Extremism and Terrorism


To prepare for INTERNAL SECURITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Extremism and Terrorism. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-III.). Extremism and Terrorism terms are important from Economy perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.



  • Extremism is the context of security implies adoption of illegal and violent ways to propagate one’s ideology. Extremists are motivated by different goals and objectives.
  • It is somewhat surprising that despite terrorism being recognised as a global phenomenon, attempts in the past for arriving at an internationally accepted definition of terrorism have proved futile.
  • According to some observers, this ambivalence is primarily due to two reasons:
  • Firstly, a ‘terrorist’ in one country may be viewed as a ‘freedom fighter’ in another;
  • Secondly, it is known that some States resort to or encourage various kinds of criminal acts, clandestinely, through their own agencies or hired agents to subvert or to otherwise destabilize another lawfully established government or in extreme cases get important political or governmental personalities of another State assassinated.
  • History is replete with instances of acts of this nature. Hence, there is an obvious lack of political will, if not resistance to any universally acceptable definition of terrorism.
  • While Member-States of the United Nations have not arrived at a consensus regarding the definition of terrorism.
  • The definition of terrorism proposed by the Secretary General of the UN in September 2005 was accepted by France. According to him, terrorism is “any act meant to injure or kill the civilians and the non-combatants, in order to intimidate a population, a government, or an organization and incite them to commit an act against the perpetrators or on the contrary stop them from doing so”.


Position in India

  • Terrorism as an offence does not figure in the Indian Penal Code of 1860 as amended from time to time. In India, the first special law which attempted to define terrorism was the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987, which was followed by the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA). With the repeal of the latter in 2004, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was amended in 2019 to include the definition of a ‘terrorist act’.
  • It is evident that while the laws of some countries like the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia speak of the intention behind the terrorist act being for the purpose of advancing a ‘political, religious or ideological cause’, the Indian laws have avoided any such intention or purpose being incorporated to define or describe a terrorist act.


Types of Terrorism

  • Depending on the objectives of the group/groups, the nature of terrorism also differs such as ethno-nationalist terrorism, religious terrorism, left-wing terrorism, right-wing terrorism, state sponsored terrorism, cyber terrorism, urban terrorism etc. The major types of terrorist operations commonly identified globally include:

Ethno-Nationalist Terrorism:

· Terrorism motivated by ethno-nationalist and separatist aspirations became prominent only after the Second World War and dominated the terrorist agenda around the world for more than 50 years until religious terrorism came to occupy the centre stage.

· Ethnic terrorism can be defined, as deliberate violence by a subnational ethnic group to advance its cause. Such violence usually focuses either on the creation of a separate State or on the elevation of the status of one ethnic group over others.

· Tamil Nationalist groups in Sri Lanka and insurgent groups in North East India are examples of ethnonationalist terrorist activities.

Religious Terrorism


· Present-day terrorist activities around the world are motivated largely by religious imperatives.

· The practitioners of terrorism motivated either in whole or in part by a religious imperative consider violence as a divine duty or a sacramental act.

· It embraces different means of legitimisation and justification compared to other terrorist groups, and these distinguishing factors make religious terrorism more destructive in nature.

Ideology Oriented Terrorism


(a) Left-wing Terrorism

Violence against the ruling elite mostly by the peasant class motivated by what are called leftist ideologies have occurred time and again in history. Leftist ideologies believe that all the existing social relations and state structures in the capitalist society are exploitative in character and a revolutionary change through violent means is essential. The Maoist groups in India and Nepal are the most easily identifiable groups closer home.

(b) Right-wing Terrorism

Right-wing groups generally seek to maintain the status-quo or to return to some past situation that they feel should have been conserved. Sometimes, groups espousing rightist ideologies might assume ethnic/racist character too. They may force the government to acquire a territory or to intervene to protect the rights of an ‘oppressed’ minority in a neighboring country.





· Narco-terrorism has been defined by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as ‘the attempt by narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of the Government by systematic threat or use by violence’.

· However, it is also possible to view narco-terrorism as a means of terrorism or at any rate as a means of funding terrorism.

· As the term itself suggests, narco-terrorism combines two criminal activities; drug trafficking and terrorist violence.

· Narcoterrorism is motivated mainly by economic reasons as it helps the terrorist organizations raise huge sums of money with minimum cost for their activities.

· Islamist terrorist groups in India supported by the Pakistan ISI are reported to be active in drug trafficking along the Kashmir Valley and also in other parts of the country.


In recent times, some countries have embraced terrorism as a deliberate instrument of foreign policy. One distinction of state sponsored terrorism from other forms of terrorist activity is that it is initiated to obtain certain clearly defined foreign policy objectives rather than grabbing media attention or targeting the potential audience.

Means of terrorism:

  • Environmental Terrorism: Premeditated damage caused to the natural world. Example- During the Gulf War of 1991 when Saddam Hussein ordered the detonation of more than 1000 oil wells which engulfed Kuwait in smoke.
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Chemical Weapons
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Biological Weapons
  • Cyber-terrorism
  • Suicide Terrorism: Jihadi terrorists took to suicide terrorism in the 1990’s. In Kashmir, the first suicide attack by the Fedayeen was on July, 13 1991 on a Border Security Force Post.

Classification Of Terrorism:

Terrorism can be classified into two categories:

  • Terrorism by external stateactors, and
  • Terrorism by non-state actors.


Terrorism by External-State Actors:

  • When any government directly or indirectly indulges in terrorism against its own people or the people of another country, it is referred to as terrorism by state actors.
  • Also, terrorism against another country, whether in support of internationalterrorism or in order to destabilise that country, can be classified as ‘external state sponsored terrorism’.
  • Terrorism in Kashmir is a direct manifestation of state policy of Pakistan and ISI influence, while hinterland terrorism by Indian Mujahideen or SIMI is indirectly supported by ISI and the state of Pakistan. Therefore, Pakistan which is an external state actor is challenging India’s internal security directly as well as indirectly.
  • Similarly, time and again aspersions have been cast on the role of Bangladesh and Myanmar as external state actors regarding terrorism in the North-east.
  • Support to terrorism can be by various means, such as financial support to militant organisations, technical support, arms, training and infrastructural support, or ideological support.


Terrorism by Non-State Actors:

  • In this case, the act of terrorism is performed by an individual or a group which is not associated with or financed by any Government.
  • Non-state actors have generally no direct or indirect link with any government or government agency while pursuing their agenda, though indirect linkages cannot be completely ruled out. Naxalites, LTTE and North-east extremists are some examples of non-state actors.
  • Many important terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and IndianMujahideen (IM) also claim to be non-state actors but have de facto supportfrom Pakistan.
  • The use of non-state actors is essentially the employment of a proxy element, which gives the state of Pakistan a degree of deniability. However, there is no doubt that none of the so called ‘non-state actors’, like the LeT, could have operated with impunity without active funding, logistical and military support from Pakistan.
  • The close linkages of the ISI and such groups are well documented as is their direct involvement in attacks like that of 26/11. These groups aim to not only create instability in states like Jammu and Kashmir, but also have a larger aim of destabilising the country.
  • This is done through sporadic terrorist strikes, which spread terror and panic. This could also adversely affect the ability of the Indian state to pursue economic modernisation.
  • The flooding of the country with counterfeit currency is also a way of weakening the economy. Therefore, some of the so called ‘non-state’ actors operating from Pakistan are the proxies of the state, functioning under a clear charter of state policy.


Modus Operandi and Motto of ISI (through so called Non-State Actors):

  • To bleed India with a thousand cuts
  • To destabilise Indian economy through fake currency and other means
  • To supply arms and explosives to all kinds of militants in India
  • To take advantage of anti-government groups operating within India and toprovide financial, logistic and military support to such groups
  • To spread and support Islamic fundamentalist activities
  • To spread communal hatred and communal violence in India with the aimto divide and weaken the country.


Categorisation Of Terrorism In India:

Terrorism in India can be broadly classified into four major categories:

  • Hinterland terrorism
  • Jammu and Kashmir militancy (Covered in separate chapter)
  • North-East insurgency (Covered in separate chapter)
  • Left-Wing extremism (Covered in separate chapter- Naxalism)


Growth Of Hinterland Terrorism:

Hinterland terrorism is the terrorism that is spread all across the hinterland of the country. Such terrorist acts have been taking place all over India without any specific reason. Yet, if we look back and analyse, there appears to be a sequential, well planned, well-motivated growth of terrorism in India.

  • After failing in two conventional wars against India, especially post the humiliating defeat in 1971, Pakistan adopted the path of sub conventional war/proxy war by supporting terrorist activities in India since the last three decades with the motto of bleeding India with a thousand cuts.
  • The seeds of present terrorism were sown in the Khalistan movement in Punjab in the 1980s. This proved to be the deadliest terrorist movementin India. It was to create a buffer sovereign state between J&K and rest of
  • After Punjab, Pakistan targeted Kashmir in the late ‘1980s’ and tried to takeadvantage of anti-India separatist sentiments in a section of Kashmiripopulation, and it continues to do so, till date. Terrorism in Kashmir was basically operated by Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) based Islamist terrorist organisations created, trained, inspired and directed by ISI, like LeT, JEM, Hizbul Mujahideen, etc.
  • Meanwhile, SIMI was formed in Aligarh in 1977 with its motive to liberate Indian Muslims from western influence and make them follow Islamic code of conduct. In the 1980s and 1990s, SIMI became a highly militant and extremist group and took a more radical posture. Therefore, it was banned under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in 2001.
  • The Ayodhya incidents of 1992 also saw the rise of reactionary terrorist activities all over India, especially in Mumbai (1993 Bombay serial blasts). This provided a big opportunity to ISI to carry forward its designs of spreading terrorism and communalism in India.
  • The 21st century saw the formation of Indian Mujahideen (IM) after the ban on SIMI. It was to project to the outside world that terrorism in India was a purely indigenous development, arising out of ill-treatment of Muslims and not sponsored from across the border. Doctored videos of Gujarat riots were used by ISI to mobilise, recruit and radicalise the youth.
  • The ISI has always tried to take advantage of communal incidents like the Ayodhya issue and the Gujarat riots for inciting young Indian Muslims. The increasing efforts of ISI to exploit communal sentiments have ensured that the Muslim community remains vulnerable to mobilisation, recruitment and radicalisation. In recent times, there were reports of Lashkar-e-Taiba recruiting young Muslims in riot affected Muzaffarnagar district.
  • We saw reactionary right-wing extremist activities in 2006-07 in the form of bomb blasts in Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express. Initially, investigating agencies of various state police had allegedly implicated innocent Muslim youth in these cases. This resulted in heavy resentment in Muslims and gave another boost to radicalisation of Muslim Youth by ISI, LeT, SIMI and IM etc.
  • The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Bangladesh was also found to be involved in many terrorist attacks in India.


Hinterland terrorism is also sometimes assisted by neighbouring countries through the borders; hence it can be referred to as trans-national terrorism, given its obvious inability to take on India in a conventional war. Terrorists are provided training, infrastructure and weapons in Pakistan and then infiltrated into India through LoC or through Nepal.


Khalistan Movement:
  • The 1980s and early 90s witnessed a very intense Pro-Khalistan movement backed by ISI. Recently, we saw a manifest attempt by Sikh extremist groups residing in Canada and the US to revive the demand for Khalistan and of self-determination for Sikhs. They have the backing of sections of the Sikh community in the UK as well. As a result, a fresh wave of Sikh radicalisation is beginning to be seen in quite a few Western nations.
  • A Pro-Khalistan rally was organised in London, sponsored by a body styling itself as ‘Sikhs for Justice” based in the US. It has the backing of the UK-based Khalistan Sikh Federation and the Dal Khalsa. It is the clearest sign yet of the resurgence of pro-Khalistan sentiments. A revitalised movement for a separate Sikh state can cause problems within India, sooner rather than later.
  • Even the Home Ministry informed the Parliament that Pakistan’s ISI wasproviding moral and financial support to Pro Khalistan movement for Anti Indiaactivities as well as to revive militancy in Punjab.
  • Security agencies say the KLF (Khalistan Liberation Force), an extremist organisation active in the 1980s, was revived in 2009 in Malaysia under pressure from ISI.
  • The NIA said the main objective of the KLF is to “liberate the so-called Khalistan”. Founded by Aroor Singh in 1986, the outfit had been active in promoting secessionist activities till 1994.
  • The leadership of the KLF believes that they can revive the Khalistan movementby targeting members of specific communities so as to polarise the society ofPunjab on communal lines. Organisations and persons, who oppose the ideologyof Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, are their prime targets for elimination. KLF has been banned and brought in the First Schedule of UAPA in 2018.


Reasons For Spread Of Terrorism:

  • More technology available to conduct acts of terror
  • Targets of terrorism are more widespread than ever before.
  • Sophisticated means of communication (electronic media, print media,social media, internet) helped terrorists to quickly promote their ideologyand hate campaign
  • Intolerance in society due to increasing population and decreasing resources
  • Increasing globalisation of the society
  • International recognition and support to terrorist groups
  • Links between terrorism and organised crime to earn easy money


India faces different types of internal security threats. The groups involved raise funds from different sources, ranging from state sponsorship to fake currencies, to extortion and taxation, crime and smuggling, amongst others. Some cases are given below.


ISI Sponsored Terrorism:

  • The militancy in J&K presents a classic case of state-sponsored and financed terrorism. The ISI employs state and private resources, like money from drugs and contraband, donations and charities, as well as the globalised network for raising and moving funds from Jihadi Islamic fundamentalists across the globe.
  • This support is further augmented by funding from the Kashmiri diaspora and NGOs. These are thereafter used as part of Pakistan’s proxy war against India, thereby bringing various components of funding together.
  • However, in the case of Indian Mujahideen, state sponsorship in the form of financial support from ISI, mobilisation through organised criminal activities to raise funds and exploitation of globalised networks for financial resources have been the ways to keep their unlawful activities going.
  • It is believed that ISI’s terror network is self-supporting financially and themoney comes from:
  • Donations from Islamic countries in the name of Jihad
  • Earnings from drug trafficking
  • Issuing fake Indian currency notes (FICN)
  • Other kinds of organised crime
  • It is believed that the financial network operates through a few trusts, like the Al-Rashid from Karachi and the Rabita Trust from Islamabad. Usually these trusts operate through fake bank accounts.
  • The transfer of money to terrorist organisations is largely done through hawala transactions. Many a times, it has been found by Indian intelligence agencies that agencies like JeM, LeT and HM are funded indirectly by the ISI through the above-mentioned


Funding Sources for Other Forms of Terrorism:

  • Most insurgencies of the North-east receive funding from extortion and taxation, which is a local source. This is supplemented by trafficking of drugs, weapons and counterfeit currency. The insurgencies in the region have limited state-sponsored funding from outside and raising finances through private sources is the norm.
  • The case of CPI (Maoist) led insurgency is similar, with local financial resources providing the bulk of its funding. They also take a share from big infrastructure projects like roads, national highways, dams, rural development projects, etc.
  • Apart from this, they receive security money from mining companies and multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in the country. But there is no substantive evidence of state sponsorship to naxalism. They have also not profited substantially from the globalised financial environment.
  • These groups then use the funds collected to smuggle weapons, explosives and technology based equipments, like satellite radios, from across the border.
  • India has porous borders with Nepal, which is exploited. Similarly, borderswith Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan are often used for pushing in weaponsand ammunition.


Steps Taken to Check Terror Funding

  • Making terrorist finance an offence under UAPA
  • Integrated action of Security agencies with Financial Intelligence Unit
  • Demonetisation
  • Improved safety features in new currency
  • Strengthening of PMLA in 2013 and 2018
  • A special Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Cell (created in MHAin 2019).
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2004 also provides for punishment for knowingly holding a property derived or obtained from the commission of a terrorist act or acquired through terrorist funds.


Modern Day Online Terrorism (Cyber Extremism):
  • One can clearly see a shift in the modus operandi of terror outfits in the way of recruiting, training and deploying the cadre. Earlier the potential candidates were won over by taking recourse to self-proclaimed superiority of particular religion or ideology.
  • They were then smuggled out to undergo further indoctrination and tactical training outside the targeted country. Thereafter they were sent back to await instructions as sleeper cells or tasked to carry out certain terror attacks or operations.
  • Here everything is online, from radicalisation to recruitment to training to money transfer, which is far more dangerous than the ISI modus operandi which usually trains people across the border. In the ISI module, the wannabe terrorist had to cross Indian border via various routes which was not as easy always.
  • With the advent of widespread use of internet and modern communicationtechnology, both open and clandestine (deep web, dark web etc.) there is no needto send the cadre for training in designated locations.



  • Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group, being dissatisfied with the current scenario, adopts an increasingly extreme political, social or religious ideology to change things as per his/their beliefs, which could also involve violence.
  • Radicalisation, if unchecked, can lead to extremist discourse in society, recruitment by terrorists, aggravate communal tension/violence and fuel extremism in other groups.
  • In the recent past radicalisation of youths by the terrorist organisation is ona rise.
  • Online radicalisation and recruitment of Indian youth by ISIS is a major threat to the nation’s sovereignty, security and integrity. But with the advent of increasing internet penetration and social media the problem has got compounded.
  • It isdifficult to regulate social platforms due to their inherent advantages on one hand and greater anonymity, and transnational reach on other.


De-radicalisation and Counter Radicalisation

De radicalisation is a process by which an already radicalised person is brought back into mainstream society while counter-radicalisation is the process by which vulnerable persons are prevented from getting radicalised.


Way Forward to Check Online Terror:

Any step to regulate the internet should be in consonance with utmost respect to the fundamental rights of citizens to speech and expression, information, connection etc.

  • International Cooperation: An international consensus should be built among nations and various IT-related organisations to follow certain guidelines in regulating internet use.
  • Comprehensive Legislation: Strict laws should be enacted to create deterrence for being involved into any kind of radicalisation.
  • Empowered investigation and judicial process to punish those involved in such activities.
  • Use of Technology: Technology like big data can be used to catch phrases related to radicalisation and delete any such content. To avoid children falling prey to radicalisation, online sites can use similar method like YouTube to verify the age of viewer before allowing to watch any adult video.
  • A multi-pronged strategy focusing on rational and logical counter-propaganda should be adopted with the help of civil society, NGOs etc. We need to have very strong online surveillance capabilities. Social media monitoring capabilities to counter such kind of radicalisation.
  • Increase in intelligence sharing and coordination between agencies such as NIA, IB and state police, etc. is a must to prevent such incidents.
  • Parents, family and society needs to be more alert and aware in watching the activities of their children. They should not only monitor activities but counter the radical ideology with rational and logical thinking Help to be provided by professional counsellors to counsel against radicalisation once it is reported by some friend or family member.
  • Police forces needs to be trained to develop counter terror capabilities and should be equipped with knowledge of recent technology.


Preparedness against terrorism:

Key elements of a potential counter-terror strategy:

  • Political consensus: Union Government should have intensive interactions with the States and Union Territories while drawing up the national strategy, the latter would be required to do their part in close consultation with the nodal ministry of the Government of India.
  • Good governance and socioeconomic development: This would necessitate high priority being given to development work and its actual implementation on the ground for which a clean, corruption-free and accountable administration at all levels is an imperative necessity.
  • Respect for rule of law: Governmental agencies must not be allowed to transgress law even in dealing with critical situations caused by insurgency or terrorism.
  • Countering the subversive activities of terrorists: Government must give priority to defeating political subversions (e.g. by terrorists and Maoists). The emphasis should be on civil as opposed to military measures to counter terrorism and insurgency.
  • Providing the appropriate legal framework: The ordinary laws of the land may not be adequate to book a terrorist. This may require special laws and effective enforcement mechanisms, but with sufficient safeguards to prevent its misuse.
  • Building capacity: The capacity building exercise should extend to the intelligence gathering machinery, security agencies, civil administration and the society at large.


Steps taken by government:

  • Enacting legislative framework such as The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; The National Security Act, 1980; The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 1985 and 1987; Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA)
  • Call for adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), a proposed treaty which provides a comprehensive global legal framework against terrorism.
  • Cooperation with USA: In 2011, US-India Homeland Security Dialogue was created, which was the first comprehensive bilateral dialogue on homeland security issues between our two countries.
  • Part of Global Network of Cities on Terror Fight: Mumbai has now become part of this network formed at UN Level that will exchange techniques and develop infrastructure to combat extremism and strengthen their cyber security system.
  • Countering terrorist financing: India is part of the Global regime of Financial Action Task Force which aims to counter terrorist financing. For instance, FATF has kept Pakistan in its Grey List for failing to comply with its deadline to prosecute and penalize terrorist financing in the country.


Institutional Framework to Tackle Terrorism:

Before 26/11


· Before 2008, terrorism was fought mainly by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) with the help of state police and Central Armed Police Forces. The IB played the role of an intelligence agency which coordinated the efforts of various state police forces.

· The operations and investigations part were looked after by the state police. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a special commando force (NSG) was created to engage and neutralise the terrorist threats in specific situations. NSG commandos were trained in high risk tasks like counter hijacking and counter terrorist operations.

New Changes after 26/11


· Although the Mumbai Police and the NSG are applauded for their operations during the 26/11 attacks, their initial response and operating procedures brought to light serious flaws in coordination.

· Post 26/11, many steps were taken by the Centre in this regard. The Centre also announced the creation of many new institutions, NIA, NATGRID, MAC (revamping), NCTC. Many steps were taken on the legal front also.



  • The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID is an integrated intelligence grid that will link the databases of several departments and ministries of the Government of India so as to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies.
  • It is a counter terrorism measure that collects and collates a host of information from government databases including tax and bank account details, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records and itineraries of rail and air travel. This combined data will be made available to 11 central agencies.
  • It is yet to become operational. The government is taking measures to make NATGRID functional.


Revamping of Multi Agency Centre (MAC)

  • MAC is a multi-agency centre for Counter Terrorism whose mandate is to share terrorism related intelligence inputs on a day to day basis.
  • Multi Agency Centre(MAC) was created at Delhi and Subsidiary Multi Agency Centres (SMACs) invarious states comprising representatives from various security agencies forstreamlining intelligence efforts after Kargil war.
  • But it was revamped after 26/11. MAC in the Intelligence Bureau shares intelligence with various agencies including the police, CAPFs, defence and financial intelligence agencies.


Creation of Four New NSG Hubs

  • The limitation of inadequate security forces was addressed by opening NSG hubsat four places at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad after Manesar inorder to ensure faster and more effective reaction to crisis situations.


Coastal Security Scheme Revamped

  • The issue of maritime security and the lack of it surfaced and gained muchattention after the Mumbai attacks.
  • To strengthen coastal security of the country,series of measures have been taken to review, upgrade and strengthen the coastalsecurity of the country. The following major decisions/initiatives have been takenby the Centre:
    • The task of guarding the Indian coastline right from the shoreline hasbeen entrusted to the Coast Guard. However, the responsibility of overall maritime security rests with the Indian Navy.
    • Coastal States/UTs have been directed to expedite the implementation of the approved Coastal Security Scheme such as early completion of construction of coastal police stations, check posts, out-posts etc.
    • The coastal states and UTs have been directed to immediately start coastal patrolling by locally hired fishing boats/trawlers.
    • The coastal states/UTs have been directed to carry out vulnerability/gap analysis on their coasts in consultation with Coast Guard.
    • Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has been directed tostreamline the process of registration of all types of vessels,e., fishing as well as non-fishing vessels.
    • To issue ID cards to all the fishermen and all the population of the coastal


Legal Framework to deal with Terrorism:

The first special act to deal with terrorism was the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA as it is commonly called. It came into force after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. But following allegations of its misuse, it was allowed to lapse in 1995 and another special act called the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was enacted in 2002 in the aftermath of the December 2001 attack on Parliament. POTA was also repealed in 2004. After 26/11, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, UAPA Amendment Act came in force in December, 2008 which was further amended in 2012.



Key Amendments in the legislation:

  • Expands the scope of terror entities: Previously the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation, if it, prepares or commits or participates or promotes or otherwise involved in terrorism. Now the government is empowered to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
  • Approval for seizure of property: Earlier an investigating officer was required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism. Now, if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
  • Empowering NIA: Earlier, the investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above. This Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties: There were nine treaties listed in a schedule (like Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979)) to the Act, according to which the Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed under those treaties. This Bill adds the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the list.


Need and Benefits of these amendments:

  • Increasing threats of terrorism- especially emanating from the cross border infiltration, which have caused multiple civilian as well as defence causalities in India.
  • Many individuals escaped the radar- Not designating individuals as terrorists, would give them an opportunity to circumvent the law and they would simply gather under a different name and keep up their terror activities.
  • Delay in the current process- the law required that NIA take prior permission from the respective state DGP to attach the proceeds of terrorism. This delays the process as often such properties are in different states.
  • Requirement of Human Resources- By empowering officers with the rank of inspectors and above to investigate, the amendment seeks to solve the human resource crunch in the NIA.


Concerns with the amendment:

  • Draconian Provisions- The Central Government will be having the power to declare an individual as ‘terrorist’, which potentially dangerous because it will empower officials of Union Ministry to brand any person as a terrorist without following due process.
  • Potential of misuse- The terms terrorist propaganda, terrorist literature etc. are vague terms having a potential of being misused by the authority.
  • Goes against the judicial prudence- if a person is labelled as ‘terrorists merely on the basis of speech and thought’. Rather it should be considered only if such speech gives rise to direct and imminent violence.


Way Forward:

  • Safeguards against misuse- The Act have provisions for four level scrutiny before any decision is taken on designation of an individual as a terrorist. Proper legal and concrete evidence has to be there to support this and there will be close scrutiny at every level.
  • The different agencies of state should ensure that due process of law is applied while dealing with various cases under this legislation.
  • Need to ensure state of the art training- of young officials as to make them competent in tackling complex cases.
  • Need for a central agency for overseeing evidence collection- so as to aid investigation process, especially when cases need to connect dots across the borders.
  • The primary duty of the state is to secure the lives and property of its citizens and this amendment empowers the state in doing so.



The Parliament recently passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act 2019, which seeks to expand the powers and jurisdiction of the NIA.


Key Amendments:

  • Enhances the scope of Offences: which are mentioned in the schedule to the Act, such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. This amendment enhances this scope to include other offences like human trafficking; offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes; manufacture or sale of prohibited arms; cyber- terrorism; offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
  • Enhances the jurisdiction of the NIA: as the officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
    • The Union government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India.
    • The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
  • Additional Provisions for Special Courts: The NIA Act allowed the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
    • Now the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences, but in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning.
    • When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will distribute cases among the courts.
    • Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.


Way Forward:

The functioning of NIA should not depend on political mandate, but on rule of law. It must be ensured that human rights are secured.


Issues With Anti-Terror Legislations
  • Incoherence and Misuse- The haste in legislating anti-terror laws led to a significant amount of incoherence, without substantial thought being given to the unintended consequences of the slight tweaks in language.
  • Various other state laws have been made without studying the misuse and impact of TADA and POTA, thus increasing the suspicion of their misuse.
  • Complexities of Indian federalism- Various state laws have faced hurdles in getting Presidential assent and similarly, legal attempts to bring a National Counter Terrorism Centre were thwarted by the state governments.
  • Legislative gap between Union laws- such as there was a long gap of four years (since repeal of POTA in 2004 till the amendments in UAPA in 2008) when India did not have any special federal anti-terror legislation.
  • State specific problems- such as the presence of underworld and organized crime networks in Maharashtra, Arunachal led to the enactment of legislations against organized crime like MCOCA, APCOCA.


Failure Of Intelligence Agencies
  • Lack of expertise and infrastructure has resulted in a substandard surveillance from across the border resulting in ever increasing terror activities.
  • Lack of coordination between Army, state police, paramilitary forces lead to confusing outcomes. Similarly there is no coordination between defence intelligence units like IB, NSA, NSC have been creating lacunae within.
  • Hierarchical confusions arising because of presence of PMO, NSA, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs all in loop creating slip ups.
  • Inputs gathered are either too late or not unabridged enough to know the exact nature of the activity. Ex: Mumbai attacks information.
  • Reports not tabled in Parliament and anonymity maintained as to how they function. This leads to lack of accountability.
  • No parliamentary or public debate happens on working of these institutions which diminishes essence of democratic debates in country.


Convention On International Terrorism

The Convention on international terrorism was proposed by India in 1996. Despite the passage of two decades, the countries are yet to come to a conclusion.



  • CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to the terrorist groups.
  • It will provide an universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law.
  • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps. To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence Without it countries are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited.
  • Increased data sharing between foreign funding, drug and arms trade network and foreign tourist arrival (FTA) data.
  • Islamic state is growing its influence further east despite being under siege in Iraq and Syria. The deadly attacks in Pakistan, on a court and a Sufi shrine, and the unearthing of an IS cell in Hyderabad in India are proof. So there is a need for the global effort against terrorism.

India’s role:

  • India must isolate and act against countries that serve as safe havens for terrorists.
  • India must redouble its diplomatic efforts with the UNSC, US, OIC, and the Latin American countries who are creating major obstacles to ratify the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
  • Adoption of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism will be an expression of India’s resolve to fight terrorism.
  • The current differences between definition of terrorism need to be resolved through a broader framework with stress on human right violations and extra judicial killing.
  • With terrorism on a rise and even countries who have been sponsors of terror are becoming victims of it shows the necessity and significance of CCIT and with India’s continuous pursuance this can be achieved.


Role of FATF in Combating Terrorist Financing:
  • Setting global standards to combat terrorist financing: FATF ensures all its members have implemented measures to cut off terrorism-related financial flows, in accordance with the FATF Recommendations. All members are required to:
    • Criminalise the financing of individual terrorists and terrorist organisations.
    • Freeze terrorist assets without delay and implement ongoing prohibitions.
  • Evaluating countries’ ability to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute the financing of terrorism: FATF issues two lists namely
    • Black list (officially known as High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action): The current FATF blacklist includes two countries: North Korea and Iran.
    • Grey list (officially referred to as Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring)
  • Assisting jurisdictions in implementing financial provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on terrorism: The FATF has developed a range of tools and guidance to help detect, disrupt, punish and prevent terrorist financing.


Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry for concluding Mutual LegalAssistance Treaties in criminal matters which are designed to facilitate widestmeasures of mutual assistance in investigation, prosecution and prevention ofcrime, service of summons and other judicial documents, execution of warrantsand other judicial commissions and tracing, restraint, forfeiture or confiscation ofproceeds and instruments of crime.
  • These agreements assume importance in combating transnational organised crimes, trans-border terrorism, crimes and other serious offences, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeit currency, smuggling of arms and explosives, etc. India has so far operationalised these treaties with 34 countries.


Joint Working Groups (JWGs) to Counter Terrorism:

The Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal authority for setting up of JWGS on Counter Terrorism to exchange information and strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism and transnational organised crime. PP Division acts as an interface with MEA on issues concerning Joint Working Groups on Counter Terrorism set up between India and other countries to discuss bilateral security issues.


Security Council Resolution 2322:

On December 12, 2016 the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at enhancing and fortifying judicial cooperation worldwide in countering terrorism. It aims to enhance the efficacy of international legal and judicial systems in their fight against terrorism through operational collaboration.


National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC)
  • The concept was conceived after 26/11, where several intelligence and operational failures revealed the need for federal agencies with real time intelligence inputs of actionable value, specifically to counter terrorist acts.
  • NCTC was mooted to be an apex body with single effective point of control for all counter terrorism It was modelled on the lines of American and British bodies. NCTC was to be kept under the administrative control of IB.


2nd ARC Recommendations:

Need for a Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Legislation:

    • A comprehensive and effective legal framework to deal with all aspects of terrorism needs to be enacted. The law should have adequate safeguards to prevent its misuse. The legal provisions to deal with terrorism could be incorporated in a separate chapter in the National Security Act, 1980.


Definition of Terrorism:

    • There is need to define more clearly those criminal acts which can be construed as being terrorist in nature.


Confession before a Police Officer:

    • Confession before the police should be made admissible. But this should be done only if comprehensive police reforms are carried out. Till such time, confessions should continue to be made before judicial magistrates.


Special Courts:

    • Provisions for constitution of Special Fast Track Courts exclusively for trial of terrorism related cases may be incorporated in the law on terrorism. Other specific provisions related to such Special Courts may also be incorporated. Such Courts may be set up as and when required.


Measures against Financing of Terrorism – Anti-money Laundering Measures:

    • The Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA) may be suitably amended at an early date to expand the list of predicate offences to widen its scope and outreach.
    • The financial transaction reporting regime under the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND) may be extended to cover high risk sectors such as real estate. There is also need to strengthen the capacity of FIU-IND to enable it to meet future challenges.


Role of Citizens, Civil Society and Media in Combatting Terrorism – Education:

    • NCERT has proposed a scheme to encourage and support institutions, voluntary agencies and NGOs etc. engaged with school education for promotion of Education for Peace within the country. These initiatives need to be encouraged with necessary funds and other material support.
    • The feasibility of extending the scheme to religious schools also needs to be examined.


Role of Citizens, Civil Society and Media in Combatting Terrorism – Media:

    • The potential of media in spreading education and awareness needs to be tapped to build the capacity of citizens in dealing with any public disorder, particularly terrorist violence.
    • Media should be encouraged to evolve a self-regulating code of conduct to ensure that publicity arising out of terrorist attacks does not help the terrorist in their anti-national designs.


Role of the State and Reforms:

    • A national forum should be set up for formulation of policy and strategy for dealing with terrorism.
    • A stable, comprehensive, all India anti-terrorist legislation, having adequate safeguards against abuse, must be put in place.
    • While terrorist violence has to be effectively dealt with by the security forces, people’s grievances – genuine and perceived – which get exploited, have to be redressed by concerned agencies with a sense of urgency.
    • A stable, effective and responsive administration is an antidote to terrorism.
    • For effectively dealing with violence, outdated laws (e.g., The Explosive Act), containing irrelevant provisions resulting in delay in investigation and prosecution of offenders, must be amended.
    • Developmental activities should be planned and executed with due regard to problems of displacement of people, resettlement etc., so that violent eruption of conflicts on such issues can be avoided.


  • These attacks involve threat or use of violence by a single perpetrator (or a small cell).
  • A lone wolf acts without any direct support of any other group or other individual in the planning, preparation and execution of the attack.
  • Ranging from threatening and intimidating people to indiscriminate shootings, vehicle ramming, stabbing and suicide bombings, lone wolf terror attacks have become a grave threat.
  • Long-term data reveals the proportion of lone wolf attacks, has risen from under five per cent in the mid- 1970s to above 70 per cent for the period between 2014 and 2018.


Reasons for recent increase in Lone wolf attacks

  • Ease of radicalization through technology: Number of online forums and social media profiles, where hate-speech and pro-terrorist sentiment flourishes, has increased. They act as source of inspiration and aid to forge connections to like-minded extremists.
  • Mental illness: According to some estimates, more than 40 percent of attacks were perpetrated by people with diagnosed mental illness.
  • Increasing extreme ideological movement: Extreme ideological movements are growing stronger in several European countries. Agitators have exploited the fear of religious minorities and refugees in order to undermine public confidence in government and turn them against the society.
  • Ease of execution: Terrorist organisations have embraced this tactic to spread violence in countries where coordinated big attacks are difficult to execute due to stringent security.
  • Lax Gun Control regime: favors lone wolfs in carrying out attacks with mass casualties.


Way forward

  • A multi-pronged approach towards radicalization must be adopted by the government and the security agencies, anchored in human intelligence, strong ties with communities and community leaders and deradicalization programmes.
  • Monitoring social media can help officials spot potential attackers without previous connections to other terrorists.
  • Try to make lone-wolf attacks less lethal by limiting access to explosive materials, semiautomatic weapons etc.
  • Focus on gathering intelligence, arresting suspected cell leaders, and destroying terrorist command centers involved in radicalization activities.
  • Proactive measures such as training and equipping the local police, contingency plans by the intelligence and counter-terrorism structures, and a robust national counter-terrorism doctrine addressing the different nuances of terrorism are strategically important to subdue any attempts of lone wolf terrorism.
  • Big data analytics can be used to discern the level of radicalization of potential recruits, their networks and sources of information, funding and leadership in order to help unravel the roots of radicalization.


Previous Year Questions: GSM-3

  • Cross-Border movement of insurgents is only one of the several security challenges facing the policing of the border in North-East India. Examine the various challenges currently emanating across the India-Myanmar border. Also, discuss the steps to counter the challenges. – 2019
  • Indian Government has recently strengthened the anti-terrorism laws by amending the unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations. – 2019
  • The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding? – 2016
  • What, in your opinion, are the causes of terrorism? Suggest suitable measures to deal with the threat of terrorism in India. – 2008



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