Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

In this article , we will look deal with topic titled ‘Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.’


Note : This article is part of our series on Internal Security. You can check other articles on following links

  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
  • Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
  • Basics of cyber security
  • Money-laundering and its prevention
  • Linkages of Organised Crime with Terrorism
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas
  • Various Security Forces and Agencies and their mandate




Definition : State actors vs Non-State actors

State Actors (SAs)

  • Based on premise of sovereignty , recognition of statehood & control of territory & population
  • Eg : India, US, Micronesia (irrespective of size)



Non State Actors (NSAs)

  • In Post-Cold War Era & with Globalisation , concept of Nation-State has experienced erosion
  • NSA are not always sympathetic to national interests but their loyalty lies with group’s| corporation’s | community’s interests
  • Traditional hierarchy which used to exist earlier with military & security dominating economic & social ones doesn’t exist anymore because of NSAs
  • Examples include
International Government Organisation NATO, UNO
NGO Amnesty International, Greenpeace
Multinational Corporations Operating in multiple sovereign states eg Shell(oil)
International Media BBC, Al Jazira ,CNN
Violent Non State Actors Al Qaeda , Drug Cartels
Religious Groups Roman Catholic Church
Transnational Diasporic Communities Indian Diaspora affect policies back home



Challenges to India’s Internal Security from NSAs & SAs

Challenges to India’s Internal Security from NSAs & SAs
Challenges to India’s Internal Security from NSAs & SAs

1. Terrorism

State Actors
  • Pakistan is using state sponsored & state supported terrorism as instrument of its state policy
  • China also provided shelter to NE ethnic separatist militancy(eg : ULFA)
  • Myanmar & Bangladesh too are safehouse to these terrorists


  • Non-State Actors are  mainly terrorist groups who execute terror attacks
  • These are declared Terrorist Organisations under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967
Babbar Khalsa International Khalistan Commando Force
Lashkar e Taiba Jaish e Mohammad
Harkat ul Mujahideen Hizb ul Mujahideen
United Libration Front Of Assam National Demo Front of Bodoland
LTTE CPI(Maoist) etc

All organisations listed in Schedule of UN  Prevention & Suppression of Terrorism



2. Naxalism

  • Was started as movement for land reforms
  • Took violent & dangerous turn aiming at overpowering democratic structure of India via violent armed struggle
  • Financial, ideological, technological & ammunition support from external SA & NSAs
  • Maoist groups getting financial and ideological support from China



3. Insurgency

  • Large number of insurgent groups in NE with demands ranging from separate state to regional autonomy to even complete independence
  • Wide range of disputes
        • Centre vs State
        • Tribals vs Non Tribals
        • Migrants (mainly Bangladeshis & even from other states) vs Natives
  • Difficult to handle because of difficult terrain, porous border & external support of adjoining states & NSAs
  • Unemployment in this region . Hence, lot of unemployed youth which provide easy target for recruiters


External support

Naga Insurgents
  • Received Patronage from Chinese
  • Had safe houses in Bhutan, Bangladesh & Myanmar
  • ISI has trained its cadres
  • Have major say in their activities in Assam
  • ULFA waged international struggle by attending meetings of Unrepresented Nations Peoples Organisation
  • There are inter linkages between outfits which ensure smooth transfer of military hardware & technology .  Even the weakest outfit has access to sophisticated technology , even sophisticated than Indian Army



4. Cyber Attacks

  • Growth of internet technology & cloud based systems created room for cyber espionage & warfare
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games – Cyber attacks from Pakistan & China to damage information Systems
  • Most of cyber attacks on India originate from US, China, Russia, East European nations & Iran



5. Counterfeit Currency

  • Very difficult to distinguish between fake & real currency now because fake is printed with state of art  technology using security paper supplied by state actors
  • Sub conventional warfare strategy pursued by Pakistan against India . Mainly brought to India through porous borders of Nepal & Bangladesh
  • Terrorist organisation like Hizb ul Mujahideen using fake currency  to fund their programmes .
  • To tackle this, Government did Demonetisation .



6. Communalism

  • Reports that domestic extremist organisations get financial & ideological support from external religious organisations (NSAs) and Foreign States (Pakistan, China etc)
  • Eg :
        • Kashmiri Terrorists funded by Pakistan
        • Islamic terrorists getting ideological support from Pakistan
        • Zakir Naik‘s Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV radicalising Muslim Youth in India, Bangladesh etc funded by Saudi Petro Dollars
  • Become problem for internal security now a days



7. Drug & Human Trafficking

  • India has become transit hub & destination for GOLDEN TRIANGLE & GOLDEN CRESCENT
  • There is nexus between drug traffickers, organised criminal networks & terrorists which is powerful enough to destabilise even whole nation . Money generated by this trade is also used to fund insurgents & terrorists



# Drug Trafficking

Important Topic. Hence doing in detail


Data : As per home ministry report = 40 lakh drug addicts in India.

How India is used as Transit for Drug Trafficking

India Pakistan Border
  • Largest producer of opium & cannabis ie Golden Crescent is on foots of Indo-Pakistan Border
  • Traditional Route via Iran was closed due to Iran Iraq war (1980-88) . With the outbreak of Sikh militancy + Kashmir militancy, routes diverted  to India
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent


India Nepal & India Bhutan Border
  • Two way Smuggling here
        • Heroin + Marijuana/Ganja through this route coming to India
        • Low cost Codeine based pharma preparation from India going to Nepal & Bhutan
  • Well developed road + porous border also facilitate this


India Myanmar Border
  • India – Myanmar border on foot of Golden Triangle
  • Growing demand in NE+ insurgency in NE + Porous Border facilitate this


Sea Routes
  • Both East & West coast used for this
  • During 90s, civil war in SL . Drugs from Af-Pak came to India & Exited thru SL
  • Tuticorin & Kochi also  emerged as top drug trafficking ports
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent


Air Routes
  • Both major & minor airports used thru personal carriers & post service
  • Delhi & Mumbai most important + Amritsar, Hyderabad ,Bangalore also used
  • From here trafficked to Lagos & Addis Ababa for African drug Cartels





Why India is vulnerable

  • In vicinity  of Golden Triangle and Golden Cresent + act as transit point
  • Further cannabis (ganja) also grows  in many parts of the country and marijuana is cultivated in hilly terrains


  • India has Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act 1985, which provides minimum punishment of 10 years for offences under this Act. But its Implementation by the states has been tardy. 


  • Porous Borders + Issues with Border Guarding Infrastructure 


  • Drug Trafficking used to fund terrorist activities by insurgents in North East


  • Religious angle


  • Unemployment + Underdevelopment


  • Rise of Virtual Currencies like Bitcoin has also increased funding avenues for smugglers and drug traffickers.


  • Breakage of joint family system and traditional societal milieu and emergence of individualistic life style and more engagement with peers has been another reason for people falling in drug trap.


  • Role of media: Glorification of drug abuse in media such as in series and movies



  • Individual : Diseases, such as  HIV, and cancer  Development of mental illnesses, suicides etc
  • Family  : Domestic violence- adverse effect on women and children


  • Socio-Political Impact: Threatens social stability as crime rate increases rapidly


  • Threat to achieve Demographic Dividend : Significant toll on valuable human lives  and loss of productive years of many persons


  • Ever-growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS among North eastern states people


  • Threat to National Security : Involvement of various terrorist groups and syndicates in drug trafficking to fund their activities


Steps taken
  • Passed Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) with minimum punishment of 10 years


  • Strengthened border security infrastructure (BSF especially) and Coast Guard to stop their entry


  • India is signatory of International Conventions namely
        • UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs
        • UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances


  • MOUs : India has entered into various arrangements like Bi-lateral Agreements and Memorandum of Understandings with Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar on Drug Trafficking


  • According to Article 47, state is duty bound to prevent the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs


  • New guidelines for grant of rewards to be paid to officers, informers and other persons in case of seizures of Narcotics drugs, Psychotropic substances




Various ways to stop this

    • Cutting of the supply lines by law enforcement agencies
    • Strict enforcement of the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances act, which provides strict punishment for drug peddlers.
    • Creating mass awareness programme by using educational system, media – print, electronic, social etc, religious figures and institutions etc. As younger ones are more vulnerable to drug abuse it is important that teachers educate students about the ill effects of drugs.
    • Sports facilities and opportunities for growth, other facilities which keeps youth engaged in constructive work like NCC, NSS, youth parliaments should be promoted.
    • Many drugs in India have religious sanctions because they are associated with Hindu deities so religious organizations must be roped in.
    • Number of rehab centres and healthcare professionals for addicts are very few. These facilities should be increased.
    • Counselling facilities should be provided by big corporate houses for their employees as employment related stress is emerging as major factor leading to drug addiction.

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