Q.1 Explain why instability in Afghanistan is a matter of concern for India. How do you see the removal of U.S combat forces from Afghanistan in this connection?
Ans. Afghanistan is not a neighboring country of India but still it posses a strategic importance for it, although it seems far from India, but it is very closer to it in terms of security. It is considered that a democratic and sovereign authority in Afghanistan can serve the interest of Afghanistan people and can also serve the purpose of long term peaceful engagement of India with Afghanistan. India’s wants long terms engagement with Afghanistan in two major areas one is development assistance and the other is strategic interest.
Apart from this India is also concerned about its Diaspora working there. Further if any civil war is broken there its heat will be no doubt felt by India.
Thus political instability in Afghanistan has always remained a matter of concern for India and will remain in future also. Since Ashraf Ghani has taken charge of afghan authority and U.S has kept its combat forces in Afghanistan to control the Taliban, there has been remained peace, law and order.
But as soon as U.S declared in December last year that it is going to end its combat mission, there were questions raised on the capability of Afghan army and also there were assumptions that Taliban and other extremists groups can become active in future . For controlling this Ashraf Ghani has sincerely indulged in peace negotiations with Pakistan for not encouraging terrorism since it has taken charge, as the section of leaders of Taliban are under direct control of Islamabad intelligence.
Now when U.S has removed its forces, such assumptions are proving to be true, Taliban has attacked Afghanistan and has captured a capital of one of its province, it is not difficult for them to capture other areas. This attacks are also showing that Pakistan has does nothing to curb terrorism; all peace negotiations are showing failed results.
It is known to Pakistan only that what it wants whether to transform the regime by Taliban or an occasion of civil war. Therefore, it is matter of concern for India, in all the cases whether Taliban controls the authority or a civil war is broken, and the removal of U.S combat forces was a key factor for again creating instability in Afghanistan.
Q.2 ‘Recent breakthrough with the largest armed group although is a landmark agreement in securing peace in north eastern region, but it is not going to curb all the challenges there’. Discuss those challenges in peace agreements with such insurgency groups and the threats to internal security thereof.
Ans. NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) and other insurgency groups are active in the north east region of India creating problems in law and order situation of the area. This region is vulnerable to such activities since independence and so far, it has also remained a major problem for government in maintaining its security, unity and integrity of India. People of north east region are also suffering a lot because of this, this region has been mostly controlled by military actions yet, thus initiating peace talks with such insurgency group is definitely a landmark step in securing peace there.
Despite considering this agreement as a landmark, there remain some challenges unsolved. First of all the major factor is that, only NSCN (IM) has taken part in peace agreement, another major faction of it NSCN (K) which is hostile to its decision and other small insurgency groups has not taken part in this negotiations, they remained out of the peace process, in fact opposed NSCN (IM) for taking part in it. It has developed feeling of separatism in non participatory groups, which can be seen in the actions of NSCN (K), when they tried to show their opposition and capabilities by attacking army personnel.
So, it cannot be considered as an inclusive peace agreement as many groups are still out of its ambit. Further, increasing the feeling of separatism in non participant groups, government has kept the agreement a secret, the provisions of agreement are yet not disclosed. There is no clarity on negotiations made my NSCN (IM) , whether they are accepted or not, specially the demand of sovereignty and Nagalim or Greater Nagaland, which included territories of Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh. If this has been considered it is going to create more distress in the region.
Therefore, the need of the hour is including all groups in peace talks, along with the states which can be effected, further providing them autonomy and sovereignty to take decisions about their lives, without any compromise with India’s sovereignty and integrity. Despite the challenges this agreement can be taken as an opportunity and further steps can be taken for more comprehensive, inclusive and conclusive agreements.
Q.3 Do you see death penalty as an instrument of deterrence for terrorists? Despite the fact that some people also believe it is counter productive. State your views in this regard and also suggest measures to restrict the terrorist activities with the help of psychological methods.
Ans. This argument was invoked after the execution of Yakub Menon, a prime terrorist convicted and executed for Mumbai blast of 1993, by TADA court. The question here is not that, whether this execution was fair or not, it was no doubt a fair and unbiased trail as per the laws prevailing, he was also given every opportunity to prove himself, but the final decision after every appeal and petition was his execution, there was no injustice done. The question here is whether it is deterrence for other terrorist, which can stop them from indulging in such activities. Some people find death penalty as deterrence while some believe it is counter productive.
In fact many countries have removed death penalty from their criminal laws, but it is still prevailing in Indian criminal laws i.e IPC and Crpc for murder, waging war and mutiny and under TADA act 1987 (now repealed) and POTA 2002 (repealed) for terrorists, as India is vulnerable to terror attacks. In Bachan singh case, Justice P.N Bhagwati himself has accepted that death penalty under IPC and Crpc for murder is voilative of fundamental rights provided to citizens under article 14 and 21 in Indian constitution, but at the same time he has also mentioned that he is not including terror attacks here, terrorism should be dealt with death penalty. If we look at the mindset of terrorist, if they are indulging in such activities specially suicide bombing, it means that they are psychologically prepared to give their life for their purpose.
Then this question definitely becomes important that whether death penalty can deter them. In fact they become martyr for other terrorists after their death and also encourages other youth for indulging into this. They become role model. If we are giving them death penalty then we are not going to curb terrorism its just an act of revenge, in fact further we are invoking them for retaliation attacks. On the other side if we are not priding them death sentence we can try to get information about other terrorist from them, this could even more productive in countering terrorism.
Therefore the need is not acting as retaliation, neither removing death penalty but to understand the situation and psychological mindset of terrorists, and even if we are using death penalty, it should be awarded with utmost care. Further the need is to understand and study the psychological mindset of terrorist, reforming them, including the minority sections in growth process, spreading awareness in the youth of country, to stop them being attracted towards terrorism.
Q.4 ‘On one hand Digital India program is a priority for government whereas on the other hand it is full of challenges for the internal security of India’. Discuss
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