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The Evolution of India's Counterterrorism Strategy

Can use the Mumbai terrorist attack as an example here but make sure you look at India’s counter-terrorism strategy rather than ways to improve how they handled specific attacks. focus on the broad national counter-terrorism policy rather than the security forces counter-terrorism practices. 

This paper described the several aspect of counter terrorism strategy in India. The main aim of this paper is to evolution and strategies of counterterrorism strategies in India. Indeed, counterterrorism is the technique, tactic and strategy which prevent from terrorism. In the other words, the terrorism is called a war or revolution, then counterterrorism trends to be described in the term of military responses. On the other hand, terrorism means crime. Then, counterterrorism defined in the term of police and law enforcement work. Counter terrorism is called as against the terrorism activity which contains acquire, prevent and react to the unlawful terrorism exercise. (Sheehan 2007) Further, the first counterterrorism campaign was created by William Harcourt in 1880 for helps of Irish fenians. Irish branch was established as field of criminal investigation department of the London Metropolitan Police in the year of 1883 to conflict Irish republican terrorism by penetration and subversion, but in the India counterterrorism strategy emerged after the 2008 Mumbai attack and attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001 when several intelligence and operational failures revealed against the terrorism. Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was main accused of Mumbai attack. (Borgeson & Valeri 2009) The National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) was created as anti-terror agency in the India on the basis of National Counterterrorism Center model of the USA. (Kraft & Marks 2013)

There are several kinds of terrorism and insurgent group operating in India which is recognized by Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) of the US state that are following below:

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT): Lashkar-e-Taiba names mean “Army of the Pure”. This Islamist groups are operating in Pakistan and also from Jammu and Kashmir. This group is accused for many high terrorist attacks in India, including Mumbai commuter rail in the year of 2006. It is getting funds from Pakistan for run their terrorist and criminal activities. (Tankel 2009) Nowadays, it is expanding in the worldwide.

Jaish-e-Muhammad: Jaish-e-Muhammad group name means “Army of Mohammad”. This is another terrorist groups which operating in Jammu and Kashmir. This was founded by Harkat-ul-Ansar in 2000. The main aim of this group is to transfer Jammu and Kashmir area control to Pakistan. (Rana 2009)

Harakat-ul-Mujahadeen (HuM): This terrorism group was established in the 1985 as anti-Soviet team conflicting in the Afghanistan. Pakistan based HuM concentration transfer to Jammu and Kashmir when they withdrew from Soviet in the 1989.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist): This group is looking to build a “revolutionary zone” of control expanding from the Nepalese boundary down to Andhra Pradesh state. (Hutt 2004) This group was emerged by the merger of Nexalite groups in 2004.

Harakat-ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI): This terrorist group was established in 1980 to fight against Soviet, but currently it has focused on Jammu and Kashmir. Initial stage they are targeted Indian military, but they killed five foreign tourists in Jammu and Kashmir in 1995 which belongs to western country. (Khurshchev 2009)

Defining Counterterrorism

Jamiat ul-Mujahadeen: This is small terrorist group of pro-Pakistan Kashmiri which is blamed for a grenade attacks against India political targets in 2004.

The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA): It was founded in 1979 as socialist state in Assam. In the 1990s, they started to target the political leader and security forces in the Assam state. Through the above terrorist and insurgent groups, the major territory was affected by terrorist activities in the India that are following below:

Jammu and Kashmir: This state was central point of terrorist activities when British colonial rule ended from this states. India claims that Pakistan is using this territory for expanding their insurgent through several groups of insurgent and terrorist. One third of the total terrorist attack occurred in this territory. (Kalpan & Bajoria 2008)

Andhra Pradesh: Many terrorist attacks occurred in this area through Naxalites. Naxalites are revolutionary groups which are affecting around 10000 member lives every year. Naxalites are expanded their area from thirteen states to twenty eight states of the India. (Tickell 2013) The state of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orrisa and West Bengal are highly affected from Naxalites activities, but Chhattisgarh is mostly affected by the Maoist violence in 2006.

Northeastern states: Most of northeastern states are affected by the violence activities after the Bangladesh was separated off in 1947. Conflicts are expanding most of the Assam and Nagaland states in India. Poverty is major problem in this area and many groups are demanding independent so many terrorist and insurgent activities are occurred in these areas. (Kalpan & Bajoria 2008) 

Due to a lot of terrorist and insurgent groups activates in the India such as Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern state and Andhra Pradesh. India will have to take special decision against terrorist so they are created counterterrorist strategies. Indeed, India population has cross 1 billion in the current years. India has many ethnic groups, seven major religious with many kinds of organized religious and sub organized religious and around 68 socio-culture sub regions. There are constantly increasing social, economic and political desires of groups in its cultural, lingual, social and communal social system. (Marwah 2012) Further, India has become largest victims of terrorism, but nowadays it has handled terrorism smartly in Mizoram, Punjab and other kinds of nation. India adopted comprehensive strategy to counterterrorism. Counterterrorism will be affective when they adopted national consensus strategy to prevent the terrorism. India’s counterterrorism strategy addresses terrorism as a process with economic, operational, political, psychological, perceptual and diplomatic aspect. India believes to encourage a good governance, healthy, well-functioning democracy, secular and liberal mind set which no difference between majority and minority. They treat everyone equal level on the basis of law concern. We need a local level counterterrorism strategy to prevent terrorism in India. (Curtis 2008) The few significant points need to be highlighted that are following below:

First, in the regard of ideological level, this conflict is between terrorist groups which don’t trust in value of religious tolerance, multi-cultural and democracy. The counterterrorism strategy is followed by several nations with large defeat and denies factors. An ideological and political counterterrorism factor plays an important dominant role which believes that ideologues should be considered in the plan and operational conflict against terrorism. (Singh 2008)

Identifying Terrorist Groups in India

Second, we need to adopt the collaborative plans at the highest level. Although, top-down strategy cannot be apply everywhere. (Mitchell 2008) Counterterrorism operational plan must be worked out for specific area.

Third, counterterrorism strategy must deal with all aspect of worldwide terrorism. It connects with transnational organized crime, drug, illegal arms trafficking, money laundering, illicit and nuclear, biological, chemical and other deadly materials and their delivery. It should look the organization action and dedication to meet cross-border threats arranged by the terrorist.

Forth, terrorism is not an armed forces problem because it is socio-cultural and socio-economic problem. In the regard of counterterrorism strategy, we should combat and isolate the ideology that is not acceptable to present culture or society. We must use all factors of national power, not only armed forces but also economical, political and other types of opinion and pressures. In the concern, we should use hard power as well as soft power because hard power deals with violent armed terrorist and soft power deals with humanely with cultures, traditions and society. Further, the psychological and intellectual aspects of the terrorist and counterterrorism are significant as its physical attribute. Women’s empowerment, youth firms, local development initiative and education network must play a significant role with government as a helpful partner. (Singh 2008) These are some more counterterrorist strategies which adopted by India government through several government bodies and agencies that are following below:

State strategies and its intelligence set-up: In the regard of counterterrorist strategies, India’s federal laws have responsibilities to create policing and maintenance of law for individual states. The India’s central government has rights to give advice them about the financial help, training program and develop their professional caliber and share with the intelligence agencies. (Menezes 2003)

The national intelligence community: The national intelligence agencies divided into two parts such internal and external agencies. So, ministry of home affairs and intelligence bureau presented the internal agency. And Cabinet secretariat’s research and analysis wing to protect from terrorist activities of countries people presented the external intelligence agencies.

The IB and RAW: The IB consist internal terrorist intelligence and RAW consists the external related intelligence. The DIA collects tactical intelligence in the regard of counterterrorist operation in the specific areas such as Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir. (Burch 2007)

Physical security agencies: The Central Industrial Security Force provides physical security at Indian airport and sensitive areas. The National Security Guards forces provides safety from hijacking the plane activities. Further, Special Protection Group handled prime minister and former prime minister Security which is very necessary in the globalization world.

Paramilitary forces: Its play an important role in the counterterrorism strategy. The Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force are known as paramilitary forces which help the police in counter-terrorism operation when they called for this specific work. (Amritsar 2010)

The Army: Indian government takes army assistance when the paramilitary and the police are not able to protect with a terrorist attacks. Due to large scale of Pakistan infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, the army plays an important role in this area for counterterrorism operations.  India is not only facing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, but also a proxy war by the Jihadi representative. (Menezes 2003) In the recent years, there have been two extra counterterrorism strategies following by the Indian governments that are discuss below:

1. Multi-disciplinary centre: It is headed by the experienced IB officer. These kinds of agencies handled intelligence collection work and counterterrorist strategy will work under general umbrella.

Terrorism Hotspots in India

2. Ministry of external affairs: This ministry will be responsible for diplomatic aspect of counterterrorism such as other nations on mutual legal help, Pakistan’s patronization of terrorism, servicing the work of several mixes working groups and processing requests for extradition. (Prakash 2008) Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA): In 2002, government approved the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) to increasing the government power against terrorism. Through this act, India governments have rights to keep suspected people in custody without any trial. This law was looked as death certificate of crime and terrorism activities, but the law was canceled in 2004 due to allegations that some people are mis-using their power.

3. Although, politicians are wanted to repair the law because of this kinds of activities are raised. Due to POTA act, we are able to take more strict decision against the terrorist such as Kasab. It was the main blamed of Mumbai attack. (Lokaneeta 2011) Further, some states of India such as Karnataka and Maharashtra have some different law. The name of the law was Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Act which used to track suspected terrorists. MCOCA is tougher than POTA and it is generally abused by the scrutiny agencies. Other states such as Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujrat and Uttar Pradesh are looking same counterterrorism law.


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that there are no fast solution for counterterrorism because it is a long term process. There are not single military solutions available for terrorist, secessionist and insurgency problem. Counterterrorism in India needs a comprehensive strategy that covers social, psychological, operational, economical, political and diplomatic issues. Because most of terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, The Communist Party of India, The United Liberation Front of Assam and  Jaish-e-Muhammad members are direct or indirect related to society, culture and political. For example – kasab was the main accused of Mumbai attacks which belongs to human society and culture, but due to bad guidance they killed many innocent people. So, terrorist is not exactly our problem rather than reason of terrorism is main problem with us. Therefore, when we got the reason behind the terrorism then we would able to make proper counterterrorism strategies for all aspect of terrorism. It is necessary for the government of the specific region to cooperate, look informed helps from their people, legitimate, provide responsive, build trusted networks and engage closely with international community.


Amritsar, S, 2010, Effect of physical training on pulmonary function tests in border security force trainees of India, J Life Sci, 2(1), 11-15.

Borgeson, K, & Valeri, R, 2009, Terrorism in America, Jones & Bartlett Publisher, Canada.

Burch, J, 2007, A domestic intelligence agency for the United States? A comparative analysis of domestic intelligence agencies and their implications for homeland security, DTIC.

Curtis, L, 2008, After Mumbai: Time to strengthen US–India counterterrorism cooperation, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, 2217.

Hutt, M, 2004, Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Kalpan, E, & Bajoria, J, 2008, Counterterrorism In India, view 12 January, 2015 from:

Khurshchev, ST, 2009, "HuJI in India: An Assessment," p 182-190.

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Lokaneeta, J, 2011, Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India, NYU Press, New York.

Marwah, V,2012, India in Turmoil, Rupa Publications, New Delhi.

Menezes, L, 2003, India’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy, view 12 January, 2015 from:

Mitchell, D, 2008, Bridging Strategic Asia: The United States, Japan, and India, Central for Strategy and International Strategy, Washington.

Prakash, V, 2008, Terrorism in India's North-east: A Gathering Storm, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi.

Rana, MA, 2009, Taliban insurgency in Pakistan: A counterinsurgency perspective, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, 9-31.

Sheehan, IS, 2007, When Terrorism and Counterterrorism Clash: The War on Terror and the Transformation of Terrorist Activity, Cambria Press, New York.

Singh, CH, 2008, South Asia Defence And Strategic Year Book, Pentagon Press, New Delhi.

Tankel, S, 2009, Lashkar-e-taiba: From 9/11 to Mumbai, Developments in Radicalisation and Political Violence, 6.

Tickell, A, 2013, Terrorism, Insurgency and Indian-English Literature, 1830-1947, Routledge, New York.

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