India How India's Voters Can Stop Terrorism

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
July 15, 2011

How Indias Voters Can Stop Terrorism

C. Christine Fair - Policy - July 15, 2011


Terrorists have once again struck India. While we should never be too confident in early assessments, it looks to be the work of the Indian Mujahideen, an Indian Islamist terrorist group whose origins are rooted in the Students Islamist Movement of India, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and organized criminal networks. As evidence continues to emerge about the attack and its perpetrators, a perennial question has re-emerged: Are Indians safer today than they were on Nov. 26, 2008? On that day, four Lashkar-e-Taiba attack teams assaulted multiple sites in Mumbai. The terrorists -- due in part to the ferocity of the attackers but in larger part due to the shambolic state of India's security apparatus -- held the city hostage for three days while the carnage was broadcast around the world. In the end, 166 people were brutally murdered including several Americans and Israelis.

Following that attack, India made important and historically unprecedented improvements in its internal security architecture, including the creation of a Coastal Command to secure 4,650 miles of shoreline, the establishment of 20 counterterrorism schools and standing regional commando units, the creation of a national agency to investigate suspected terrorist activity, and stronger anti-terrorism laws. But the country remains deeply vulnerable, as Wednesday's bombings show. And even if these attacks galvanize the Indian establishment to act, four important systemic barriers will limit the degree to which India can improve its internal security arrangements, particularly the state police -- the first line of defense in collecting information from the public about suspicious activities, conducting investigations after an attack, and limiting the scope and duration of the assault once an event begins.

First, policing is a state subject in India and thus the federal government has very limited ability to compel the states to invest in their police. And the states simply do not do so. Only Gujarat, Kerala, and Manipur have showed any interest in the central government's no-refund grant to states for modernizing their police forces, which totaled approximately $395 millionas of March 2011. States have also been dilatory in securing funds available to them under the modified "Modernization of State Police Forces" program initiated by New Delhi in 2000-01.

Second, India's vibrant and growing private sector attracts high-quality youth with pay, status, and other amenities that government service cannot offer, at present. It's no wonder the Indian bureaucracy no longer has the allure of prestige and status that it once had. India's ability to expand the number, size, and geographical distribution of police, intelligence, and other internal security organizations may therefore be hampered by recruitment shortfalls.

A third and even more alarming barrier to more significant reform is corruption and patronage politics. India, as Kanchan Chandra argues, is a "patronage democracy," wherein elected officials have the ability to distribute state resources to voters thanks to their significant discretion in implementing state policy. This affects police reform directly and indirectly. First is the lamentable fact that many police forces in India are deeply politicizedand, at lower and leadership levels alike, have colluded with politicians for mutual benefit. Many police officials engage in various dubious activities to blatantly support their benefactors in elections or other public fora, suppress protests against them, or even engage in violence at their patrons' behest.


Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
the Indian Civil service * actually not at all "civil" but quite vicious and demanding to be paid under the counter for any a dumping ground....any "disaster" train hits bus..and the Govt announces "Lakhs" of rupees as compensation to t he dead..and also automatic JOBS in Govt for the children of the dead !! Their ONLY qualification..a father/mother dead in a bus that got hit by a train !! This can only happen in India....Bomb blasts..the dead get compensated and their family get Govt Jobs...a Bus plunges into a ravine..same thing..a fire breaks out in a cinema..same thing...what type of "job selection" is this ?? a Govt Job is a "donation" by the Govt !!

2. The DEBT that has been on Punjab's around 100000 KROR is due to fighting terrorism...and Punjab is not ont he list of states that encourage police force innovation ??...Was this a State fight or Central fight ?? Is the Satte of maharahstra being asked to pay in the Mumbai Blasts ?? or is the Centre paying the bill ?? Coastline secured and who paid the Bill ?? - maharashtra or delhi ??

A lot is rotten in the Sate of denmark...called India.