Homeland Security

The three dangers to India
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Issue Vol 22.3 Jul-Sep2007 | Date : 18 Jun , 2014

Map showing three dangers to India

Very few policy makers in India dare to acknowledge the danger to the nation’s territorial integrity. The security and integrity of the nation has become hostage to vote-bank politics. Democracy and more than eight percent economic growth will be of no avail if the country as such withers away. India is not only being frayed at its borders by insurgencies, but its very writ in the heartland is becoming increasingly questionable. The rise of a nation is predicated upon unity, peace and stability, which are essentially determined by good governance.

The prevailing security scenario poses the serious question — Is India’s development and economic growth becoming unsustainable due to poor handling of the security? There are three dangers to the territorial integrity that bedevil the nation.


New Delhi and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 percent of the Union’s territory to the Naxalites. The Naxals’ are aided and abetted by the crime mafia that runs its operations in the same corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, as well as Maoists of Nepal who in turn receive covert support from other powers engaged/ interested in destabilizing India. The nexus between ULFA and Maoists in Nepal is well established. In a recent attack in Chhattisgarh, Maoists of India and Nepal were co-participants. There are also reports to suggest that Indian Maoists are increasingly taking to opium cultivation in areas under their control to finance their activities. The Maoists – crime – drug nexus is rather explosive.


The security forces, primarily the Indian Army, have held the state of Jammu and Kashmir physically since Independence. The politicians and the bureaucrats have contributed nothing to resolve the situation. The danger has since magnified many times as displayed by the presence of thousands of supporters of LET flying their flags in a recent rally of dissidents. Under the garb of peace overtures, heavily armed infiltrators with tacit support from the Pak Military-Intelligence establishment continue to make inroads into Kashmir. They are at present lying low, waiting for an opportune moment for vicious strikes on several fronts to undermine the Indian Union.

This ghost force reared its head in a recent rally organized by Geelani. Musharraf and his sympathizers in India are working in a highly synchronized fashion for demilitarization of the Valley. Simultaneously, there is an insidious campaign to malign the Indian Army on one pretext or the other as part of the psywar being waged by the ghost force under Islamabad’s directions.

After all the wars, export of terrorism, inconsistent and weak policies by New Delhi, Islamabad could not win Kashmir only because the Indian Army held its ground. If the ghost force succeeds in making locals rise against the Army, it will be an unprecedented achievement for Islamabad. The talk of demilitarization and the campaign to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, are therefore merely ploys that aim to achieve the Kashmir objective even as Pak Military-Intelligence establishment expands its tentacles not only within the Valley but in other parts of India as well.

The world once again is getting polarized into two camps after the end of the Cold War – democracies and authoritarian regimes of all hues,  stands enhanced.

While the Pak dispensation talks of peace, terrorist cells are proliferating in the country including new frontiers in southern part of India. Islamic fundamentalism / terrorism footprints, as evidenced by Bangalore centered incidents, are too glaring to be ignored. Islamic terrorism in the garb of freedom fighting in Kashmir is therefore de-stabilizing the entire country. Islamabad is determined to use Kashmir as a gateway/ launching pad to rest of India.


Given a modicum of political will, Danger-I and II may still be manageable, however, Danger III to its territorial integrity in the Northeast may prove to be the most difficult. In fact the entire Northeast can easily be unhooked on multiple counts from the Union. First, these are low populated areas having contiguity with the most densely populated and demographically aggressive country in the world, i.e., Bangladesh. The country has also emerged as a major source of Islamic fundamentalism which impacts grievously on the Northeast. To add to these woes, New Delhi because of sheer vote-bank politics legitimized illegal migration for 22 years through the vehicle of IMDT. Many border districts now have a majority population constituting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In near future, this leverage will be used to create an internal upheaval against the Centre as in the case of the Valley. It’s a classic Islamic fundamentalist principle of asymmetric warfare. What cannot be achieved by conventional wars, can be done through infiltration and subsequently internal subversion. They call it “jehad!”

Second, the Northeast if not addressed appropriately could unhook from the Union before the Valley given the acute vulnerability of the Siliguri Corridor, which is merely 10 to 20 kilometer wide and 200 kilometers long. If this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the Northeast by air. With poor quality of governance for which the country is infamous, the local population may gravitate towards other regional powers.

It is a matter of grave concern that New Delhi is so prone to issue statements without thinking it through, as long as it appeases the adversary even temporarily.

Third, with China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh becoming more strident, as evidenced by its recent stance on Tawang, the danger to the Siliguri Corridor stands enhanced. This corridor has been facing internal turmoil for many years. The area may well be further subverted by inimical regional powers. Chinese intention to bargain for Tawang to secure Tibet is deceptive. Subsequently, it would covet entire Arunachal Pradesh to protect Tawang. Chinese are known for expanding their areas of strategic interests with time unlike the Indians who are in a tearing hurry to convert Siachen Glacier into a “mountain of peace” or LOC into “line of peace” or equating Pakistan as an equal victim of terrorism.

It is a matter of grave concern that New Delhi is so prone to issue statements without thinking it through, as long as it appeases the adversary even temporarily. Therefore the Northeast – with the internal turmoil in the Siliguri Corridor, with low population surrounded by overpopulated Bangladesh exporting Islamic terrorism under tutelage of Islamabad, with China gaining influence in Nepal and Bangladesh and its upping the ante on Tawang – the danger to the region is grave. Manipur is a stark indicator. The insurgents have nearly weaned the state from the Indian Union. The writ of the Indian Union has ceased to operate; insurgents, compelling people to turn to South Korean music and films, ban Hindi music and films.

New Delhi continues to fiddle while the Northeast burns which in turn poses a grave problem to the territorial integrity of the Union of India. The world once again is getting polarized into two camps after the end of the Cold War – democracies and authoritarian regimes of all hues, which includes Islamists, Communists, and the Maoists. Their perspectives are totally totalitarian. Therefore with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal (Maoists), being neighbours, the danger to the Indian territorial integrity stands enhanced.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Bharat Verma

A former Cavalry Officer and former Editor, Indian Defence Review (IDR), and author of the books, India Under Fire: Essays on National Security, Fault Lines and Indian Armed Forces.

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18 thoughts on “The three dangers to India

  1. Secondly, I am happy to see the issue of Illegal Immigration has been covered here.

    But for some reason a communal hue has been added, that’s what I feel. First of all, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are both Hindus and Muslims. In the northeast, the problem we have is indians vs foreigners, NOT hindus vs muslims. Irrespective of religion, we are against the continuous illegal immigration that our region has to suffer for.

    Illegal Immigration problem should be tackled NOT because the muslim population will increase, but because it poses a threat to the demography, economy, stability of the northeast.

  2. There are quite a few points I agree with except two

    “The writ of the Indian Union has ceased to operate; insurgents, compelling people to turn to South Korean music and films, ban Hindi music and films.”

    Sir, there is no such narrative in the Northeast. I hail from the Northeastern region of India. There are significant culture differences between Northeast and other states, our preferences and choices may look different. But that does NOT mean we are against Indian entertainment industry. The word “ban” does not even exist in such cases. Manipur has the problem of extremism, but they are not concerned with Hindi music or films. There is no such call for any ban.
    Arunachal is a state where people know more hindi than their own language. Schools in the northeastern region also have hindi as their 2nd language. Northeast has contributed a lot to the Indian music industry: so many musicians in mumbai working with bollywood hail from Assam or other parts of Northeast. Northeastern film-makers have helped put india on the map with personalities like Rumi Das.

    So, with such an article that can influence so many people, it is Not correct to include such erroneous statements that can further distort the image of the Northeast and create misunderstandings. Anyway, for geographical, cultural factors Northeast which is different than the rest has been alienated for so long. Such statements might distort our image further, which is not what we need.

  3. Many of the issues raised are alarmist and imaginary at best! The so called red corridor though festering for some time, is increasingly getting the attention of the security forces and unlikely to create any major threat in the foreseeable future. The spin offs from economic development should see the region changing, albeit slowly.
    The sit in Kashmir valley is likely to settle down after people settle down to the changed paradigm. The improved governance and direct fund flow should see the economic development in the region and pull the local youth away from Pak machinations. As regards the NE, nothing could be farther from truth that the locals could find the lure of neighbouring countries more appealing! The locals are firmly rooted to the Indian cause
    There are disillusions as far as development and recognising regional culture and ethnicity which must be appreciated.

    The days of redrawing international boundaries through blood is behind us. As a country we have our red lines and any designs of the enemy, whether Pak or China shall meet with an appropriate response. It is nobody’s case to see the Indian state “wither”! To that extent there will be an international response to Chinese threat, if it materialises. The impetus given to northern borders has significantly improved our capability and the gap is likely to be bridged further as time goes by. The unresolved border issue is a matter of grave concern and all measures must be taken to resolve it. The same is likely to manifest only if we continue with our capability enhancement and at the same time create enough insecurity in Xinjiang and Tibet so as to force the Chinese to accept a resolution of the border dispute.

  4. It is very wrong and prejudice comment to say that no politician has done nothing to resolve the tension between India and Pakistan. Under Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee leadership, regime has not left no stone unturned to sort out the issue. But continuous seize fire from the Pakistan has left no option to us. Please look into this.

  5. The British were ruthless. They did everything the Nazis did before the Nazis did. But they won and the winners write History. But they did have certain redeeming features which is why they were able to get so many natives to build their empire for them. One such quality was a deep sense of fair play that had been inculcated in them since the days of Elizabeth the First, built on the much earlier foundation of the Magna Charta which not only helped them escape the rigours of proletariat revolutions that took place in Russia, or France but build a powerful nation.

    This is why, to weaken and enslave India, they induced the enshrinement of inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and “many nations” in India’s Constitution, thus taking away their principal contribution that had stolen away men’s hearts and minds from the Sultans and the Rajas, to risk and sacrifice their lives for them. In other words, with this one deft stroke of Constitutional legerdemain, they returned India to what they had found. A patch work quilt of raping, looting petty potentates.

    They accelerated the transformation by inspiring their stooges who ruled India after them with “Social Engineering” and turned the pyramid upside down to put power in the hands of those least capable and keep it away from merit and integrity. They accelerated the transformation by inspiring their stooges who ruled India after them with “Social Engineering” and turned the pyramid upside down to put power in the hands of those least capable and keep it away from merit and integrity. Thus it is that we see India today, a law less Nation in a constant state of Civil War, reduced to 135 out of 172 countries (and below Sub-Saharan Africa) in the Global Human and Social Development Index (UNDP – 2015) and 143 rd out of 172 countries in internal Peace and Stability (UNDP – 2015) , home to 30% of the World’s poor (World Bank 2016) and with the highest number of Bomb Blast in the World 2016) pushing Iraq to second.

  6. Primarily, the British turned India into its own enemy with the Government of India Act (1935) which was plagiarized into India’s Constitution.

    As a result, you have inequality under the law, and exceptions to the rule of law resulting in the many conflicting nations of India. Some constitutionally favoured by the State others persecuted, and those favoured seeking to confiscate more and still more resources and opportunities of the nation to themselves at the expense of the rest.

    This social engineering enforced by an erudition, culture, integrity and arithmetic challenged judiciary, bureaucracy, police, journalist and political class condemned India to a perpetual state of low intensity civil war in which loot, plunder, rape, and murder are condoned or not based on the “who” rather than the “what”.

    This unaccountable tyranny of the Reservations-Extortion Raj has resulted in an India that has fallen in less than seventy years to 135 out of 172 countries (below Sub Saharan Africa) in Human and Social Development and 143 out of 172 countries in internal peace and stability (UNDP 2015).

    Today, you have the Blue Belt, the Green Belt, the Red Belt and the White Belt threatening national security pervasively while accusing the disenfranchised “Saffron” Belt that was deprived of its religious freedoms, temples, treasure, lands, irrigation tanks, educational Institutions and commonwealth.

    The Blue (Resrvations) Belt is indigenous. But the Green (Islam) Belt, the Red (Communist) Belt and the White (Convented Secularist WOGs) are Fifth Columnists reflecting external threats.

  7. Yes, the threat is well broughtout. The remedy doesn’t lies in Military solution alone. Good Civil Administration fully integrated with Military may be the answer to this complex matter.

    We have not been able to bring Civil – Military matters on one platform since both are ignorant of each others Role.

    Civil has to understand, if we neglect AFs it would be at our peril, for in neglecting AFs we neglect our NATION – see what is happening in Iraq.

    AFs have to understand; if we don’t take part in Electoral Process; no Politician will care about AFs, since all Political Paries indulge in VOTE BANK POLITICS.

    Corruption is our biggest ENEMY which gives birth to Insurgency. AFs fight Insurgents but have never come out with a suggestion how to tackle CORRUPTION other than Anna Hazare. Why?

    If ELECTIONS in India were free & fair; CORRUPTION – GOOD Governance would have been tackled to some extent. Why Military Top Brass is shy of taking effective part in Electoral Process in J&K or other States, when Supreme Court has up-held RIGHT to VOTE at the place of Posting in India?

    God helps those who help themselves. Military Commanders must understand there are otherway also, to resove difference than the Bullet.

  8. I am no analyst, but an enthusiast, and I wonder, that if Kashmir was a danger to herself, could any opposing armed force defend the territory? I mean, It seems, that Pakistan would have severe logistical issues. Now, the highways are being developed, but highways in the mountains don’t mean that the front of advance is broad, but narrow. The highways are Chinese, and Pakistan would have a situation, where her supplies would have to enter her mountains to get to Kashmir. They might be engaged near her mountain passes before her armed forces avail of them, on the other side where they are needed.
    It’s pretty certain, that Pakistan has no dire need to engage Indian security forces, and China will defend Pakistan, if Pakistan cannot defend herself. India and Pakistan want to promote nationalism, that is not conducive to good relations. There is no need for any occupation of territory, by either side, belonging to the other. It’s certain, that Mr. Vajpayee saw this state of affairs, when he went to Lahore, prior to the Kargil War.

  9. The modern Mauryan empire should be ashamed of calling itself a democratic country, while having drconian laws that prevent one from speaking about secession, i.e. hindering freedom of speach. Being that said, the Mauryan union, if confidence in winning through the use of ballots, should be willing to conduct internationally monitored referendum to know the minds of the people living in the region. If they want remain withing this barbarous union, then they will say so, but what’s going on here is the empire sole resorte to the use of bullets to achieve its aims. Nothing is forever!, one day the Modern empire, like it’s older cousin, will collapse!

  10. The three dangers highlighted by Mr. Verma, regrettably, have roots in the structural weakness of the political order of India as it exists today. Over the last 60 years since Independence, the leaders of India have systematically failed to integrate the nation into a unified society, economically, socially and politically. In the absence of a unified resistence the disruptive forces which includes Naxals, Kashmiri extremists/terrorists, and the Pakistani China nexus, are thriving and growing in strength in the cracks and fissures of the Indian landmass. The weak central government and the fiefdom based governance at the state levels are directly responsible for this malaise. It is time to put first things first. It needs National integration through a common language, Interstate commerce regulations that are uniform and applicable in all parts of India, and center based National Security Administration that can override all other agencies. India cannot wish for an economic and military parity with China, if her states continue to flaunt their partisan interests like in the old days of princely states. Remember, it was not too long ago, perhaps 500 years, when a small army of invaders from the North rode into India and captured one region after another because of the politically and militarily divided landscape, ultimately changing India’s history. The opposite will be true if India integrates into one homogenous nation. It will command the largest freeworld market and see unparallel economic growth, provide a bullwork against divisive tendencies within the nation, and become a self sufficient military power that others will not dare to challenge.

  11. The Siliguri corridor should have more effective fortifications than the Maginot Line did. And, in the mountains, without infrastructure. This should be a moonwalk, if we can place troops on the Siachen Glacier. I realize that Bhutan is the nation above the corridor, but the corridor is extremely important. Infantry is important in mountainous terrain, and preferably, mountain troops. I feel, that the infantry is the backbone, and I wouldn’t want Indian troops in what is considered, the territory of another nation. There can be two lines of fortifications, in the mountains, one on higher altitude, another on the foothills or on a lower altitude. It seems, one cannot have it on the other slope of the mountain, because that is not our territory. I really cannot see how we can refine training, because I don’t see how we are not doing so now. Infantry is important, and roads near mountains make vehicles pretty inviting. The prevailing idea, with drones is, that this make the human factor irrelevant. I feel, making the infantry very mobile, without transport, is very relevant. If Infantry can move, without concern about support, this is what is pretty important, and it seems, this is what can be crucial. I could be wrong.

  12. Are you trying to scare people into believing that India is about to fall apart? For once start thinking that these very dangers exist for the neighbouring countries also. Pakistan is on self destruct path. Its very existence is under threat. China is scared of India that one day it will arm the now docile Tibet population into a revolt. As of last few years. Also, Chinese have picked up more fights in South China Sea than anybody else. Which country in the Asian and non-aligned movement is free from insurgency. It is part of growing up as a nation. So stop thinking in negative terms. Have a bit of self confidence.

    • dear hari sud ji
      people like you have slept over the centuries and let india and indians get raped and massacared-in this world cwithout agressive and strong defence we will crumble-india has crumbled in the past when our centre weakened -china and pak together forments that
      we have to undo what uk did to us -get the lost land of pak bangla afghan etc back

  13. It is somewhat heartening to know that someone understands the problem of the North East. Danger3.
    Our nation has been plundered and pilfered by the politicial class- perhaps the most dispicable kind of human form;
    and the North East political class is no different if not more guilty. It is criminal what that lot is up to.
    The North East problem exists because the local leaders, the political class is corrupt; the people living there are,what can be best
    described as ignorant of the larger picture/ fall- out and the rest of the country- primarily the babus in Delhi being indifferent.
    Now with the new found love affair between the insurgents and the Maoists there, there is no telling which way the situation will go. All the Op Bajrangs and Rhinos will come to a naught.
    The Centre is blamed for policy paralysis- but if that pervades the areas of national security- internal(maoists primarily) or external(China primarily),
    that might just be the death knell of the country as we know it. When crooks like A. Raja go back to a hero’s welcome (and our martyrs in Kashmir and Kargil forgotten)- I think the writing is on the wall.

  14. What a well meaning post, by an ex-army officer belonging to India. I readily agree that such a person feels so, as was expressed. But, you know, the unfortunate part is, the Naxal movement is not relevant, and hence, the issues to be addressed are not being urgently addressed. The Naxals will not, and do not have the support of the overwhelming number of the people of India. They cannot take over the nation, because really, no one, except the Naxals want the Naxals to operate. If I were a tribal, I would know, that there is a reason for their region becoming a battleground. The Police never went to the tribal areas, perhaps, and the Naxals are the people in contact with the tribals. The unfortunate part is, that this state of affairs is no impetus for the situation to improve. The real issue is, that the tribals be free in a free and independent India, and their habitat be respected by non tribals. I don’t believe, we ‘normal’ Indians are civilized, if we look and feel bad for the ‘uncivilized’ tribals, because they are not like us. We Indians must inculcate ethics, and not believe that just because we can earn copious amounts of currency, we are civilized. It is we, who are being uncivilized, perhaps.
    About Kashmir, it is perhaps desirable, that the state not become as disorganized as our other states. The people must be allowed to do what they feel should be done. Development must not become more of a priority, than it is seen as a priority by the people. The Chief Minister has support in the state, it seems. I don’t really see anything amiss happening to the state. Why cannot there be politics beyond party considerations?

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