An internal document of the central government on national security, meant for restricted circulation, has painted a grim and worrisome scenario. The document has identified three areas of special concern?the increased ISI activities of subversion and terror, Bangla influx and Naxal menace.
The information is not startling, though its admission at the apex level is significant. For many years the centre under the UPA has been denying these threats. All suggestions pointing to their gravity were pooh-poohed with the claim that they were exaggerated. And the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh unleashed his peace offensive with Pakistan with his now famous out of the box paradigm shift. He was at pains to sell Pakistani claims on Kashmir settlement as a positive development. All through the government tried to downplay the threat from Pakistan and the ISI activities in Kashmir, Bangladesh and Nepal, all targeted against India.
There were solid proof of Pak-inspired terror attacks, infiltration and creation of sleeper terror modules. But the centre responded by revoking POTA, reassuring the disaffected sections swayed by the ISI shenanigans and withdrawing security forces from the valley. These developments had created a national angst.
In that background it is both reassuring and heartening that the internal security document has recognised the real threat and sought to firm up a pro-active policy. According to a report in The Times of India (June 9) these threats are likely to be there till at least 2025. The report warned that ISI has a plan not only to keep terrorism alive in Kashmir but also stoke fundamentalism in the country.
Equally serious is the increasing belligerence of the Maoist extremists. Despite India'spersistent efforts for peace there is no change in ISI objectives which according to the document, include ?liberation? of Kashmir, revival of terrorism in Punjab, use of Bihar-Nepal border for smuggling arms, explosives and fake currency, co-operation with ULFA, control of insurgent networks from Bangladesh and using certain madrasas in border states like West Bengal.
This overview of security threat, in the perspective plan of training in CRPF provides a hard-headed analysis of emerging challenges for India. The document analyses that Bangladeshi influx which often feeds jehadi cells can affect poll outcome in 20 assembly segments in Delhi alone and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the North-East and West Bengal. The actual impact of the illegal migration is much more and some estimates put it over 15 million.
The document further says that in South India, Maharashtra and Gujarat, the terror network and the underworld are active. All these aspects are interlinked, the document concludes.
It is now for the centre to work out a strategy with a long-term agenda and undiluted by vote bank considerations. The recent ISI-supported infiltrations in Jammu and Kashmir, and the arrest of about half a dozen ISI agents including Khalistani subversives from Punjab and other areas only confirm the veracity of this report. It is good that the official document has emphasised the threat of big demographic changes because of illegal Bangla influx. This population often shelters anti-India elements and provides steady recruitment to jehadi modules, the report says.
These infiltrators have become a major headache for law enforcing agencies and a real threat to internal security. Now that the official document has admitted the problem, it is for the nationalist forces to take it up and create a mass awareness to force the government to act, identify the infiltrators, deport them without delay and seal the border. No price in this war for national security is high. For, the nation has to survive if it has to protect democracy, secularism, peace and the treasure of our cultural heritage.