Delhi, Delhi, India
Jun 11, 2019, 01.14 PM
The propaganda of the Islamic State (ISIS) is growing across South Asia. Easter attacks in Sri Lanka which killed over 250 people is case in point. The attacks were claimed by a local terror group National Thowheeth Jamaath, which is an ISIS-affiliate
It's important to recall here that investigations had revealed that the mastermind of the attack, Zaharan Hashim, was in touch with radical elements in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Following the investigations, NIA had arrested several suspects, one of whom had confessed to the plan of carrying out a suicide attack in Kerala.
Kerala police and Coast guard were already on high alert since Sri Lanka attacks, what raises more concern are the Intelligence inputs claiming that a boat carrying 15 IS operatives has been set off for Lakshadweep Islands from Sri Lanka.
Moreover, in a recently held internal security meeting, Intelligence agencies have warned Home Ministry that radical groups are trying to spread their presence across the country.
Apart from southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, these groups are also targetting people in Northeastern states. The inputs further stated that funds from Gulf countries are being used to mobilise these outfits.
Home Ministry has asked the intelligence agencies to keep a tight vigil on the suspected groups. Furthermore, the government is likely to come up with a counter-radicalisation policy.
The government is also keeping a close watch on social media as the ISIS operatives, many a time, use technology to approach the youth. State police also keep check on deviant youth and once the suspects are identified they are counselled on the risks involved.
Taking a cue from the countries that have implemented counter-radicalisation policy, the government can also run programmes which not just focus on countering ideology but also psychological rehabilitation. Local religious leaders, lawyers, senior citizens can be roped in to engage with the youth on dangers of extremism and radicalisation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's national security team now has two prominent faces on the diplomatic and strategic fronts which is an asset for the government - External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. They both have achieved a lot together during the previous term of the NDA government. (2014-2019).
In his last tenure, Doval had played a key role in launching de-radicalisation initiatives with several Asian countries. The government will continue with such initiatives this time as well.
India and Maldives on Saturday agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism, countering violent extremism and de-radicalisation.
India has been struggling with the radicalisation of youth in Jammu and Kashmir by the militant groups based in Pakistan. According to security officials, at least 50 youngsters have joined various terror outfits since March 2019. Youth in the age group of 15 years to 25 years are most vulnerable to be exploited.
Centre already runs some programmes to counsel the youth in the valley to bring in them positive behavioural changes. Army has been able to bring back a number of ultras to the mainstream with the help of the parents and senior citizens.
The state needs more career counselling centres, drug de-addiction centres, personality development centres and training workshops.
To defeat terrorism and radicalisation, it's important to engage in dialogue with the youth and motivate them to live a dignified and constructive life.
Amit Shah has also instructed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take "harsh action" against separatist leaders who are instrumental in fuelling terror activities in the state and put them behind bars.
In a stern message to Pakistan when the global strategic environment is against Islamabad, Prime Minister Modi has reiterated its stand that there can be no talks between the two countries until Pakistan stops its anti-India activities.
Narendra Modi government 2.0 has shown zero-tolerance towards terrorism, radicalisation and extremism across the country.
With Shah, Jaishankar and Doval, Modi has ramped up India's security infrastructure to deal with the challenges pertaining to the national security and foreign policy.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)