Kalapani and Lipulekh | IASbaba

Kalapani is advantageously located at a height of over 20,000 ft and serves as an observation post for that area.

The Kali River in the Kalapani region demarcates the border between India and Nepal.

The Treaty of Sugauli signed by the Kingdom of Nepal and British India (after Anglo-Nepalese War) in 1816 located the Kali River as Nepal’s western boundary with India.

The discrepancy in locating the source of the Kali river led to boundary disputes between India and Nepal, with each country producing maps supporting their own claims.

Susta Region:

The change of course by the Gandak river is the main reason for disputes in the Susta area.

  • Susta is located on the bank of the Gandak river.
  • It is called Narayani river in Nepal.
  • It joins Ganga near Patna, Bihar.

Nepal’s Stand:

  • Kali river originates from a stream at Limpiyadhura, north-west of Lipu Lekh. Thus Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura, and Lipu Lekh, fall to the east of the river and are part of Nepal’s Dharchula district.
  • Lipulekh was deleted from the country’s map by the kings to get favours from India.
  • The territory of Kalapani was offered to India by King Mahendra after the 1962 India-China war who wanted to help India’s security concerns due to perceived lingering Chinese threats.
  • Kalapani was not a part of Nepal-India dispute. It was Nepal’s territory that the king had allowed India to use temporarily
  • The new map is in fact a document that was in circulation in Nepal till the 1950s.

India’s Stand:

Kali river originates in springs well below the Lipu-lekh pass, and the Sugauli Treaty does not demarcate the area north of these streams.

The administrative and revenue records of the nineteenth century also show that Kalapani was on the Indian side, and counted as part of Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.

Efforts to Solve Border Dispute:

In the 1980s, the two sides set up the Joint Technical Level Boundary Working Group to delineate the boundary.

The group demarcated everything except Kalapani and Susta area.

Officially, Nepal brought the issue of Kalapani before India in 1998. Both sides agreed to demarcate the outstanding areas (including Kalpani) by 2002 at the prime ministerial level talk held in 2000. But that has not happened yet.

Issues Involved:

Nepal’s deliberate effort to make the Lipu-Lekh Pass a disputed tri-junction (between India-China and Nepal) in which Nepal has an equal share.

India perceives Nepal to be tilting towards China under the leadership of Prime Minister K P Oli and his Nepal Communist Party.

Despite the open border between both countries and the people to people contact, the levels of distrust in Nepal about India have only increased.

Way Forward

  • Given the importance of ties with Nepal, often romanticised as one of “roti-beti” (food and marriage), India must not delay dealing with the matter, and at a time when it already has a faceoff with China in Ladakh and Sikkim.
  • Since the free movement of people is permitted across the border, Nepal enjoys immense strategic relevance from India’s national security point of view, as terrorists often use Nepal to enter India.
  • Therefore, stable and friendly relations with Nepal is one of prerequisites which India can’t afford to overlook.
  • India should also try to convey to Nepal’s leadership about the congenial and friendly environment that 6 to 8 million Nepali citizens living in India enjoy.
  • Therefore, Any thoughtless erosion of this centuries old togetherness may prove difficult for both countries.
  • The existing bilateral treaties between India and Nepal have not taken the shifting of Himalayan rivers into consideration. A primary reason for this is the lack of an approach where ecological concerns and needs of rivers are often discussed.
  • Therefore, India and Nepal should try to resolve the boundary dispute by taking into account all shared environmental characteristics.
Chapter 3: Terrorism


Terrorism is an Act of violence generally targeted against civilians with an intention to instill fear in the minds of the people in furtherance of a political/religious/Socio-cultural ideology. 

Essay on Terrorism in India for Students and Children | 500 Words Essay

It is an offence to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act, which causes:

  • Death or serious bodily injury to any person.
  • Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment.
  • Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems resulting in or likely to result in a major economic loss.
  • It encompasses a range of complex threats like organized terrorism in conflict zones, foreign terrorist fighters, radicalised ‘lone wolves’, etc.

Definition of Terrorism

There is no concrete definition of terrorism as per international law. According to the United Nations Security Council, terrorist acts are those criminal actions committed against people with the intent to cause death or severe injury. These actions aim to create a state of terror in the general public or compel the government to do or abstain from taking certain steps.

According to the European Union, terrorist offences are those criminal offences whose nature is such that they may adversely affect a country or an international organization.

In India, terrorism is defined in the 8th report on terrorism published in 2008. According to the report, terrorism is an act of terror that includes any intentional act of violence that causes death or damage to property and induces fear in any group of people

History of Terrorism in India

Terrorism in India is started before India got independence on 1947 but that times terrorist activities aim create a fear among the British Ruler and not killed the general People. So, we did not call these freedom fighters as a terrorist but after 1947 the terrorism activities to kill the innocent people.

In early times the Kashmir, Punjab and North East Frontier part was affected of terrorism. But in current scenario the terrorism scope has been increased. The regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India (Naxalism) and Seven Sister States (independence and autonomy movements).

In the past, the Punjab insurgency led to militant activities in the Indian state of Punjab as well as the national capital Delhi.

Concepts related to Terrorism

Sleeper Cells. A sleeper cell is a group of operatives, spies or terrorists, living in secret among a targeted community waiting for instructions or an opportunity to act.

Lone Wolf Attack. “Lone-wolf” terrorism is the term used to describe someone who acts alone in a terrorist attack without the help or encouragement of a government or a terrorist organization.

The descriptor ‘lone wolf’ is derived from the notion of a lone wolf, a pack animal that has left or been excluded from its pack. This particular term is more likely to be used by American law enforcement than by academics who study this phenomenon

Radicalisation. Radicalization (or radicalisation) is the process by which an individual or a group comes to adopt increasingly radical views in opposition to a political, social, or religious status quo.

The ideas of society at large shape the outcomes of radicalization; for example, radical movements can originate from a broad social consensus against progressive changes in society or from a broad desire for change in society.

Radicalization can result in both violent and nonviolent action – academic literature focuses on radicalization into violent extremism (RVE) or radicalisation leading to acts of terrorism

De-Radicalisation. The efforts of the government to bring back the individuals to the mainstream society is called De-Radicalisation. It is a post facto act, which is initiated when an individual is already radicalised.

Counter Radicalisation. Counter Radicalisation involves strategies of the government to ensure that the youth do not become victims of the radicalisation efforts of the elements inimical to national security. Recently the government has set up counter radicalisation camps and strategies to fight this menace in J&K.

Surgical Strike. A surgical strike is a military attack which is intended to damage only a legitimate military target, with no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, or the general public infrastructure and utilities. The adoption of surgical strike as a military option needs political will to punish the enemy in its own territory.

Over Ground Workers (OGWs). Over ground workers (OGWs) are people who help militants, or terrorists, with logistical support, cash, shelter, and other infrastructure with which armed groups and insurgency movements such as Hizbul Mujaheddin and Jaish-e-Muhammad in Jammu and Kashmir can operate.

OGWs play a vital role in militant attacks, providing real-time information and support to the tactical elements. Over ground workers have diversified into other roles such as stone-pelting, mob-rioting, ideological support, radicalisation, and recruitment of militants.

While the term is used and associated extensively with the Kashmir region, the term has also been used officially in other parts of India where insurgency is still active, such as in the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency and in Meghalaya for the Garo National Liberation Army.

Under Ground Workers (UGWs). The difference between the OGWs and UGWs lies in the fact that, the UGWs maintain secrecy of their presence and do not merge with the general population.

Laws related to terrorism in India

Terrorism has immensely affected India. The reasons for terrorism in India may vary vastly from religious cause and other things like poverty, unemployment and not developed etc.

The Indian Supreme Court took a note of it in Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab [1994], where it observed that the country has been in the firm grip of spiraling terrorist violence and is caught between deadly pangs of disruptive activities.

Anti-terrorism laws in India have always been a subject of much controversy. One of the arguments is that these laws stand in the way of fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

The anti-terrorist laws have been enacted before by the legislature and upheld by the judiciary though not without reluctance. The intention was to enact these statutes and bring them in force till the situation improves.

The intention was not to make these drastic measures a permanent feature of law of the land. But because of continuing terrorist activities, the statutes have been reintroduced with requisite modifications.

At present, the legislations in force to check terrorism in India are the National Security Act, 1980 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. There have been other anti-terrorism laws in force in this country a different point in time.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

  • The UAPA was designed to deal with associations and activities that questioned the territorial integrity of India.
  • The ambit of the Act was strictly limited to meeting the challenge to the territorial integrity of India.
  • The Act was a self-contained code of provisions for declaring secessionist associations as unlawful, adjudication by a tribunal, control of funds and places of work of unlawful associations, penalties for their members etc.
  • The Act has all along been worked holistically as such and is completely within the purview of the central list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Bill

The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Bill was recently passed in the Parliament.

What is the Bill on?

  • The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
  • The original Act dealt with “unlawful” acts related to secession; anti-terror provisions were introduced in 2004.
  • It provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.
  • Concern– There is widespread opposition to the amendments on the ground that it could be used to target dissent against the government.
  • The provisions could potentially affect citizens’ civil rights.

What are the key provisions in the Bill?

Definition– Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it:

    1. commits or participates in acts of terrorism
    2. prepares for terrorism 
    3. promotes terrorism 
    4. is otherwise involved in terrorism
  • The Bill additionally empowers the government to designate individualsas terrorists on the same grounds.
  • The word “terror” or “terrorist” is not defined.
  • However, a “terrorist act” is defined as any act committed with the intent –
    1. to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India
    2. to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country
  • Investigation by NIA– Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Seizure of property by NIA– Under the Act, an investigating officer can seize properties that may be connected with terrorism with prior approval of the Director General of Police.
  • The amendment Bill, however, removes this requirement if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the NIA.
  • The investigating officer, in that case, only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.
  • [Central agencies such as the CBI are required to obtain prior permission from the state government since law and order is a state subject under the Constitution.]
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties– The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.
  • The Schedule lists 9 treaties, including
    1. the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997)
    2. the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979)
  • The Bill adds another treaty to the list, which is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).    
  • Designation– The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette.
  • His/her name is added to the schedule supplemented to the UAPA Bill.
  • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
  • At present, legally, a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
  • In this line, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a ‘terrorist’.
  • And those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as ‘terror accused’.
  • The Bill does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.
  • On designation– The designation of an individual as a ‘global terrorist’ by the United Nations is associated with sanctions.
  • The UAPA Bill, however, does not provide any such detail.
  • The Bill also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • The consequences of the designation will be prescribed in the Rules supplemented to the law once the amendment Bill is passed.

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA)

The second major act came into force on 3 September 1987 was The Terrorist & Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987 this act had much more stringent provisions then the UAPA and it was specifically designed to deal with terrorist activities in India.

When TADA was enacted it came to be challenged before the Apex Court of the country as being unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of India upheld its constitutional validity on the assumption that those entrusted with such draconic statutory powers would act in good faith and for the public good in the case of Kartar Singh vs State of Punjab (1994) 3 SCC 569. However, there were many instances of misuse of power for collateral purposes.

The rigorous provisions contained in the statute came to be abused in the hands of law enforcement officials. TADA lapsed in 1995.

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA)

Other major Anti-terrorist law in India is The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 which was enforced on 24th April 1999.

This law was specifically made to deal with rising organized crime in Maharashtra and especially in Mumbai due to the underworld. For instance, the definition of a terrorist act is far more stretchable in MCOCA than under POTA. MCOCA mention organized crime and what is more, includes `promotion of insurgency’ as a terrorist act.

Under the Maharashtra law a person is presumed guilty unless he is able to prove his innocence. MCOCA does not stipulate prosecution of police officers found guilty of its misuse.

Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002

With the intensification of cross-border terrorism and the continued offensive agenda of Pak ISI targeted at destabilizing India and the post 11th September developments, it became necessary to put in place a special law to deal with terrorist acts. Accordingly, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA, 2002) was enacted and notified on 28.03.2002.

The POTA, 2002 clearly defines the terrorist act and the terrorist in Section 3 and grants special powers to the investigating authorities under the Act. In the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India (UOI) (2004) 9 SCC 580 the constitutional validity of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 was discussed.

The court said that the Parliament possesses power under Article 248 and entry 97 of list I of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India to legislate the Act. Need for the Act is a matter of policy and the court cannot go into the same.

However, in order to ensure that these powers are not misused and the violation of human rights does not take place, specific safeguards have been built into the Act. Some of these are:

No court can take cognizance of any offence under the Act without the previous sanction of the Central Government or, as the case may be, of the State Government.

  • No officer lower in rank than the Deputy Superintendent of Police can investigate offences under the Act.
  • Confession made by a person before a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police is admissible as evidence under the Act provided such person is produced with 48 hours before a magistrate along with his confessional statement.

The Act provides for punishment for any officer who exercises powers maliciously or with malafide intentions. It also provides for award of compensation to a person who has been corruptly or maliciously proceeded against under the Act.

The POTA, 2002 is a special law for the prevention of and for dealing with terrorist activities and clearly defines the terrorist act and the terrorist in Section 3, Sub-Section (1) of the Act.

The Act provides the legal framework to strengthen the hands of the administration in our fight against the menace of terrorism and can and should be applied against such persons and acts as are covered by the provisions of this law and it is not meant as a substitute for action under ordinary criminal laws

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004

It would however be simplistic to suggest, as some critics did, that the new law has retained all the operational teeth of Pota or it has made only cosmetic changes. The difference between Pota and UAPA is substantial even as a lot of provisions are in common.

Causes of Terrorism/ Roots of Terrorism


Terrorism was originally theorized in the context of insurgency and guerrilla warfare, a form of organized political violence by a non-state army or group. They choose terrorism because they don’t like the current organization of society and they want to change it.


Saying that a group has a strategic cause for using terrorism is another way of saying that terrorism isn’t a random or crazy choice, but is chosen as a tactic in service of a larger goal. Hamas, for example, uses terrorist tactics, but not out of a random desire to fire rockets at Israeli Jewish civilians.

Instead, they seek to leverage violence (and cease fires) in order to gain specific concessions related to their goals vis-a-vis Israel and Fatah.

Terrorism is typically described as a strategy of the weak seeking to gain advantage against stronger armies or political powers.


Experts began to argue in the 1990s that a new form of terrorism fuelled by religious fervour was on the rise. They pointed to  organizations  such  as Al  Qaeda, Aum  Shinrikyo (a  Japanese  cult)  and  Christian  identity  groups.

Religious ideas, such as martyrdom were seen as particularly dangerous. However, as thoughtful studies and commentators have repeatedly pointed out, such groups use selectively interpret and exploit religious concepts and texts to support terrorism. Religions themselves do not “cause” terrorism.


Socio-economic explanations of terrorism suggest that various forms of deprivation drive people to terrorism, or that they are more susceptible to recruitment by organizations using terrorist tactics. Poverty, lack of education or lack of political freedom are a few examples.

There is suggestive evidence on both sides of the argument. Comparisons of different conclusions  are  often  very  confusing  because  they  don’t  distinguish  between individuals and societies, and they pay little attention to the nuances of how people perceive injustice or deprivation, regardless of their material circumstances.

Cross-border Terrorism

Cross-border terrorism is when the soil of one country is used to create terror or engage in terrorism against its neighbouring countries across the border. India is a victim of cross-border terrorism, whose source is Pakistan.

Factors favouring cross-border terrorism

Porous borders: These indicate borders which are not highly protected. India’s borders with most of her neighbours cannot be physically sealed or wired due to difficult terrain, and other factors. Terror groups take advantage of such porous borders and infiltrate into another country.

Support from non-state actors: India’s troubled relationship with Pakistan fuels the latter’s support for secessionist groups, which are provided financial support, weapons and training by the establishment in Pakistan.

Internal support: Many times, terrorists find support from the local population due to varying reasons like ideological or ethnic affinity, fear, monetary lure, etc.

Corrupt officials: Unfortunately, many officials in the establishment of a country can abet terrorists and allow their illegal entry for terrorist activities purely for financial benefits.

Cross-Border Terrorism in India

During last 15 years thousands of civilians have lost their lives in acts of terrorism, apart from thousands of defence, paramilitary and police personnel who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Infiltration and smuggling of narcotics, arms and weapons across the borders have been matters of constant and unmitigated anxiety to all concerned agencies manning the borders.

Indo-Pakistan Border

Indo-Pakistan Border (3,323 Km) runs along the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and J&K. Direct accessibility of the borders and some technological developments enabling quick passage of information and transfer of funds has changed the focus and tenor of border security.

Cross-Border Terrorism from Pakistan has exacerbated due to non-recognition of boundaries by its terrorist groups and their success in acquiring legitimacy due to religious or ethnic identity. Inadequate Cooperation from Pakistan has made the management of border further difficult for India.

Indo-Bangladesh Border

The Indo-Bangladesh Border (4,096 Km) passes through West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The entire stretch consists of plains, riverine belts, hills & jungles which make illegal migration very easy. Illegal Migration across this border poses serious security threats and acts as a fertile ground for organisations like the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan to penetrate and expand their activities. Also, poor law and order situation at the border, has led to smuggling of arms and drugs. Supply of arms help in sustaining any conflict.

Indo-China Border

India shares a long land border with China (3,488 Km) in the Indian states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Although this border remains relatively aloof from illegal migrations, this border remains a cause of constant vigil for Indian forces. India has a longstanding border dispute with China running back to British era in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh.

Indo-Nepal Border

India-Nepal Border (1,751 Km) is an open border in the sense that people of both the countries can cross it from any point, despite the existence of border check posts at several locations. Anti-India organizations use this border to plant their people in the territory of India. Also, smuggling of gold, small arms, drugs and fake currency helps terrorists in executing an attack.

Indo-Bhutan Border

This border (699 km) passes through states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim.

Illicit establishment of camps by militant outfits in the dense jungles of south-east Bhutan helps insurgents from India in executing anti-India activities.

Indo-Myanmar Border

The northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share the border with Myanmar (1,643).  Some of the insurgents’ groups like the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and ULFA operate from Myanmar, which threatens the security of India as well as Myanmar.

India subdivides terrorism in four major groups:

Ethno-nationalist terrorism – This form of terror focuses either (a) on creating a separate State within India or independent of India or in a neighboring country, or (b) on emphasising the views/response of one ethnic group against another.

Violent Tamil Nationalist groups from India to address the condition of Tamils in Sri Lanka, as well as insurgent tribal groups in North East India are examples of ethno-nationalist terrorist activities.

Religious terrorism – This form of terror focuses on religious imperatives, a presumed duty or in solidarity for a specific religious group, against one or more religious groups. Mumbai 26/11 terror attack in 2008 from an Islamic group in Pakistan is an example of religious terrorism in India.

Left-wing terrorism – This form of terror focuses on economic ideology, where all the existing socio-political structures are seen to be economically exploitative in character and a revolutionary change through violent means is essential.

The ideology of Marx, Engel, Mao, Lenin and others are considered as the only valid economic path. Maoist violence in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are examples of left wing terrorism in India.


This form of terror focuses on creating illegal narcotics traffic zones. Drug violence in northwest India is an example of narco-terrorism in India.

The international community has never succeeded in developing an accepted comprehensive definition of terrorism.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the United Nation’s attempts to define the term foundered mainly due to differences of opinion between various members about the use of violence in the context of conflicts over national liberation and self-determination.

These divergences have made it impossible to conclude a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that incorporates a single, all-encompassing, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism.

In News

Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister has addressed the High-Level Segment of the 46th Session of Human Rights Council (HRC) and highlighted India’s commitment to human rights and its fight against terrorism.

India’s approach to the UN Human Rights Council is guided by the spirit of engagement, dialogue and consultation.

It believes that equal emphasis should be placed on both the promotion and protection of human rights as both are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation among States as well as technical assistance and capacity building.

Factors Responsible for Growth of Terrorism

  • State-sponsorship and safe havens.
  • State-of-the-art communication systems.
  • Access to advanced technology.
  • Networking of terrorist groups with the criminal underworld.


It poses a major threat to international peace and security and undermines the core values of humanity, peace and growth.

In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts destabilise governments and undermine economic and social development.

Terrorist acts often defy national borders.

Terrorist attacks using CBRNE materials (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) have catastrophic consequences on communities and infrastructure.

Global Efforts

Across the globe, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism.

UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) under UNOCT, promotes international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and supports the Member States in implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) plays a significant role in international efforts.

It works to assist the Member States, upon request, with the ratification, legislative incorporation and implementation of the universal legal framework against terrorism.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.

Certain Other Conventions

  • European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, 27 January 1977.
  • Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism adopted in May 2005 and entered into force on 1 June 2007.
  • International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings adopted by the UN General Assembly on 15 December 1997 and entered into force on 23 May 2001.
  • International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1999 and entered into force on 10 April 2002.
  • International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 April 2005 and entered into force on 7 July 2007).
  • Organization of the African Union Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, adopted in Algiers, Algeria, on 14 July 1999 (it entered into force on 6 December 2002)

Steps Taken by India

India has been at the forefront of global action against terrorism and has always played an active role in the global promotion and protection of human rights.

India, which has been a victim of cross-border terrorism, took cognizance of the threat long before the major world powers.

It is a crime against humanity and violates the most Fundamental Human Right, namely the Right to Life (Article 21).

India has taken steps for setting up Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on counter-terrorism/security matters with countries. Bilateral treaties on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLATs) in Criminal matters to facilitate the investigation, collection of evidence, transfer of witnesses, location and action against proceeds of crime, etc. have been signed with other countries.

In 2018, India highlighted its demand for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

In 1996, with the objective of providing a comprehensible legal framework to counter-terrorism, India proposed to the UNGA the adoption of CCIT.

It included the following major objectives:

  • To have a universal definition of terrorism that all members would adopt into their own criminal laws.
  • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps.
  • To prosecute all terrorists under special laws.
  • To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
  • Addressing the UN High-Level Conference on Heads of Counter-Terrorism (2018), India extended a five-point formula.
  • In January 2021, at the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, India presented an eight-point action plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
  • Summoning the political will to unhesitatingly combat terrorism.
  • Decrying double standards in the fight against terrorism.
  • Reform of the working methods of the Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism.
  • Firmly discouraging exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms social fabric.
  • Enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes objectively not for political or religious considerations.
  • Fully recognising and addressing the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime.

Combating terrorist financing.

Immediate attention to adequate funding to UN Counter-Terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget.

Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System: It vastly improves the capability of Border Security Force (BSF) in detecting and controlling the cross-border crimes like illegal infiltration, smuggling of contraband goods, human trafficking and cross border terrorism, etc.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967: It enables more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities, and other related matters.

National Investigation Agency: It is India’s counter-terrorist task force and is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

Policy of Zero-Tolerance Against Terrorism: India calls for zero-tolerance agianst terrorism and focuses on developing a common strategy to curb it.

Various Counter-Terrorism Operations

Operation Rakshak: Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990.

Operation Sarp Vinash: Undertaken by Indian army to flush out terrorists in the areas of the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir in 2003.

Operation All Out: Joint offensive launched by Indian security forces to flush out militants and terrorists in Kashmir in 2017.

Suggestions and Way Forward

Strong and Reformed Institutions: Multilateral institutions and mechanisms need to be strengthened and reformed to be able to deal with these emerging challenges effectively.

Concerted Efforts: There should be a concerted effort from the countries affected by the scourge of terrorism to pressurise countries that engage in state-sponsored terrorism.

Timely and Appropriate Action: Intelligence gathering and sharing are not enough, timely and appropriate action is required on the intelligence received.

Intelligence agencies have to be empowered both monetarily and through modern infrastructure to be able to respond in time.

Filling and Addressing Gaps: Violation of and gaps in the implementation of human rights should be addressed in a fair and just manner, with objectivity, non-selectivity, transparency and with due respect to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and national sovereignty.

United Approach and Efforts: The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the situation in many geographies so there is a need for all to come together to overcome these challenges.

Terrorism in India

The current law in India enacted to tackle terrorism of all kinds is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act.

India faces terrorism from secessionists in Kashmir, the north-east and to an extent in Punjab, from left-wing extremist groups in central, east-central and south-central India.

India is one of the countries most affected by terrorism in the world. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, India was the seventh-most affected country.

It reported that from 2001 till 2021, more than 9000 people have died in terror attacks in India.

Jammu & Kashmir is the region most affected by terrorist activities in the country.

It was after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai by terrorist groups that the government formed the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

India is trying to push a global intergovernmental convention called the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to counter-terrorism since the late 90s.

India is also a member of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), an organisation that works towards establishing global standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

India has a network of intelligence agencies such as the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), etc. which are involved in fighting terrorism emanating both inside and outside the country.

There is also a National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that is an integrated intelligence framework connecting the databases of security agencies of the Indian Government to gather inclusive patterns of intelligence that can be accessed by intelligence agencies of India.

The National Security Guard (NSG) is a paramilitary force that is primarily responsible for counterterrorism and anti-hijacking operations.

India ranks 13th on The Global Terrorism Index (GTI). The report shows that Afghanistan continues to be the country most affected by terrorism for the 4th year in a row, even though attacks and deaths decreased.

What are the Major Highlights of the GTI?

The GTI report is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), a think tank, using data from Terrorism-Tracker and other sources.

Terrorism Tracker provides event records on terrorist attacks since 1 January 2007.

The dataset contains almost 66,000 terrorist incidents for the period 2007 to 2022.

Globally, deaths from terrorism fell by 9% to 6,701 deaths, marking a 38% decrease from its peak in 2015.

Pakistan recorded the second largest surge in terror-related deaths worldwide in 2022, the toll increasing significantly to 643.

South Asia remains the region with the worst average GTI score.

South Asia recorded 1,354 deaths from terrorism in 2022.

Islamic State (IS) and its affiliates were the deadliest terror group globally for the eighth consecutive year, recording the most attacks and deaths of any group in 2022.

What are the Major Challenges Related to Terrorism Globally?

Terror Financing: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, criminals are estimated to launder up to four trillion dollars a year. Fund movements by terrorists have also been concealed through charities and alternative remittance methods.

It taints the international financial system and erodes public trust in the integrity of the system.

Politicisation of Countering Terrorism: The members of the United Nations Security Council (P5) have exercised the veto power to varying degrees when it comes to identifying terrorists.

Also, absence of universally accepted definitions for what constitutes terrorism provides terrorists with an edge and allows some countries to remain silent and veto any action at global institutions.

Use of Emerging Technology by Terrorists: Innovations in computing and telecommunications like widespread internet access, end-to-end encryption, and virtual private network (VPN) have made new types of operations possible for a higher number of radicalised individuals across the globe, contributing to the threat.

Way Forward

Re-energizing Counter Terrorism Agenda: It is necessary to re-energize the global agenda of counter-terrorism by emphasising the need for unity, and checking the veto power of P5 when it comes to identifying terrorists worldwide.

Adopting a Universal Definition of Terrorism: A universal definition of terrorism is needed so that all members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) can incorporate it into their own criminal laws, banning terror groups, prosecuting terrorists under special laws, and making cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.

In 1986, India proposed a draft document on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN. However, it is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.

Curbing Terror Funding: There is a need for stronger laws that require banks to perform due diligence on clients and to report suspicious transactions to prevent terrorism.

Also, India can move towards regulating cryptocurrency.

Chapter 4: Left Wing Extremism

Left Wing Extremism: A War upon the State


The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from the village Naxalbari of district Darjeeling in West Bengal, where the movement originated in 1967 under the leadership of Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal. It refers to the use of violence to destabilize the state through various communist guerrilla groups.

Naxalites are far-left radical communists who derive their political ideology from the teachings of Mao Zedong, a Chinese revolutionary leader.

Left Wing Extremism in Chhattisgarh

They have been operating in various parts of the country since the early seventies. At various points of time, different areas of the country have been seriously affected due to overt violence resorted to by naxalite groups active in those areas.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Naxalism as the most significant threat to internal security being faced by the country today. The threat has existed since long though there have been many ups and downs.

Philosophical background of Naxalism/Maoism/LWE

History has been witnessing to repeated occurrence of violence against the ruling elite mostly by the peasant class motivated by leftist ideologies. The ideological basis for these violent movements was provided by the writings of Marx and Engels.

This ideology is commonly called Communism/Marxism. This was later supported by Lenin and Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong).

Leftist ideologies believe that all existing social relations and state structures in an elitist/ capitalist society are exploitative by nature and only a revolutionary change through violent means can end this exploitation. Marxism advocates removal of the capitalist bourgeois elements through a violent class struggle.

Maoism is a doctrine that teaches to capture State power through a combination of armed insurgency, mass mobilization and strategic alliances. Mao called this process, the ‘Protracted Peoples War’.

The Maoist ideology glorifies violence and, therefore, the bearing of arms is non-negotiable’ as per the Maoist insurgency doctrine. Maoism fundamentally considers the industrial-rural divide as a major division exploited by capitalism. Maoism can also refer to the egalitarianism that was seen during Mao’s era as opposed to the free-market ideology.

Maoism’s political orientation emphasizes the ‘revolutionary struggle of the vast majority of people against the exploiting classes and their state structures.

Its military strategies have involved guerrilla war tactics focused on surrounding the cities from the countryside, with heavy emphasis on political transformation through mass involvement of the lower classes of society. ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’ is the key slogan of the Maoists.

They mobilize large parts of the rural population to revolt against established institutions by engaging in guerrilla warfare. Maoism is no longer an ideological movement. Maoists are now creating a fear psychosis and denying democracy and development to tribals.

Unlike the political mass movements with violent underpinnings in the border areas, naxalites do not seek to secede from the Indian Union to establish a sovereign independent state of their own but their aim is to capture political power through armed struggle to install the so called ‘people’s government’.

Phases of Naxalism

Maoists spread their ideology very systematically and in a phased manner as follows

  1. Preparatory Phase – Detailed survey of new areas identifying important people, important public issues on which masses can be mobilised.
  2. Perspective Phase – Mobilisation through frontal organizations – staging demonstration against government / administration based on local public grievances.
  3. Guerrilla Phase – Converting the public movement into violent guerrilla warfare.
  4. Base Phase – Here the Maoists try to establish their base and change the guerrilla zone into a liberated zone.
  5. Liberated Phase – Establishment of people’s Government.


The spread and growth of Naxalism in India can broadly be divided into three phases or stages. The three stages have been described below.

First Stage

 The Naxalite movement began in May 1967 in the three police station areas, Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phansidewa, of Darjeeling district in West Bengal. In November 1967, left wing extremists from the whole country founded the ‘All India Coordination Committee’ in Kolkata. In May 1968, the Committee was renamed as ‘All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries’ (AICCCR). It declared four ideological aims:

  • Protracted people’s war in accordance with Mao’s teachings
  • Adapting to guerrilla warfare tactics,
  • Establishment of rural revolutionary base areas
  • Encircling the cities as well as abstaining from parliamentary elections

AICCCR founded the revolutionary party CPI Marxist-Leninist (ML) in 1969 that was based on Maoist ideology. Soon, the Naxalite movement spread to many parts of the country, especially West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

Their main followers were peasants and adivasis, or tribals, who often experienced discrimination and exploitation from state authorities. Also, several young unemployed people and students got attracted to the Naxal ideology.

The period 1970 to mid-1971 was the peak period of violent activities by Naxalites. A joint operation of police and army in 1971 in the worst affected areas in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha led to the arrest and death of almost all top leaders of the movement.

Charu Mazumdar was caught and died in 1972 in police custody. The movement faced a severe blow during emergency when around 40,000 cadres were imprisoned in 1975.

Second Stage

The movement arose again in a more violent form after the Emergency. It continued to widen its base as per the strategy of ‘protracted war’.

Their base grew from West Bengal to Bihar to Odisha and also to Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. CPI(ML) was converted into People’s War Group (PWG) in 1980 which had its base in Andhra Pradesh and struck heavy causalities among police personnel.

PWG was banned by Andhra Government in 1992 but it continued its activities. Simultaneously, Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) grew in strength in Bihar and carried out large scale attacks on landlords and other upper caste outfits. Naxal movement continued to grow at a steady pace across many parts of the country.

Third Stage

In a significant development in 2004, the People’s War Group (PWG), operating in Andhra Pradesh, and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), operating in Bihar and adjoining areas, merged to form the CPI (Maoist).

Over 13 left wing extremist (LWE) groups are currently operating in the country. The CPI (Maoist) is the major left-wing extremist outfit responsible for most incidents of violence and killing of civilians and security forces, and has been

Extent of Spread of Naxalism

included in the Schedule of Terrorist Organizations along with all its formations and front organizations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

After the formation of CPI (Maoist), Naxal violence has been on the rise since 2005, to the extent that in 2006, the Prime Minister had to declare Naxalism the single biggest internal security challenge being faced by India.

Estimated to be 40,000 strong, the Naxalites have been a strain on the country’s security forces and a barrier to development in the vast mineral rich region in eastern India known as the ‘Red Corridor’. It is a narrow but contiguous strip passing through Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

In fact, at the peak of Maoist movement in Nepal, Naxal influence was seen to be spreading from ‘Tirupati to Pashupati’.

Today, the Naxalites influence a large geographical spread of country. Right now, the movement has expanded its activities covering 46 districts of some states in the Central and East Central India.

Most of these areas fall in the Dandakaranya Region which includes areas of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. CPI (Maoist) has stationed some battalions in the Dandakaranya region.

Local panchayat leaders are often forced to resign, and the Maoists hold regular Jan Adalat. They have been running a parallel government and parallel judiciary in these areas.

But violence alone cannot be the only yardstick to measure Maoist expansion. Maoists are also expanding in terms of indoctrination and consolidation.

They are also trying to spread their ideology in the Bheel and Gond tribes dominated area, the ‘Golden Corridor stretching from Pune to Ahmedabad.

They are trying to exploit new areas, various social groups and marginalized sections like Dalits and minorities through active association with their grievances against the state.

Maoists have also made their presence felt in western Odisha, Upper Assam and Lohit in Arunachal Pradesh while they faced huge setbacks in Jangalmahal area of West Bengal and Kaimur and Rohtas districts of Bihar.

The movement’s capacity to challenge the state has also increased enormously considering the incidents of violence and casualties resulting from them. The biggest incident was when they ambushed a whole CRPF Company in April 2010 in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh and killed 76 CRPF armed personnel, showing the extent of their strategic planning, skills and armament.

In 2013, the left-wing extremist movement made international headlines when they killed 27 people, including some high-level politicians, in Sukma District of Chhattisgarh.


CPI (Maoist) is the main party now after the merger of various Naxalite groups in 2004.

  1. Laxman Rao / Ganpati is the Secretary General of the party. The organizational structure of CPI (Maoist) has the Politburo (The Highest Decision-making body) on the Top followed by Central Committee, State Committee and Regional Committees

It operates through Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA). PLGA has three kinds of force:

  1. Basic force (Gathering of intellectuals)
  2. Secondary force (Area committee plus guerrilla squads)
  3. Main force (Structured on battalion/platoon format like the armed forces, and an intelligence unit)


The aim of the naxalites is to destroy the legitimacy of the State and to create a mass base, with a certain degree of acceptability. The ultimate objective is to attain political power by violent means and establish what they envisage as ‘The India People’s Democratic Federal Republic’.

The naxalites predominantly attack the police and their establishments. They also attack certain types of infrastructure, like rail and road transport and power transmission, and also forcibly oppose execution of development works, like critical road construction.

Naxalite activity is also manifesting itself through various civil society and front organizations on issues such as SEZ policy, land reforms, land acquisition, displacement, etc., with the objective of expanding their mass base and acquiring support of some intellectual elite.

While impeding development works and challenging State authority, the naxalites simultaneously try to derive benefit from the overall underdevelopment and sub-normal functioning of field institutions like police stations, tehsils, development blocks, schools, primary health centres and anganwadi centres, which administer and provide services at the ground level and also reflect the State presence and writ.

Frontal Organizations of LWE (Left Wing Extremists)

The Maoists use their front organizations, like the Revolutionary Democratic Front, Peoples Democratic Front of India, Democratic Student Union and other student groups from left wing institutions like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) of Delhi, to generate people’s sympathy through persistent pursuance of propaganda on issues of human rights violations by the security forces.

Maoists take help from left leaning civil society groups, human rights groups, national and international media and other students’ groups for mass mobilization. They exploit the sluggish judicial system to get away from legal conviction and punishment.

Guerrilla Warfare

The Maoists use guerrilla warfare tactics. Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as armed civilians or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and extraordinary mobility to fight a larger and less mobile traditional army.

Powerful Propaganda Machinery

Naxalites have very powerful propaganda machinery which is active in all major towns as well as in the national capital. They even have their supporters in the media. These NGOs and activists wage a non-stop propaganda war against any government step that aims to check the naxalite movement.

As a matter of strategy, naxalites try to be on the right side of the media all the time. They have their sympathizers everywhere who raise a hue and cry in the name of human rights against police action on the Maoists. These media groups are conveniently silent when naxalites kill innocent people.

Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC)

Maoists carry out violent activities called “Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign” (TCOC) which runs from March to early Monsoon in July. Maoists sally resort to TCOC every year to put the security forces in disarray so that they can go on a recruitment drive.

The aim of “TCOC” is to exhibit and consolidate their (Maoists) strength, by carrying out violent operations. Going by the past experience, the rebels have launched a number of deadly attacks against security forces during the TCOC period.

Fresh Strategy of Maoists

Fresh strategy of Maoists is to expand outside forests into urban area, win over non-peasant classes and other social groups, seize leadership of ongoing local struggles, intensify mine warfare, militarise the Jan Militia, force the dispersal of police resources by launching attacks outside its strongholds, establish organisational bases in towns adjoining guerrilla zones and harden its stance downtrodden on abductions.


The CPI (Maoist) has close fraternal ties with many north-east insurgent groups, especially the RPF/PLA of Manipur and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) for sourcing arms. Most of these outfits have linkages with external forces inimical to India.

The CPI (Maoist) has also frequently expressed their solidarity with the Jammu and Kashmir terrorist groups. These s are part of their ‘strategic united front against the Indian State. The CPI Maoist) also has close links with foreign Maoist organizations in Philippines Communist Party of Philippines), Turkey, etc.

The above outfit is also a member of the ‘Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia’ (CCOMPOSA), which includes ten Maoist groups from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The CCOMPOSA cited its chief aim as resisting not only US imperialism and globalization, but also the ‘centralized Indian state and its internal repression of minority people. It also targeted the alleged expansionist designs of India in South Asia backed by US imperialism.

In 2006, CCOMPOSA at its Fourth Conference in Nepal reiterated its anti-India stand and reaffirmed its commitment to spread protracted people’s war to capture state power through violent means in South Asia.

Sources of Funding and Linkages with Organized Crime

 The main source of funding of the left-wing extremist movements is extortion from government projects as well as from corporate companies working in their areas of influence.

Most of the time, it is in the form of protection money. Sometimes they resort to kidnapping and killings also to terrorize the rich people so that they give financial help easily.

Left wing extremism is most intense precisely in areas which are rich in natural mineral resources, i.e., where coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, nickel, and copper are found in abundance.

Odisha and Jharkhand alone account for more than half of the country’s coal reserves. Coal is by far India’s largest energy resource. Therefore, it provides them enough scope for extortion.


From their ideology, it appears that naxalites are fighting for the rights of poor people and want to establish a people’s government, while the facts are quite contrary.

Social uplifting of the downtrodden is not their real aim, rather it is political power. They study the local problems and issues and use them as fodder to foster their end game which is clearly the seizure of power through violent means.

Maoists have vested interest in keeping poverty alive because it enables them to expand their territory. They don’t allow district administration to do any development work like building roads and improving electricity and water supply in the areas.

The local population very soon realizes that they have been used by the naxalites and their social and economic issues take a back seat while the battle for supremacy emerges as the prime motto of the Maoists. But, at times, it is too late, and the locals are forced to support them.


It is ironical that even after 66 years of Independence, many remote areas which) are otherwise rich in mineral resources are yet to see any sign of development

This situation, combined with many other socio-economic problems, has contributed towards the rise of naxalism in India. These factors can be broad categorized as follows:


Under India’s Constitution, issues of law and order have traditionally been the responsibility of the states, rather than the central government. Till 2006, the affected states were mainly taking on the Red challenge. Andhra Pradesh had even succeeded in curbing naxalism to a large extent.

In 2006, after the Prime Minister’s declaration of the naxal problem as the biggest challenge to internal security, many new steps were taken.

This included creation of a separate division in the Home Ministry (Naxal management, division) and appointment of an expert committee headed by D Bandopadhyay by the Planning Commission in 2006.

The expert committee underscored the social, political, economic and cultural discrimination faced by the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SCs/STs) across the country. The committee established the lack of empowerment of local communities as the main reason for the spread of naxalism.

It further stated that state bureaucracy had failed miserably in delivering good governance in naxal affected areas. It recommended a tribal friendly land acquisition and rehabilitation policy.

More than three years after identifying Naxalism as the biggest internal threat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted in 2009 that the government’s efforts at containing the Naxalites had not been up to the desired level.


After this, the worst affected states launched a large-scale offensive that involved deployment of heavy troops in the worst affected areas.

Change in Strategy by the Home Ministry

The government has realized that the issues of good governance, development, regular functioning of critical field institutions and public awareness are also important in dealing with left wing extremism.

Therefore, its approach has accordingly changed to deal with naxalite activities in the areas of security, development, administration and public perception in a holistic manner.

Important Schemes for States Affected by Left Wing Extremism

  • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme: Funds are provided for meeting the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the security forces, rehabilitation of left wing extremist cadres who surrender in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the State Government concerned, community policing, security related infrastructure for village defence committees and publicity material.
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS): The scheme for special infrastructure in affected states was approved in the XIth Plan, with an allocation of Rs.500 crore, to cater to critical infrastructure gaps which cannot be covered under the existing schemes.

These relate to requirements of mobility for the police/security forces by upgrading existing roads/tracks in inaccessible areas, providing secure camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations in remote and interior areas, measures to enhance security in respect of police stations/outposts located in vulnerable areas, etc.

Now, this scheme has been expanded to provide funds for upgradation of infrastructure, weaponry, equipment and training of special forces of the states affected by extremism.

  • Central scheme for assistance to civilian victims/family of victims of terrorist, communal and naxal violence: This scheme was started in 2009. The broad aim of the scheme is to assist families of victims of terrorist, communal and naxal violence. An amount of Rs.3 lakh is given to the affected families under the scheme.
  • Integrated Action Plan (IAP): Planning Commission is implementing a plan for 88 selected tribal and backward districts in the country for accelerated development.

The aim of this initiative is to provide public infrastructure and services. Existing model of spending Rs.30 crore per district through a district level three-member committee headed by the District Magistrate, with the Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer as members of the committee is being implemented.

Major works/projects taken up under the IAP include construction of school buildings/school furniture, anganwadi centres, drinking water facilities, rural roads, panchayat bhawan/community halls, godowns/PDS shops, livelihood activities, skill development/trainings, minor irrigation works, electric lighting, health centres, etc.

  • Road Requirement Plan for extremist affected areas: Phase I of the plan was approved in February 2009 for improvement of road connectivity in 34 districts in 8 states extremely affected by left wing extremism, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with a projected cost of Rs.7,300 crore.
  • Scheme of Fortified Police Stations: The Ministry has sanctioned 400 police stations in 9 affected states at a cost of Rs. 2 crore per police station.
  • Civic Action Programme (CAPs): Under this scheme, financial grants are sanctioned to CAPs to undertake development in the affected states. This is a successful scheme which aims to build bridges between the local population and the security forces.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has brought some changes in its civic action programme. It has now adopted an ‘individual-oriented’ approach rather than a ‘project-oriented’ approach as this will help in bridging the gap between locals and security personnel more efficiently. Under the project christened ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force, who have till now been spending funds on small projects and development activities which included building small bridges and roads, implementing drinking water and irrigation schemes, etc., can now spend Rs.20 crore per annum, on welfare activities directed at individuals and families under the revised guidelines.

As part of the goal to ensure all-round development in the affected areas, several special schemes were being implemented apart from the flagship programmes of the Central government. 

SAMADHAN doctrine:

It is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. SAMADHAN stands for-

Naxalism killed 12000 people in 20 years, says Rajnath as he invokes 9/11,  launches SAMADHAN doctrine - India Today


It is a special initiative under, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (Formerly Ajeevika Skills), launched in June 2013 for training and placement of rural poor youth from 27 LWE-affected districts in 09 States.

  • Roshani Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development): It is a placement linked skill development scheme targeting 50,000 rural men and women, mostly the tribal population, in 24 worst affected districts. It emphasizes on special efforts to proactively cover the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) on a priority basis.

Intelligence sharing and raising of a separate 66 Indian Reserved Battalion(IRBs)CRPF battalions like COBRA battalion, Bastariya battalion etc were done by the government to curb the menace of LWE organizations.

Road Connectivity:

Construction of 17,462 km of roadways had been sanctioned to improve road connectivity, of which work on about 11,811 km had been completed.

Mobile connectivity:

For better mobile connectivity, 2,343 mobile towers had been installed in the first phase during the last eight years, and approval given to upgrade them to 4G. This apart, 2,542 new mobile towers were being installed in the second phase.

Eklavya Residential Model School:

142 Eklavya Residential Model Schools were sanctioned in 21 years prior to 2019, while in the past three years, 103 have been sanctioned. 

So far, 245 Eklavya schools had been sanctioned in 90 LWE-affected districts and 121 of them were now functional. 

Banks, ATMs & Post offices:

The government also facilitated the opening of 1,258 bank branches and 1,348 ATMs in the worst hit districts, besides 4,903 post offices. 

Administrative Hurdles in Dealing with Left Wing Extremism

  1. 1. Poor infrastructure, lack of communication and shortage of trained manpower are key problems in fighting with Maoists.
  2. Due to lack of infrastructural growth, there is clear absence of routine administration in these areas which allows Maoists to run camps, collect taxes and extort money from all industries and infrastructure companies working in their area. Thus, Maoists conduct a virtual parallel government. The Dandakaranya region straddles different states. It gives the Maoists a distinct advantage.
  3. Interstate boundaries are fissures which are being exploited by Maoists. There is poor coordination among various state police forces. The interstate trijunctions are the worst affected.
  4. There is also lack of professionalism and proper understanding between central forces and state police.
  5. Differences in policies of state governments regarding surrenders, talks and policing strategy are also exploited by the Maoists. Pressure in one state allows easy movement into another. It happened during Operation Greyhound which was very successful in Andhra Pradesh. It had almost eliminated Naxalites in the state but they made an easy escape to adjoining states like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha. Had the operation been supported by all these states at that time, Naxalism would at least have been eliminated in the Dandakaranya region.
  6. Besides this, since many rebels are recruited from among the tribals, they have a built-in advantage over the security forces. Even though government forces outnumber the rebels and have greater resources at their disposal, they frequently fall prey to devastating attacks in remote areas.
  7. The state police is poorly equipped and trained and is short of manpower, while the central forces apparently lack commitment and motivation.


1. The Fifth Schedule states briefly that all scheduled areas of the country which are forest reserves and inhabited by scheduled tribes are to be administered by the governors of the states by appointing tribal advisory councils from among the tribal community of a particular forest reserve or a scheduled area.

Regrettably, this has not happened in India. In this vacuum, these forests have been leased for mining, thereby displacing the tribal communities.

2. The Ninth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the fact that cultivable land which over thousands of years had come under the ownership of upper castes should be acquired by the government and redistributed among India’s landless peasantry.

Since land revenue was a state subject, the states were to legislate land ceiling laws and implement them by acquiring farmlands from landlords and redistributing them to landless farmers who for centuries worked on the lands of the landowners.

Regrettably, only three states, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Kerala, had implemented the land ceiling laws legislated by all the states by 1955. In West Bengal, the jotedars—as the landlords are called there—tried to manipulate the land records and deceive landless farmers and the government.

This resulted in an uprising in a village called Naxalbari led by the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), a faction of the Communist party. In Kerala, land ceiling was successfully implemented in the non-hilly districts and this has prevented the Maoist Naxalites from organizing a revolution there.

3. Politically, the PESA, (Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 gives radical governance powers to the tribal community and recognizes its traditional community rights over local natural resources.

It not only accepts the validity of ‘customary law, social and religious practices, and traditional management practices of community resources’, but also directs the state governments not to make any law which is inconsistent with these. Accepting a clear-cut role for the community, it gives wide-ranging powers to Gram Sabhas, which had hitherto been denied to them by the lawmakers of the country.

The ground reality, however, is still quite different and PESA has mostly been reduced to a paper tiger. The two fundamental responsible factors are the mindset of the government functionaries who are contemptuous of the tribal community and the existing state government laws and provisions that negate the PESA Act.

PESA Act is for rural areas, but a similar legislation for urban scheduled areas was never debated and enacted. State governments are taking advantage of this to give speedy clearances to mining and industries in tribal areas.

Their modus operandi is simple: they upgrade rural panchayats in scheduled areas to urban panchayats to bypass PESA which mandates village council’s approval for such projects.

In the past few years, more than 600 village panchayats, many of them in scheduled areas, have been converted into urban local bodies, and these areas have major industrial investment proposals.

4. Forests Rights Act 2006 recognizes and vests the forest rights of occupation to the Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.

The Act is an important instrument for improving the livelihoods of people dependant on forests by securing land rights. Before this Act came into force, there were nearly forty lakh tribal people not possessing legal status to their lands.

Some of the major concerns regarding implementation of this Act are related to high rate of rejection of claims, very little progress in the recognition of community rights and habitat rights of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups PVTGs), convening of Gram Sabha meetings at the Panchayat level, insistence of particular form of evidence, claimants not being informed about rejection of claims and inadequate awareness.

5. Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act 1989 was brought into force with effect from 30th January 1990 with the main objective ‘to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’.

6. New Land Acquisition Act (The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) regulates land acquisition and provides laid down rules for granting compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons in India.

The Act has provisions to provide fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, bring transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings, infrastructural projects and assured rehabilitation of those affected. The Act establishes regulations for land acquisition as a part of India’s massive industrialization drive driven by public-private partnership.


Naxalism is not merely a law-and-order issue. The phenomenon of Naxalism is directly related to under-development. It is not a coincidence that the tribal areas are the main battleground of left-wing extremism today.

Exploitation, artificially depressed wages, inadequate employment opportunities, lack of access to resources, under-developed agriculture, geographical isolation, lack of land reforms, all contribute significantly to the growth of the Naxalite movement.

All these factors have to be taken into consideration as we evolve solutions for facing the challenge. History tells us that masses do not want to associate with non-violent people. They are generally peace loving. It is only due to circumstances that they are forced to adopt a path of violence.

Naxalism is not the problem; rather it is the symptom of a problem. Why doesn’t Naxalism flourish in the markets of Gujarat, the fields of Punjab or in the IT parks of Gurgaon and Hyderabad? Why is Maoist ideology succeeding in Nepal when it is failing in China? The answer is obvious.

In the places that left-wing extremism succeeds, people are relatively poor, they face oppression from various segments of society, and the government is indifferent to their plight with little prospects of things getting better in the future. Left wing extremism fails when the reverse is true.

To eliminate Naxalism, it is not enough to eliminate their leaders, imprison their rank and file or arrange for mass surrenders of men and weapons. You do all of that and you can still fail; new leaders will rice; the cadres will return, and weapons are easy enough to get.

To truly eliminate Naxalism, we must undercut their raison d’être, their reason for existence. While their methods may be abhorrent, most of their goals (apart from overthrowing the government) are not. Therefore, the government must fulfil their goals for them. If they have nothing to fight for, they will not fight.

Electricity and running water are virtually non-existent in remote areas of the Red Corridor. The absence of basic necessities has produced opportunities for the Naxalites to provide services to local residents, such as irrigation systems. The infrastructure that does exist has long been a target of the Naxalites: power plants, schools, and phone and rail lines have all been attacked.

This gives credence to the central government’s assertion that security needs to be established before development can come. This is a contentious issue among affected states, which argue that the Naxalites would be able to attract fewer new recruits if basic needs are met on a more acceptable basis.

The fight against naxalism has to be long and persistent. The multi-pronged composite strategy to deal with it. Developmental initiatives should follow security forces’ action closely. Otherwise, success of security operations will not sustain for long.

We can broadly divide the strategy as follows:

Development Strategy

The following steps should be taken to wean away the masses from the influence of Naxalism:

  1. Special focus on political security and accelerated socio-economic development in a holistic manner
  2. Better infrastructure like roads, electricity and communication in core Naxal areas
  3. Political parties must strengthen their cadre base in Naxal areas so that potential youth can be weaned away from the path of Naxal ideology
  4. Affirmative action by state
  5. Decentralization and participative democracy
  6. Coordination among different departments of state to ensure holistic development
  7. Coordination between police and different state departments
  8. Coordination and implementation of schemes of different central ministries, especially the Integrated Action Plan for 82 districts and Road Requirement Plan for 34 districts.
  9. Coordination and implementation of various development schemes, flagship programmes and distribution of titles under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, in left wing extremism affected states.

 Security Strategy

Those who are hardcore ideologues and whose only purpose is to overthrow the state have to be dealt sternly with the policy of bullet-for-bullet. We have to wean away peace loving common people from the hardcore Naxalites as these people do not want development. They use underdevelopment and governance deficit as a means to achieve their selfish goals. Operation Greyhound of Andhra Pradesh has shown a professional way to handle the naxal menace.

Some broad points of security strategy are given as follows:

  1. Professional dominance by security forces
  2. Primacy of state police at all levels augmented state police strength, upgradation and capacity building of local state police
  3. Increasing the number of security forces in the strongholds of the Naxals
  4. Local police infrastructure should be developed with more thanas, chowkis, posts and battalions. Thanas and chowkis should be strategically located and well-functional
  5. Modernization of weapons and technical equipment
  6. Improvement of communication systems and electronic surveillance systems
  7. Special training to police personnel
  8. Formation of specially trained special task forces on the pattern of the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh
  9. Special emphasis on strengthening of local intelligence units of the affected states
  10. Since it is an inter-state problem, the states should adopt a collective approach and pursue a coordinated response to counter it
  11. Promote local resistance groups on lines of ‘village defence committees’ (VDC) in Jammu and Kashmir
  12. Inter-state police coordination, especially in Dandakaranya region 13. Better command, control and coordination between state and central forces
  13. Tightening of control on availability of explosives
  14. Posting of competent and motivated police officers in LWE affected areas and subsequent incentives for choice postings and suitable reward packages.

 Psychological Operations

The following measures should be implemented:

  1. Effective and persistent psychological operations must be launched to delegitimize the movement
  2. Media and public perception management
  3. Administration to engage with public at large, civil society, NGOs to restore people’s faith and confidence in the government machinery

Other Measures

The following measures should additionally be implemented:

  1. Cutting financial support to the naxal movement
  2. The doors for peace talks should always be open
  3. There should be genuine attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people
  4. Time-bound conviction of arrested cadre must be ensured through vital reforms in criminal justice system
  5. Effective surrender and rehabilitation policy ensuring proper safety and care of their families
  6. Better adherence to the law legislated for protection and development of tribals

Linkages Between Development and Spread of Extremism

UŃ Secretary General Kofi Annan once proclaimed, “No one in this world can be comfortable or safe when so many people are suffering and deprived’. Therefore, suffering and deprivation due to under-development are bound to have implications on issues of internal security.

Simply speaking, there are several areas in the country where crucial elements of survival, like food, shelter and clothing, are a luxury for people and these areas also lack basic infrastructure like roads, drinking water and electricity. In such cases, there is economic insecurity leading to crime and other anti-social activities.


Major components of development are: –

  1. Economic development: Employment, per capita income, industrial development. 
  2. Social development: Gender equality, women empowerment, pluralism, respect for diversity, education of children, social security, etc.
  3. Political development: Democracy, political rights, civil liberties
  4. Human development: Health, education, human rights, life with dignity and self-esteem.
  5. Infrastructure development: Transport, communication, highways, rail network, telephone connectivity, cyber broadband network. 
  6. Sustainable development: Ecological safety, environmental protection, biodiversity preservation. 
  7. Administrative development: Good governance, time bound delivery of public services, public participation in government, transparency, accountability, pro-people governance


The factors responsible for the spread of extremism are:

  1. Jal-Jangal-Jameen: Disruption of age-old tribal-forest relationship, violation of traditional land rights, land acquisition without appropriate compensation and rehabilitation
  2. Economic: Unemployment, poverty, infrastructure deficit like poor transport, lack of health facility, lack of education, communication and electricity, rising gap between rich and poor
  3. Social: Social inequality, discrimination, denial of human rights, abuse of dignity of life
  4. Political: Lack of people’s participation in government

5.Governance deficit: Lack of routine administration, complete absence of government machinery in remote areas, poor implementation of laws, mismanagement and corruption in government schemes

  1. Ethnic
  2. Geographical
  3. Historical

The first three factors are development deficit related factors that directly cause extremism. The fourth and fifth factors are not the root causes but give impetus to the already existing extremist feelings and are thus used by extremists to propagate their nefarious designs.

The sixth, seventh and eighth are not related to development at all and they have their roots in history, geography and ethnicity and have been explained in detail in earlier chapters.

Development-linked Factors Applicable to India for Spread of Extremism

For growth of terrorism in a particular area, we need to have some fertile breeding ground. Poverty, unemployment and lack of development provide that fertile ground. Terrorism needs an ideology which could be in the name of religion, race and region or the Marxist ideology of egalitarian society.

Combined with fertile ground and ideologies, lack of administration resulting in governance deficit along with political factors is used by hardcore ideologues to brainwash and radicalize the youth. Therefore, lack of development has direct as well as indirect linkages with extremism.

Jal – Jangal – Jameen Issues (Disruption of Age-old Relationship)

For centuries, tribals have a natural co-existential relationship with their natural habitat, i.e., forests. But modern legislations and governance in the last century considerably altered this age-old relationship.

The Forest Act, 1927 and the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 along with stringent Supreme Court orders and developmental activities like mining, power projects and industrialization have taken away sources of their basic livelihood.

The most important being the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. As per the Act, their traditional rights have been curtailed and they can no longer make a livelihood out of their habitat (forests). As a result, their old livelihood has been taken away and has not been replaced by the fruits of new development.

They have access to neither the basic infrastructure (transport, communication and electricity), nor the consequent economic development which could provide them employment and rid them of poverty. This has resulted in a feeling of despair and deprivation among the tribals. Therefore, they are vulnerable to recruitment by extremist ideologues. They should have been given fair share in profit and royalty of mining and industries.

The tribal population has thus been fertile ground for recruitment for the left wing extremists. Coupled with poor governance and other social and political factors they have easily been converted into hardcore followers of the naxalite movement.

Economic Issues

Poverty, unemployment and lack of education continue to be portrayed as fundamental drivers of extremism. Poverty and unemployment are often blamed for creating feelings of hopelessness and desperation. Poor economic conditions foster lack of opportunities, resulting in a limited number of options for gainful employment.

The unemployment pushes the youth towards the lure of extremist ideas. It is not surprising that the hotbeds of terrorism today Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia – happen to be some of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.

Poverty and unemployment resulting in anger, resentment, despair and sense of injustice are a volatile combination in the minds of young men and women.

These young minds can be manipulated to pick up arms. Individuals from higher income groups of society are more likely to have a range of economic activities available to them and are less likely to engage in terrorist activities.

High levels of unemployment and higher gap between rich and poor also increases the potential for terror organizations to recruit educated, unemployed youth who are capable of carrying out more effective and brutal attacks.

Social Issues

High levels of social fragmentation, perception of exclusion and marginalization in some segments of society act as push factors for extremism. Relative deprivation and frustrated expectations for economic improvement and social mobility are also major drivers of extremism.

Political Issues

Political factors are also an indirect cause for spread of extremism. In places where human rights and democratic values are lacking, disaffected groups are more likely to opt for a path of violence.

Extremism also flourishes due to severe restrictions on civil liberties and political rights. Civil liberties include freedom of expression, association, movement, and the press; freedom of, and from, religion; the right to due process; protection for individuals against unwarranted use of state power; and protection for minorities against potential encroachment on their fundamental rights that may result from majority rule.

Political rights refer to the existence of rules and mechanisms (e.g., free and fair elections) that enable individuals and communities to affect governmental decision-making, and to participate in political processes more generally. These political factors are used by terrorist groups to brainwash educated unemployed youths to their ideology.

Governance Deficit

Ungoverned or poorly governed places may enable extremists to establish sanctuaries or safe havens. Poorly governed places may also create passive or active support for extremists among communities that feel ignored by the government.

Where no government agency is able to provide for security and the rule of law, extremists may be able to impose their own order, and they may be able to extract money or recruits from the population.

Regarding the link between extremism and governance, stable democracy manages conflicts effectively by being open to political feedback about what is not working in the country, and by responding with remedial measures. But unfortunately, in India, over the years, the government has not been proactive in this regard. It ignored the legitimate grievances of the tribals of the North-east and Dandakaranya region.

A society that does not respect principles of good governance, that is not transparent or accountable, and that does not respect the rule of law, finds it difficult to achieve sustainable development.

Because the link between good governance and conflict is apparent, development is also tied to conflict and terrorism. Good governance is necessary to achieve sustainable development and to avoid, or at least manage, conflicts including terrorism.

Tri-junction Theory

According to this theory, areas situated around the tri-junction of borders of three states have the problem of governance-deficit. These areas lack transport, communication and other infrastructure. Dandakaranya – the worst affected Maoist area in the country is a perfect example of tri-junction theory.

Conclusion Terrorism has to have some basis, some ideology or some utopian goal so that a romantic illusion can be created in the minds of some sections of people, especially the younger generation. Sometimes, they use genuine issues like poverty, unemployment, etc. as a tool to attract masses to their cause.

Many well-meaning, liberal intellectuals fall prey to their propaganda without understanding the true nature of their doctrine which glorifies violence and believes in annihilation of all the people who are not with them. Sometimes, they create false issues by which their support base can be consolidated.

But the underlying factor which fuels these movements is the visible lack of economic and social development. This is the basis of the insurgency movements in the North-east or Left-Wing extremism in the country.

However, the link between extremism and underdevelopment is not universal. J&K is an example where extremism is not because of underdevelopment but is due to historical and geographical reasons.


Social and economic development policies can contribute to peace and stability. The sections of society benefitted with development may start working to inhibit local support to extremists. It can discourage terrorist recruits. Many terrorist organizations attract new members from communities in which terrorism is generally considered a viable response to perceived grievances.

Some terrorist groups also offer recruits financial incentives and additional family support. Social and economic development policies can help to reduce the pools of potential recruits by reducing their perceived grievances and providing the members of these communities with viable alternatives to terrorism. The ability of development policies to curb terrorism depends on their implementation. The most successful social and economic development policies are those that are

  1. Developed in consultation with community leaders
  2. Are based on needs and assessments that address the specific requirements of targeted communities, and
  3. Are accompanied by disbursement mechanisms that ensure proper fiscal management and non-partisanship Social and economic development policies can be used as a “stick to discourage terrorism. Development assistance can be made conditional on the absence of violence, thus discouraging support for terrorists.

We have successful examples of Tripura, Mizoram and other parts of the North-east where the spread of extremism ideology has been contained after robust and holistic development of these areas.


Our mission should be to end left wing extremism by ending extreme poverty and rampant unemployment. Anger, resentment, and despair are a volatile combination in the minds of young men and women who see little hope for escaping their situation.

The goal of development is to eradicate poverty, promote inclusion and social justice, to bring the marginalized into the economic and global mainstream. Building of capacity is the essence of development and is a long-term process. The following are some of the steps required:

  1. Sensitization to local context and customs, and addressing the critical needs of conflict-affected communities
  2. Giving more emphasis to topics like community development, governance, service delivery, human rights, and political grievances
  3. Effective implementation of protective legislation
  4. Intense dialogue, so as to arrive at conclusions
  5. Improved infrastructure and large investment in infrastructure
  6. Protecting tribal rights
  7. Employment opportunities through tax holidays to investments in those areas
  8. Ensuring social security, livelihood security
  9. Food security and education
  10. Land reforms and equitable distribution of infrastructure projects
  11. Constructive dialogue with extremists
  12. Prosperity for all people
  13. Anti-corruption efforts
  14. End of political marginalization, social discrimination, cultural humiliation, violence by state functionaries, human rights abuses, and social oppression
  15. Ensuring minimum wages and proper implementation of labour laws

As per Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are state subjects and therefore, it is the primary duty of the State Governments to prevent, detect, register and investigate crime and prosecute the criminals.  Combined efforts of the Government of India and State Governments have resulted in significant improvement in security situation in LWE affected states.

Provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) are being applied wherever required.  Critical UAPA cases are also being handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) for investigation as per requirement


  1. What are the linkages between development and the spread of left-wing extremism? Explain with suitable examples. (250 words) 15 Marks

  2. Is underdevelopment the sole reason for the rise of extremism? (150 words) 10 Marks

Chapter 5:North East Insurgency


The dictionary meaning of security is protection from harm. National security is the protection of state and citizens from all kinds of national crises using political, military, economic or diplomatic power.

The two aspects of National Security are Internal and External Security. Kautilya has written that a state has four kinds of security threats viz. internal, external, internally added external and externally added internal. Even today, we face the same four kinds of threats.

Navigating Insurgency in Northeast India: Regional Initiatives and  cooperation. – USI – Blog

Meaning of Internal and External Security:

  • Internal Security refers to upholding national law and maintenance of peace, law and order within a country’s territory. Internal Security comes within the realm of Ministry of Home
    Affairs in India.
  • External Security refers to security against aggression by foreign countries. External Security comes under Ministry of Defense.

There are several aspects of Internal security such as domestic peace, rule of law, public safety, peaceful co-existence and communal harmony.

The main internal security challenges to the country include militancy & terrorism, insurgency or left-wing extremism, organized crimes, communal, caste, ethnical problems, regionalism, cybercrime, coastal security, data security etc.

There are several historical and non-historical reasons for causing these problems-such as hostile neighbours, porous borders, poverty, unemployment, inequality, failure of administration, increasing communal divide, casteism, sectarian politics, linguistic issues, poor justice delivery system, nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India, lethal non-state actors and so on.

Overview of North East Insurgency:

North Eastern states are connected to the rest of India by the Siliguri Corridor, a 23 kilometres wide strip of land.

Siliguri corridor: భారత్‌ బలహీనతపై దెబ్బతీయాలని.. | china strengthening  connectivity in chumbi valley

The states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura have been plagued by separatist tendencies and insurgencies right since independence.

Several armed as well as unarmed outfits with complex links with external state and non-state actors, illicit economies and electoral politics have been active in these regions.

While some of them demand greater autonomy within the framework of Indian Constitution, others insist on complete independence from India. Here is a brief overview of these.

Arunachal Pradesh:

A group called National Liberation Council of Taniland (NLCT) is active at the Assam-Arunachal Border. This group demands a Tani Land for Tani tribes in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Tani refers to a group of tribes including Mishing, Miri, Adi, Nyishi etc.


Throughout the history of Independent India, the Separatist movements have been an integral part of the Assam politics. There are 30 insurgent groups but most of them are just nameplate organizations that engage in sporadic activities such as extortion and pressure groups.

There are three groups currently active viz. United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) etc.

ULFA was formed in 1979 to establish a sovereign state of Assam through armed struggle.  NDBF was formed in 1989 as the Bodo Security Force. Its demand was to establish an autonomous region for Bodos.

KLNLF is operating in the Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts of Assam. This group was formed in 2004 and it is fighting for self rule for Karbi People. It has close connections with ULFA.

The Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) is seeking to carve out a separate Kamtapur State that would comprise six districts in West Bengal and four districts of West Bengal.


Manipur was once the most insurgency affected state. There past groups include United National Liberation Front of Manipur (UNLF); People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Another group Kanglai Kana Yan Lup (KYKL) has been active in recent times.

Manipur has also been affected due to factional fights in NSCN groups in Nagaland. Due to this, the Kuki tribals have created their Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and its armed wing, Kuki National Army (KNA).

Skirmishes between Nagas and Kukis are common in that region.


Nagaland is the epicentre of insurgency in north east. The Nagas unilaterally declared themselves independent on 14 August 1947 and since then peace has been elusive to this state.

The first insurgent group was Naga National Council led by AZ Phizo, who infused the Naga Nationalism among Naga youth. 

Currently, NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) are two groups active in the state. Both are currently in ceasefire truce with Central Government.


The key reason behind Tripura insurgency is the conflict arisen due to illegal Bangladeshi infiltration in the state. 

The immigrants have outnumbered the native tribal population and created troubles for them.

There are two groups active in the state viz. National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF).

The Core objective of ATTF is expulsion of all Bengali-speaking immigrant settlers who entered Tripura after 1956 and restore land to tribals under ‘Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act’, 1960.


Meghalaya was created from Assam in 1971 to meet the demands of Khasi, Garo and other tribes. However, this state has been cradle of conflict between Indian Nationalism and the newly infused Garo and Khasi nationalisms.

The situation has been further accentuated by factional fights among other groups. In Meghalaya, the first militant group was Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC), formed in 1992 to protect Meghalaya’s indigenous population from rise of non-tribal immigration.

HNLC wanted to set up Meghalaya into an exclusive Khasi region.

Currently, the most active outfit in Meghalaya is Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) which was formed in 2009. Its demand is a ‘sovereign Garoland’ in the Western areas of Meghalaya.


Mizo insurgency ended with 1986 Mizo Accord, which is most successful agreement so far in North East India. Some demands for autonomy are still raised by Hmars, chakmas and Brus people. In 1995, the Hmar People’s Convention-Democracy was created for an independent Hmar State.

Drivers of Insurgency in North East States

There are several drivers of various conflicts and insurgency in north east region, for example political mobilization by insurgents, porous international border in north east, availability of arms, tough geography, lack of administrative reach and other socio-economic reasons. They have been discussed in detail here:

Political Mobilization by Insurgents

Most insurgent groups in North East garner popular support for their violent activities citing social/political reasons that are important to the population in question.

The political mobilization is considered to be the first vital phase of any armed movement. Moreover, any insurgency is hard to be destroyed once it is successful in acquiring the popular social support. The insurgent groups construct a social imaginary based on real or perceived political or ethnic or cultural subjugation by other communities.

By doing so, they vindicate the need for violent assertion of their concerns. The insurgent leaders also showcase their armed cadres, weapons and financial power in the affected regions which attracts the unemployed youth to join them.

The most basic premise of such political mobilization would be that the state administration has failed in providing the basic amenities to the population and decent alternative livelihoods to the youths.

  • The agenda for political mobilization for NSCN (IM) is the Naga Territorial unification and sovereignty based on its own narrative of independence of Nagas before the Naga Territories were occupied by the British.
  • Similarly, ULFA claims Assamese exploitation by the colonial rule of New Delhi and cites that Assamese will get due recognition only when Assam becomes a separate Swadhin Asom, though there are really few takes of this idea in Assam.
  • Similarly, in Manipur, the contention that bought political mobilization was the argument that the accession of Manipur in Union of India was a forced merger by India on a gunpoint and Manipur was to be an independent state after British left India.

Each of the insurgent groups claims that once they become free of India, they would improve the overall economic and social conditions of their target populations. Based on these political narratives, youths from these areas are motivated to join the armed movements.

It is true that most of the rural India suffers from economic backwardness. This problem is more glaring in North East and LWE affected areas that are constantly prone to violence. In north east, the backwardness coupled with lack of infrastructure makes the states heavily dependent on centre for their political survival.  

Porous International Border and Availability of Arms

The 4500 kilometre long International Border of India in this region is porous and has resulted in easy flow of arms, illegal immigrations, drugs to India.

Due the porous border, the insurgents can easily flee to neighbouring countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh and also establish their underground insurgent bases. Moreover, the youth of north east is vulnerable to drug addiction due to the flourishing drug trade in the so called Golden Triangle.

Certain insurgent groups such as UNLF, NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) have been found to be involved in Drug trade along with the Karens and the Kachins in Myanmar.

Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent

Golden Triangle includes Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. It is Asia’s one of two main opium producing areas. Another one is Afghanistan’s Golden Crescent. Most of the world’s heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.

Thus, Feasibility factor in north east allows the insurgents to use violent means for political ends. The Feasibility hypothesis says that where rebellion is materially feasible, it will occur.

The easy availability of arms to insurgents enables them to sustain their movements. All the prominent insurgent groups in North East possess AK series of rifles, advanced assault rifles and other weapons and explosives.

Tough Geography

North East India is connected to the Indian mainland by a narrow stretch of land called Siliguri Corridor (aka Chicken’s neck) which is only few kilometers wide.

The isolation, geographic fragmentation, and the problems associated with being viewed as peripheral to India’s imagination of itself are dominant drivers of alienation in the Northeast.

Geography and terrain of north east has proved to be vital for continuation of insurgent movements. Without supportive terrain, lightly armed, highly mobile insurgent cadres cannot sustain the superiority of the Indian Army.

The Northeast terrain is hilly and not easily accessible because of incessant rain during the months of April to July, an insurgent group once established, takes years to be detected and countered by the state.

Due to supportive terrain, the groups are able to surprise the Military by tactics of guerrilla warfare and hit and run. The NSCN (IM) functions in the hills of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. They also use the hill tracts of Nagaland spilling over into the hill tracts of Myanmar.

The terrain is densely forested and weather conditions are extreme. Similarly, the ULFA takes advantage of less connectivity of districts and thickly forested areas in the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh-Bhutan border.

Issue of Governance & AFSPA

North-East India - Security and Developmental Issues - Civilsdaily

Some of the past and present policies and issues related to Governance have also contributed in the aggravation of the conflict situation in North East India.

The seven sisters plus Sikkim are populated by nearly 40 million inhabitants who vary in language, race, tribe, caste, religion, and regional heritage. When all of them are clubbed under the “North East” tag, it tends to represents a “one shoe fits all” approach for this extremely diverse region.

The creation of sixth schedule has firstly created multiple powers of Centre, secondly more and more regions demanding such autonomous council. This implies that somewhere the government policy has failed to bring in a genuine process of democratization or autonomy in the region.

The lack of adequate political measures is also reflected in the imposition of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act).

This act was passed on 18 August 1958, as a short-term measure to allow deployment of the army to counter an armed separatist movement in the Naga Hills.

Now this act is in place for the last five decades and was extended to all the seven states of the Northeast region in 1972 (with the exception of Mizoram).

This act was a part of the bundle of provisions, passed by the central government, to retain control over the Naga areas. In all these years, AFSPA has become a powerful measure for the central and the state government to act against actors challenging the political and territorial integrity of India.

It was this act via which the Indian army was for the first time after independence deployed for an internal conflict.

Northeast insurgency in decline, but what about China factor? | India News  - Times of India

The major issues with AFSPA are as follows:

  1. This act has escalated the conflict by bringing it on a military level.
  2. There are regular allegations of violation of human rights by the Indian Amy.
  3. AFSPA has tended to create apathy to Indian army’s endeavours in north east. The supporters of a political solution have also turned away. One of the fact finding commissions in 2004 reported that AFSPA has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and highhandedness.

Other Drivers

Ethnic / Factional Violence

Violence is endemic to the Northeast though in some states such as Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, it has been handled more effectively.  The heavy presence of Indian army also makes them prone to future violence. All north eastern states except the Arunachal Pradesh have been inflicted with ethnic violence at one time of another in recent history.

Cultural Differences:

The tribes of the Northeast are mostly of Mongoloid stock and they view themselves as different from the Aryan and Dravidian races of India.

Pressure on Land:

This is a combination of various factors such as increasing population, lack of state land reforms, oral traditions of land ownership, jhum cultivation, migrant population, intensive cultivation etc.  State has been unable to efficiently settle these land related insecurities. Thus, pressure on land has created tribal and ethnic “security dilemmas” in the North East India.

Ethnic Security Dilemmas:

North East India is home to multi-ethnic and multi-tribal societies. Conflict arises when one ethnic group harbours armed members and other leads to rival arming.

Political Corruption:

The political culture of most north east states is fraught with corruption, lack of representation in power structures at the centre, and nexus between politicians and insurgent groups.

The result of this is an insecure state structure and insecure public. Further, some of the laws such as Inner Line Permit and Restricted Area Permit inhibit access of outsiders into the region.

The result of such laws is a “siege mentality” among the public. Moreover, the extortion networks are being run by the insurgent groups whereby, every person needs to pay some part of his / her income to insurgents.

Low quality of Education:

North East India states have one of the highest literacy rate in India. Yet, the quality of education is lacking which results in dearth of well qualified people to run the affairs of these hill states.

Under development:

North East has underdeveloped Transportation and communication. The national highways are broken and need repair. In monsoon, North East almost becomes inaccessible.

Perceived Feelings of Neglect:

People of North East India have a perceived feeling of neglect by New Delhi due to their peripheral situation and cultural differences.

Factors Responsible for insurgence in the North-East

(1)       Feeling of alienation and deprivation among the tribal population

(2)       Similar ethnicity across the border on Myanmar side

(3)       Porosity of the border with Myanmar due to difficult terrain

(4)       Change in demographic pattern due to infiltration from across the border

(5)       Disconnect with the other parts of India and fellow Indians.

(6)       Widerspread corruption among the ruling elite.

(7)       Lack of visionary leadership among the tribal communities.

(8)       Lack of development and basic amenities.

(9)       Easy availability of arms and ammunition

(10)     Political support from various factions

(11)     Instability in Myanmar

State Response to North Eastern Insurgencies:

There are several components of Government of India’s repose to insurgencies in the North East India. These include:

  1. Meeting the political aspirations of the ethnic groups by giving them autonomy;
  2. Economic development of the area;
  3. Improving governance;
  4. Engaging the outfits in peace dialogues and
  5. coordinating operations with the neighbouring countries and lastly use of force.

We can study the Government of India’s response to insurgencies in the Northeast broadly in four parameters viz. Structural Changes in administration; Dialogue and Negotiations; Use of Force and Development activities.

Basic guiding principles of government

  1.  Special Schemes for development for North – East.
  2. Special packages for infra structure development of North-East region.
  3. Proportionate use of force.
  4. Dialogue and negotiations
  5. Structural changes to give political autonomy
  6. Decentralisation and protection of tribal rights.
  7. Improving road and rail connectivity in entire region.
  8. Look East Policy viz-a-viz North – East Region
  9. Business Summits to attract investment in North East region.
  10. Exhibitions and Seminars

Structural Changes in Administration:

Greater Statehood

The government has given considerable attention to reduce the conflicts by conferring greater statehoods in the north east. At the time of Independence, India’s north east region was made of three entities as follows:

  • Assam since 1912 as Assam Province of British India.
  • Princely states of Manipur and Tripura
  • North East Frontier Province (NEFA)

Manipur and Tripura became Union Territories in 1949. The fifth entity in North East emerged on 1 December 1963 as Nagaland via the State of Nagaland Act in 1962.

Sixth entity was Meghalaya, which first emerged in 1970 as a autonomous state within Assam via the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969 as per sixth schedule of the constitution.

On 21 January 1972, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura were given status of fully fledged states via the North East Reorganization Act 1972. Meanwhile in 1972, Mizo Hills region of Assam was converted into a Union Territory.

After the Mizoram Peace Accord (1986), Mizoram emerged as a full-fledged state of India in 1987. NEFA was first converted to a Union Territory in 1972 and then full-fledged state in 1987.

The Sixth Schedule and Autonomous Administrative Areas:

The most prominent and important structural change in the administration is the grant of political autonomy and statehood in North East India.

This process goes back to the British Era when the Interim Government of India had appointed a sub-committee to the Constituent Assembly, viz. North- East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Committee under the Chairmanship of first Assam Chief Minister, Gopinath Bordoloi.

The committee recommended setting up of autonomous district councils to provide due representative structures at the local level to the tribal population.

The recommendation was later incorporated into Sixth Schedule (article 244 (2) & Article 275(1)) of the Indian Constitution.

Provisions of the Sixth Schedule:

As per the Sixth Schedule, the four states viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram contain the Tribal Areas which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas.

Though these areas fall within the executive authority of the state, provision has been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of the certain legislative and judicial powers. 

Each district is an autonomous district and Governor can modify / divide the boundaries of the said Tribal areas by notification. Currently, there are ten such Councils in the region as listed below:


Bodoland Territorial Council

Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council

Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council


Garo Hills Autonomous District Council

Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council

Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council


Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council


Chakma Autonomous District Council

Lai Autonomous District Council

Mara Autonomous District Council

Analysis: Assessment of Sixth Schedule in North East:

First, we should note that the Sixth Schedule was primarily adopted to address the political aspirations of the Nagas. But the Nagas refused it because they said it was too little.

The Sixth schedule lays down a framework of autonomous decentralized governance with legislative and executive powers over subjects like water, soil, land, local customs and culture.

The Legislations passed by the Autonomous councils come into effect only after the assent of the Governor. Except Tripura and Bodoland councils, these bodies have also been given judicial powers to settle certain types of civil and criminal cases also.

Thus, the councils under the sixth schedule have been given more power than the local governments under the 73rd and 74th amendments in the rest of the country.

It has been established that this autonomy paradigm has brought a degree of equilibrium within the tribal societies mainly via the formal dispute resolution under customary laws and through control of money-lending etc.

In Assam, Tripura and Mizoram, the autonomous councils have power to decide if a State legislation on subject matters under the autonomous councils should apply to their territories or not.

Similarly, the Union legislations on similar subjects can be excluded from applying to these areas by the State Government in Assam and the union Government in the other two States.

However, there are certain issues due to which the sixth schedule has ended up creating multiple power centers instead of bringing in a genuine process of democratization or autonomy in the region. They are as follows:

Conflict of Power:

There are frequent conflicts of interest between the District Councils and the state legislatures. For example, in Meghalaya, despite the formation of the State, the whole of the State continues to be under the Sixth Schedule causing frequent conflicts with the State Government.

Para 12 (A) of the Sixth Schedule clearly states that, whenever there is a conflict of interest between the District Councils and the state legislature, the latter would prevail. Thus state enjoys the superiority, but then it is alleged that autonomous councils are mere platforms for aspiring politicians who nurture ambitions to contest assembly polls in the future.

Disparity among Autonomous Bodies and Local Bodies:

This is another important area of conflict. The local bodies established via Seventy-third Amendment are more liberally funded through the State Finance commissions.

In a state where there are more than one autonomous councils; one claims that it is being treated less favourably than other. For example, in Assam, there is a perceived preferential treatment to Bodoland Territorial Council in matters of budget allocations.

Functioning of Governor:

The Legislations passed by the Autonomous councils come into effect only after the assent of the Governor. However, Governor works as per the aid and advice of the state Council of Ministers. This makes many a times, the autonomous councils irrelevant as far as power to legislate is

Remedies to sixth schedule problems:

Several measures can be taken up as remedy to above problem.

Firstly, there is a need that Sixth Schedule is amended and Autonomous Councils are made to benefit from the recommendations of the state finance commission.

Secondly, state governments and the Autonomous Councils should identify powers under the Sixth Schedule that Governors may exercise at their discretion without having to act on the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers.

Thirdly, the administration of the district autonomous councils should be periodically reviewed by a commission under Union Government.

Special Treatment to Nagaland:

In our country, two states viz. Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland are different from other states on account of their special treatment by the Constitution via Article 370 and Article 371-A respectively.

Article 371-A states that no Act of Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice and ownership and transfer of land and resources will apply to Nagaland unless passed by the State Assembly.

Counter Insurgency (COIN) in North East:

There are two components of centre’s counter insurgency (COIN) strategy in North East viz. Use of Force and Dialogue and negotiations.

Use of (proportionate) Force:

In 2011, the government of India had identified 79 armed insurgent groups active in six states of North East. Half of them are splinter groups while others range from small ethnic militias to well equipped rebel armies.

Many of these groups have been involved in formal as well as informal talks with the Government. Their aspirations, demands and activities vary greatly. More than half of the groups are in Manipur.

The states of Nagaland, Assam and Tripura also have long-established armed groups. There are groups in Mizoram as well as Arunachal Pradesh, where insurgency is at lower levels since the Mizo peace accords of 1987.

Here are important observations and issues with Militarisation and counter-insurgency in North East:

The first notable thing is that only a handful of the total 79 armed groups have been formally called “terrorist organizations”. These terrorist organizations are generally those which have a political programme of greater autonomy or independence. Many of the smaller groups are tolerated mainly because of their opposition to the independence seeking groups.

The history of counter-insurgency in North East is as old as insurgencies themselves. India’s oldest paramilitary force Assam Rifles was set up to conduct counter-insurgency operations in the north-eastern region and other areas, where deemed necessary, under the control of the Army.

North East India is highly militarised since the Second World War. More troops were stationed permanently after the Indo-China war in the early 1960s. The counter insurgency operations were at their peak in 1970s and again in 1990s when more and more troops and paramilitary forces were deployed to the region to contain the insurgencies and remained there permanently.

Large battalions have also been established to police the borders with China, Burma and Bangladesh.

However, the Government of India has proportionately used Indian Army in its Counter Insurgency (COIN) strategies. Indiscriminate use of forces has been avoided mainly because groups such as ULFA, the NSCN (IM), the UNLF and the PLA project a certain degree of social support and any disproportionate use of force can be counter-productive. In this context, the below operations are worth note:

In 1990, the government conducted Operations Rhino and Bajrang against ULFA, NSCN, NDFB, Bodo Liberation Tigers Force (BLTF) and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) etc.

The insurgents relocated their camps to Bhutan. India exerted diplomatic pressure on Bhutan. Initially Bhutan tried to resolve the issue peacefully but soon, Bhutan realized that peaceful talks would not be able to drive out the militia from its territory.

Consequently, Royal Bhutan Army conducted the first operation ever called “Operation All Clear”. This led to death and capture of several militants.

Many of the militants fled to Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh also under the diplomatic pressure captured and handed over to India several militant leaders including Arabinda Rajkhowa and Anoop Chetia of ULFA.

Assam has witnessed the gradual change in its overall insurgency strategy due to the measured military responses by the army after the 1990s. In the recent years, the attitude of the locals has also changed but still Indian army is routinely accused of human rights violations.

There has been a social apathy against counter-insurgency operations and militarization of society. Due to the public resistance to armed operations, an all out operations against the armed outfits has never been used in north east.

Dialogue and Negotiations:

The dialogue and negotiations have always been a serious alternative option for the Indian state’s response to the armed conflicts in the Northeast.

In the Naga conflict, the dialogue started as early as 1947 with the Akbar Hydri agreement, the civil society interactions of the 1950s, the Naga Peace Mission of 1964, the Shillong Accord of 1975 and the now ongoing peace negotiations with the NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (K).

In the ULFA case, the jailed ULFA leaders have been released followed by “unconditional talks” with the outfit falling within the framework of negotiations. In 2011, ULFA submitted to the Centre its charter of demands which sought amendment in the Constitution for finding “meaningful” ways to protect the rights and identity of the indigenous people of Assam.

ULFA’s other demands include discussion on grounds for its struggle, status report on missing ULFA leaders and cadres (numbering around 50) and other socio-economic issues

In 2011, a tripartite agreement for Suspension of Operations (SoO) was signed among the Centre, the Assam government and ULFA. According to the pact, both the ULFA and the security forces will not carry out operations against each other.

According to this pact, the members of the rebel group, around 600 in number, will be put in special camps which will be  called  “nabanirman  kendras.” However, ULFA has denied surrendering arms and ammunitions.

In 2015, the NDA Government has signed the framework agreement on peace with NSCN-IM.

Linkages between Development and Extremism in North East:

Insurgency is development in reverse. India’s North East Region is a quagmire of economic backwardness, though it certainly does not deserve to be so.

The economic backwardness of the region can be partly attributed to its chequered colonial history, its integration with the Union of India and then the history in independent India.

Its backwards is partly because it is a part of a large developing country and its geographical and economic isolation from the rest of the country.

We can see the development and its links to the extremism in North east via two perspectives viz Colonial history and Post-Independence History.

Colonial History:

Since ages, India’s north east is home to a large number of tribes and communities living in a relative isolation in their own cultural niches.

They were largely autonomous and had their own ways of social and economic organizations, which in some ways rivalled the modern practices.

The British formally entered in North East in 1826 and with this, the process of integration of this extremely diverse region into the British Empire commenced.

Two significant aspects of British arrival and conquest are important here to note.

One is that the North East Region was brought under a single administrative umbrella by subjugation of many distinct and interior territories. Second is that the focus of the activities was not the people of the region but the natural resources such as oil, tea and timber, which served the direct interests of the Colonial masters.

This second aspect became detrimental to the people and generally to the region as a whole, because it promoted a policy to make the North East a developmental frontier.  The treatment of North East as a developmental frontier also led to a culture of carpetbaggers


Carpetbaggers refer to any outsider who attempts to gain political or economic advantage. This term has its origin from the westward movement in the United States, especially after the railway network expanded.

The western parts were swarmed in by new townships of land-grabbers, prostitutes, cowboys etc. who degraded the culture of the indigenous population.

The north east as a developmental frontier remained under exploitation of the outsiders.

Post Independence:

After freedom, first two decades of India kept the country marred with great difficulties including resettling post-partition displacements, integration of the country as a single unit, food shortages, three wars and other problems.

During this period also, the North East remained as a Developmental Frontier of the colonial era. The North East region’s natural resources such as Oil, Tea, Timber and mineral wealth such as coal, Uranium remained a focus but NOT the aspirations of various people, tribes, their customs, languages, cultures and so on.

Moreover, natural resource systems of the region are quite fragile and needed careful management while utilising them.

When the second five year plan was launched with industrialization as its buzzword, the natural resources essentially meant the mineral resources. This began a faster rate of exploitation of the natural resources.

Apart from oil and coal, the region is also endowed with rich timber resources and hydro-electric potential. The industrialization of the country did not pass the benefits of the natural resources to the people and it did more harm than good to the region.

After the India was opened to the economics of Globalization in the early 1990s, Indian economy started growing with leaps and bounds with the advent of foreign collaboration, investment and increasing external sector trade and commerce.

However, the North East India could not reap the benefits because of its geographical isolation from the Indian mainland. This was because; the products and services from this region would take more time and money to reach anywhere else because of fewer roads and rail connectivity.

Thus, this region remained backward. During almost the last two decades, quick progress has come to other countries nearby such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

This implies that if the communication and external trade was promoted and appropriate physical linkages were developed with this region, North East could have benefited immensely. However, still today, the seven sisters remain to tackle the backlogs in their basic minimum services and infrastructural needs.

The Development Efforts of Government in North East:

The Government of India had set up the Department of Development of North Eastern Region in September, 2001 and upgraded it to a Ministry in May, 2004 underscoring the its complete commitment to ensure development with equity for the NER to unleash the potential of its human and natural resources. This ministry is unique in the sense that its activities are regional and advocate the region which comprises the seven sisters of North East and Sikkim. Important activities of this ministry include:

  • Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR).
  • North Eastern Council
  • Social and Infrastructure Development Fund (SIDF) – Finance Minister’s Package for NER, 2008-09
  • North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC)
  • North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation (NEHHDC)
  • North East Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi)


Non Lapsalble Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR):

The broad objective of the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) is to ensure speedy development of infrastructure in the North Eastern Region and Sikkim by increasing the flow of budgetary financing for specific viable infrastructure projects/schemes in the region.

North Eastern Council (NEC):

The North Eastern Council (NEC) came into being by an Act of Parliament, The North Eastern Council Act, 1971 to act as advisory body in respect of balanced socio-economic development of the North Eastern Areas consisting of the present States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

The NEC started functioning in the year 1972. The NEC Act was amended in 2002. As a consequence thereof, Sikkim is now a member of the NEC and NEC is now made the Regional Planning Body for the North Eastern Region.

The amended NEC Act provides that NEC will function as the Regional Planning Body for the North East and will formulate specific projects and schemes, which will benefit two or more States.

NEC was instrumental in the preparation of North Eastern Region Vision 2020, which provides the road-map, outlines the goals, identifies the challenges and suggests implementation strategies for various sectors for peace, prosperity and development of the North Eastern Region.

It helps in formulation of an integrated plan for the development of the North Eastern Region.

Critical Appraisal of the North East Council:

Created with the twin objectives of balanced development and security, the North-Eastern council has remained halfway point to make any progress in either sphere.

North Eastern Council (NEC) was expected to be instrumental in setting in motion a new economic endeavour aimed at removing the basic handicaps that stood in the way of development of the region.

However, it became merely a funding agency and an unwitting platform of acrimony and mutual suspicion, where every state is more interested in getting its schemes, oblivious of long term interests, approved.

Other Notes:

The seven States of the region enjoy special category status to develop backward areas.

They get preferential treatment in the matter of distribution of Central assistance bypassing the Gadgil formula which gives weightage to population, incidence of poverty and performance. Dilution of the formula meant plan assistance to the States to the extent of 90 per cent grant and 10 per cent loan.

Current Issues:

UNLFW: The New Name of Terror in North East:

In April 2015 several outfits of North East (based in Myanmar) such as United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang, Kamatapur Liberation Organization (KLO) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit have come under an umbrella organization called United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNFLW). This new and larger outfit is headed by SS Khaplang, the head of the NSCN-K as the chairman.

Perceiving the Threat:

Such umbrella organizations are not new in North East. This is the fourth umbrella organisation of its kind. Earlier, in 1986, ULFA, UNLF and NSCN came together to send a combined group to China for training and weapons.

In 1989, the Indo Burma Revolutionary Front (IBRF) was formed by UNLF, the NSCN-K, ULFA and Kuki National Army. In mid 1990s, United Liberation Front of Seven Sisters was formed by ULFA and NSCN-K. With a split of ULFA, all the earlier groups became defunct.

Analysing: Implications of UNLFW:

The UNLFW would be operating from the Myanmar. India government’s repeated pleas to the Myanmar government to eliminate terror activity have fallen on deaf ears. The NSCN-K concluded a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar in 2012.

Though the terror groups are operating in Myanmar, the Myanmar government has categorically denied the presence of militants on its soil.

Myanmar, in its present situation is not in a position take hostile front with northeast militants as it is already facing troubles with ethnic rebels in Shan State. Since 2012, there has also been an outbreak of communal violence between the Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine State.

It is in this backdrop, the UNLFW assumes significance. It is also believed that China was involved with the UNLFW. The coalition could be used by China to further its objectives in Myanmar and also keep an eye on the northeast. The UNLFW already started pursuing its goals with violent attacks.

Its continued activities in northeast may pose threat to the developmental activities undertaken by the Indian government in North-East. North-East India is of strategic importance to India to further its ‘Acting East’ policy.

To counter the activities of the UNLFW, the Indian government should seriously take up the issue with Myanmar government for eliminating their hideouts in Indian border areas of Myanmar. The formation UNLFW also points to the failure of the Indian government to take forward the talks with militants quickly to find a political solution.


The above overview makes it clear that the problems of North East have been a complex combination of conflict in nationalism, bargaining for autonomy, tribal matters, issues of illegal immigration and various socio-economic problems.

The secessionist/separatist movements could be attributed to several reasons for example, Central Government’s neglect of the area, feeling of alienation among the tribals, changes in the demographic pattern caused by the influx of people from Bangladesh, Myanmar; assistance to rebel groups by neighbours, availability of sanctuaries in the bordering countries etc.

Current Situation

Press Information Bureau

Mains Model Questions:

  1. “The problems of North East have been a complex combination of conflict in nationalism, bargaining for autonomy, tribal matters, issues of illegal immigration and various socio-economic problems.” Explain.
  2. Critically examine the drivers of various conflicts and insurgency in north east region in India.
  3. “Feasibility factor in north east allows the insurgents to use violent means for political ends.” Explain.
  4. What are various insurgent groups active in Nagaland? Which of them are currently in peace talks with Government? Discuss the progress made so far towards restoration of peace in Nagaland.
  5. “Constitution of India gives the Nagas a complete self-determination for themselves, as much or as little administrative isolation from the rest of India.” Discuss in the light of relevant provisions.
  6. Describe the circumstances in which Nagas signed the Shillong Accord. Why Shillong Accord could bring peace in Nagaland? Discuss.
  7. Critically examine the internal and external reasons that brought the spirit of nationalism among the Nagas. To what extent, this spirit was responsible for making Nagaland an epicenter of insurgency in North East? Examine.
  8. “So far, the peace in Nagaland remains elusive.” Discuss in the light of recently signed framework agreement.
  9. What are the various factors that led to growth in the resentment in Manipuri people? List various insurgent groups active in Manipur.
  10. On what grounds, ULFA insists on its demand for Swadhin Asom? Discuss current status of peace process in Assam.
  11. To what extent the sixth schedule has been successful in pacifying the demands of people of North East states. Examine Critically.
  12. “Indian Constitution does not guarantee a separate homeland on ground of racial ethnicity but Bodoland seems to be an exception to this.” Do you agree with this view? Discuss.
  13. Mizo Accord is said to be the only insurgency in the world that ended with a “stroke of pen”. Critically discuss the factors that made this accord successful.
  14. “Sixth schedule has ended up creating multiple power centers instead of bringing in a genuine process of democratization or autonomy in the North East”. Opine.
  15. Do you think that an all out operations against the armed outfits in north east is feasible? Argue.
  16. To what extent, the policy to make the North East a developmental frontier is responsible for its economic backwardness. Discuss.
  17. “Underdevelopment breeds insurgency and insurgency retards development”. Discuss giving reference to India’s North East Region.
  18. Comment on various development efforts of Government of India in North East.
  19. Give a critical appraisal of the North Eastern Council.
  20. Critically assess the internal security threats from the recently created United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNFLW).
Chapter 6: AFSPA

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958:

Repealing The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)1958 In The NE: Is  This The Right Time? - Chanakya Forum

The AFSPA, was enacted on 11 September 1958, to bring under control what the government considered ‘Disturbed area”, essentially conflict-hit areas. It was first implemented in North East, and then in Punjab.

In September 1990, Parliament passed the Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Power Act, which came in to force retrospectively from 5 July 1990.

  1. Armed Forces Special Powers (Assam & Manipur) Act, 1958.
  2. Armed Forces (Punjab & Chandigarh) Special Powers Act, 1983.
  3. Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990.


The Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance of 1942 was promulgated by the British on 15 August 1942 to suppress the Quit India Movement.

Modelled on these lines, four ordinances Bengal, Assam, East Bengal, United Province Disturbed Areas (Special Powers of Armed Forces) Ordinance were invoked by the Central Government to deal with the Internal Security situation in the country in 1947 which emerged due to partition of India.

The Article 355 of the constitution of India confers powers to the central Government to protect every state from Internal disturbance.

In 1951, Naga National Council, boycotted the first general elections of 1952, later also boycotted government schools and offices. In 1953 Assam imposed “Assam Maintenance of Public Order Act” in Naga Hills and intensified police action against the rebels.

Later, Assam deployed Assam Rifles in Naga Hills and enacted Assam Disturbed Areas Act in 1955, providing legal framework for the Paramilitary forces and Armed State Police to control Insurgency in the Region. But it couldn’t contain the resentment and spread of insurgency.

Finally in 1958, the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad promulgated “The Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Ordinance” in 1958 (May). It was replaced by the Act on 11th September 1958.

Sections of AFSPA:

Section-3: Powers to declare areas to be “disturbed areas”.

If whole or part of a state or Union Territory, as the case may be, is in such a disturbed or dangerous situation/ condition that, the use of armed forces in aid of civil authority is necessary, the Governor of that State or the Administrator of that Union Territory or the Central Government (Since 1972), as the case may be, may by notification in the official Gazette, declare the whole or such part of such state or UT to be disturbed area.

There should be a periodic review of the declaration before the expiry of six months. It means that, depending on the authority enacting the AFSPA, the same authority has to review the continuation of AFSPA. The decision to continue has to be mentioned in writing.

Section-4: Special Powers of the Armed Forces:

Any Commissioned Officer, Warrant Officer, Non-Commissioned Officer or any other Person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area:

(a)   If he is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so, to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning as he may consider necessary, fire up on or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law for the time being in force in disturbed areas.

(b)  Can destroy arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter, training camps etc.

(c)   Arrest without Warrant, any person who has committed cognisable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognisable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to affect the arrest.

(d)  Enter and search without warrant any premises to make any such arrest or to recover arms, ammunition or explosives believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises, and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary.

Section-5: Arrested person to be handed over to the Police:

Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be handed over to the officer-in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.

Section-6: Protection to Persons Acting Under the Act:

No prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government, against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of powers conferred by this Act.  On July 08, 2016, in a land mark ruling, Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association Vs UOI Supreme Court of India ended the immunity of the armed forces from prosecution under AFSPA.

“Accountability is a fact of Rule of Law”:

Supreme Court ruled that the armed forces cannot escape investigation for excesses in the course of the discharge of their duties even in the ‘Disturbed Areas”. In 2017, Supreme Court upheld its decision by directing the government to probe every case of alleged extra judicial killings even in AFSPA Areas.

Which State Area Currently Under AFSPA:

  1. Assam:
  • Assam was the first state to have AFSPA in 1958. Current Act is in force in       the state since November 1990, when ULFA Activities were at peak. In Assam, the AFSPA was being removed completely from 23 districts and one district would be covered partially under it.
  • In the State, the Act will remain effective in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Jorhat, Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts and the Lakhipur sub-division of Cachar district.
  1. Meghalaya:
  •  Total withdrawal from the state since April 2018. Earlier 10 kms belt bordering Assam was under AFSPA from 01, Oct 2017 onwards. Before that, this belt was 20 kms bordering state of Assam.
  1. Arunachal Pradesh:
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, the status quo remained – the AFSPA would remain in force in two police stations of Namsai and Mahadevapur and three districts of Tirap, Changlang, Langding. Review for Arunachal Pradesh Nagaland still handled by Central Government.
  1. Mizoram:
  • The condition of the Act in Mizoram is vague and unclear. The Act has not been applied in Mizoram since 1986, when “Mizo Accord” was signed. AFSPA is considered a sleeping law in Mizoram.
  1. Nagaland:
  • In force, even before the State come in to existence in 1961, because at that time, state was Naga Hills district of Assam. The Act is in force since then. The disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Nagaland from 1995. The Act presently remains active in 57 police stations in 13 districts.
  1. Manipur:
  •  In Manipur, 15 police station areas in six districts of Manipur would be excluded from the disturbed area notification but the law would remain effective in 82 police stations in 16 districts. State Government carries out review of law on its own.
  1. Tripura:
  •  Tripura was under AFSPA since 1997. In 2015, the Act has been   completely withdrawn.
  1. Jammu & Kashmir:

        Is in force since 1990.

Criticisms of AFSPA:

The Act has been justified by the security forces citing the need for Armed Forces to have extraordinary powers to deal with military. However, it has been a subject of intense criticism by the Civil Society, intellectuals and human rights organisations. The criticism of the Act is based on the following premises.

  1. The provisions of the Act are inherently flawed. The impunity (exemption) provided by the law against only prosecution (Except by Central Government Permission) is manifested in cruelty and violation of human rights. There have been many cases of rape, torture etc., by Army personnel operating in Disturbed area.
  2. A case in point is of Thongjam Manorama Devi 2004-Assam Rifle, rape and murder. Personnel of AR repeatedly denied appearing for examination. The judgement of 2016 by Supreme Court provided some relief to the victims’ families when the Court ordered the Assam Rifles personnel to appear in the court.
  3. The grounds of declaration of a disturbed area have not been identified in the Act. Moreover, once an area is declared a disturbed area, it cannot be subjected to judicial review.
  4. The power to shoot to the extent of causing death, and search without warrant are in contravention to Article 21 of the constitution, The Right to life, which forms the foundation of all other fundamental rights.
  5. The critics say that the law overrides the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) which lays down proper procedure for police personnel in dealing with law and order problems.
  6. The act has not been able to contain insurgency and maintain law and order in the disturbed areas. When it was imposed there were few insurgent groups, but now there are more than two dozen groups operating in the North East.
  7. Grave Human Rights Violations have actually helped the insurgents to mobilize the people against the government. AFSPA has further intensified the demand for autonomy by the people. This gives rise to a vicious circle for continuing law for definite period.

1998: Naga People’s Movement Case:

Supreme Court Verdict.

The constitutional validity of the law was challenged in the Supreme Court. In a 1998 judgement in the

Naga People’s Movement of HR


Union of India

Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

However, the judgement made some notable conclusions such as:

  1. Although Central Government is empowered to declare an area as disturbed on its own, it is desirable that it consults the state before making such declaration.
  2. The declaration should be for limited duration and there should be periodic reviews at 6 months.
  3. The officers (Armed Force personnel) should use minimal force necessary for effective action.
  4. The authorised officer should strictly follow the “Do’s and Don’ts” issued by the Army. Supreme Court granted Legal sanctity to these Do’s and Don’ts.
  5. The Indian Army/other Armed forces should work in close coordination with state agencies and not independent from it. It should aspire to be a helping hand in maintain law and order in the region.

BP Jeevan Reddy Committee:

Justice B.P.Jeevan Reddy Committee was appointed in 2004 to review the provisions of the Act in the north eastern states.

The Committee recommended that.

  1. AFSPA should be repealed and its appropriate provisions should be included in the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. 1967.
  2. The powers of the Army/Paramilitary Forces should be clearly demarcated.
  3. Grievance cells should be created in each district where such law is in force.

The Report was endorsed by the 2nd ARC also. But, since the conditions of North East have not improved, the committee report was junked by the Central Government.

Santosh Hegde Committee:

The Supreme Court constituted the Santosh Hedge committee to investigate six separate cases of possible AFSPA abuse in Manipur.

  1. According to the report of the committee, 5 out of the 6 killings were encounters fabricated by both Assam Rifles and Manipur Police.
  2. The Committee also reported disproportionate (more than required) use of Force and intrusion (entry) of security forces in areas which are not notified as disturbed areas.
  3. Even the local Police was found to be encroaching its domain in using lethal force, thus misusing the immunity granted to security forces.
  4. The commission even went to the extent of saying that AFSPA was an impediment to achieving peace in regions such as Jammu & Kashmir and NE. However, the government is yet to act on its recommendations.

Justice Verma Committee:  Justice Verma committee (on offenses against women in conflict areas) said “AFSPA legitimizes impunity for sexual violence” E.g. Kunan Poshpora incident; Thangjam Manorama case in Manipur.

Why the Act is a Necessary Evil:

  • There is no doubt that killings and HR violations have occurred due to AFSPA, but the problem posed by an array of Internal and External Agents necessitate and act with teeth to deal with them.
  • A soldier deserves all the legal protection for the action he does or judgement he makes on the spot acting in best interest of the country. Our armed forces operate in very difficult circumstances and are much acquainted with ground situation.
  • The Act needs to continue, however, needs more humane provisions so that state doesn’t take away right to life of the people.

Why AFSPA has not been imposed in LWE Areas:

  1. Declaring an area as “Disturbed” and putting it under AFSPA has been used by the Govt. as a last resort to deal with the threat to law and order and national security.
  2. If the Government feels, that local police is capable of handling the situation on its own or with the support of central Armed Police Force, there is no need to impose AFSPA.
  3. Further, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and NE is different because of visible external influence on the insurgency and terrorism there.
  4. The issue of deploying armed forces has been discussed in the past, but the government felt that there is a need to build capacity of local police and central armed police forces instead of bringing them directly under Army.

Some International Organisations and their view on AFSPA

United Nations Views:

  • United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has on multiple occasions asked numerous questions about the validity of AFSPA. They sought justification in light of Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In 2009, UN Commissioner on HR asked India to repeal the law. She termed the laws as “Outdated and Colonial-Era Law” that breach contemporary International Human Rights Standards.
  • In 2012, the UN again asked India to revoke AFSPA saying it had no place in Indian democracy.

NGO’s Analysis of AFSPA:

  1. Human Rights Watch: It is an international non-governing organisation that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. It says “AFSPA is a tool of state abuse, oppression and discrimination”.
  2. The South Asian Human Rights association argues that the governments call for increased force in part of the problem.
  3. A report by (Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis) points to multiple occurrences of violence by security forces against civilians in Manipur. It however, went on to say that, the repeal or writing away of the Act will encourage insurgency.
  4. Irom Chanu Sharmila: “Iron Lady of Manipur” was on hunger strike for 16 years. Strike against “Malom Massacre”-when 10 civilians standing in the bus stop were allegedly killed by the security forces on 20 November 2000.
  5. Amnesty International has condemned HR abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.

Opinion of Second Administrative Reform Commission:

  • The Second (ARC) in its fifth report on “Public Order”, recommended to repeal AFSPA. It commented that, its scrapping would remove sentiments of discrimination and alienation among the people of NE India.
  • The commission recommended to amend “The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act”, 1967, inserting a new chapter to deploy the Armed forces of the Union in NE States. It supported a new doctrine of policy and criminal justice inherent in an inclusive approach to governance.

Present Situation:

  • The decline in insurgency is visible across the NE States, the year 2017 recorded the lowest insurgency incidents and casualties since 1997. As compared to 1963 incidents in 2000, only 136 incidents were reported in 2019. There was also a considerable fall in casualties of civilians and security forces.
  • In Assam sustained operation against NDFB (Songbijit) saw 63 of its cadres neutralised and 1052 arrested between December 2014 and March 2018. The heat was turned up against the outfit NDFB (s) after its alleged role in killing around 80 tribal in December 2014.

Way Forward:

  • Soldiers are equal citizens with equal rights and not sacrificial lambs for those with a confused national perspective.
  • The actions of our soldiers, when acting on behalf of the state, must be dealt with under the Army Act and not the Cr.PC. The state must also react with urgency to insulate the soldiers from overzealous NGO’s and excessive judicial activism.

Violation of the Constitution and International Conventions due to Enactment of AFSPA:

  1. Article 21 : Right to Life
  2. Article 22 : Protection against arrest and detention
  3. Violation of Criminal Procedure Code.
  4. Absolute immunity to the security forces.

Violation of International Conventions:

  1. Universal Declaration on Human Rights
  2. International covenant on civil and political rights.
  3. Convention against torture.
  4. UN code of conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.
  5. The UN Body of Principles for protection of all persons under any form of detention.
  6. The UN Principles of Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.

What is the Role of State Governments Vis-a-Vis AFSPA?

Informal Consultation with State: While the Act gives powers to the central government to unilaterally take the decision to impose AFSPA, this is usually done informally in consonance with the state government.

The Centre takes its decision after having received a recommendation from the state government.

Coordination with Local Police: While the Act gives powers to security forces to open fire, this cannot be done without prior warning given to the suspect.

According to the act, after the apprehension of suspects, the security forces have to hand them over to the local police station within 24 hours.

It says the armed forces must act in cooperation with the district administration and not as an independent body.

Why has AFSPA been withdrawn now and Its Impact?

Withdrawal: Reduction in areas under AFSPA is a result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in the North-East by the Indian government.

For example, In Nagaland, all major groups — the NSCN(I-M) and Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) — are at advanced stages of concluding agreements with the government.

Impact: The Northeast has lived under the shadow of AFSPA for nearly 60 years, creating a feeling of alienation from the rest of the country.

The move is expected to help demilitarise the region, it will lift restrictions on movements through checkpoints and frisking of residents.

Arguments in Favour of AFSPA –

  • Provide more power to the armed forces to perform their activities to restore the normal situation.
  • If AFSPA prematurely withdrawn the security situation deteriorated and it took more time to store peace there.
  • Normal CrPC provides limited power to deal with violent situation.
  • In disturbed areas the involvement of proxy group are also there so, in order to break that nexus extra-ordinary powers are required. Extra-ordinary powers are also necessary as the armed forces face asymmetric warfare involving raids, ambushes, mines and explosive devices, sabotage etc
  • Effective functioning – A sense of security in the member of Armed forces is essential to function effectively in insurgency and militancy affected areas.
  • Security of nation – Provisions of this act have played a crucial role in maintaining law and order in disturbed areas. Thus, protecting sovereignty and security of the nation.
  • Protection of member of armed forces – It is crucial to empower members of armed forces who constantly face threat to their lives at the hands of insurgents and militants. Its withdrawal would result in poor morale.


  • We cannot run our country on the basis force we need to develop the alternatives.
  • Peace can be established by only synchronised efforts of central and state government along with security forces.
  • Final solution is political one as demonstrated in case of Tripura and Mizoram.
  • There need to work on the mechanism which can lead to the building trust among armed forces and public in general.
  • There is no need to run the country on the basis of bullet while the matter should be resolved on the basis of the ballet

Way Forward

  • Adherence to Human rights – It needs to be emphasized that human rights compliance and operational effectiveness are not contrarian requirements. In fact, adherence to human rights norms and principles strengthens the counter insurgency capability of a force.
  • Robust safeguards – Protection for the armed forces must be accompanied by provisions that ensure responsibility and accountability, within the parameters of law. It is for this reason that robust safeguards need to be incorporated in the existing or any new law. Supreme Court’s judgement should be followed in letter and spirit –
  • Removing ambiguity in law – The terms like “disturbed”, “dangerous” and “land forces” need to be clearly defined to ensure greater clarity.
  • Ensuring transparency – Greater transparency in communicating the status of existing cases to include its display on the army and government’s web sites.
  • Independent inquiry – Every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, be it of a common person or a criminal, should be thoroughly enquired into.

 Questions on AFSPA:

  1. It is argued that the AFSPA is necessary if the security forces are the resolutely contain the internal unrest and insurgencies that threaten the nation’s cohesion and integrity. Do you agree. Critically Comment.
  2. The recent judgement of SC upholding HR Over and above need for impurity-is a right step forward in arresting the trends of extra judicial killings in disturbed areas. Give you views on the same?


Chapter 7: Money Laundering

Money Laundering:

Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or another will always be needed”.

  • The primary function of money is to serve as a medium of exchange. Money is the root cause of many evils like corruption, black marketing, smuggling, drug trafficking, tax evasion, sex tourism and lastly even human trafficking.
  • Money laundering refers to the conversion or “Laundering” of money which is illegally obtained, so, as to make it appear to have originated from a legitimate source. Money laundering is being employed by launderers worldwide to conceal criminal activity associated with it such as drug/arms trafficking, terrorism and extortion etc.
  • Thus Money Laundering is not an independent crime, it depends upon another crime (predicate offence), the proceeds of which is the subject matter of crime in money laundering. Hiding or disguising the source of money will of course, not amount to money laundering, unless these proceeds were obtained from a criminal activity.
  • As per an estimate of IMF, the aggregate size of money laundering in the world could be somewhere between 2% to 5% of the world’s Gross Domestic product. Although money laundering is impossible to measure with precision, it is estimated that US $300 bn to US $500 bn proceeds from serious crimes (not tax evasion) is laundered each year.

Stages of Money Laundering:

What is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002?

Money laundering is a process consisting of three stages as mentioned below:

  • Placement Stage
  • Layering or structuring stage
  • Integration stage

a) Placement Stage:

  • It is the first stage where money (laundered) enters the financial process and gives immense opportunity to get caught hold of the culprit. Here the money goes from the (illegitimate) owner to the legitimate system. It is the hard cash by which the person gets relieved off by various methods i.e.,
    • Loan Repayment
    • Gambling-buying gambling chips
    • Currency smuggling-move across borders (Physical movement of currency).
    • Currency exchanges-each with foreign currency
    • Blending Funds-mixing dirty money with legitimate money.

These criminal activities not only affect the economy but also puts the reputation at stake. Different countries (G7) with the intention to curb this trend in their economies and the rest of the world, came out with international watch days like “Financial Action Task Force” FATF in 1989.

The launderer’s intention in this stage is to eliminate the cash from the place of possession so as to escape any form of detection from the authorities.

b) Layering or Structuring Stage:

  • This is the second stage of money laundering. In this stage the money is made to go through multiple sophisticated layers to obscure audit trial and cut the link with original crime.
  • It creates complicated layers of financial transactions. Eg. Offset accounts by dealers, online electronic fund transfer between tax havens, doubtful gold transactions etc.

c) Integration Stage:

  • It is the final stage in which the money returns to the culprit through legitimate sources and can be used for any purpose. Purchase of property, art work, jewellery, or high ended automobiles are common ways for the launderer to enjoy the illegal profits without necessarily drawing attention to himself.

Methods of Money Laundering:

Money Laundering can be done through various methods as follows:


Often known as smurfing, this is a method of placement were by cash is broken into smaller deposits of money, used to defeat suspicion of money laundering and to avoid anti-money laundering reporting requirements.

A subcomponent of this is to use smaller amounts of cash to purchase bearer instruments, such as money orders, and then ultimately deposit those, again in small amounts.


When the Businessmen patronize “Hawala System”…Money Laundering and  Terrorist Financing flourish.

Hawala is an alternative or parallel remittance system. It exists and operates outside of, or parallel to ‘Traditional banking or financial channels.

It was developed in India, before the introduction of western banking practices, and is currently a major remittance system used around the world. In Hawala networks, the money is not moved physically.

How does hawala work?

Let’s say Mary needs to send $200 to John, who lives in another town. She will approach a hawaladar, Eric, and give him the amount of money she wants John to receive, including the details of the transaction—the name of the recipient, city, and password.

Eric contacts a hawala dealer in the recipient’s city, Tom, and asks him to give John $200, on the condition that John correctly states the password. Tom transfers the money to John from his own account, minus commission, and Eric will owe Tom $200.

The transaction initiated by Mary and concluded by John’s receipt of the funds takes only one to two days or, in some instances, just a few hours.

No money is moved, and no documents are signed and exchanged by Eric and Tom, as the hawala system is backed only by trust, honor, family connections, or regional relationships.

Round Tripping:

Here, money is deposited in a controlled foreign corporation offshore, preferably in a tax haven where were minimal tax records are kept, and then shipped back as Foreign Direct Investment.

Bank Capture:

Money launders or criminals buy a controlling interest in a bank, preferably in a jurisdiction with a weak money laundering controls and then move money through the bank without scrutiny. They do not fulfil the reporting obligations as mandated by RBI and FIU-Ind.

Shell companies & Trusts:

Shell companies are fake companies that exist for no other reason than to launder money. They take in “Dirty Money” as “Payment” for supposed goods or services but actually provide no goods or services; they simply create the appearance of legitimate transactions through fake invoices and balance sheets.Trusts and corporate vehicles, depending on the jurisdiction need not disclose their true, beneficial owner. This kind of legal entities provide a perfect platform to carry out money laundering business.

Trade Based Laundering:

This involves under or owner invoicing to disguise the movement of money.

Cash-intensive business:

In this, a business entity receives large portion of its revenue through cash. It uses its account to deposit criminally derived cash and show as legitimate earnings

Bulk Cash Smuggling:

This involves physically smuggling cash to another jurisdiction and depositing it in a financial institution, such as an offshore bank, with “Greater Bank Security” or “Less Rigorous Money Laundering Enforcement”.


In this method, an individual walk in to a casino and buys chips with illicit cash. The individual will then play for a relatively short time. When the person cashes in the chips, they will except to take payment in a cheque, or at least get a receipt so that they can claim the proceeds as gambling winnings. The required tax will be paid and the remaining money becomes legitimate income.

Real Estate:

Some purchase real estate with illegal proceeds and then sells the property. To outsiders, the proceeds from the sale look like legitimate income.

 Black Salaries:

A company may have unregistered employees without a written contract and pay them cash salaries. Dirty money might be used to pay them.

Credit Cards:

Clearing credit and charge card balances at the counters of different banks. Such cards have a number of uses and can be used across international borders. For Eg. To purchase assets, for payment of services or goods or in a global network of cash-dispensing machines.

Impact of Money Laundering:

  1. Social Impact:
  • Transfer of economic power from right to wrong hands.
  • Makes a tough competition in the market for the legitimate business to survive.
  • Widespread increase of poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, youth lured into easy money through criminal activities.
  • Crime and corruption will divert the growth of nation from infra, development and welfare activities.
  • It leads to Brian Drain for better employment opportunities and growing in a safe environment.
  • Increase in dependence on the government for everything.
  • Killing of the spirit of entrepreneurship.
  • Gender imbalance.
  • Loosing goodwill or risk of reputation.
  1. Economic Impact:
  • Economic downturn.
  • Loosing of fair competition-for lack of genuine competition
  • Volatility in exchange rates and interest rates.
  • Loss of confidence in markets caused by insider trading, fraud and embezzlement.
  • Loss of revenue to the government.
  • High volatility of security markets. Misrepresent capital flows.
  • Destabilise the effective functioning of world economy.
  • Gap between high income and low income will increase.
  • Economic distortion and instability.
  • Destabilise the functioning of worldwide economy.
  • Misrepresent capital flows.
  • Security threats to privatisation efforts.
  1. Financial Impact:
  • Firstly, financial institutions are debilitated directly, through money laundering there seems to be an association between money laundering and fraudulent activities undertaken by employees of the institution.
  • Secondly, customer trust on the functioning of financing institution will be badly affected there by losing trust on the functioning of the entire system.

Prevention of Money laundering:

Anatomy of PMLA 2002 in context of anticipatory bail

Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/combating of financial of Terrorism (CFT) Strategies/Priorities.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002:

PMLA defines ML as “any process or activity connected with proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming it as untainted property”.

(i) Objective of PMLA:

  • Prevent money laundering.
  • Provide for confiscation of property derived from or involved in money laundering.
  • Punish those who commit the offence of money laundering.

(ii) Directorate of Enforcement (ED), Department of Revenue, MoF responsible for investigating the cases of offense of ML under PMLA.

(iii) Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND) India is responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and dispensation of info relating to ML.

(iv) Obligation of Banking Companies, financial institutions and intermediaries for verification and maintenance of records of the identity of its clients.

(v) Empowers FIU-IND to impose fine on banking companies and financial intermediaries for non-compliance.

(vi) Empowers certain officers of ED to carryout investigations and also to attach property involved in ML.

(vii) Setting up of an adjudicating authority for dealing with ML.

(viii) Setting up of Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against the orders of adjudicating authority.

(ix) Empowers Central Government to enter into an agreement with any government outside India for enforcing the provisions of PMLA.

(x) Minimum punishment if found guilty under PMLA is RI for 3 years, extended up to 7 years. No upper limit on fine.

(xi) Earlier, ML crimes were taken up only if (exception terror financing) money involved was more than 30 lakhs. Through an amendment to the PMLA in 2012 this threshold was removed.

 (xii) Scheduled Offences:

  • Part A: It comprises of offense under IPC, NDPS, Offence under explosive substances Act, UAPA, Arms Act, Wild Life (Protection) Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, Prevention of Corruption Act, Antiquities & Arts, Treasures Act.
  • Part B: Threshold 30 lakhs-removed now.
  • Part C: Deals with trans-border crimes.

(b) The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.

  • The Act came into effect from July 2015.
  • It gives Income Tax authorities the power to impose tax and penalties on all the residents who fail to disclose their foreign income and assets and also make offence liable to be punished by way of RI.

 (c)   AML Stands:

  • Role: RBI Master Circular on KYC norms four key elements.
    • Customer Acceptance Policy: No account in anonymous or fictitious benami name.
    • Customer Identification Procedures carried out when opening an account.
    • Monitoring of transactions.
    • Risk Management: Customers as low medium and High Risk. Risk categorisation parameters, identity, social, financial status and nature of business activity etc.
  • FATF: Standards implementation.
  • Banks to have Board approved KYC norms in place.
  • Aim is to prevent banks from being used intentionally, or unintentionally, by criminal elements for ML or Terror Financing.

Obligations of Banks.

  • Information collected through KYC to be kept confidential.


  • Indian security market is also prone to ML activities.
  • Intermediaries registered under SEBI are under reporting obligation of PMLA.
  • FIU-IND Guidelines for intermediaries.
  • Extra vigilance when investments are coming via P-Notes and Overseas Direct investment route.

Institutional Framework for Combating Money laundering and Terror Financing:

 The Economic Intelligence Council (EIC):

  • It came into existence in 2003, under the chairmanship of MoF. (Finance Minister).
  • It comprises senior functionaries of ministers and intelligence agencies.
  • Governor of RBI, Chairman of SEBI are also members.
  • It meets a least once a year, to discuss and take decisions regarding trends in economic offences, strategies on intelligence sharing, coordinate etc.

Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee (IMCC) on Combating FT and PML.

  • Setup in 2002 under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs to ensure effective coordinate between all competent authorities and strengthening India’s national capacity for implementing AML/CFT measurers. Currently it consists of 14 agencies with a substantial role in AML/CFT.

The Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND):

Note on Financial Intelligence Unit Registration (FIU) | | Ladda Bhutada  and Associates

  • Setup in 2004 as an independent nodal agency responsible for receiving, processing and analysis of info and dissemination of info regarding spurious financial transactions.
  • FIU-IND it is a multi disciplinary body with a sanctioned strength of 74 members from various government departments, from CBDT, CBEC, RBI, SEBI, Department of Legal Affairs, Intelligence Agencies etc.
  • It is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against ML related crises and terrorist financing.
  • FIU-IND, reports to the Economic Intelligence Council headed by the Finance Minister. It is not a regulatory authority.

Functions of FIU-IND are:

  • Collection of information.
  • From cash transaction report above 10 lakhs
  • Cross border wise transfer reports above 5 lakhs.
  • Suspicious transactions reports.
  • Reports on purchase or sale of immovable properties etc.
  • Counterfeit currency reports.
  • Analysis of this information
  • Sharing of this information with national intelligence and law enforcement agencies, national regulatory authorities and foreign financial intelligence units.
  • It acts as a central repository and maintains national database.
  • It Coordinates and strengthen collection and sharing of information.

Research and Analysis:

  • It monitors and identifies strategic key areas on ML trends, typologies and developments.

International Conventions and Treaties Between Nations:

Vienna Convention 1988:

  • Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Party countries committed to.
  1. Arrest the trends of criminal drug trafficking and associated ML.
  2. Enact measures for confiscating proceeds of ML.
  3. International Assistance.
  4. Empower courts to order that enforcement agencies shall have access to banks, financial or commercial records, irrespective of bank secretary laws.
  5. It provided for ML to be an internationally extraditable offence.

 Palermo Convention:

  • Un convention against transnational organised crime adopted in November 2000.
  • It is supplemented by 3 protocols to comb—
  1. Trafficking in persons
  2. Migrants smuggling
  3. Illicit trafficking in fire arms.

It covers four criminal offences:

  • (a)   Participation in an organised criminal group.
  • (b) Money laundering
  • (c)   Corruption
  • (d) Obstruction of Justice

Council of Europe Convention:

  • Adopted in September 1990.
  • Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of proceeds from crime.
  • It included and establish “All Crime” ML strategy.
  • It provided basic standard for legislation and regulation of ML activities across EU.

The Paris Convention:

  • It was an extension of Second European Directives issued in 2001. A total of 30 proposals are recorded for greater cooperation against anti-money laundering regime.

It majorly works under for headings as:

(a)   Transparency of capital movement

(b) Sanctions against uncooperative countries

(c)   Legal, Police and Administrative Cooperation.

(d) Prudential Rules.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF):


The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and two regional organizations (European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council), representing most major financial centers in all parts of the globe.

India has been a member of the FATF since 2010.

India is also a member of its regional partners, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) and the Eurasian Group (EAG).


Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.

Lists under FATF:

Grey List:

Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list.

This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.


Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities.

The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Currently, Iran and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are under High-risk Jurisdiction or blacklist.


The FATF Plenary is the decision-making body of the FATF.

It meets three times per year.

  1. It was founded in 1989 at OECD economic summit by G-7 nations against money laundering and enhancement of multi-lateral judicial assistance.
  2. In 2001, its mandate was extended to include counter terrorist financing (CTF).
  3. It is most influential multi-disciplinary body in ML policy and standards. It has 3 main tasks.

FATF Tasks:

(i)    To monitor members progress in implementing measurers to counter ML and FT.

(ii)   To review ML trends, techniques and counter measures.

(iii)  To promote adoption and implementation of FATF recommendations by non-member countries.

(d)  As of 2022, FATF consists of 37-member jurisdictions and two regional orgs. (EU and Persian GCC).

(e)  FATF 40 recommendation on ML and 9 recommendations on Terror Financing are famously called 40+9 recommendations.

(f)   FATF issues list of Non-cooperative countries or territories (NCCT), commonly called as FATF Blacklist.

(g)  40 recommendations of FATF revised in June 2003 to include.

  1. Adoption of stronger standards for ML predicate offences.
  2. Customer due diligence and enhanced identification measures.
  3. Designated non-financial businesses and professions (Casinos, gambling etc).
  4. Inclusion of key institutional measures.
  5. Improvement of transparency of legal persons and arrangements.

Removal from the List:

To be pulled out of the grey list, a country has to fulfill the tasks recommended by the FATF, for instance, confiscating properties of individuals associated with terrorist groups.

If the FATF is satisfied with the progress, it removes the country from the list.

The FATF most recently took Zimbabwe, and before that Botswana and Mauritius, off the grey list.

Zimbabwe has strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and addressed related technical deficiencies to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in October 2019.

AML/CFT refers to “Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism”.

In the case of Pakistan, it first entered the list in 2008, left it, and then was on it from 2012 to 2015. Since 2018, it has not been removed from the list.

The FATF had issued the 27-point action plan after placing Pakistan on the ‘Grey List’ in June 2018. The action plan pertains to curbing money laundering and terror financing. A parallel action plan was handed out by the FATF’s regional partner – the Asia Pacific Group (APG) – in 2019.

United Nations Global Programmes:

  • United Nations drug Control Programs has main aim of looking after development of global programs against money laundering.

Enhanced International Financial Regulation:

  • Financial Regulation around the world is governed by standards set by 3 main groups of regulators.
  • Based committee on Banking Supervision.
  • International organisation of security commissioners (IOSCO).
  • International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

International Monetary Fund IMF:

  • In, 2001 IMF adopted measures combating ML, like technical assistance to members and combating financing of terrorism. IMF and WB have emphasised on the core banking principles on banking supervision.