Emerging Dimensions in Internal Security


Maintaining the Internal Security for developing country like India is the predominant part of the national security. The challenges are more complex and diverse than ever before due to emerging environment. Thus strict laws, utilization of latest technology, involving private security agencies and most importantly, orientation of our political leaders are required to maintain harmony in India's internal security…

In past most focus has been on border security; however the scale of the Internal Security challenge is truly massive with a total area of 3,287,240 square kilometers and a land frontier of 15106.7 Km and a coastline of 7516.6 Km. However many a times the internal security of country is challenged by unique local conflicts. In India the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for internal security, management of paramilitary forces, border management, disaster management, center-state relations and administrating the union territories. Maintaining the Internal security for the developing country like India is the predominant part of the national security. Internal security is also important for the integrity, safety and overall welfare of its people; however it has been dealt on piece meal basis. Conflicts rather than conventional war will be technology intensive, ambiguous and complex and fought in all spaces transcending beyond geographical boundaries and fought on all fronts physical, economic and psychological. The growing intensity and frequency of security 'triggers' and the asymmetrical force aspect, more needs to be done as a multi pronged approach to sustain   and accelerate improvements in the security environment. Thus making Internal Security challenges more complex and diverse than ever before due to uncertainty and reduced time for decision-making.

Internal Security Threats

European Commission conducted a survey on the internal security and factors effecting Internal Security. Refer graphical representation. The main challenges to national security, as identified by at least one in five Europeans, are the economic and financial crises (33%), terrorism (25%), poverty (24%), and organised crime (22%). Some 18% also mentioned corruption, irregular immigration, petty crime, natural disasters, environmental issues/climate change and cybercrime. Less than one tenth of respondents mentioned religious extremism, wars and civil wars as the most important security challenges faced by their country.

More or less, every country faces these problems in managing the internal security and peace. The only difference is that some factors are more active and relevant than others. In India poverty, crime and corruption are the main challenges to the internal security and are inter-related, followed by terrorism.

Indian Domestic Dynamics 

The Indian domestic dynamics and  its diverse socio-political milieu, with variety of its communities and castes, races and ethnic groups, languages and dialects, religious beliefs and customs and traditions, with different manifestations of culture, all operating in a dynamic environment adds to internal security complexity. The external forces in conjunction with internal forces of dissent will endeavour to exacerbate our security problems. Threats due to terrorism, narcotics and drugs, small arms proliferation, voids in energy requirement and information warfare loom large on the horizon. Maintenance of internal security will thus be one of the biggest challenges facing the country.

Economic Socio-Political Threats

 Internal Social Disharmony

The internal security problems caused by communal disharmony and distorted secularism is throwing India out from the track of development. The rift, blame game and no clear duties defined between the Union and State governments adversely affecting our internal security leading to un-coordinated and weak responses to the internal security threats.

In India political parties are the crucial elements in the democratic process, and they tend to exploit rather than resolving issues like insurgencies, regional fights, naxalite menace. Such issues emerges in the absence of effective administration and political institutions, exploitation of economically backward communities and socialist ideology.

Religious War and Caste Crimes

Identity issues have had a significant influence on how conflicts arise and rise. Identity such as different language, religion, caste and tribe are dominating the crimes in the society. A total of 5,963 cases of riots were reported in 53 mega cities during 2014. There have been rise in murders due to caste related issues and class conflict. On the other hand politicians keep the issue alive with the aim of securing their vote banks.

Economic Deprivation

Poverty, over population, illiteracy, massive unemployment, inadequate healthcare, increasing frustration among youths, are the factors that contribute to economic deprivation. Corruption is the important factor in economic deprivation as it promotes inefficient utilisation of resources, distorts the markets, compromises quality, destroys the economic environment and deprive the poor sections of the society. Public procurement and plan execution by Govt sector is highly prone to corruption and which has serious impact on the industry as well as the market economy thus serious threat to national security.

External Threats

Border and Coastal Security

With the land frontier of 15106.7 Km and coastline of 7516.6 Km, cross-border terrorism has emerged as a threat through infiltration, smuggling and other anti-national activities from across the borders and coastline. The cross border intrusions occur during the night time in the dark. Therefore, high-tech surveillance equipment to enhance the surveillance of border and advances technology is required to keep a watch against intruders and terrorists exploiting the frontier areas to cross over. A three tier Coastal security ring all along the coast is provided by Marine Police, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy. To support the State Government in its initiatives, the Central Government has been making available Central Armed Police Forces as and when necessary, and has been helping to strengthen the State Police.


Terrorism in India is spreading its wings. There were many deadliest attacks in the past, like 2001-Indian Parliament attack in New Delhi, 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha valley, Bodh Gaya bombings, Mumbai Terror Attack, 2016 attack in Pathankot IAF base. Despite of having fourth most powerful military in the world and approximately 27 lacs+ strong Central Armed Police Forces and Police Force, yet terrorist and anti-national elements are affecting the peace of our country.

Proxy War

A proxy war is a conflict between two nations where neither country directly engages the other. The primary means have been the funding, training and equipping of insurgent and terrorist groups, this has also taken other forms such as money laundering, aiding criminal activity and weakening the government machinery.

Cyber and Space Crimes

The internal Security disruptions will not be restricted to the weapons or physical means but emotional & psychological as well beyond geographical boundaries. Burgeoning communication and surveillance technologies pose additional challenges for agencies as we move to dealing with non conventional threats. The two new frontiers  cyber and space, bring new challenges and the old tools will not suffice to cope with them. The security based on equipments, personnel training and surveillance, still fail to tackle the true dimensions of these threats, and how to combat it.

Countering the Economic Socio-Political Threats

Community Inclusion

The fact that internal security banks less on war like equipment, this would build a holistic environment that would allow private enterprise  academia, R&D, production, training  to participate and contribute to counter the internal security concerns. A crucial element of community inclusion is measures taken in community outreach and involvement to improve welfare and economic independence. State funded development, health, and education projects or private industry driven investments  all help in forming an economically self reliant community that is resistant to break away thinking, more so in the far flung regions which have seen limited economic development and are also hot spots for rebel groups. This could be by central agencies or state or citizen groups. The element of communication and inclusion can be a great force multiplier and help build strong alignments with the citizenry who are a major stakeholder in the security process.

Invest in People

People itself are the biggest threat to internal security. We need to invest in people to maintain harmony, intelligence and peace within the country. Another aspect is to invest in the training of personnel and people can be a biggest investment for the country. Training to stay vigilant and fight the particular threats in time of urgency. A continuous training and efforts are required to fight the crime which is dynamic in nature. India cannot develop itself, hence it require its people to attain peace.

Policy Orientation

The planning process for economic development should have clear orientation of infrastructure creation and employment generation. Rural development and employment assurance schemes need to be of local origin, to meet local requirements and to be implemented by the community. The agenda for change must ensure stability at the centre, states and lower levels based on consensus and governance, decentralised and people oriented. We need synergised centre-state strategies and doctrines to deal with different aspects of internal security, including insurgencies and terrorism. Use of religion for political purposes and political parties with religious orientation should be curtailed with strict policies and deterrents.

Revamping the Internal Security Set Up

With the defence services focusing on across the border challenges, it is left to the state and central security agencies, operational and intelligence units, to deal with the growing internal security challenges. Intelligence establishment in the states and the centre require revamping. Paramilitary, central and state police forces needs to be revamped and modernised to improve their leadership, training and man management capabilities. The main aspects to be looked at over loading. MHA looks out for 20 divisions, including  border, coastal and internal security, Police, Left Wing Extremism, Foreigners Division etc, hence less emphasis is on the internal security, as borders are always considered to be the most important areas. In India we have many forces, they are: Local Police; State Armed Police; Paramilitary Forces, and the Armed Forces. The main problem with them is

  • Lack of internal security training
  • Lack of equipment
  • No decision making and action taking power
  • Multi role limitations
  • Over commitment

Inclusion of Industry and Community

The internal security market currently has an estimated spend in the region of $12-15 billion and its growing in double digits. Large investments have been earmarked and deployed in initiatives like the Police Force Modernization plan, Mega City policing and several other security initiatives.

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives should also focus and invest into recognised security programmes and agencies besides industry to focus on security equipment along with defence equipment, as a part of the 'Make in India' initiative.

Over the past several years the Defence segment has seen steady policy discourse and revision of enabling policy (DPP) as  well as a platform that allows and encourages private industry participation  resulting in the growing presence of private players (both India and foreign partnerships) in the high tech area of defence research and production. Though slow, this is an important step in allowing infusion of private innovation, investment and technology- all for the betterment of the segment.

Technology Adoption and Upgradation

There is a need to understand, assimilate, modify and adopt technologies, existing and emerging, to combat the new threats. Indian government need to strengthen the internal security infrastructure in such a way that no one can misuse the technology and securing communication and information management systems to filter the misuse of technology.  By including private sector agencies in the process, India's informational technology sector can be secure in the near future.


Combating internal security threats is a complex multi-dimensional task. Each security agency should have clear role and considering that crime would grow exponentially in the next few decades. One of the key challenges associated with this sector is the coordination across all of the concerned agencies to take a truly national approach to internal security. To stay ahead, governments, police, national security forces and the private security sector must utilise the latest and best technology to manage identities and secure borders, control access, process asylum applications and fight crime. Internal Security is a very essential component of the national security and without synergy, its difficult to deal with India's complex internal security operations. Also by involving private sector companies, government can buy the high-technology equipment at a relatively competitive price. Moreover India urgently requires the strict laws related to internal security and hard punishment for those who violate them.

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