Security challenges and their management in border areas

Security challenges and their management in border areas

This article deals with ‘Security challenges and their management in border areas.’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’ which is an important pillar of the GS-2 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


  • Borders are the visible symbols of a country’s sovereignty, unity and integrity. 
  • There are three distinct sets of borders at the international level i.e. 
    • Land borders 
    • Maritime boundaries 
    • Airspace 
  • Border security in the present world order is a complex proposition. The transgressor is always on the lookout for soft gaps on land, along the coast and, if need be, from the air. Therefore, adopting a holistic approach to border security is necessary.
  • In this chapter, we will read about Border Management, a broader term than Border Security. While Border Security Approach deals only with defending the borders, Border management is a broader term which involves defending the borders and protecting the country’s interests in aligning borders.
  • India has a huge land border of 15,106 km and a coastline of 7,516.6 km, including island territories.  
  • India has specialized forces to guard the borders apart from the Indian Army. Assam Rifle, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Shashatra Seema Bal are India’s Border Guarding Forces.

Borders and Issues

Security challenges and their management in border areas

Some general issues faced in the management of Indian borders include

  1. No proper demarcation of maritime and land borders in many places, which leads to conflicts
  2. Artificial boundaries which are not based on natural borders are difficult to guard. E.g., In Punjab, an artificial line was created dividing united Punjab, and there is no river or mountain dividing the two countries. 
  3. Multiplicity of forces on the same borders leads to problems of coordination, command and control. 
  4. India has a separate force to manage different borders, which leads to a silos approach to border management. In other countries (as shown below), there is a single specialized and dedicated force for managing all the borders.
Border Guarding Forces of Other Countries
  1. Cross-border terrorism targeted to destabilize India.
  2. Border Guarding Forces like Border Security Force lack infrastructure, including the latest guns, night vision glasses etc.
  3. Hostile elements have access to the latest technology and advanced weapons.
  4. Illegal migration in the north-eastern region causing demographic changes and social backlashes between the migrants and indigenous people
  5. Due to the porous nature of the border, smuggling of arms, narcotics and counterfeit currency happens rampantly.

Task Force on border management under the Chairmanship of Madhav Godbole has also concluded that the country’s borders could not be effectively managed because of inherent problems such as their disputed status, artificiality and porosity.

General Recommendations regarding better Border Management

  1. Use of advanced technology for surveillance, particularly satellite and aerial imagery.
  2. The Border Security Force (BSF) should be responsible for the security of all settled borders, while the responsibility for unsettled and disputed borders should be that of the Indian Army.
  3. For effective accountability, the principle of ‘single point control’ or ‘one-force-one-border’ must be followed.
  4. Infrastructure along the border should be developed at an accelerated pace, especially to wean the border population from illegal activities.
  5. Upgradation of the intelligence network along the border should be the utmost priority.
  6. Raising the issues of infiltration across the border during various meetings with the counterparts.
  7. Establishment of more Integrated Check Posts (ICP) at the land borders, which house all regulatory activities such as immigration, security and customs under one roof. It has to be noted that a Statutory Authority called ‘Land Ports Authority of India’ (LPAI) has been set up to oversee and regulate the construction, management and maintenance of the ICPs.


Issues at Indo-Bangladesh Border

General Information

Bordering states West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
Guarding force Border Security Force (BSF)


  1. Illegal migration to West Bengal and Assam has changed the demographic profile of the region.  
  2. Inadequate border fencing due to issues such as the riverine nature of the border, pending land acquisition cases and protests by the border population. Hence, there is a high degree of porosity.
  3. Smuggling of goods like jamdani sarees, rice salt and livestock (especially cattle) etc. According to a CBI investigation (2021), BSF officials take a bribe of ₹2000 per cattle to allow the smuggling of Indian cattle to Bangladesh.  
  4. North-East Insurgents take refuge in Bangladesh due to the porous border.
  5. India and Bangladesh share 54 transboundary rivers. As a result, there are various water disputes, such as sharing of the waters of the Teesta river and the construction of a dam on the Barak river by India. 
  6. Radical groups like Harkat-al-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and Jamaat-e-Islami fuel Anti-India sentiments in Bangladesh. Their propaganda could spill across the border. 
  7. The border area is densely populated, and people on both sides live in close proximity to the border.

Recent Initiatives

  1. The government has announced the establishment of a Border Protection Grid (BPG) consisting of BSF, State Police, Army etc.
  2. Installation of border surveillance devices such as closed-circuit cameras, searchlights, thermal imaging devices and drones to keep a tight vigil on the border. 
  3. Parliament has passed the 100th Constitutional Amendment to solve the issue of Adverse Possessions and landlocked enclaves amidst other’s territory. 
  4. Border Haats, i.e. traditional markets of local produce that can be accessed by people from across the border, have been established at the Indo-Bangladesh border. Trade can be carried here using Indian Rupee or Bangladeshi Taka.
  5. Project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) has been started to install different kinds of sensors in the unfenced riverine area of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
  6. Road construction: 3,585.53 km of border patrol roads have been constructed on Indo-Bangladesh Border.
  7. Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) have been established at places like Sutarkandi in Assam and Ghojadanga in West Bengal along the Bangladesh border.
  8. Border forces of the two countries also undertake joint exercises such as ‘Sundarbans Moitry’ (Sundarbans Alliance) for better coordination in border management.


Issues at Indo-China Border

General Information

Bordering states UT of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh
Length 3,488 km
Guarding Force Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) together with the Indian Army.


  1. Border dispute at Aksai Chin in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh with sporadic aggression by the Chinese Army (PLA). 
  2. Large-scale smuggling of Chinese electronics and consumer goods occurs on the Sino-India border. 
  3. Inadequate infrastructure due to high altitude and thick habitation. However, China has undertaken a large-scale upgradation to air, road and rail infrastructure.
  4. Multiple forces along the Indian border (ITBP, Assam Rifles and Special Frontier Force) as opposed to a single commander on the Chinese side. 
  5. China’s CPEC passes through parts of Jammu & Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. China can use CPEC to mobilize troops in case of conflict.
  6. China is building a series of dams on the Brahmaputra river, which is the lifeline of North-Eastern states as well as Bangladesh. Given the Chinese track record on the Mekong river, where China virtually stopped the river flow in South-East Asian countries, this development is worrisome.

Recent Initiatives

  1. Creating infrastructure: India is constructing critical infrastructure, such as the Dhola-Sadiya bridge, to cut down time for troop movement.
  2. India is collaborating with Japan to develop infrastructure projects in the North-East to contain China.
  3. Army infrastructure projects within 100 km of LAC have been exempted from forest clearance
  4. The Ministry of Defence has delegated administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to expedite the border road construction. 


Issues at Indo-Pakistan Border

General Information

Bordering states J&K, Punjab ,Rajasthan and Gujarat
(Boundary between India and Pakistan is known as Radcliffe Line)
Length 3323 km
Guarding Force Border Security Force (BSF)


  1. Border dispute at Sir Creek and Kashmir.
  2. Cross-border terrorism, especially in Kashmir, to destabilize India. 
  3. Ceasefire violations and frequent shelling.
  4. Diverse terrain, which includes desert, sea, snow-capped mountains, and plains, makes border guarding difficult.
  5. Illegal activities like smuggling, drugs and arms trafficking due to porous border. 

Recent Initiatives

  • After the Pathankot terrorist attack, the Ministry of Home Affairs sanctioned and installed Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) to safeguard and control the incidents of border infiltration.
  • Fencing: By 2011, almost all of the border– along Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat – has been double-row fenced. 
  • Outposts: About 700 border outposts and one Integrated Check post at Attari (Amritsar) have been functional.


Issues at Indo-Nepal Border

General Information

Bordering States Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim
Length 1751 Km
Guarding Force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

It must be noted that Nepal’s border is an open border and was virtually unattended until very recently.


  1. The highly porous nature of the Indo-Nepal border leads to cross-border crimes. Due to open borders, insurgents and hard-core criminals in both countries crossover to another country.
  2. Smuggling of essential items, fake Indian currency, gun-running, and drugs and human trafficking happens via the Indo-Nepal border.
  3. Pakistan uses open borders to carry out anti-India activities, including pushing terrorists and fake Indian currency.
  4. Fear of the spread of Maoist insurgency due to links of Nepali Maoists in India. 

New Initiatives

  1. Establishment of a new intelligence section in Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  2. A total of 25 battalions of Sashastra Seema Bal have been deployed on Indo-Nepal Border.
  3. Border District Coordination Committee at the district level of two countries has been established. 
  4. The government of India has approved the construction of 1377 km of road along the Nepal border.
  5. India is giving development aid to Nepal. 


Issues at Indo-Myanmar Border

General Information

Bordering States Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland
Length 1,643 km
Guarding Force Assam Rifles


  1. Assam Rifle is mandated to preserve peace in the North East and guard Indo-Myanmar Border. Consequently, they are unable to do both works professionally. The government should correct this anomaly by either giving it the single mandate of guarding the Indo-Myanmar border or deploying some border guarding force like BSF to guard the Indo-Myanmar border. In 2017, Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, in its report, suggested the transfer of Indo-Myanmar Border Management to Border Guard Forces (BGF) instead of Assam riffles for better management. 
  2. The highly porous border with Free Movement Regime up to 16 km (explained below)
  3. About 170 km of the border is not properly demarcated.
  4. A porous border due to the absence of a physical barrier is exploited by Indian insurgent groups, which use Myanmar as a safe haven (Naga insurgents, especially NSCN-K, use this).
  5. Drug trafficking due to proximity to the golden triangle. Majority of heroin enters India through the border town of Moreh in Manipur.
  6. China’s interest in Myanmar is also a threat to India as it is building Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar as part of the ‘String of Pearls’ strategy to encircle India.
  7. During the 2021 coup d’etat by Myanmar Military, a large number of people crossed over to India in fear of political persecution. It created a large rift between the Union Government, which wanted to stop the refugees from entering India and the Mizos, who share ethnic ties with Chins and who wanted to give them safe havens.

Free Movement Regime (FMR) Issue

Tribal Naga and Mizo communities claim that the boundary between India and Myanmar is inconsistent with the traditional limits of the region they inhabited. They continue to have trans-border linkages with their kiths and kin. FMR is thus an arrangement to alleviate the insecurity of tribals living along the India and Myanmar border. It permits tribes residing along the border to travel 16 km across the boundary without visa restrictions.

Issues with FMR

While the FMR has helped the tribes maintain their age-old ties with their kin on the other side of the border, it has become a cause of concern for the security establishment.

  1. Militants and criminals misuse FMR for infiltration, smuggling weapons, narcotics, trafficking of women and children etc. 
  2. Militants groups such as the NSCN-K, NSCN-IM, ULFA etc., exploit this to get safe havens in Myanmar.
  3. The exodus of Rohingyas: Rohingyas also entered India using this route.

Note: In 2015, India carried out surgical strikes against NSCN-K in Myanmar by crossing the border in response to the insurgents’ killing of a troop contingent. But this raises the issue of Sovereignty versus National Security and the question of whether the national security of one country can be given precedence over the sovereignty of the other country.


General Information

Guarding Forces Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
Bordering States Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal


  1. The border between Bhutan and China is not demarcated at the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China. There is a border dispute over Doklam, which is dangerously close to Chicken’s neck and can jeopardize the security of the entire Northeast.
  2. Insurgent groups such as Bodos, ULFA etc., sneak into Bhutan for sanctuary.
  3. Smuggling of goods such as Bhutanese cannabis, liquor and forest products from Bhutan to India and livestock, grocery items and fruits from India to Bhutan
  4. Free movement of people and vehicles
  5. Migration trigger fear of change in demography in Bhutan. Migrants are also accused of deforestation, poaching, and wildlife smuggling. 

New Initiatives

  1. Cooperation with the Bhutanese army to prevent sanctuary to insurgents on their soil. Operation All Clear was undertaken by Bhutan and Indian forces in this regard.
  2. The government of India has approved the construction of a 313 km road in Assam along the Indo-Bhutan border.
  3. The union environment ministry has given “general approval” for the diversion of forest land for major border infrastructure projects along the eastern border with Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.
  4. India has established new border posts in Sikkim along the Bhutan frontier near Doklam.
  5. India has established a new intelligence section in SSB.


General Information

  • Sri Lanka shares a maritime border with India. 
  • Tamil Nadu is situated across the Palk Strait and is the most crucial determinant in Indo-Sri Lankan relations. 


  1. Katchatheevu Island Issue: India ceded the uninhabited island to its southern neighbour in 1974 under a conditional accord. However, Tamil Nadu and the fisherman community still argue it is their traditional fishing area.
  2. Trespassing by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters takes place regularly. Here, the issue is not of an unsettled maritime boundary but the refusal of Indian fishermen to recognize the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka, especially in Palk Bay.
  3. Although LTTE and Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka has been completely eliminated, supporters of the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka are still active in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. 

New Initiatives

  1. All big trawlers (20 meters and above) are being installed with AIS transponders.
  2. Distress Alert Transmitters (DATs) are being provided to fishermen to alert the ICG if they are distressed at sea.

Techniques of effective Land Border Management

Techniques of effective Land Border Management

Following are the techniques of effective land border management

  1. Building fences and erecting floodlights.
  2. Creating effective Border Out Posts (BOPs). 
  3. Set up border infrastructure like roads for effective mobilization during the time of need. 
  4. Effective patrolling and building of observation post towers. 
  5. Building of nakas and checkposts.
  6. Equipping the security forces with night vision technologies. 
  7. Installation of CCTV & thermal imaging equipment on the border.

Issues faced by Border Guarding Forces (BGF)

Issues faced by Border Guarding Forces

BSF, SSB, ITBP etc., are the Border Guarding Forces. These forces face various issues, as mentioned below.

  1. Jawans are overworked and hence fatigued during patrolling duty. 
  2. Deployment of BGF Battalions to duties other than guarding the borders, like conducting elections 
  3. Deficiency of surveillance equipment, like hand-held Thermal Imagers, which are essential for surveillance during night
  4. Inadequate medical facilities, and they are transferred to Frontier Headquarters for even basic treatment.
  5. Disparity in wages compared to the army.

Government response/Steps taken by the government 

1. Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS)

Madhukar Gupta Committee was constituted against the backdrop of the Pathankot attack. In this attack, terrorists attacked the army installation after infiltrating Indo-Pakistan Border. It recommended the installation of CIBMS to avoid such misadventures of Pakistan-based terrorists. Presently, the system is operational at important points. 

Details of CIBMS

Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS)
  • It is a five-layer elaborate plan to stop infiltration on the western border with Pakistan completely. 
  • Five layers include 
    1. CCTV cameras. 
    2. Thermal image and night-vision devices 
    1. Battlefield surveillance radar
    1. Underground monitoring sensors. 
    2. Laser barriers. 
  • The integrated setup will ensure that if one device doesn’t work, another will alert the control room in case of a transgression. It will work as a ‘Smart Fence‘. 
  • Its cost is estimated to be Rs. 1 crore per km.

Side Topic: Use of Technology in Border Management

  • Effective border surveillance can be done using CCTV, thermal & radar imagery. 
  • Drones are used by border guarding forces for aerial surveillance.
  • Satellite Monitoring is also used for this. E.g., India is using GSAT-7A & Cartosat for this purpose. 
  • IRNSS/NAVIC (Indian GPS) provides location services in rugged terrain in the Himalayan borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal and Myanmar.

2. Department of Border Management Division

  • Department of Border Management works under Home Ministry.
  • It was set up in Jan 2004 on the recommendation of the Godbole Report (formed in the backdrop of the Kargil war to strengthen border management). 
  • It specifically looks at border management and implementation of the Border Area Development Program (BADP).

3. Development of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs)

  • Integrated Check Posts have been set up at places along the border from where the movement of people and goods takes place. 
  • ICPs house all regulatory agencies like immigration, customs, border security etc. 
  • They have facilities like warehouses, hotels, parking, banking etc.

4. Border Area Development Programme(BADP)

  • It was started in 7th five-year plan.
  • It is a 100% centrally funded program. Along with that, all the allocated funds are fully non-lapsable.
  • The Department of Border Management under the Home Ministry is the nodal agency.
  • It covers 111 border districts in 17 States. 
  • BADP covers all the villages within 0-10 Km of the International Border.


  • To create infrastructure 
  • To provide economic opportunities to the border people
  • To instil a sense of security among them. 

Main programs

  • Construction of roads.
  • Ensure water supply, education and sports facilities.
  • Organization of early childhood care etc.

5. Border Out Posts (BOPs)

  • Border Out Posts (BOPs) are designated entry and exit points on the country’s international border through which cross-border movement of persons and goods occurs.
  • BOPs are also meant to provide an appropriate show of force to deter trans-border criminals, infiltrators and hostile elements from indulging in the activities of encroachment and border violations. 
  • Each BOP is provided with the necessary infrastructure for accommodation, logistic support and combat functions. It also facilitates trade & commerce.

6. Land Port Authority of India

  • It is a statutory authority set up to oversee and regulate the construction, management and maintenance of the ICPs. 
  • LPAI has been envisaged as a lean oversight body aimed at providing better administration and cohesive management of the cross-border movement of people and goods. 
  • It would be vested with powers along the lines of similar bodies like the Airports Authority of India.

Further Recommendation

1. Clear Chain of Command

  • Presently, different agencies are responsible for the management of the same border. E.g., on Punjab Border, BSF, Indian Army and Punjab Police are involved in this. But this results in a lack of accountability. In case of an accident, every agency starts to blame others.  
  • Hence, there should be one nodal agency and a clear chain of command.

2. Resolving Governance Problems

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs should be the nodal ministry for all borders. Presently, the resolution of border disputes is the responsibility of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Low staffing levels and limited leverage of MEA with state governments restrict its ability to resolve border disputes effectively.   

3. Restructuring of border forces

  • Assam Rifles: Presently, Assam Riffles perform two functions, i.e. guarding Myanmar Border and maintaining security and peace in North East. There should be a separate Border Guarding Force for the Indo-Myanmar border. 
  • BSF: BSF guards the Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Pakistan border. It is recommended that the BSF be constituted into two wings, East and West, for better management due to the different nuances of each border.
  • The battalions deployed on border guarding duties should have a significant proportion of local youth in its ranks to exploit their knowledge of the terrain, language etc.

4. Involvement of the Stakeholders

Stakeholders in border areas are

  1. People living in border areas
  2. State administration
  3. Border guarding forces
  4. Central agencies involved in border development.

5. Modernisation

  • At present, border guarding work is excessively manpower intensive. There should be a greater infusion of technology into border guarding functions.
  • Madhukar Committee Report has also recommended this, and the installation of CIBMS is a step in that direction. Going further, drones and satellite data should also be used for guarding the borders.

6. Upgrading infrastructure

  • Areas, especially along the Chinese region, needs proper infrastructure, especially in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

This article deals with ‘Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism.’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Like terrorism, there is no single uniformly accepted definition of organized crime. Even UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime does not define organized crime.

According to Interpol, an Organized Crime Group can be defined as ‘any group having a corporate structure & whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption.’ 

Characteristics of Organized Crime Groups

1. Continuity

  • These groups are structured to survive leadership changes. Due to their structured nature, they operate beyond an individual’s lifetime.

2. Structure

  • These groups are highly structured with a properly defined hierarchy. The ranks are based on power and authority.

3. Membership

  • Their membership is restricted and based on common traits like ethnicity, background, common interest or proximity with the leader. Scrutiny and probation are crucial parts of member recruitment. 

4. Criminality

  • Such groups rely on criminal activities to generate income. Therefore, these groups are engaged in criminal activities like smuggling, murder, intimidation, drug trafficking, human trafficking etc.

5. Violence

  • These groups use violence against opposition groups to protect their commercial interests.

6. Intimidation

  • To get their job done, criminal gangs indulge in intimidation against people or public officials.

7. Corruption

  • Crime thrives in a corrupt atmosphere. Organized Crime Groups buy off law enforcement officers to carry out their illegal activities without resistance. 

8. Power & Profit Motives

  • All the actions of the Organized Crime Group aim to maximize the group’s power and profits. For this, the group bribes the officials and leaders and even indulge in intimidation and violence.

9. Protectors

  • These groups have protectors in the form of public officials, attorneys and businessmen who collectively protect the criminal group.

10. Specialist support

  • These groups are assisted by specialists on an ad-hoc basis, including chemists (in the drug business), shooters (for murder), pilots (in smuggling) etc., who are nonetheless considered part of the group.

The degree of these characteristics may vary from group to group. However, the quintessential element of organized crime is continuing illegal activities to generate illegal proceeds.

Famous Organized Crime Groups of the World

Country Organized GroupImportant Points
Japan Yakuza Transnational Crime Syndicate with more than 28,000 members and a turnover of around $50 billion. It further has three more clans, i.e. Yamaguchi Gumi,  Sumiyoshi-kai and  Inagawa-kai.
Italy Ndrangheta group It has an annual turnover of €53 billion.
It is engaged in wide-ranging activities like murder, extortion, drug trafficking and money laundering. They control the supply of cocaine in the whole of Europe.
Membership relies on blood ties in the Calabria region of South Italy.
USA CRIPS African-American Organized Criminal Group in USA with a turnover of $8 billion 
India D Company D Company is named after its leader Dawood Ibrahim.
It is the most powerful gang in Mumbai with abroad networks.
It is involved in extortion, narcotics, drugs, smuggling and contract killing.
Russian  Mafia  
Hong Kong Triads  
Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism

Main activities carried by Organized Crime

1. Drug Trade

  • It is the biggest revenue source for most organized crime groups.  
  • It is quite widespread in India due to India’s geographical location between the golden triangle and golden crescent, the world’s leading producers of narcotics. 
  • Apart from that, opium is legally cultivated in India under medicinal licensing. Organized Criminal Groups siphon off this opium to be sold in the illicit market.
Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent

Side Topic: Narco-Terrorism

  • According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), narco-terrorism is “a subset of terrorism,” where groups or individuals participate directly or indirectly in the cultivation, manufacture, transportation or distribution of controlled substances and the money derived from these activities”.

2. Smuggling

  • Goods are smuggled in and out of the country by Organized Crime Groups without paying the required taxes and dodging customs.
  • The nature of smuggled goods depends on the fiscal policies adopted by the government. E.g., Textile items and electronic items were smuggled in the 1970s. Presently, gold is the primary item that is smuggled into India.

3. Cyber Crimes

  • With increased dependence on computers, cyber crimes have emerged as the main activity of Organized Crime Groups. They indulge in hacking, copyright piracy, software piracy, credit card fraud etc. 

4. Environmental Crime

  • There is a large-scale poaching of animals due to organized crime. 50% of world species are facing the fastest man-made mass extinction because of animal poaching.
  • Timber poaching is also a multi-billion dollar avenue and organized crime groups. 

5. Trafficking cultural property

  • Trafficking of cultural property is a crucial avenue for money laundering. Ancient Artefacts are stolen, and organized crime groups destroy sites to erase the trails of theft.

6. Piracy

  • Piracy is widespread across the Horn of Africa, Malacca and Sundarbans.
  • Organized crime groups indulge in attacking merchant ships to take the crew hostage and demand money to release the hostages. They earn millions of dollars through this route. 

7. Prostitution

  • Trading in sex and girl-running is a very profitable business. Underworld is closely connected to brothels and call girl rackets. According to the WHO,  Bombay & Kolkata has 1 million, and Pune & Delhi have 40,000 prostitutes.
  • It has to be noted that prostitution per se is not an offence in India. However, running brothels, inducing girls for the sake of prostitution, detaining girls in brothels, or running brothels in the vicinity of public places is a criminal offence.

8. Contract Killing

  • Organized Crime Groups like D-Company and Yamaguchi Gumi are also involved in contract killing. They are ready to kill anybody in return for specific fees. It is also the preferred mode of killing, as the conviction rate in contract killing is negligible.
  • Under the contract, the part amount is paid in advance, called ‘supari’. The rest of the payment is made after the commission of the crime.

9. Money Laundering

  • Money laundering means the conversion of illegal and ill-gotten money into legal money. Organized Crime Groups provide services via placement, layering and integration of black money in return for fees. 

10. Kidnapping

  • It is a highly organized crime. Crime groups kidnap children or adults and demand huge sums in return for releasing them.
  • This activity is mainly carried out in urban areas.

11. Organ trafficking

  • An organ transplant can save a life, but there is a heavy demand-supply mismatch. Due to the desperate situation of the recipient, they are ready to pay a hefty amount. Organized Crime groups exploit this situation by indulging in organ trafficking. 
  • Unlike other crimes, professionals like doctors, nurses etc., are also involved in this.

12. Light Arms Proliferation

  • Light arms proliferation is a global phenomenon. It has taken a heavy toll on entire regions’ lives and socio-economic development.
  • Organized Crime Groups are the main suppliers of illegal light arms like pistols, guns etc. 

13. Intellectual Property Crime

  • Intellectual Property Crime (IPC) includes the manufacturing, storage and sale of counterfeit or pirated goods where the consent of the rights holder has not been obtained.
  • Some scholars argue that it constitutes the largest black-market economy, surpassing the global narcotics trade.

Organized Crime and Terrorism

The intersection between terrorism and organized crime can be divided into three categories

1. Co-existence

  • It refers to the situation when both (Organized Crime Gangs & Terrorist Organisations) operate in the same theatre but remain separate entities.
Co-existence in Organized Crime and Terror

2. Cooperation

  • Generally, Organized Crime Groups and Terrorist organizations don’t cooperate as their motives differ. While Terrorists want a change in the political status quo, Organized Crime Groups want a change in the status quo only when it threatens them. 
  • But when the benefit outweighs the risk, they cooperate, including specific operational supports which can be acquired cost-effectively from each other. E.g.: 
    1. In Columbia, Medellin Drug Cartel hired ELN to implant car bombs because they didn’t have the expertise in bombs.
    2. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan allied with the Afghan drug mafia so that movement of drugs could occur safely to the Soviet Union.
    3. Terrorist Organizations frequently use Organized Crime Groups’ help to create fake passports, smuggling terrorists into countries. Terrorist groups / Insurgents active in the North-Eastern States take the services of crime syndicates active in Cox Bazaar for such activities.
Cooperation in Organized Crime and Terror

3. Confluence

When a single entity does both activities

Organized CrimeWhen Organized Crime Group uses terror tactics to safeguard their business interest. E.g., D-Company’s terrorist activities.
Terrorist GroupWhen Terrorist Group uses organized crime to gather funds, E.g., Al Qaeda uses drug trafficking, and ISIS uses women trafficking to fund their activities.
Confluence in Organized Crime and Terror

It is also known as ‘Black Hole Syndrome, where terrorist groups and transnational organized crime groups converge entirely into each other. The black hole syndrome is thus described as the natural progression of these two criminal groups gaining economic and political control over the territory (Tamara Makarenko, 2005, p.129)

Black Hole Syndrome

Indian examples of Black Hole Syndrome

  • In the Northeast, extortion, drug trafficking and gun running are the fundamental basis for funding terrorism.
  • D Company of Mumbai (as discussed above).

Similarities between Terrorism and Organized Crime

Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism
  • There is a similarity in personality traits of members belonging to terrorist organizations and Organized Crime Groups. Members of both organizations are
    • From the marginal social groups exposed to and burdened by social or political frustrations
    • They are the persons attracted by excitement and thrill.
    • They have risk-taking ability.
  • Terrorist Organizations and Organized Crime Groups have similarities in their modus operandi, which involves 
    • Secrecy and confidentiality.
    • Use of violence to accomplish certain goals or interests.
    • Detailed planning and preparation
    • Respect for strict discipline.
    • Intimidating the surroundings.
  • Activities carried out by both, i.e. Terrorists and Organized Crime Groups are punishable by law.

Differences between Terrorism and Organized Crime

Differences between Terrorism and Organized Crime
Terrorist Organisations Organized Crime Groups
They want to overthrow the existing government by changing the present order. They don’t want to overthrow the state => Only want to form a parallel government.
They use violent means. These groups generally remain non-violent. Violence is used as a last resort.
Terrorists are driven by political objectives. Organized Crime Groups are driven by economic objectives, devoid of any political dimension.
Terrorist organizations claim responsibility for terrorist attacks. Organized Crime Groups never claim responsibility for their criminal acts.
They try to seek media attention. They don’t seek media attention and remain low profile.
They attack government and law enforcement agencies. They generally don’t indulge in such activities.
They want to influence public opinion. They aren’t concerned with public opinion.

UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

  • It was adopted in 2000 and came to force in 2003.
  • The Convention is supplemented by three supplementary protocols i.e. 
    1. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children
    2. Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air
    3. Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms and Ammunition
  • As a signatory, the country is committed for 
    1. Creation of domestic criminal offences for participation in an organized criminal group.
    2. Adoption of frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law-enforcement cooperation. 
    3. Promotion of training and technical assistance for building or upgrading the necessary capacity of national authorities.

Legal position in India on organized crime

  • There is no national law explicitly dealing with Organized Crime in India. Various provisions of IPC deal with it. But the Government of India is planning to make the Organized Crime Control Act.
  • Various states have enacted special legislation to tackle Organized Crime, like Maharashtra (first to pass in 1999), Delhi, UP, Gujarat, Karnataka & Haryana (2019)

1 . Provisions of IPC

Criminal Conspiracy

  • It is defined by Section 120A of IPC.
  • Criminal Conspiracy is – when two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done an illegal act or an act which is not illegal by illegal means.


  • Section 391 of IPC deals with it. 
  • If 5 or more persons commit a robbery, it is termed as dacoity.
  • It is a punishable offence with imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years.

2. Provisions to tackle Human Trafficking (by Organized Crime Groups)

  • Anti-Trafficking Nodal Cell has been set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs to act as a focal point for tackling Human Trafficking in the country. 
  • The government of India has also signed agreements with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bahrain etc., to curb Human Trafficking.  

3. Provisions to tackle Drug Trafficking (by Organized Crime Groups)

  • Acts: India has enacted the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) and the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • International Conventions: India is a signatory to all three UN Conventions, namely 
    1. Convention on Narcotics Drugs, 1962
    2. UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971
    3. UN Convention against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 

4. State Acts

  • Various states have passed State laws to control organized crime, notorious gangsters and crime syndicates in the state. Most notable among them is the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999. 

5. Suggestions of the Supreme Court

  • Supreme Court has recently directed the Centre to set up Organized Crime Investigating Agency (OCIA). It can be a positive step in combating organized crime.

Problems in controlling Organized Crime in India

  • Inadequate Legal Structure: India needs a special law to control/suppress organized crime. The existing law is insufficient as it targets individuals and not criminal groups or criminal enterprises.
  • Difficulties in Obtaining Proof: Organized Criminal groups are structured hierarchically, and the higher echelons of leadership are insulated as there is hardly any documentary evidence against them.
  • Dual Criminality: Certain crimes, particularly drug trafficking, are planned in one part of the world and executed in another. Different nations have different legal structures, and the extradition of criminals from one country to other is very difficult. 
  • Criminal, Political & Bureaucratic Nexus: Due to this, the investigating and prosecuting agencies find it difficult to deal effectively with them.
  • Lack of Resources & Training: Police come under the State’s subject. Most States face a resource crunch, and there are hardly any training facilities for investigating organized crime.
  • The police force in India is not trained to deal with organized crime. Their training involves dealing with conventional crime, and organized crime is neglected. 
  • The technological sophistication of organized crimes due to new technologies like cryptocurrencies has opened up many possibilities for criminals to carry out traditional crimes without leaving a trail. 
  • Weakness of the financial system due to the prevalence of the cash economy, parallel transactions through hawala, money laundering etc., makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to control them.

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

This article deals with ‘Security challenges and their management in border areas.’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’, which is an important pillar of the GS-2 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Definition: State Actors vs Non-State Actors

State Actors (SA)

  • State Actors are based on the premise of sovereignty, recognition of statehood and control of territory & population. 
  • E.g., India, the US, and Micronesia (irrespective of size).

Non-State Actors (NSA)

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

Challenges to India’s Internal Security from NSAs 

Challenges to India's Internal Security from NSAs

1 . Terrorism

  • Non-State Actors, mainly terrorist groups, are involved in the execution of terror attacks. Notably, in the case of India, these terrorist groups are either secessionists or Islamic fundamentalists. 
  • These Terrorist Organizations have been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.
  • Examples of Terrorist Non-State Actors  include
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)
Babbar Khalsa International Khalistan Commando Force

2. Naxalism

  • Naxalism was started as a movement for land reforms. Later, it took a violent & dangerous turn aiming at overpowering the democratic structure of India via violent armed struggle.
  • Naxalists get financial, ideological and technological support from external Non-State Actors (especially foreign leftist organizations from the Philippines, Turkey and China.).

3. Insurgency

  • Many insurgent groups are active in North-East with demands ranging from separate states to regional autonomy to complete independence.
  • It is difficult to handle these insurgents because of the rugged terrain, porous border & external support of adjoining states.
  • There is massive unemployment in the North-East region. Hence, unemployed youth provide an easy target for recruiters. 
  • Interlinkages between outfits ensure a smooth transfer of military hardware & technology. Even the weakest outfit has access to sophisticated technology ranging from satellite communication to automatic guns.
  • State and Non-State Actors help the insurgents in various ways. The examples mentioned below will help in understanding this.

3.1 Naga Insurgents

  • Naga insurgents receive patronage from the Chinese regime.
  • They enjoy safe havens in Bhutan, Bangladesh & Myanmar. 
  • Naga outfits like NSCN (IM) have close links with NDFB, Naxalists etc. They even have links with Burmese groups like United Wa Army and Kaichin Independence Army (KIA).

3.2 ULFA

  • ULFA waged an international struggle by attending meetings of the Unrepresented Nations Peoples Organisation. 

4. Cyber Attacks

  • Cyber attacks are carried out by cyber criminals, cyber terrorists and other foreign states.
  • While cybercriminals indulge in such activities for monetary gains, cyber terrorists want to further their political objectives. 
  • India’s exponential growth in the IT sector and various e-governance measures make it extra vulnerable to such attacks. E.g., the 2010 Commonwealth Games hosted by India witnessed Cyber attacks from Pakistan & China to damage information systems. 
  • It has been noticed that most cyber attacks on India originate from the US, China, Russia, East Europe & Iran.

5. Counterfeit Currency / Economic 

  • It is tough to distinguish between fake & real currency nowadays because the fake currency is printed with state-of-the-art technology using security paper supplied by state actors.
  • It is a sub-conventional warfare strategy pursued by Pakistan against India. 
  • Fake currency is mainly brought to India through the porous borders of Nepal & Bangladesh. 
  • Terrorist organizations like Hizb ul Mujahideen use the fake currency to fund their programs.  
  • To tackle this, the government has taken various measures like
    1. Demonetisation of Indian currency notes.
    1. New notes have more security features. Hence, they are difficult to counterfeit.
    2. A special cell under NIA has been formed to counter terror funding and fake currency.

6. Communalism

  • Various reports highlight that domestic extremist organizations get financial & ideological support from external religious organizations (Non-State Actors) and Foreign States (Pakistan, China etc.).
  • E.g.: 
    • Pakistan (state actor) funds Kashmiri Terrorists.
    • Islamic terrorists are getting ideological support from ISIS. 
    • Saudi Arabia is promoting and funding radical Wahhabism in the world.
    • Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV are radicalizing Muslim Youth in India and Bangladesh. 

7. Drug  Trafficking

  • Due to its location, India has become a transit hub & destination for drugs originating from GOLDEN TRIANGLE (Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) & GOLDEN CRESCENT (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran).
  • There is nexus between drug traffickers, organized criminal networks & terrorists, which is powerful enough to destabilize even the whole nation. Money generated by this trade is also used to fund insurgents & terrorists.
Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle

8. Human Trafficking

  • Human trafficking, in major part, involves the abduction, buying and selling of women and children for prostitution, forced marriages and bonded labour.
  • India has been both the source and destination of human trafficking.
    1. Women and children are trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh to be sold inside the country for prostitution. 
    2. Women are trafficked from India to the Middle East and other European countries, where they are employed as low-skilled labourers, domestic workers and sexual exploitation.

9. Piracy

  • Piracy is a serious threat to India because the Indian economy heavily depends on the export and import of goods. Securing the Sea Lane of Commerce is vital for India.
  • In the Indian Ocean, Somalian pirates are active around the Horn of Africa, which poses a great threat to India’s energy security as oil tankers also pass through this region. To tackle this, the Indian government has taken various measures, including escort vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

10. Security threats posed by Indian Diaspora

  • Indian (Muslim) diaspora in Gulf nations is indoctrinated during their stay and used for carrying out terrorist activities and propaganda on their return to India.
  • A large number of Sri Lankan Tamils were forced to take refuge in Tamil Nadu during the Civil War in Sri Lanka between Sri Lankan Army and LTTE. They, along with the people of Tamil Nadu, exert pressure on Tamil Nadu and the Indian government to take a stand against Sri Lankan government, causing strain in Indo-Lanka relations. 
  • Indian (Sikh) diaspora in countries like the UK, Canada, USA, Australia etc., support the Khalistan issue.

11. Threats posed by Multi-National Corporations (MNCs)

  • In today’s globalized world, MNCs are influencing the global economy, and some MNCs (like Facebook, Coke etc.) have become more powerful than nation-states.
  • Actions of powerful mining MNCs like Vedanta and POSCO and subsequent encroachment of the lands of Adivasis resulted in the emergence of Naxal / Maoist movements in these areas.
  • Powerful seed companies like Monsanto and Bayer can pose a great threat to the nation’s food security by patenting the technology used to manufacture GM and HYV seeds.
  • MNCs shatter the faith of the common public in the government. Government loses legitimacy, and people tend to believe that it is working for these MNCs and big corporates. 

12. Threats posed by NGOs

  • NGOs have a soft glove and apologist attitude towards Naxalites, Insurgents & Terrorists.
  • NGOs like Amnesty International force governments to repeal acts like AFSPA, which can prove dangerous in some situations.
  • Intelligence Bureau (2014) also brought to the forefront the obstructionist role played by Foreign Funded NGOs and the loss of GDP to the tune of 2% happening due to their protests.

To counter this, Parliament passed Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) in 2010 to regulate the flow of foreign funds to NGOs.

Part 2: Role of External State Actors in creating threats to Internal Security of India

2.1 Internal Security threats posed by China

  • India and China have a long-standing border dispute which leads to frequent Chinese intrusions into Indian territories. Recently, China has been following an assertive policy, as evident from the Galwan clashes (2020).
  • China is supporting the insurgents in the North-East States, corroborated by the fact that counter-insurgency operations in the North East have resulted in the recovery of dozens of made-in-China rifles, pistols, grenades and other ammunition. NIA has found evidence that the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) are buying weapons from Norinco (a state-owned weapon manufacturer in China).
  • China also provides shelter to North Eastern ethnic separatist militants (Eg, NSCN, ULFA etc.).
  • Since the beginning, the Maoist/ Naxalism movement has received philosophical, moral, financial, and intellectual support from China. 
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which connects Xinxiang with Gwadar port, passes through Pakistani Occupied Kashmir and undermines Indian sovereignty over the region.

  • China is building a large number of naval bases in the Indian Ocean to encircle India through its String of Pearl strategy.
String of Pearls
  • Cheap Chinese mobiles sold in the Indian market manufactured by companies like Xiaomi pose a threat of surveillance and data leakage by the Chinese state. The Indian military has barred its employees from using Chinese mobiles.

2.2 Internal Security threats posed by Pakistan

Internal Security threats posed by Pakistan
  • Terrorism in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir is the direct manifestation of Pakistan’s policy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts.
  • ISI of Pakistan also supports Naxal groups to foment disturbance and law and order problems in India.
  • In the North-East, Pakistan’s ISI has trained and financially supported insurgent groups such as ULFA.
  • Pakistan is encouraging non-state actors like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) with active funding and logistical and military support to foment unrest in India. 
  • Pakistan is trying to flood India with fake currency so as it impact the Indian economy and weaken the trust of the public in the Indian currency.
  • Pakistan is flooding the border states with drugs to destroy India’s youth and produce unrest in the country. 
  • Pakistan indulges in complex cyber attacks on Indian companies, government websites and databases.

2.3 Internal Security threats posed by Bangladesh

Cattle Smuggling 
Iluman Trafficking 
Illegal Migration
  • Bangladesh acts as a safehouse for terrorists. During Khalida Zia’s regime, DGFI (Bangladesh’s intelligence agency) also used to support insurgent groups in the North-East.
  • Illegal migration from Bangladesh to North-Eastern states has been the source of communal and ethnic tension in India, resulting in large-scale demographic changes in the North-East region.
  • Due to the porous nature of the border, there is a rampant drug, human and cattle trafficking. While there is no evidence of direct state involvement in this case, it is its inactivity to resolve the issue that is concerning.

Basics of Cyber Security

Basics of Cyber Security

This article deals with the ‘Basics of Cyber Security .’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


  • Information Technology Act of 2000 defines Cyber Security as “protecting information, equipment, devices, computer resource, communication device and information stored therein from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction.”
  • The internet is prone to attacks as its architecture was designed to promote connectivity and not security. 
  • With the growing importance of the internet, cyberspace has been recognized as 5th dimension of warfare (after land, sea, air and space)
  • The importance of the internet in India can be gauged from the following data.
Basics of Cyber Security

Evolution of Cyber Security

otnets (late 2000s 
to Current) DLP. 
Viruses (1990s) 
nti-Virus, Firewal 
APT, Insiders 
(Current) Networ 
Flow Analysis 
worms (2000s) 
ntrusion Detectio 
& Prevention

Cyber Security Threats

('4 ber Crime 
Cyber Warfare 
Cyber Attacks 
Cy ber Espoinage 
Cyber Terrorism 
Cry pto Jacking

1. Cyber Crime

  • There is no fixed definition of cybercrime. It refers to all the criminal activities done using the computer, the internet and cyberspace. Even the Indian IT Act doesn’t define cybercrime. 
  • Cybercrime is an intellectual and white-collar crime.
  • Generally speaking, it can be divided into two categories i.e.
    1. Crimes that target computers and devices directly. E.g., Hacking, computer viruses, data theft, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks etc. 
    2. Crimes facilitated by computer networks. E.g., Phishing, Spam, Offensive Content, Cyber Stalking etc. 
  • The most prominent form of cybercrime is identity theft, in which criminals use the internet to steal personal information from other users. Two of the most common ways this is done are phishing and pharming.  
  • Cyber Crime is a broader term which includes Cyber Attacks, Cyber Terrorism and Cyber Warfare.

2. Cyber Attack

  • Cyber-attack is “any type of offensive manoeuvre employed by individuals or organizations targeting computer information systems, infrastructures, and computer networks with a goal to alter, disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy the data held on the targeted system or network.”
  • It is mostly done using malicious code.
  • International examples of Cyber Attacks include
    1. SolarWinds cyberattack (2020) in which hackers exploited the loophole in SolarWinds Orion software, which is used by thousands of companies, including several US government agencies. 
    1. Ransomware attack on ‘Colonial Pipeline Company’ for which it paid millions of dollars in Bitcoins
    2. In 2012, Saudi oil major Aramco was hit by the ‘Shamoon virus‘, which wiped the memory of 30,000 computers. The attack was likely carried out by Iranians.
  • Some notable examples of cyber attacks on India include
    1. Pakistani Hackers, “Pakistani Cheetahs“, frequently try to hack the government of India websites.
    2. In 2020, the Chinese hacker group Stone Panda attacked the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech’s IT systems to access data related to the Covid-19 vaccine developed by these companies.
    3. 32 lakh debit cards of the consumers of Indian banks were compromised in 2016.

3. Cyber Terrorism

  • The acts of terrorism related to cyberspace or executed using cyber technologies are popularly known as ‘cyber terrorism’. It is the convergence of terrorism and cyberspace.
  • The basic qualifier to be recognized as cyber terrorism is that attack should result in violence or generate fear.
  • In 1998, Sri Lankan embassies were swamped with e-mail bombs by ethnic Tamil militants. It is believed to be the first cyber terror attack in the world.

4. Cyber Warfare

  • Cyberwarfare is the use of computer technology in politically motivated attacks against a state or organization. It includes targeted attacks on information systems for tactical or strategic reasons.
  • Cyber warfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems among many other possibilities.
  • Any country can wage Cyberwar on any other country, irrespective of resources, because most military forces are network-centric and connected to the internet, which is not secure. For the same reason, Non-Governmental Groups and individuals could launch cyber warfare attacks.

International Examples

  1. Stuxnet attack in 2010 in which Israel attacked Iranian Nuclear Plants.
  2. In 1998, the United States hacked into Serbia’s Air Defence System to compromise air traffic control and facilitate the bombing of Serbian targets.
  3. In 2012, large-scale cyber attacks targeted at the Iranian government were uncovered. In return, Iran is believed to have launched massive attacks aimed at US banks and Saudi oil companies.

Indian Examples

  1. 2020: During the Galwan Valley incident with China, the Chinese hacker group Red Echo conducted a “ShadowPad” malware attack against India, resulting in a massive power outage in Mumbai.
  2. When violence broke out in 2012 between residents of Assam and Bangladeshi migrants, nationwide hate messages were spread by Pakistan.

5. Cyber Espionage

  • Cyber Espionage is the act or practice of obtaining secrets without the permission of the holder of the information, from individuals, competitors, rivals, groups, governments and enemies for personal, economic, political or military advantage using methods on the internet, networks or individual computers through malicious software including Trojan Horses and Spywares.
  • These acts are between state nations, but they may include non-state actors too.
  • Examples include 
    • In 2020, Indian Express Investigation found that Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. was monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organizations, including bureaucrats in key positions, judges, scientists and academicians, journalists, actors, sportspersons, religious figures and activists.
    • NSA Surveillance Program as revealed by Edward Snowden in the USA.
    • Cyber-espionage group called Danti penetrated Indian government systems.

6. Phishing

  • Phishing websites or web pages are created by fraudsters, which leads you to believe you are entering your personal details on a secure website, but the details go directly to the fraudster.
  • Using these details, the fraudsters can log in from your account and change the password, locking you out of your own account or using the credit or debit card details and password to withdraw money.

7. Pharming

  • Pharming is a type of scam wherein malicious malware is loaded on a server to trick people into visiting fraudulent websites without their knowledge or consent. 

8. Crypto Jacking

  • Crypto-Jacking is a process in which unauthorized crypto-coin miners siphon the resources of personal computers to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin without the owner’s knowledge.
  • According to the latest Symantec Report, this is the latest major threat in cyber security.
Crypto-jacking = Latest Cyber Security Threat

9. Cognitive Hacking

  • Cognitive Hacking involves exploiting psychological vulnerabilities, perpetuating biases, and compromising logical and critical thinking to change the target audience’s thoughts and actions, galvanize societies and disrupt harmony using disinformation. 
  • Cognitive Hacking tries to manipulate the way people perceive reality.
  • Examples
    1. A group named QAnon spread false information arguing that the US 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
    1. Conspiracy theorists in countries like UK and Netherlands burnt down 5G towers believing that it caused the novel coronavirus pandemic. 


Malware is a term used to describe harmful software that is capable of monitoring users’ online activity without their consent.

1. Computer Virus

  • A computer virus is a computer program developed by a programmer to infect other programs. 
  • It affects the computer system in the following ways
    1. Destructs file allocation table (FAT)
    2. Erases specific programs and data on discs
    3. Alters content of files
    4. Suppresses execution of RAM
    5. Destroys part of data held on disc via the creation of bad sectors  
    6. Formats discs or tracks on discs in a different way.

2. Trojan Horses

  • A Trojan horse is a malware program, which seems to be doing one thing, but in reality, it does another thing and is used to set up a rear door into the system, thereby enabling the intruder to access the user’s personal information.
Trojan Horses

3. Spyware

  • It is a computer program that gathers personal information secretly and sends it via the internet from the computer without the user’s knowledge.
  • E.g., Spyware called Pegasus (made by an Israeli firm, NSO) is used by various government agencies to compromise the phones of multiple activists, journalists and lawyers.  

4. Ransomware

  • Ransomware, as the name suggests, locks computers, encrypts the data on them and prevents users from accessing their devices and data until a certain ransom is paid to its creator.


1 . WannaCry (2017)

  • WannaCry ransomware attack infected more than 1 lakh companies and services, including the National Health Services (NHS) of Britain, where doctors were blocked from patient files. Hackers demanded $300 in Bitcoins to decrypt files.

2. Petya (2017)

  • Petya was even more advanced ransomware than WannaCry. Its chief targets were Ukraine and Russia.  

3. Colonial Pipeline Company Attack (2021)

  • Ransomware attack on ‘Colonial Pipeline Company’ for which it paid millions of dollars in Bitcoins

5. Spam

  • Spam in the security context is primarily used to describe e-mail spam—unwanted messages in your e-mail inbox. Spam, or electronic junk mail, is a nuisance as it can clutter your mailbox and potentially take up space on your mail server.

Associated Terms

1. Hacker

A “clever programmer” or “someone who tries to break into computer systems to steal personal data without the owner’s permission or knowledge” is known as a Hacker.

What is Hacking?

2. Firewalls

  • A device that guards the entrance to a private network and keeps out unauthorized or unwanted traffic is termed as Firewall. 
  • Firewalls distinguish “good” traffic from “bad” traffic.

3. Encryption and Decryption

  • Encryption is the process of translating the plain text into random and mangled data (called cipher-text).
  • Decryption is the reverse process of converting the cipher-text back to plain text.
  • Encryption and decryption are done by cryptography.
  • Encryption is used to protect data in a communication system, for example, data being transferred via networks (e.g. the internet, e-commerce etc.), mobile telephones, wireless microphones, wireless intercom systems, bluetooth devices and bank automatic teller machines.
  • WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption that ensures only you and the person or group you are communicating with can read and see what is sent, and nobody in between — not even WhatsApp have access to messages. Investigators argue they’re creating warrant-proof spaces for criminals. When no such absolute privacy exists in the physical world, how can such exist in the virtual world?
  • Strong encryption protocols increase consumer confidence in the digital economy, but the Indian government fears a scenario where criminals or terrorists can easily “go dark” behind secure channels. 

Benefits of Cyber Attack over Conventional Attack 

  • Cheaper to execute. 
  • Less risky as no physical harm can be done to the attacker.
  • Anonymity, as technology, permits the attacker to conceal its origin, making it more lucrative for the state and non-state actors. 
  • These attacks are unconstrained by distance.
  • Several people can use the same program.
  • Traditional security concepts like deterrence and retaliation are challenging to apply. 
  • Difficult to locate the attacker, who can even mislead the target into believing that the attack has come from somewhere else.

India’s vulnerability in Cyber Space

India remains vulnerable to digital intrusions such as cyber-espionage, cybercrime, digital disruption and Distributed Denial of Service. India is the 3rd most vulnerable country in the world in terms of cybersecurity breaches, followed by US & China (according to a 2018 Report by Symantec).

  1. Indian IT Act of 2000 is weak with the presence of large lacunae (explained below).   
  2. Cyber Security audits do not occur periodically, nor do corporations adhere to international standards.
  3. There is a lack of best practices and statutory backing for the same in India. E.g., norms for disclosure of cyber attacks were only put in place in 2019. 
  4. There is no data protection law in India. 
  5. Data Colonization of Indian data is happening at a great pace as Indian data is exported abroad and stored outside in the absence of data localization law.
  6. The multiplicity of agencies (more than a dozen), including MHA, CERT-IN, NCIIPC, State police etc., deal with cybercrime. The lack of coordination hinders smooth functioning.  
  7. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is woefully understaffed.  
  8. Chinese are increasing their military capacity for the cyber attack, which is a cause of concern for India. 
  9. Most mobile devices are made in China, which heightens the risk of Cyber Espionage.
  10. At the individual level, there is attitudinal apathy of users towards issues of cybersecurity. Indians don’t use paid original versions of operating systems and software. As a result, they don’t get frequent updates from the system, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

Why does India need Cyber Security?

  • India is betting big on the digital sector. Cyberspace has become a key component in the formulation and execution of public policies such as Digital India &  Smart Cities. Hence, an ultra-secure cyber network is required in India. 
  • The number of internet users in India is increasing at an unprecedented pace. In 2020, India had nearly 730 million Internet users, which will grow to over 974 million users by 2025. 
  • The government’s digital push, especially promoting programs such as Aadhar, Digilocker, e-Market etc., makes cyber security very important. In these schemes, the government is processing and storing sensitive data, which, if compromised, can have a devastating impact.
  • The number of cyber crimes is also rising at a fast pace, as corroborated by the fact that National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2019 registered a 63.5% jump in cybercrime cases over 2018. Additionally, the frequency of highly sophisticated cyber attacks like Wannacry and Petya is rising. 
  • To protect our Critical Infrastructure. 
  • To protect the private sector, especially the IT sector, which is an important job creator and source of foreign exchange. 
  • To protect the citizens of the nation from hacking & fraud attacks. 
  • Most countries are going for the militarization of cyber space, which can alter the outcomes of the battle.  

Side Topic: Stand of various nations on the militarization of cyberspace 

Stand of various nations on the militarisation of cyberspace

India’s Cyber Security Architecture

1. IT Act,2000 

Information Technology Act of 2000 regulates the use of computer systems and computer networks and their data. The act gives statutory recognition to electronic contracts and deals with electronic authentication, digital signatures, cybercrimes, the liability of network service providers etc.

Act declares the following things as cyber crimes

Section 66A Sending offensive messages through a communications provider, including attachments.
Section 66B Dishonestly receiving stolen communication devices or computer resources.
Section 66C Identity theft
Section 66D Cheating by personating
Section 66E Violation of privacy
Section 66F Defines Cyber Terrorism: As the act of causing a denial of service, gaining unauthorized access, or introducing a virus in any critical information infrastructure of the nation as defined by Section 70 with the purpose of endangering India’s unity, integrity, security, or sovereignty, terrorizing the general public, or gaining unauthorized access to data or databases that are restricted for the sake of the state’s security or friendly relations with foreign states.
Section 67A The electronic publication or transmission of material having explicit sexual content.
Section 67B Publishing or distributing content that shows children in sexually explicit acts.

Along with that, the IT Act of 2000 has provisions for the creation of NCIIPC and CERT-In.

  • Section 70A: Creates NCIIPC (National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre) to protect Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) (12 sectors like banking, defence, aviation etc.)
  • Section 70B: Creates ‘Computer Emergency Response Team India’ (CERT-IN) modelled on a similar force in the USA to deal with cyber security threats like Hacking and phishing and strengthen defence.  

However, the act is weak in the following issues.

  • The maximum damage, by way of compensation, stipulated by the cyber law amendments is Rs.5 crores. It is a small amount to act as a deterrent for corporates. 
  • The issue of spam has not been dealt with comprehensively. The word ‘spam’ is not even mentioned anywhere in the IT Act. It is pertinent to note that countries like the USA, Australia and New Zealand have demonstrated their intentions to fight against spam by making laws specifically dealing with spam. 
  • Indian information technology (IT) laws are not stringent enough to deal with hacking instances. In case someone gets hacked by any university or institute network, the maximum punishment is three years and Rs. 5 lakhs under Section 66.
  • Hacking is a bailable offence in India, unlike the US.
  • In the US, when the Sony PlayStation network was hacked, users filed lawsuits against the company. In India, users who lost their data could do nothing against the company. A low-level police inspector investigates cyber crimes like data hacking in India. The efficacy of such an approach is hardly likely to withstand the test of time, given the current non-exposure and lack of training of Inspector level police officers to cyber crimes.
  • The act does not protect privacy. Hence, it does not prevent companies from selling or sharing consumer data.  
  • The bill also does not comprehensively define cyberterrorism.  

The government has tried to update the bill to deal with the challenges of cyberspace. The dynamic nature of the sector means that the government is always playing catch up. 

2. National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 

It was brought against the backdrop of revelations by Edward Snowden of the massive NSA surveillance program. 

Salient features of Policy

  1. Set up a 24×7  NCIIPC to protect the critical infrastructure of the country. 
  2. Create a taskforce of 5 lakh cyber security professionals in 5 years.  
  3. Provide fiscal advantages to businesses for the adoption of standard cyber security practices. 
  4. Designate CERT-In as in charge of cybersecurity-related matters and have the local (state) CERT bodies coordinate at the respective levels.
  5. Develop a dynamic legal framework to deal with Cyber Security.  
  6. Set up testing labs to regularly check the safety of equipment

It has to be noticed that National Cyber Security Policy 2013 mainly covers defensive and response measures and makes no mention of the need to develop offensive capacity.

3. CERT-In

  • CERT-In (Cyber Emergency Response Team – India) was constituted under IT Amendment Act, 2008.
  • It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).
  • Its main functions include
    1. Act as the national agency in charge of cyber security.
    2. Identify cyber threats and issue warnings.
    3. Respond to cyber security incidents as and when they occur.
    4. Coordination of cybersecurity threat response.
    5. Issuance of guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes and white papers relating to Cyber Security.

It has to be noted that CERT-Fin has also been established to tackle threats related to the financial sector.


  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC)is the nodal agency to protect the country’s critical infrastructure like banking, defence etc. 

5. I-4C

  • It works under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It helps to tackle internet crimes such as cyber threats, child pornography and online stalking.

6. CyCord Centre

  • It was formed in 2018.
  • It is a platform for Law Enforcement Agencies to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to resolve cyber crimes.

7. Cyber Swachhchta Kendra (CSK)

  • It is a part of the Digital India Initiative.
  • At CSK, computer systems are scanned by CERT-In for free. 
  • It also enhances the awareness among citizens regarding botnet and malware infection.
  • CSK provides various tools to prevent cyberattacks, like-
    1. M-Kavach:  Antivirus for smartphones.
    2. USB Pratirodh: USB protector
    3. Browser JSGuard: Block malicious JavaScript and HTML files. 
    4. Free Bot Removal Tool (made in collaboration with QuickHeal).
    5. AppSamvid: Whitelisting tool for the desktop.

8. State Specific Steps

Various states are also taking steps wrt Cyber Security

Telangana Telangana is the first state to come up with a policy on cybersecurity
It has also established a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCoE).  
Kerala Cyberdome is a Center of Excellence for Kerala Police to bridge the gap between the latest changes and innovations in cyberspace and the skill set development of Kerala Police.  
Maharashtra Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to have a cyber-police station in each district

9. Other Steps

  • I4C has launched Cyber Crime Volunteer Program to allow citizens to register themselves as ‘unlawful content flaggers’ to report online content for removal and help law enforcement agencies.
  • India is working with the UK, USA, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and many other countries on diverse issues such as joint training of cybersecurity professionals, information exchange, law enforcement and technical capacity building to combat cybercriminal activities jointly.
  • 52 countries (including India) and international bodies have signed the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Budapest Convention

Came into force 1 July 2004
Against 1. Crimes committed via the Internet
2. Infringement of copyrights
3. Computer-related fraud
4. Child pornography
5. Violation of network security
Objective Pursue common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime by adopting legislation
Declare any publication of racist or xenophobic propaganda via computer network an offence

Developing countries, including India, have not signed it, stating that the developed countries led by the US-drafted it without consulting them.

Steps India should take

  1. Individual Level: Individuals should be educated to create backups & also understand the need for them. They must be educated not to reveal their sensitive personal information indiscreetly. 
  2. Amendment of IT Act 2008, which should include provisions like
    1. Data Localisation
    2. Security certification’ for important network equipment and software companies.
  3. Using Cloud Computing: Since small firms, startups and government departments can’t buy expensive firewall systems individually, the government can go for Cloud Computing (IaaS) Mechanism to provide high-end and secure firewalls. It will reduce the price and increase affordability. 
  4. Cyber Offensive Policy: India should have its own Cyber Offensive policy to give a clear idea to the world of how India would respond if any nation-sponsored Cyber Attack hits it.
  5. India can raise a cyber command of the Indian Military to combat cyber warfare.
  6. Sign Budapest Convention – Budapest Convention is the first & only international treaty that addresses Internet and computer crime.    
  7. Air gapping: Air gapping isolates a computer or network and prevents it from establishing an external connection.  
  8. Using Quantum Cryptography: Cryptography is the process of encoding and decoding information so that it is sent securely over the communication network. Present Systems of Cryptography use Mathematical Algorithms which can be cracked. Quantum cryptography uses the spin of photons as the key. Hence, there is little chance it can be cracked. 
Basics of Cyber Security

Security Issues in North East

Security Issues in North East

In this article , we will discuss Security Issues in North East .

8 Sister States ie Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya , Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are known as North Eastren States of India.

This region is the most insurgency affected region of India and in this article , we will look into insurgencies and security issues in various North-Eastern states

Reasons for   lack  of  development  in  North-East

Centralized Governance  Indigenous people have little share in political and economic structures at central level. This centralized approach has deprived the locals from determining the nature and context of the problem thereby frustrating their aspirations of autonomy.
Economy controlled by outsiders Indigenous people have little role to play in the economy of the region. Eg : most of the plantation industry is dominated  by the immigrant labor force.
Connectivity issue
  • Due to partition of India , North East turned to landlocked country.
  • After 1962 war, Union didn’t built high grade roads and other infra in fear that it can lead to faster movement of Chinese troops.
Lack of infrastructure Lack  of  infrastructure  in  the  region  which  has  subsequently  culminated  into  lack  of industrialization  in  the  region.
Ethnic issues
  • North East has large number of Tribal Ethnicities and they usually rose against each other
  • Ethnic discord marked by some communities being branded “outsiders”
        • Chakma issue in Mizoram,
        • Hill versus valley disturbances in Manipur
        • longstanding NRC issue in Assam
        • Attacks on Sikh residents in Meghalaya
        • Chakma/Hajong citizenship issue in Arunachal Pradesh itself.
AFSPA Imposition of AFSPA has led to the feeling of discontentment
Land acquisition problems The  land  records  are  not  digitized,  and  land  surveys  are  not  done  and  land  records are  not  updated  at  regular  intervals.
Political representation One  of  the  key  reasons  for  not  giving  the  North-East  a  high  priority,  many  argue, is  the  fact  that  it  only  sends  24  Members  of  Parliament  to  the  Lok  Sabha,  out  of which  Assam  alone  sends  14.

Reasons for Insurgencies in North East

Pre Independence Reasons
  • Tribes were not brought under a strict political control and rigid regulations.
  • British tribal policy and Christian education are believed to be the genesis of demands of Independence from India
Post Independence
  • Ethnic and cultural  specificities were ignored during the process of delineation of state boundaries in the 1950s, giving rise to discontentment and assertion of one’s identity
  • Underdevelopment, Poverty, unemployment, lack of connectivity, inadequate health care and educational facilities
  • Governance deficit
  • Migration of people from the plains posing economic, cultural and political threat to the tribals.
  • Hostile neighbours extending moral and material support owing to porous international borders
  • Deep sense of alienation due to human right violation and excesses by security forces.
  • Imposition of AFSPA has led to the feeling of discontentment
  • Difficult terrain and weak infrastructure facilitating insurgents involved in conflict.

Impact of Insurgencies on North East

  • Lack of investment in the region especially in untapped potential for hydro-electric power due to lack of security
  • Economy severely affected due to extortion of “taxes” by various factions on local people, businesses, officials etc
  • Narcotic trade due to its position in vicinity of Golden Triangle impacting young generation


Mix  of  development , military power, governance , dialogue and ceasefireSecurity Challenges in North East

  • Act East Policy : Kaladan Multimodal Project , IMT highway , BCIM etc
  • Infra development . Japan also interested to fund
  • Seven  States  of  the  region  enjoy  special  category  status  to  develop  backward  areas.
  • Development of tourism
  • Job promotion in BPO sector => North East BPO Promotion Scheme
  • Promotion of Organic food
  • Governance – North East Council, Schedule 6 etc
  • Ratio in assistance from Central Government in Core Scheme =   90:10
  • Decentralisation of powers among the tribes
Military Power
  • AFSPA in place in insurgency hit areas
  • Eg : Indian Government in dialogue with NSCN and other Naga groups and is on verge of signing accord .

Topic : Assam Issue


  1. British developed the tea industry in Assam. They imported labour from Bihar & other provinces to work in tea gardens.
  2. Assamese people living mostly in Upper Assam and cultivating one crop per year, were not interested in working as labour in the tea gardens nor in increasing or expanding land cultivation .Therefore, British encouraged Bengali Muslim peasants from present Bangladesh to move into Lower Assam for putting virgin land under cultivation.
  3. Later during 1971 crisis, large number of Bangladeshi Muslims (+ Hindus) too came in Assam. This pattern is going on even after that

Socio-political movement started by  Assamese people in 1979 to evict illegal Bangladeshis ended in Assam Accord in 1985.

Reason for Migration from Bangladesh

  • Increasing pressure on land and mounting unemployment in Bangladesh due to rise in population. Large segments of population in Bangladesh uprooted by severe floods and cyclones
  • Porous India Bangladesh border
  • Better economic conditions in India

Security Challenge

  • Lead to agitations in which public property is damaged : failure of government to respond the issue of illegal migration led to the agitation by Assamese (culminating in Assam Accord)
  • Illegal Voters : Most of the illegal Bangladeshis have got their names enlisted in the voting list illegally, thereby claiming themselves as citizens of the state. The immigrant’s population act s as a vote bank for the political parties in Assam.
  • Issue of terrorism:  Pakistan’s ISI has been active in Bangladesh supporting militant movements in Assam.  Among the illegal migrants there are also militants

Way Out

  • Diplomatic Effort: India has to make diplomatic effort to get Bangladesh to cooperate as illegal migration cannot be solved unless sending country cooperates. Sharing of digital database of its citizens will make it easier.
  • Better Border Management: Fencing, construction of border roads and proper management of border will make a difference
  • Bar from Voting rights: Illegal migrants should not be allowed to vote and this will diminish their ability to influence government decisions by being a political force

Side Topic : ULFA

  • Demand = Separate country of Assam
  • Formed in 1979 against the backdrop of All Assam Student Union’s agitation against foreigners. It established close relationship with organisations such as NSCN of Nagaland . Their objective is to create independent Assam through armed struggle. It conducted several terrorist activities throughout 1990s
  •  ULFA claims that Assam was never a part of India as the Treaty of Yandabu was signed between two imperial powers without the consent of Assamese people.
  • 2011 : Tripartite Agreement between Union Government, State of Assam and ULFA for suspension of operations of ULFA .
  • At present , ULFA is divided into two factions – ULFA (PTF) and ULFA (ATF) ie Pro and Anti Talk Faction .

Topic : Manipur

  • Most insurgent state of North-East
  • More than 15 violent insurgent groups are present


  • There is clear divide between hill and valley people
  1. Meiteis : Valley people
  2. Nagas and Kukis : Hill people
  • Hill areas are affected by the actions of Nagas and Kukis . The people of hill areas feel that Meitis are an  influential group thereby compromising their interest . Meiteis on the other hand feels threatened due to powers and status given to Kuki and Naga people after the independence .

Groups active here

  • United National Liberation Front
  • Oldest Meitei insurgent group which seeks to create an independent and socialist Manipur
  • People’s Liberation Army
  • It is a Meitei organisation that aims to organise the entire North-East into a revolutionary front and bring together all the ethnic groups under a single umbrella
  • People’s Liberation Army of Kanglipak
  • Their aim is to expel the outsiders from Manipur
  • Another Meitei insurgent group
  • Their aim is to cleanise Manipuri society of evils like drugs
KNA Kuki National Army (demanding Zalengam consisting of areas of India & Myanmar)


  • Mass migration since 1947 altered the demography of Tripura from a tribal area to Bengali speaking majority area. Tribals were deprieved of their agricultural land which led to the emergence of Tripura National Volunteers .
  • In 1990, All Tripura National Force was formed which carried out periodic terrorist attacks . Their objective is expulsion of Bengali immigrants and removal of their names from the electoral rolls
  • National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) whose objective is to create independent of Tripura through armed struggle

Topic: Nagaland

Terms involved

Naga Naga people are a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. As of 2012, the state of Nagaland  officially recognises 17 Naga tribes.

Prominent Naga tribes include Poumai, Sumi, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Liangmai, Lotha, Pochury, Rongmei,Zeme, Mao.

Greater Nagalim Region carved out by integrating all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella .It includes several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar. The map of “Greater Nagalim” has about 1,20,000sq km, while the state of Nagaland consists of 16,527 sq km .
AFSPA An act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what the act terms “disturbed areas”.

Timeline in Naga Struggle

1826 Assam annexed by Britishers
1881 Naga hill too became a part of British India
  • Root of conflict started in 1918
  • Formation of the Naga Club by 20 members of the Naga French Labour Corp, who had served in World War I. The wartime knowledge motivated the few who had come in contact with the European battlefield to politically organise themselves as a distinct ethnic political entity.
1929 Club had submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929, in which it stated that the people of Naga areas and that of mainland India had nothing in common between them. Therefore, it would benefit both to stay separate and form their own political entity as and when the British left India.
  • Club was further reinforced with the formation of the Naga National Council (NNC) under the leadership of A.Z Phizo, a charismatic leader belonging to the Angami tribe.
  • Phizo had been trained by the British, especially Major General Wingate during World War II on the Burma Front against Japanese forces & he utilised knowledge to impart training in guerrilla warfare to NNC members.
  • Nine Point Agreement known as  Akbar Hydari Agreement was signed between NNC leaders T. Sakhrie, Imkonglba Ao and the Governor of Assam, Sir Akbar Hydari on 29 June 1947.
  • The Agreement gave the Nagas rights over their land as well as executive and legislative powers, but within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Agreement was rejected by Phizo. On 14 August 1947, the NNC led by Phizo declared independence.
1952 Formation of Naga Federal Government and Naga Federal Army which involved in violent clashes.
  1950s, 1960s and 1970s were a tumultuous period in Naga history with militancy on the rise coupled by the state’s military response propelled by acts like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, amended in 1972.
1962 Efforts for peace were made by the Union Government with the grant of statehood to Nagaland in 1963 and the establishment of a peace mission in 1964.
  • It was the loss of bases in East Pakistan in 1972, with the emergence of a new nation-Bangladesh, as well as the constant pressure from Indian security forces that motivated the NNC under Z. Huire to sign  Shillong Accord.
  • The Shillong Accord however repeated the tragic story of the 9 Point Agreement, in that it split the Naga rebel movement.
  • The Shillong Accord was the proximate cause for the formation of the original unified National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
1980 Thuingaleng Muivah rejected the accord and formed Nationalist Social Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
  • Due to intense differences with existing leadership Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah formed NSCN (IM) on 31 January 1988.
  • Followed by the further spilt of S. S. Khaplang led faction and formation of the NSCN (Khaplang) another National Socialist Council of Nagaland, named after its leader came to dominate in Naga inhabited areas.
1990s NSCN(IM)  becomes the largest insurgent outfit in Nagaland demanding Greater Nagalim.
1997 NSCN(IM) signs cease fire
2001 NSCN (K) (Khaplang) signs cease fire
2012 New NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) group was formed as a breakaway faction of the NSCN (K).
March 2015 NSCN (K) breaks cease fire
Aug 2015 Naga Peace Accord Signed with NSCN (IM)

      • NSCN has vowed allegiance to the constitution of India. The details of the accord are yet to come in public domain.
      • Issue : NSCN-IM has been insistent on the integration of Naga-inhabited areas into a greater Nagaland, which they call Nagalim and would involve the partition of three states — Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and inclusion of areas in Myanmar.

NSCN (IM), which views itself as the sole representative of the Naga people in peace dialogue , is being increasingly threatened on its home turf by the NSCN (Khole and Kitovi) faction.

  • While NSCN (Khaplang) is a major threat to the NSCN (IM) as a rival armed actor, its influence in terms of social legitimacy in Naga inhabited areas in India has been limited at best, due to the fact that its Chairman Khaplang belongs to Myanmar .
  • The Khole-Kitovi faction is however, a real challenge to the NSCN (IM)’s sphere of influence given the fact that both leaders are from Nagaland.

Money Laundering

In this article , we will look into Money Laundering as per the needs of UPSC examination.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of taking money earned from illicit activities, such as drug trafficking or tax evasion, and making the money appear to be earnings from legal business activity.

Money laundering is a way to conceal illegal funds and works by transferring money in an elaborate and complicated manner and to mislead anyone who may seek to trace the transaction. The objective is to make difficult to trace the original party to the transaction also referred to as the launderer.


Money Laundering
Process of Money Laundering
  1. Placement
  • It refers to moving the funds from a direct association with the crime .
  • It involves the initial entry of dirty cash into financial system.
  • The aim at this stage is to remove the cash from its location of acquisition to avoid detection by legal authorities
  • This is the most vulnerable stage in the money laundering

Done through

  1. Currency exchange
  2. Gambling
  3. Purchasing assets
  4. Repayment of loans Etc

2. Layering

  • This is the second and the most complex stage in the process of money laundering .
  • It often involves international movement of funds
  • During this stage , launderers may begin by moving money electronically from one country to another and then investing them back into the markets abroad. This is especially prevalent in those countries that don’t cooperate on anti-money laundering investigations

3. Integration

  • The final stage involves integration of the money into the legitimate economic and financial system. By this stage , it is extremely difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal wealth.
  • Some of the ways it is carried out includes :-
    • Creating front companies and false loans . Such companies are incorporated in countries wth corporate secracy laws in which criminals lend themselves their laundered proceeds in legitimate transactions .
    • Property dealing
    • Generation of false import and export invoices
    • Complicity with foreign banks

Causes why India has high levels of money laundering

  • Poor tax administration 
  • For a long time , India didn’t have any specific law for dealing with money laundering
  • Level of corruption is very high in India
  • Secrecy clauses in DTAAAs (Direct Tax Avoidance Treaties)
  • Nexus between bureaucrats , political leaders and criminals

Hawala & Money Laundering

  • Hawala works by transferring money without actually moving it.
  • It is an alternative or parallel remittance system, which works outside the circle of banks and formal financial systems. 
  • It is frequently used by criminals to launder money for their illicit acts like terrorism, drug trafficking etc
  • As hawala transactions are not routed through banks, the government agencies and the RBI cannot regulate them.

Status of Hawala in India

  • Hawala is illegal in India, as it is seen to be a form of money laundering
  • FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) 2000 and PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) 2002 are the two major legislations which make such transactions illegal.

Cryptocurrency: The New Hawala

  • Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin provides  anonymity & facilitates terror financing which was evident in 2015 Paris terrorist attack.
  • FATF reported in 2015 that some terrorist websites encouraged sympathisers to donate in bitcoins.
  • After, demonetisation action by the Government of India in 2016, there was noticed a flood of such digital transactions.

Impacts of Money Laundering

  • Social Impact
    • Transfers the economic power from the right people to the wrong 
    • Increases income inequality
    • Loss of morality and ethical standards leading to weakening of social institutions

  •  Economic Impact
    • Volatility in exchange rates and interest rates due to unanticipated transfers of funds
    • Discourages foreign investors
    • Policy distortion occurs because of measurement error
    • Legitimate businesses lose , as there is no fair competition involved 

  • Political Impact
    •  Affects the Government’s capability to spend on development schemes thereby affecting a large section of populations who could have benefitted from such spending

  • Security impacts
    • Laundered money is used to fund terrorist organisations

Steps Taken

  • Statutory : Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002

  • Institutional framework: Two bodies:
    • Enforcement Directorate  : Enforce certain provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PML)
    • Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) : International coordination in Money Laundering cases

  • International :
    • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) :
    • Asia – Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) : India is member

Other International Steps

  • Vienna Convention :  1988| To combat money laundering in Drug Trafficking 
  • Basel Statement of Principles in 1989
  • Financial Action Task Force : Integovernmental body sponsored by OECD & based in Paris . India is member
  • UNCTOC (UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crimes)

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

  • Defines offence of money laundering
  • Impose obligation on financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of  clients , maintain records and furnish informations to Financial Intelligence unit -India (FIU-Ind)
  • Brought certain offences under  IPC, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,  Arms Act,  Wild Life (Protection) Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and  Prevention of Corruption Act,  proceeds of which would be covered under this Act
  • Tackles Cross border money Laundering: It allows Central Government to enter into an agreement with Government of any country  for enforcing the provisions of the PMLA
  • Confiscate the illegal property
  • An officer not below the rank of a joint secretary would be appointed for management of properties confiscated under this.
  • Punishment shall not be less than 3 years & can be extended to 7 years . May be extended to 10 years in case it is under Narcotics & Psychotropic Substances Act , 1985
  • Special Courts set-up in a number of States  to conduct the trial of the offences of money laundering. 


  • Rapid advancements in digital technology : The enforcement agencies are not able to match up with the speed of growing technologies. Eg : Bitcoins etc used by money-launderers
  • Tax Haven Countries : Their strict financial secrecy laws  prohibit the disclosure of financial information. 
  • Involvement of employee of financial institution : usually employees of the financial institution are involved in money laundering
  • Lack of comprehensive enforcement agencies : In India, there are separate wings of law enforcement agencies dealing with money laundering, terrorist crimes, economic offences etc. and they lack convergence among themselves.
  • Low Financial Education and use of Jan Dhan Account holders as money mules .
  • Failure of Banks to effectively implement KYC norms as stipulated by the RBI

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