Introduction To Internal Security Of India


To prepare for INTERNAL SECURITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the Introduction To Internal Security Of India. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-III.). Introduction To Internal Security Of India 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.

Internal security can be defined as the management of security within the border of a country. It means the maintenance of peace and law and order, and upholding the sovereignty of the country. In our country, Internal security comes under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs.


Security can be categorized into two groups:

  • Internal security – Management of the security within the border of a country. Means maintenance of peace and law and order, and upholding the sovereignty of the country. In our country internal security comes under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • External security – Management of security against aggression by a foreign country. External security sole domain of Armed forces of country. This comes under the ambit of Ministry of Defence.


What is National Security?

Law and order problems: Problems which do not threaten the national security in traditional terms but create a violent situation which in turn creates breeding ground for a National security situation. These are activities like civil war, ethnic conflict, crime and drugs.National Security, in a more traditional sense, refers to the preservation of the state, its territorial integrity, political institutions, and national sovereignty from physical threats. But in the modern times the definitions have broadened to include following facets:

  • Economic threats: They indirectly threaten the developmental dynamics by disturbing the economic processes.
  • Technology driven threats: Threats like cyber-terrorism, space warfare etc. have assumed increased importance in recent times.
  • Health Security: Diseases like Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV are seen as threats to human security because of the enormous loss of life they cause.


Important aspects of internal security:
  • Upholding the rules and laws made by the authority.
  • Accepting the sovereign power of people.
  • Protecting India’s national sovereignty.
  • Securing the territorial integrity of India.
  • Promoting India’s rise to its rightful place in international affairs.
  • Ensuring a peaceful internal environment within India.
  • Creating a climate for our citizens that is just, equitable, prosperous, and shields them from risks to life and livelihood.


These aspects of internal security are ensured by the police, which is helped by the central armed police forces.

Destabilising a country through internal disturbances is more economical and less objectionable, particularly when direct warfare is not an option and international borders cannot be violated.


The 43rd Report to the concerned Parliamentary Standing Committee, the Ministry of Home Affairs has brought out that “210 of the 535 districts in the country are affected by serious internal security problems or public disorders” and almost 40 per-cent areas facing serious disorders of one or the other kind.


Challenges to the Internal Security of Country:
  • Political instability and internal social disharmony
  • Naxalism
  • Terrorism and nexus with organized crime
  • Cyber-crime and cybersecurity
  • Religious wars and caste crimes
  • Coastal and border security
  • Insurgency in North-East and militancy in J&K


  • As conventional war is not resulting the desired result hence, they went for opting other ways like Psy-Wars (psychological wars). This is fourth generation warfare disturbing the civil fabric of the nation and instead of conquering land is being replaced by the concept of controlling the minds of the civil society using Psy-ops (psychological operation).
  • These challenges to internal security can increase to multiple fold if, border management is weak so a comprehensive border can act as a check over the threats to the internal security of the country.


Factors responsible for Internal Security Problem in the country:
  • Some problems were since the time of independence, but we are failed to resolve them:
    • Unfriendly and hostile neighbours (China, Pakistan etc.)
    • Unemployment and underemployment (lack of inclusive development)
    • Some are due to administrative failure like:
    • Inequitable growth.
    • Widening gap between haves and have-nots.
    • Governance deficit.
    • Failure to curtail organized crimes.
    • Due to partisan politics:
    • Increasing the communal divide.
    • Increasing caste awareness and caste tension.
    • Politics based on the sectarian, ethnic, linguistic etc.
    • Growing regional aspirations and the government’s failure to fulfil it.
    • The secessionist movement in Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir
    • Geographical factor
    • Living in isolation.
    • Very tough terrain near the borders
    • Governance deficit:
    • Poor criminal justice system
    • Large scale corruption
    • Nexus between the criminals, police and politician in organised crime.
    • Lack of development.

Each factor mentioned above are exploited by the nefarious actor time and again to create instability in the country. The hostile neighbours leave no opportunity to make their vision as true.


Internal Security Doctrine:

A national security doctrine helps the state to identify and prioritize that country’s geopolitical interests. India does not have any such ‘doctrine’ so far.


Internal Security Doctrine:

India has seen crisis after crisis resulting from militancy, insurgency, terrorist attacks, unsettled border disputes, etc. For Example, Terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase (2016), 26/11 Mumbai blasts etc. opacity in working of different intelligence agencies. To fill the gap in existing system, need of the hour is standard operating procedure i.e. internal security doctrine.


Internal Security Doctrine Should include:
  • Political
  • Socio-Economic
  • Governance
  • Police and Security forces
  • Centre-state coordination
  • Intelligence
  • Border management
  • Cyber Security


Classification Internal security threats:

A state can be at risk from four threats:

  • Internal
  • Externally-aided internal
  • External
  • Internal-aided external
  • India’s internal security threat perceptions are a mix of all four threats mentioned above.
  • In era of information and digital age security threats (internal and external), are interrelated and cannot be seen in isolation from each other. So, changing external environment also impact the internal security of country i.e. In Myanmar, persecution of Rohingyas created a new problem in internal security front of country.
  • Internal security problems have started affecting the growth and development of our country.
  • Police is generally the first agency to respond to internal security challenges. Impending police reforms (Prakash Singh judgment of SC) should be implemented to strengthen policing.
  • The absence of a central institution to tackle terrorism has resulted in a fragmented approach to terrorism. Therefore, a central anti-terrorism agency, NCTC, should be established.
  • Synergy between law enforcement, legal and judicial systems is essential. The prosecution of the perpetrators of terrorist acts needs to be expedited.
  • Military pressure alone cannot resolve matters unless there is good governance, with a strong thrust on socio-political and socio-economic
  • Perception management has been the weakest link in India’s fighting against internal security problems. Counter narratives to the propaganda of the terrorists and insurgents should be developed. For example, Government is introducing courses on scientific interpretations of religious texts in Madrassas.
  • Implementation of Make in India, National Manufacturing Policy, reviving textile MSMEs, improving ease of doing business etc will generate much-needed jobs in India.
  • In the Northeast, the Assam Rifles had been raised primarily for deployment in that area and comprised personnel from that region. Its composition was eventually changed to that of an all-India force which lead to loss of rapport.
  • Internal funding sources for terrorists, money laundering, cyber thefts should be checked by the coordination of NIA, NATGRID and IB.
  • Terrorism has global dimension and effective cooperation should be secured with other nations to tackle it.
  • Effective border management through ICPs, fences, regular visits of leaders in bordering areas is needed to curb insurgency in internal pockets.
  • Implementation of National cyber security policy 2013 will reduce vulnerability of core infrastructure and secure banking, government and military communications.
  • Considering the length of India’s borders, the border forces will always remain inadequate. They have to be supplemented with Home and Hearth units or village guards of the kind employed in Arunachal Pradesh. These Home and Hearth units, staffed with as many local ex-servicemen as possible, can be raised wherever border holding forces are thin on the ground.


Major issues with India’s External Security:

Govt Initiatives:
  • NATGRID: The formation of an intelligence database designed to consolidate and make searchable data gathered by existing security and law enforcement agencies, will prove to be a vital link in India’s intelligence infrastructure.
  • CCTNS: The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and System (CCTNS) is an initiative of the MHA, to facilitate storage, transfer and sharing of data and information between police stations.
  • CERT-In: It is responsible for protection of cyber systems and it provides specific steps and countermeasures to patch the existing vulnerabilities and strengthen the security of these websites.
  • SAMADHAN: On the Naxal front, the Conference of Chief Ministers of the affected states held in Delhi came up with a new formula of SAMADHAN to tackle the problem.


Way forward:
  • Reduce ethnic and social inequalities, disparities in educational and employment opportunities.
  • Establish effective Public Grievance Redressal System in conflict-affected areas. Timely resolution of genuine problems of people will reduce further conflicts.
  • Improve the delivery of essential goods and services in conflict-affected areas. A dedicated supply mechanism can be established to bridge the gap between government and people.
  • Focusing on the economic development of these areas. Developing basic infrastructure like rail, road, communication lines, water infrastructure, housing etc. will help to generate employment and win the hearts of the people.
  • A mechanism can be established to bring coordination among all central and state security forces dealing with the issues. This will help to deal with the problems more effectively and reduce duplication of work and loss of resources.
  • States should form composite force on the lines of NSG where internal security problems are worse.
  • National Security Council and Cabinet Committee on Security should a proactive policy which will prevent internal security threats before it gets originated.
  • The government needs to empower Narcotics Control Bureau given the country’s close proximity with drug producing areas like Golden Crescent on the West and Golden Triangle on the East.
  • The government has enacted a number of laws to prevent financial crimes. But left-wing extremism is still mobilizing large sums of money. Government needs to find out the sources of these groups so that the government can take proper actions.

In today’s context of a nation state, the challenge lies in changing the long-term concept of national security, which we need to understand in a comprehensive sense rather than in narrow military terms only. In the absence of the feeling of ‘Nation First’ in the heart of each and every citizen, we would not succeed in attaining freedom from the internal security threats.



Pandemic (Covid-19) and National Security:

A pandemic in the form of Covid-19 has caused large scale loss of life and disturbed livelihoods all across the world. The magnitude of damage that it has caused has sparked a debate regarding whether epidemics should be treated as a national security problem.


How does the Pandemic threaten National Security?
  • Can trigger a violent conflict: Pandemic may contribute to societal destabilization and in extreme cases it may accelerate the processes that lead to state failure which threatens national security. Various examples of AIDS triggered violence can be seen in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Biological weapons: Biological agents including epidemic diseases can be weapons of war and thereby directly and immediately threaten security. Combatants may deliberately target public health and spread disease to weaken and demoralize an enemy population.
  • Affect bilateral relations: Outbreaks may prompt disputes among states over appropriate policy responses in a number of areas, including freedom of movement for people and goods. For example, disputes arising during the MERS outbreak between India and countries in the Middle-east regarding Indian diaspora.
  • Human security: The idea that human security is part of national security directly makes epidemics a threat to nation by threating its people. For instance, by this approach tuberculosis is a national security threat to India because it threatens health of citizens of this country.


Advantages of viewing epidemics/pandemics as National Security threat:

  • Higher priority: Associating health policy commitments with security can elevate the level of priority given to an issue and deliver results. Also, it would make available more resources to health emergencies via national security channel.
  • Better institutional organization: A national security problem is more likely to have a well-defined and streamlined institutional apparatus which in turn could generate a more coordinated and accelerated response.
  • Increased global commitment: Viewing epidemics as a security issue may encourage a deepening of commitment by countries to international cooperation and preparedness.


Challenges in looking at an epidemic/pandemics through security prism:

  • Risk of mislabelling everything as security threat: If everything that causes a decline in human well-being is labelled a security threat, the term loses any analytical usefulness.
  • This approach relieves developed states: Viewing epidemics as part of national security relieves states without major public health threats of any moral obligation to respond to health crises of monumental proportions in the developing world. Currently, this is more seen in the perspective of humanitarian aid.
  • Deter regional cooperation: Issues of National security see relatively lower level of cooperation among neighbouring countries. This could directly impede much needed cooperation.


Way forward:

In a nutshell, global pandemics threaten state security in three ways – domestically, economically and militarily. Going forward, while there are valid arguments both for and against treating epidemics as a national security issue, the following may also be seen as an alternative:

1. Viewing it as a foreign policy issue rather than national security concern: It may be more fruitful to view disease and health issues as concerns for foreign policy deserving of multilateral responses, rather than as security threats requiring bilateral policy responses.
2. Independent institutional mechanism: Security labels provide health emergencies with resources; the same human and financial resources could be garnered if an independent institutional mechanism for health emergencies can be created.


Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Artificial Intelligence is an emerging technology that facilitates intelligence and human capabilities of sense, comprehend, and act with the use of machines.


How use of AI is affecting National Security?

  • Changing nature of security: The traditional elements of security are rapidly expanding with technological developments leading to creation of newer challenges which are AI dependent.
    • Rise in frequency and cost of cybersecurity threats: AI enabled tools have the potential to increase the defensive capabilities of security systems.
    • Security is growing more complex: Growth of continuous real-time connectivity, mobile platforms and Internet of Things (IoTs) in conjunction with Cyber-Physical systems has made the security landscape more complex.
  • Higher accessibility of AI based tools: Earlier, the tools and technologies which had security implications like nuclear technology were by and large protected. This ensured that only limited actors had access to such technologies. But same cannot be said for AI because:
    • Dual-use nature of AI applications: Many AI applications are dual-use, meaning they have both military and civil applications. This makes controlling the flow of such technologies extremely difficult.
    • Absence of global coalitions for AI based tools on lines of Wassenaar Arrangement or Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  • Unavoidable presence of AI: Artificial intelligence is now touching upon aspects of human life not only in economic domain but also in social domain.
    • Integration of AI into a product may not be immediately recognizable e. it may not alter the physical structure of a system, but incorporation of AI, changes the overall functioning of the system. For example, it would be very difficult to decipher if a drone is being controlled remotely or with an AI based system.

Opportunities AI can create vis-à-vis National Security:

  • Increasing real-time intelligence: AI is expected to be particularly useful in intelligence due to the large data sets available for analysis. Large scale structured data combined with the available computational power can generate significant actionable intelligence.
  • Creating autonomous and semi-autonomous systems: These systems collectively increase the geographical reach of the military operations. For example, autonomous systems can be employed to further increase border security without endangering the lives of soldiers.
  • Logistical ability: AI may have future utility in the field of military logistics. For instance, it can ensure continuous observation of border infrastructure and provide intelligent inputs with respect to need for repairs.
  • Cyber operations: AI is likely to be a key technology in advancing military cyber operations both in offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Replacing humans in ‘dull, dangerous or dirty’ work: Depending on the task, autonomous systems are capable of augmenting or replacing humans, freeing them up for more complex and cognitively demanding work. For example, AI can be used in conducting long-duration intelligence collection and analysis or cleaning up environments contaminated by chemical weapons.


Potential challenges in adoption of AI for National Security:

  • Absence of clarity on ‘what is AI’ and ‘what we intend to do’ among policymakers: There is a limited understanding of key questions like- What kind of AI do we want? How much autonomy should be given to the machines on the battlefield? Etc.
  • Development of Ethical Standards: Use of AI in Defense would raise a large number of ethical questions like- Who holds the accountability in case AI does not perform as predicted? How can AI be integrated with current protocols followed in the forces? How far AI can be trusted for the protection of the country? Development of these ethical standards is a prerequisite for adoption of AI for National Security.
  • Theft vulnerability: AI systems are particularly vulnerable to theft by virtue of being almost entirely software based.
  • Technology cannot be completely controlled: Using AI systems can significantly increase the scale and speed at which military operations are conducted. If the pace of operations exceeds human ability to understand and control events, that could increase a system’s destructive potential in the event of a loss of system control.
  • Other issues like limited role of private sector in defense and lack of critical infrastructure.

Possible solutions to overcome above challenges:

  • Vision document on AI: India should envisage a clear strategic vision regarding the AI. Having a Vision document provides clarity to policymakers as well as the defense establishments regarding capabilities and envisaged outcomes.
  • Creation of a supportive ecosystem: Along with a clear policy, there is a dire need to invest in critical infrastructure so that the data servers lie within the territory.
  • International cooperation: To ensure that India is at par with other countries with regard to adoption of AI in National Security, various efforts like joint development, technology sharing, encouraging development of global policy and standardization could be done.
  • Tapping the civilian innovation ecosystem: The AI-market for civilian purposes in the country is on the rise. For instance, India ranks third in G20 countries in AI-based startups. Policymakers could tap this potential for the defense sector.
  • Balancing adoption and innovation: Since India is a late entrant in the field vis-à-vis powers like China and US, it could capitalize on the late-movers advantage, i.e., mimicking the existing narrow-AI technologies, to fulfil its basic security needs (like border patrols and intel-gathering) alongside innovating over and above the existing technologies.


Hybrid Warfare: Emerging threat

Recently, a Chinese data company-Zhenhua has harvested information on millions of people, allegedly on behalf of Beijing’s intelligence services, possibly engaging in early stages of ‘hybrid warfare’.

Meaning of Hybrid Warfare:

Hybrid warfare is an emerging, but ill-defined notion. It generally refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain warfighting approach. These methods aim to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities. Following can be cited as its general characteristics:

  • The methods adopted by it are a combination of activities, including disinformation, economic manipulation, use of proxies and insurgencies, diplomatic pressure and military actions. For example, Russia’s use of gas and lending instruments in the Ukrainian conflict.
  • It tends to target areas which are highly vulnerable and where maximum damage can be caused with minimum effort.
  • It usually involves non-state actors indulging in subversive roles supported by states in order to give the latter some plausible deniability.
  • Other examples closer to the idea of hybrid warfare are Iran’s activity in Syria and ISIL’s activities in Syria and Iraq.


Reasons for resorting to Hybrid Warfare by state and non-state actors:

  • Hybrid warfare uses a wider set of military, political, economic, civilian and informational instruments which are usually overlooked in traditional threat assessments.
  • It targets vulnerabilities across societies in ways that we do not usually think about.
  • It synchronizes attacks in novel ways. For example, an urban gathering can experience a simultaneous cyber-attack and a ‘lone-wolf’ attack, which if synchronized could cause large scale damage to life and property.
  • It can be tailored according to the circumstances to stay below certain detection and response
    , including international legal thresholds, thus hampering the decision- making process and making it harder to react to such attacks.
  • A hybrid warfare campaign may not be discovered until it is already well underway, with damaging effects having already begun degrading a target’s capability to defend itself. For example, 2008 Mumbai attacks and a series of ‘lone wolf’ attacks in Europe were only discovered when they started happening.


Reasons for targeting the urban spaces for Hybrid Warfare:

  • Urban spaces due to their large populations and economic vibrancy provide ample opportunity for terrorists and non-state actors to sneak in and inflict large scale damage to terrorize populations through “shock and awe” tactics.
  • Traditional armed forces are ill-trained and equipped to fight in crowded urban areas with large civilian populations.
  • Conventional warfare demand direct and complete engagement with the adversary. Hybrid Warfare uses proxies as indirect tools creating a scenario of limited warfare.


How Hybrid Warfare and Hybrid Threats are potential issues for India?

India has been at the receiving end of variants of Hybrid Warfare. Firstly, from Pakistan in the form of state sponsored terrorism and the other through cyber-threats from China akin to the one associated with Zhenhua. But increasing inclination towards Hybrid Warfare from both state and non-state actors can lead to following issues:

  • New forms of terrorist attacks: The idea of Hybrid Warfare encourages new forms of terrorist attacks suchas ‘lone-wolf’ attacks and creation of ‘sleeper cells’.
  • Cyber-attacks: An adversary can pressure the government to concede to its demands by threatening devastating cyber-attacks aimed at the civilian population. Examples include attacks on networks governing hospitals or electricity and water supplies.
  • Interference in electoral processes: Use of techniques from campaigning through the media and social networks to securing financial resources for a political group may indirectly influence the outcome of an election in a direction that favors the adversary’s political interests.
  • Disinformation and fake news: An adversary can create a parallel reality and use falsehoods to fuel social fragmentation. The idea behind this is to disorient the public and make it difficult for a government to seek public approval for a given policy or operation.
  • Financial influence: An adversary can make investments, conclude unfavorable energy-supply deals, or offer loans that make a country vulnerable in the long run to political pressure. For example, the recent steps by Chinese companies to aggressively acquire Indian companies through FDI route in the background of COVID-19 could fall under this category.


Possible solution to combat Hybrid Warfare:

Hybrid Warfare is a multi-pronged warfare methodology, thus, to effectively negate it, the response should also be holistic in nature:

  • Institutional measures: to keep vulnerabilities in check and estimate possible hybrid threats.
    • Conduct a self-assessment of critical functions and vulnerabilities across all sectors and ensure regular maintenance. For example, regularly upgrading critical Fintech systems in the country.
    • Enhance traditional threat assessment activity to include non-conventional political, economic, civil, international (PECI) tools and capabilities.
    • Creation of multinational frameworks – preferably using existing institutions and processes – in order to facilitate cooperation and collaboration across borders.
  • Training of armed forces: as in hybrid warfare, armed forces have a dual role of protecting civilian population and disabling enemy. Following techniques can be adopted:
    • Training in special battle techniques, as well as conditioning to overcome urban combat stress.
    • Training in use of technological tools such as smart robots, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
    • Intelligence tools like Real Time Situational Awareness (RTSA) for precise operations.
  • Strengthening the democratic institutions: enables government to gain trust of its citizens. This helps government negate various forms of hybrid warfare such as disinformation and radicalization.
    • Inclusion of Civil Society Institutions such as think tanks multiply the government’s capabilities to counter such threats.
    • Investing in Journalism to raise media literacy: Global research shows that 70 percent of uses of the term “hybrid threats” by the media are inaccurate. As a result, investing in journalism will indirectly help citizens in understanding the threat.


Previous Year Mains Questions (GS3-CSM):
  • How far are India’s internal security challenges linked with border management particularly in view of the long porous borders with most countries of South Asia and Myanmar? – CSM 2013
  • China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for development of an economic corridor. What threat does this pose for India’s security? Critically examine. – CSM 2014
  • International civil aviation laws provide all countries complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above their territory. What do you understand by ‘airspace’ What are the implications of these laws on the space above this airspace? Discuss the challenges which this poses and suggest ways to contain the threat. – CSM 2014
  • Religious indoctrination via digital media has resulted in Indian youth joining the ISIS. What are ISIS and its mission? How can ISIS be dangerous for the internal security of our country? – CSM 2015
  • Mob violence is emerging as a serious law and order problem in India. By giving suitable examples, analyse the causes and consequences of such violence. – CSM 2016
  • The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is viewed as a cardinal subset of China’s larger ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Give a brief description of CPEC and enumerate the reasons why India has distanced itself from the same. – CSM 2018
  • The banning of ‘Jammat-e-Islami’ in Jammu and Kashmir brought into focus the role of over-ground workers (OGWs) in assisting terrorist organizations. Examine the role played by OGWs in assisting terrorist organizations in insurgency affected areas. Discuss measures to neutralize influence of OGWs. – CSM 2019


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