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The Tragedy of Oversight

As global attention stands riveted on the fearsome military showdown over Ukraine in Eastern Europe, it reaffirms the tragedy of oversight of the mindless wars wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. The international community has been treacherously silent on the Reigns of Terror that governments as in Yemen and Syria have for years been waging against their own populace. Often these brutalities are committed in the guise of stemming civil uprisings, or simply cultural subjugation as regards the Tibetans
and Uyghurs in China, and the harsh repression of North Koreans by despot Kim Jong-un.
The outcome, however, is invariably genocide, ethnic, religious or cultural cleansing, humanitarian crisis, suspension of fundamental rights, internal displacement, refugees, even famine, breakdown of health, educational and civil services, and mass terror. As we have seen all too often and too starkly, those caught in the crosshairs of such conflicts are usually men, women and children
who play no role in the violence, save as victims – a Purge of the Innocents, if you will.
However, even as a military confrontation looms over an anticipated Russian invasion of Ukraine, with American and NATO forces ranged against the massive Russian build-up in the heart of Europe, the Western powers are retaliating by stepping up pressure on an unyielding Moscow to back off. Convening on 31 January at the behest of the United States to address the crisis, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called for de-escalation of tensions, with Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, telling the 15-member organ that any military intervention by one country in another “would be against international law and the UN Charter”. Washington has also threatened Moscow with the most punishing sanctions on its largest banks and financial institutions that could cause the Russian economy to implode with hyperinflation, a stock market collapse, blockaded exports, and a devalued ruble.
More significantly, DiCarlo urged the international community to “intensify its support for the efforts of the Normandy Four (France, Germany, Ukraine and the Russian Federation) and of the Trilateral Contact Group led by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements, endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 2202
(2015)”. She affirmed, “The United Nations is fully committed to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.” Such anxiety for resolution of conflict is curiously absent as regards the hot spots
elsewhere.
How does one counter such terrorism and the trampling of human rights? Evidently, the world – which includes the United Nations and the International Court of Justice in The Hague – has no answer, because this violence continues unabated globally, often fuelled by arms and ammunition supplied to rogue governments by competing superpowers. The dilemma is besides ill-served by the definitions of terrorism by influential organisations like the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) that absolve such Terror
States of all accountability by underpinning ‘terrorism’ to “non-state actors”. In the absence of a universally accepted definition, this most comprehensive database of terrorist incidents since 1970 describes terrorism as: “The threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”
While today the word ‘terrorism’ evokes the image of a ‘lone wolf’ or a group of perpetrators in pursuit of a nefarious objective, the term has its origin in the Terror (French: la Terreur) unleashed during the French Revolution of the late 18th century when thousands of dissidents were executed by the government. Such a focus on “non-state actors” is missing the wood for the trees. And thereby
hangs a tragedy. While defining ‘human rights’, the United Nations ironically puts the onus of defending and promoting them on the State. In a factsheet, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes: “Human rights law also places a
responsibility on States to provide effective remedies in the event of violations.” It adds: “States have a duty to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. Respect for human rights primarily involves not interfering with their enjoyment. Protection is focused on taking positive steps to ensure that others do not interfere with the enjoyment of rights. The fulfillment of human rights requires States to adopt appropriate measures, including legislative, judicial, administrative or educative measures, in order to fulfill their legal obligations.” Terrorism intrinsically militates against human rights, in particular the rights to
life, liberty and physical integrity. If it is the responsibility of a government to frame its policy of counter terrorism in a manner that it does not impinge on human rights, what if the government itself – as during the French revolution – is the agency of terror and turns against its own people? Who will, or who can, counter such terrorism? To solve a problem, it first needs to be recognised as a problem. It is thus imperative for the global community to highlight State Terrorism alongside NonState Terrorism, especially because the former thrives largely owing to the lack of enforcement mechanisms in international human rights law. State-sanctioned violence is manifest in acts of terror that stem not from individuals or groups, sponsored or not sponsored by the State, but from the government of the day that is carrying out politically, ideologically or religiously inspired acts of violence, or other forms of intolerance, against its own people. While States have not only a right but a duty to take effective counter-terrorism measures, they at times lose sight of the fact that these measures and the protection of human rights are complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives that should be pursued together as part of the States’ duty to protect their citizens.
In this regard, the international community has committed to adopting measures that ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism, through the adoption by the General Assembly of the ‘UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’. The resolution obliges member-States to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, such as lack of rule of law and violations of human rights, and ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with their obligations under international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and
international humanitarian law. But while the Security Council acted swiftly in the case of the 9/11 terror attacks on the US, by adopting measures to strengthen the legal framework for international cooperation and common approaches to the threat of terrorism in
such areas as preventing its financing, reducing the risk that terrorists might acquire weapons of mass destruction and improving cross-border information sharing by law enforcement authorities, the Council has not shown such alacrity in addressing State Terrorism.
It has been 11 years since Syria descended into civil war as part of the wider 2011 Arab Spring protests where President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro democracy demonstrations. The resultant turmoil drew in the self-styled Islamic State that provoked air campaigns by the US-led global coalition that were designed to help the alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias called the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDFs). Russian and Iranian forces and their Hezbollah allies from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan have ranged themselves on the side of Assad. Turkey has besides intervened to support the militias in northern Syria, but has simultaneously sought to contain the YPG, the faction of the SDF that largely comprises ethnic Kurds. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel have independently
sought to counter Iranian influence by arming and financing the rebels. Syria’s civil war has engendered the largest refugee population, constituting over a third of the global refugee population. By one estimate, about 6.8 million Syrians – almost 40 per cent of the population of 18.2 million – have become refugees and asylum-seekers, while an equivalent number has been displaced within the war-wracked country, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of untold proportions. Half of all those affected are children. The UK-based monitoring group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), had documented the deaths of 387,118 people by December 2020, including 116,911 civilians, and maintained that the toll did not include 205,300 people who were missing and presumed dead, including 88,000 civilians believed to have died of torture in government run prisons. It estimated more than 2.1 million civilians to have suffered injuries or permanent disabilities as a result of the conflict.
“The reports we are hearing of children’s deaths and injuries in the vicinity of the US operation are deeply alarming and unacceptable,” notes Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children US. “The US, like all parties to the conflict in Syria, is required to protect children from harm and must take responsibility for all impacts resulting from their actions.” They are required to protect civilians in line with their responsibilities under international humanitarian law, she adds, while calling for “an urgent, immediate investigation into this
incident”.
Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when the Shiite Houthi insurgents, said to be mentored by Iran, rebelled against the Sunni government and gained control of Sana’a, the capital and largest city. Here too, the US-led coalition comprising Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK armed Saudi Arabia and the UAE to wage war against Iran, shattering the most impoverished Arab
country. Their weapons have been viciously used against civilians, slaying nearly a quarter of a million of them, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Describing the turmoil as the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, Human Rights Watch estimates that more than half of Yemen’s population, of about 31 million, faces acute levels of food insecurity. The country imports almost all its food and essential commodities, which are beyond the reach of its people owing to the war-induced hyperinflation. More than a third of the population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance and over four million people, including 1.5 million children, are internally displaced, the Covid-19 pandemic worsening their crisis. UNICEF finds 2.3 million children acutely
malnourished and nearly 400,000 children under five at imminent risk of death. The UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts (GEE) on Yemen reported last year that the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, the UAE and Saudi-led coalitions, and the Yemeni government had detained children, and also recruited and used them in hostilities. By the end of January, nearly two thirds of
major UN aid programmes in the country had been curtailed or closed, and some 8 million people who began receiving limited food rations from the World Food Programme in December were likely to stop getting food altogether by March.
Warning the UNSC on 15 February that the conflict risks spiralling out of control unless serious efforts are urgently undertaken, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, cited an alarming increase in airstrikes on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Sana’a and Hudaydah. However, even as GEE and other rights groups called upon countries to address the lack of accountability in
Yemen for serious crimes, including probable war crimes, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the second consecutive year in 2021 failed to include the UAE and Saudi-led coalition in his “list of shame” of parties responsible for grave violations against children during conflict. Saudi Arabia and the UAE also pressed the UN Human Rights Council to end the GEE’s mandate in October, even as
Human Rights Watch and other rights groups produced mounting evidence of widespread arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, and ill-treatment and torture in detention by parties to the conflict.
If the United Nations were to recognise these conflicts as State-sanctioned terrorism, its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy would validate its charter that “the peaceful resolution of such conflicts would contribute to strengthening the global fight against terrorism”. In line with its view that terrorism “constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”, the Strategy
would obligate the UN to commit “to continue to strengthen and make best possible use of the capacities of the United Nations in areas such as conflict prevention, negotiation, mediation, conciliation, judicial settlement, rule of law, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, in order to contribute to the successful prevention and peaceful resolution of prolonged unresolved conflicts”.

Written By :- SAROSH BANA

SAROSH BANA is Executive Editor of Business India in Mumbai, Regional Editor, Indo-Pacific Region, of Germany’s Naval Forces journal, and India Correspondent of Sydney-based cyber security journal, Asia Pacific Security Magazine (APSM). He writes and talks on National & International Politics, Defence & Security, Cyber Security, Foreign Affairs, Policy, Strategy, Space, Power & Energy, and Environment & Conservation. He studied in India, Switzerland and Germany, and has been member of the Board of the East-West Centre (EWC) Association, a U.S. State Department-supported think tank that promotes economic, cultural and technical interchange in the Indo-Pacific region

Coastal and Maritime Security of the Indo-Pacific- India’s Strategy for Shared Leadership

Abstract

International trade has increased leaps and bounds with globalisation and so did sea-borne trade. Sea-borne trade depends upon free movement near the choke points and the Straits that is considered as global commons. Coastal borders, gulfs, territorial waters, cargo terminals, waterways, air and sea transportation, ports and container securityentered the paradigm of security; especially maritime security. These are also the regions where illegal movement of arms, narcotics and humans happen; with piracy, crime and terrorism infesting the region like in no other times. Movement of people and resources led to focussing on not only maritime issues but also to know the internal strife of the states; especially in the Asian region that includes North Africa; which is culturally and historically conjoined to Asia mostly West Asia. The world is focusing on Asia and Asianisation of global politics at an asymmetric level. The emergence of ‘Indo-Pacific,’ the confluence of two seas led to the scholarship on understanding the regional challenges of armed conflict, armed robbery, terrorist threats, container security, maritime territorial disputes, illegal fishing, serious socio-political disturbance; in places like Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria that made the study on Coastal security a central topic for ‘maritime security.’ The paper will look at the urgency to deal with the geopolitical construct of the ‘Indo-Pacific,’ the challenges and issues of coastal and maritime security. India being a maritime country it’s capabilities in Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to thwart the asymmetric threats in the region and the forces that counter the concept like China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that will have a special mention due to it being an anti-thesis to Indo-Pacific Concept. Finally, the paper will deal with the way forward; where cooperation and engagements in the region and their ability for consensus building and collective decision-making with shared leadership is proposed. Thus, bringing Multipolarity to the forefront and diluting the US-China rivalry. The emergence of Middle Power Communion within the Asian Context is most lucrative an arrangement with India at the forefront.

Introduction

International Relations has taken a maritime turn due to changes in the global political equations.The emphasis on coastal borders and the ocean waters became one of the core issues of maritime security concerns.Coastal border is unlike land border a little more complicated, but not to say that land borders are easily understood. International politics has shaped, redistributed and even altered boundaries and sovereignties and hence it becomes imperative to understand how borders and boundaries play the role in both internal and external security. Coastal borders become more complicated with changing strategies and increased movement on the sea as nearly 90 percent of the world trade is done on sea.The traditional and non-traditional aspects of security have somehow got merged and intermixed since terrorism, piracy and trafficking (human, drugs and cyber), in detecting contraband across nations, illegal fishing and territorial disputes, all these had entered the traditional domain of security concerns. This made the importance of gulfs, straits, ports and borders, territorial waters, cargo terminals, waterways and air and sea transportation to understand security; especially maritime security of individual countries. The emerging economies and globalisation are directly interlinked increasing the importance of trade and investment across countries. Patrolling and surveillance mechanisms required technological enhancement and international collaboration.Environmental awareness and sustainability are equally important issues of the Indo-Pacific region; especially in oceanography, marine biology and hydrography to improvise on marine resources for environmental sustainability.The emerging concept of Indo-Pacific has varied impact on security, diplomacy and politics that could change the course of events in the region; especially because it is evolving as an Asian concept with Asian values.

Coastal Security and Maritime Security

Coastal security is about both individual countries coastal border security which stretches till its EEZ of 240 nautical miles and also included the maritime strategy that involves the littoral countries in securing the waters by denying air, land and sea access to other countries that are entering without permission. Maritime concepts of ‘sea denial, sea control and power projection’were the core factors of maritime strategy of every country.‘Sea Power’ has been a major concern for ancient empires and has been the major weapon of the colonial empires in the world. After World War II, various laws were brought out by the victors, also read as Europe and US together or the colonisers over the colonised; who in the 21stCentury have created a space for itself in the International political platform; that is now called the ‘Rules-Based Order.” During the brief phase of US unipolarity the international order was maintained through NATO and other US alliances. After globalisation the slow rise of Asian giants and the visible and vibrant rise of China is thawing the hegemonic structure of US leading to further challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and a slow but sure rise of multipolarity.

The first challenge of the region is the US-China Rivalry. While Donald Trump had irritated the thin line of tolerance between both the countries, Joe Biden has toed a similar path for the Indo-Pacific security and has further strengthened the procedures of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) among the member countries of Australia, Japan, India and US. China’s aggressive behaviourincreased with Australia after Australia asked for an enquiry into the origin of the Corona Virus and the International community sided Australia. Moreover, US’ attempt to maintain the ‘Rules based Order’ has many takers in the region as well as the extra-regional powers like UK, France, Netherlands andGermany (to a certain extent) who have become enthusiastic in developing not only a maritime strategy in the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region, but also collaborating in naval exercises and deploying submarines, for example UK became a dialogue partner of ASEAN to be more involved with the region in trade, security, science and technology, education and Climate Change issues and has also engaged itself in naval exercise with Quad on the Indian Ocean and near the South China Sea in July 2021.Australia, UK and US have formed a new security partnership named AUKUS to counter China and for Australia to avail nuclear submarines.

Second challenge of the Indo-Pacific region is China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which has indeed created a meticulous Chinese strategy and influence all over the world. China’s aggression in the South China Sea, its ability in Anti-Access and Air Denial (A2AD), its reach in the port areas of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and its military base in Djibouti and a potential base at Vanuatu has made many believe that China is attempting to ‘re-order the region.’The protracted dispute of the South China Sea (SCS) on the Indo-Pacific is fast assuming a Cold War like situation of countries taking sides with either US and China.Moreover, SCS is the bridge between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, that carries $1.2 trillion trade annually and is also an energy life-line for the north-east Asia and China even in the past.  Rebecca Stratingaptly wrote that the “Geostrategic value of SCSlies in its potential to transform into a deep-sea for basing nuclear-attack submarines capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads and useful for forward deployment to other areas”and the main aim of the regional or littoral countries will be to stop this region from becoming a war zone.

The Third challenge to the Indo-Pacific region is the role played by the littoral countries; especially that of India. Indian trade by sea is 95 percent in volume and 68 percent by value on the Indian Ocean, making the Arabian Sea to South China Sea crucial for its economic growth and survival. China’s Naval policies in the Indo-Pacific region, challenges India’s presence in the Indian Ocean and ASEAN, Japan and Australia’s presence in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. SCS dispute is impacting the free routes near the Malacca straits that has become a major concern.The control or supremacy in the sea lines of communication by China has brought the littoral countries together to contain or hedge China. The issues of freedom of Navigation and respect for International Law of the Seas and maritime security became the prime movers for India’s policy towards the Indo-Pacific; which was equally the strategy of US.

Fourth endemic challenge of the Indo-Pacific region is the increasing vulnerability due to Non-Traditional Security (NTS)that seriously concerns the littorals. Trafficking of arms, drugs and fuel across borders; like in Algeria, Tunisia and Libyan borders have strong ramifications on the Indian Ocean security. The intensity of the demand for arms and the quantity of arms that were smuggled across these regions has been one of the factors of the on-going Syrian crisis and also is a phenomenon that “the existence of arms caches and its consequence of possible terrorists’ attacks with these arms”cannot be ignored.Apart from that the Indian Ocean has large sparsely patrolled region and hence both strategic and tactical interdiction is quite limited and hence the smugglers move large shipments into these regions; especially in the western Indian Ocean, and from Mozambique and Tanzania the drugs are moving towards Maldives and Sri Lanka. Security of the trading vessels or container security largely depends upon the security of the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) with the significance of the littoral and the choke points increases; hence both India and China are projecting their power in securing the SLOCs.Cyber-crime and piracy have increased the vulnerabilities of the littoral countries due to their lack of capabilities and awareness on intelligence sharing with either the US or with other countries of the region. India being at the forefront of all these backlashes needs to not only increase its capabilities but also collaborate for intelligence sharing and logistic support. India’s capabilities on Maritime Domain Awareness is a case in point.

Maritime Domain Awareness

One of the major factors of maritime security is Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) which comes with ‘coastal security strategy and operational decision-making,’‘risk management and Vessel tracking system,early detection and resolution.US President George W Bush mentioned that “The heart of the Maritime Domain Awareness program is accurate information, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance of all vessels, cargo, and people extending well beyond our traditionalmaritime boundaries.” In short MDA is “the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime domain that could impact security, economy, environment of a country, a “cornerstone for a successful counterterrorist and maritime law enforcement operation on the one hand and to check on piracy, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and migration, arms smuggling and contraband, even responding to natural disasters.” Naturally this gigantic and a crucial task of ‘high degree of situational analysis’ cannot be done by an individual country but requires collaboration with the littoral countries; especially those that are friends and partners, international agencies, civil society and private sectors and industrialists for quick access to information, coordination of activities and innovate new activities.’Both MDA and Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) are equally important which needs to be studied further for an enhanced foreign policy for regional collaboration, capacity-building and skill development.

 India’s role as a ‘regional security provider on the Indian Ocean was hampered when in 2008, a terrorist attack happened in Mumbai from Sea’ and from then on MDA became the main strategy for maritime security. MDA will be ‘extended beyond its coastal waters and EEZ to the wider Indian Ocean’ which will be a collaborative effort along with key stakeholders of the region. India’s emphasis is on developing MDA near the Malacca, Lombok, Sunda and Ombai Straits, and also at the east coast of Africa. China’s submarine threat in the Indian Ocean ‘compelled the Indian navy for a permanent surveillance of the Oceans critical sea lines and choke points or straits by ‘mission ready’ warships.India established a National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security headed by the Cabinet and led by the Indian Navy aided by the Coast Guard, Marine Policy and other state and central agencies and in 2014 Ministry of Defence started an Information Management and Analysis Centre and National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network, with joint operation centres at Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair. India launched National Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean region (IFC-IOR) in 2018, a three-pronged approach a) confidence and capacity building among partners in swift and accurate information sharing, b) transparency of maritime environment and c) use of high-tech state of the art methods and analytical tools.India’s electronic and signals intelligence are improving considerably beyond its coastal waters towards Mauritius, Oman which is crucial to monitor China-Pakistan duo on the Indian Ocean. India-Japan collaboration through the Asia-Africa Economic Corridor helps latently in surveillance of the region. The Malabar and Milan naval exercises and also bilateral naval exercises have also helped in checking on Piracy. India needs to focus on its MDA by bringing in the littoral countries for better information sharing and confidence building and skill training.

India had limited its involvement in the Quad and has enhanced its relation with France over AUKUS alliance, and India is also reluctant in sharing information or opening up to US near its core surveillance stations like Port Blair. India is unwilling in both ‘material and doctrinal terms’ in getting closer to US.Furthermore, India is cautious in getting closer to US which had a long relation with Pakistan and its recent advances on the bid for FONOP (Freedom of Navigation) on India’s EEZ without prior permission and also making a statement on India’s excessive maritime claims on Lakshwadeep are just a confirmation that US is itself reluctant in maintaining close alliances with Asia. This opens an alternative to India in bringing all the littoral countries together like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea on the south-eastern Indian Ocean along with South Africa and Iran within the fold for maritime security at a level playing field. India’s Indian Ocean Initiative can be a lucrative medium to start on issues of maritime and coastal security. India’s ability in institution building will be once more explored. With the Pandemic, maritime security has increased another aspect of global governance of health and have included international collaboration to improve international supply chains so that economy of countries improves. One major aspect to understand Indian and the Pacific coastal politics is to clearly articulate China’s BRI.Moreover, China’s advances on the Indian Ocean made the regional countries more aware of the emerging challenges and made it imperative for collaborative efforts; especially in the fields of intelligence sharing and coastal surveillance. 

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Why is there so much of hype and anxiety over China’s BRI? Is China set to interpret international politics from the Chinese point of view creating yet another rules for an international order? The older name of BRI was One Belt One Road (OBOR) a Maritime Silk Road; which was still in use in the Chinese circles has an air of dominance which is camouflaged within its politics. The road stretches from the North and East of Africa to the whole of Southeast Asia and on the other hand it has a land silk road covering the Mongolia, Russia, Eurasian countries and West Asia and to parts of Europe.Nearly 64 percent of Chinese trade transited the South China Sea (SCS) in 2016 while Japan had 42 percent and US only 14 percent.SCS has thus become a ‘global flashpoint’ and the regional and extra-regional countries are articulating their relation with China with theirsingular viewpoint on SCS. China’s dependence on Malacca Strait had also led to its strategic aggressiveness and assertion for an undisrupted transaction by sea. China was trying not tostorm the already troubled region of West Asia where US hegemony reins. China maintained its relation strictly for trade and investment and ‘secure energy supplies, export market for finished goods and find new opportunities for investments’ for some time until the OBOR has come forth. China had to support its growing economy and had to gain an upper ground on seaborne trade, making an intersection of geoeconomics to geopolitics. The grand plan of OBOR is one of the biggest ever taken up by any country until now. Such a huge project required a longer process of strategizing, especially in choice of the countries and the ways of approaching the countries. Initially the project targeted the economically weak countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia for cooperation and connectivity of ports, that culminated in bringing its first naval base at Djibouti. The naval base was addressed as an anti-piracy mission at the Gulf of Eden. Gwadar in Pakistan and Chabahar in Iran can become next targets of China for a fully equipped bases that will give it a stronghold over the West Asian region and on the Indian Ocean to a large extent. The BRI as suggested by China to be solely an economic project has changed into a full-fledged political and diplomatic strategy to triumph. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC), the flagship project within OBOR on India-Pakistan disputed region (POK); i.e., Baluchistan for building the Gwadar port is an indication that China may disregard India by making it a political dispute. Moreover, ‘the port gives China the transhipment facility to energy supply of the Persian Gulf that may prevent it to depend so much on Malacca Straits’ and also to counter US Pivot to Asia-Pacific and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).Interestingly China’s strategy in the region is similar to all the rising economies in the region like India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea but minus the hegemonic assertion. The fear is also that Chinese standards will be imposed if major countries accept it as a basic standard, for example the high speed railway technology, energy and telecommunications (Huawie, ZTE, 5G Tech).While India, Japan, Australia and the US formed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) as an overall security provider of the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, there is a potential counter-Quad formation taking place with China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and probably Turkey. In the whole process India seems to be losing its influence first at Myanmar over Stiwee, the tripartite pipeline via Bangladesh and then with Iran over Chabahar, the trilateral pipeline with Pakistan and Iran. But India could strike other bilateral deal with Iran over underwater pipeline and with Myanmar in minilateral groups like BIMSTECK, Kaladan Multimodal projects etc. Hence India needs to focus on diplomacy more than ever and Indo-Pacific as a concept has given it the platform.

Indo-Pacific as an Enduring Concept for Coastal and Maritime Security

Indo-Pacific is a geopolitical concept that emerged a couple of decades back and is still evolving with every country in the region making their strategic move towards the concept. Firstly; Indo-Pacific is a maritime concept; with a continental inclination. Indian Ocean is more active today than the Pacific or the Atlantic, nearly 100,000 ships transit the Indian Ocean annually.Indo-Pacific region is concerned not only with the aforementioned issues but is also evolving as an Asian concept due to the emerging Asian economic giants. And on the other hand, the Indo-Pacific concept is also dealing with the countries; especially West Asia and North Africa that are in severe political crisis; with possibilities of crime and terrorism taking much more brutal turn than before. Hence Indo-Pacific is used both as a concept and as a geographical region by the stakeholders and the emerging powers of the region like India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam or ASEAN together along with the United States (mostly without it). Indo-Pacific; is emerging as a concept of cooperation, collaboration and engagement not only from a security perspective but also from a diplomatic, cultural and economic angles. Along with the regional countries, Europe is expanding its understanding of the Indo-Pacific and getting involved in the region, like UK, France, Germany and Netherlands. In fact, the major intention of the European states is to protect the ‘Western Rules Based Order’ that is being threatened by China’s rise.  Secondly, to secure US hegemony and democracy, and making UNCLOS as the basic standard for an International Order. On the other hand, the stakeholders of the region may not want to join the Western or Chinese groups that could lead to a Cold War like situation but want to enhance on the concept of Multipolarity and institutionalise the region as a ‘Zone of Peace.’ Japan, India, Indonesia, Australia Vietnam and South Korea sharing the leadership for making the confluence of the seas an enduring concept of peace and stability and be instrumental in thwarting a war between US and China. Maintain the global commons as per the international law.

The focus of Asia in the present decades is not only due to rising economies and hence a balance-of-power game, but it is more due to the rising idea, cultural consciousness and historical and civilisational ethics that needs perpetuation, unlike the empire building of the west says Amitav Acharya; like Okakura Tensing made a statement“Japan will be the mirror of the whole of Asian Consciousness.”Seemingly, Japan’s premier Shinzo Abe was the first in 2007 to mention the ‘confluence of two seas’ and their cooperation. The Asian identity is an attempt to find a procedure that could be more enduring, rational and considerate of the present conditions of Climate Change, aspiration for inclusivity and respect plurality for sustained human growth. Rising Asia has a different statement to make to the world; especially after the Global Pandemic the need for cooperation and building a strong global governance mechanism has come to the fore. Inter-national or inter-state has given way to ‘Global’ concerns. Understanding globalisation from a newer perspective of collaboration and engagement rather than rivalry, conflict and power games.

The Way Forward-India’s Role and Strategy

India and Indo-Pacific are closely entwined due to the very fact that India has a coastline of 5422 sq.km touching 12 states and Union Territories, and an EEZ of 2.013 million sq km.Border issues with China, Pakistan were mainly due to the lack of proper delimitation and demarcation, mostly because it is man-made and not having natural boundaries like lakes and rivers.India’s border disputes and the trauma of partition has made Pakistan and China; India’s core contentions. ButIndia has a natural advantage being at the strategic position in Indo-Pacific and trade, connectivity and communication gets easier due to the movement on the oceans. India has to come out of its bureaucratic slumber and get the projects working and issues solved with regional countries faster, in order to get its position on track. India’s maritime research and capabilities needs to be regularly checked and enhanced.

As Dr Prabir De of Research and Information System (RIS) had aptly said in a webinar that ‘Institution building is important since the countries will stick to the region and not build sub-regions of their own.’ India’s foreign policy, ever since its independence in 1947 was for aPan-Asian Solidarity. India’s independent foreign policy decision-making and its emphasis on ‘interference of any extra-regional actors (especially US and China) in the Indian Ocean region will be considered as a national security threat’has continued with similar verve even today. Moreover, India’s nuclear ethics has been ‘minimum credible deterrence’ against China proves it to have the Asian values. India’s strategic outlook off late has been to focus on building ‘asymmetric warfare capabilities’ to be able to man its land, air and sea threats. India’s shift from Non-Alignment to Poly-alignment is equipped to be more security driven and increase its engagements with countries who are both high profile in international standing along with small states for diplomatic leverage and increase its weaponry and engage in militaryexercises, information sharing, logistics support and humanitarian operations. India’s strategic outlook became more indulgent, vibrant and bold in the present century. The recent increase in territorial disputes between India and China, the Doklam standoff, Galwan melee or skirmish and many others from 2017 till date, China’s submarine threat in the Indian Ocean made Indian strategists think of ‘managing China’s rise that can benefit India without compromising India’s sovereignty or national interest.’ India’s strategic planners are yet to devise an alternative mechanism for regional influence and it will be the confluence of the middle powers. Australia, likewise is expecting India to be of help in dealing with China. The stakeholders of Indo-Pacific are well aware that an open combat will have to be completely negated and it requires a rational plan. What India needs at this juncture is not only to develop its maritime prowess but also to have a lucrative and enduring partnership with the littoral countries. India’s idea of ‘inclusivity and plurality’ within its foreign policy is also extended towards the Indo-Pacific construct.  Some scholars believe that multipolarity is yet to come, the players of the Indo-Pacific region will prove it wrong, by showing how the middle powers, emerging powers all together form a union to thwart US-China rivalry and also not allow a typical western domination with a changed scenario of a fusion of Euro-Asian power system and accommodate Asian values also within the ‘Rules-Based-Order.” Huge White interestingly points out that “Indo-Pacific is a popular concept in the region since it is reassuring’ and has so much potential in building an Asian strategic paradigm which is bereft of World War and Cold War politics. The time has come for building a Multipolar Multilateralism.

Conclusion

Maritime Security can be used broadly to include every issue that has its connection to the seas. But the countries need to focus on maritime security that meant security threats emanating from the traditional and non-traditional aspects as mentioned in the paper. This does make Climate Change to be kept in perspective while operations were taken up on the seas; since such a reality cannot be ignored. Moreover,India needs to prioritise on its understanding of threat and act with urgency. The bureaucratic delay or undermining the efficacy of ‘direct and imminent threat’ factor on the sea needs an overhaul if maritime security of the Indian Ocean is a priority. The strategy that needs to be followed in the present times will be collaboration among the littoral countries for a sustained maritime security.


Counterterrorism paper UAPA final

DETERMINING COMPLANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW IN LIGHT OF UNLAWFUL PREVENTION ACTIVITES ACT,1967

Author : Dhakshayanee Srinivasan

  1. INTRODUCTION

The Global counterterrorism strategy was adopted by the United Nations on September 2006which reaffirmed the General Assembly resolution 60/158. It states that the countries’ counterterrorism measures must be in consonance with international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law. this paper aims to analyze the whether indian counterterrorism law is in line with its obligation under international human rights law. this is discussed in three folds: firstly, a brief history as to the counter terrorism laws in India is outlined; secondly, with the focus on the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (hereinafter referred to as UAPA) the compliance is analysed and finally, recommendations are suggested by the author in line with India’s obligations

2.BACKGROUND

Anti-Terrorism laws in India have always been enacted in the backdrop of a terrorist act. This part of the paper deals with an overview of such laws and agencies with deals with the terrorism.

  • Brief history of counterterrorism laws in India

For a brief time, acts of terrorism were dealt as “law and order” issues and thus fell within the ambit of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. With the terrorist activities becoming more geographically pervasive in addition to the role played by external actors, the need for specific or special enactments dealing with such issues was realised. In the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India’s first specialised law on terrorism the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred to as TADA) was enacted. The act enumerated offences which could be construed as “terrorist act” by the regional government. The act assumes admissibility of the confession made to a police officer under the following conditions: recorded in writing or visual evidence could be produced; confession made voluntarily and the police officer is of the rank of a superintendent or above. Furthermore, the draconian bail conditions and detention formed the focal points of the act. The act was critiqued for vesting indiscriminate powers with the police which lead to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions and arrests being made, torture being inflicted on the person among other human rights violations. Although the constitutional validity of TADA was upheld by the Supreme Court in Kartar Singh vs. State of Punjab, the court had commented on the possibility of abuse and had provided certain procedural safeguards. Owing to the mounting pressure on the then national government, the act was repealed in May 1995.With the repeal of the TADA, many of the provisions were transposed into the Criminal Law Amendment Bill,1995. However the bill was not given effect.

The 123rd report of the Law Commission of India analysed the need for a specialised legislation for combating terrorism and had proposed the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2000. The proposed bill was strongly criticised on the grounds that it was a mere modification of the TADA and the subsequent Criminal Law Amendment bill. However, in the wake of the attack on the parliament in December 2001, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (hereinafter referred to as POTA) was enacted in March 2002. Much like its predecessor, the POTA was critiqued on the following grounds: Firstly, the act put forth a broad definition ( in comparison to that of TADA) of terrorist act which if abused, criminalises constitutional guarantees such as freedom of speech and expression; secondly, the burden of proof required the organisation or the individual to prove their innocence which was contrary to the international law; thirdly, the pre-trial detention period was extended till filing of the charge sheet; fourthly, lack of judicial review and finally, the act assumes the admissibility of the confession made to the police officer which lead to extrajudicial killings, torture among many recorded human rights violations.Owing to the rampant abuse of the legislation by targeting political opponents and minorities, the act was repealed on September 2004. At this juncture it becomes imperative to note that the scope of the paper is limited to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and thus precludes analysis of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

  • UAPA overview

Subsequent to the repeal of POTA and in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks , the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 was amended in 2008 to include terrorist acts. Firstly, the act expands the scope of terrorist acts to include the possibility of an attack by any means. Secondly, pre-trial detention was restored. Thirdly, the act confers wider powers to the law enforcement. The act was further amended in 2013 to tackle the transnational aspect of terrorism. Financial and other economic offences regarding planning, conducting and financing the act were also brought within the ambit of the act

The act was finally amended in the year 2019. It was enacted due to the difficulties faced by the National Investigation Agency (hereinafter referred to as NIA) in “investigating and prosecuting terrorism related cases”. Furthermore the amendment was brought in with the view to align the act with international obligations. The amendments made to the act are fourfold: firstly, powers are vested with the central government to designate an organisation or an individual as a terrorist (organisation); secondly, powers are vest with the Director General (DG) of NIA to approve the seizure of property; thirdly, lists out ranks of officers who are competent to investigate offences and finally, the International Convention of Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism has been added to 2nd schedule in interpreting the definition of terrorist act. 

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was recently filed by Sajal Awasthi challenging the amendment on grounds that it is unconstitutional ( freedom of speech and expression, right to equality and right to life) and violative of international conventions ( ICCPR and UDHR).

3.ANALYSIS:

The analysis of the amendment act would be discussed in five folds: firstly, the concept of lone wold terrorism in the light of UAPA is discussed; secondly, the definition of the term ‘terrorist act’ is being critiqued; thirdly, if the government has unfettered powers to designate a person or organization as terrorist is analysed; fourthly, the freedom of speech of expression that this amendment lacks is discussed; and finally, the due process and fair trial procedures are discussed.

  • Lone wolf terrorism

The UAPA can be characterized as bringing the concept of lone wolf terrorism within the ambit of counterterrorism laws. In criminal law jurisprudence, the mens rea is often associated with an individual. The rationale for such amendment can be deciphered from Minister of Home Affairs speech in the parliament ( which translates as “the reason for designating an individual as terrorist is to prevent them from changing the organization’s name and continue with such activities). Specific reference was made to Hafeez Saeed, the master mind behind 26/11 Mumbai attacks and Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammad leader. Although it is a laudable move by the government due consideration must be given to fact that if misused can violate the fundamental rights of an individual. Jeffery.D.Simon when analysing the topic of lone wolf terrorism and methods to tackle them, suggests the use of internet to be looked at. When dealing with or controlling an individual’s use of the internet, often gets tangled with the right of privacy, which is enshrined in the constitution of India and international conventions as well. However, the Supreme court’s judgment in K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs. Union of India(which held that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of right to life under Article 21 of the constitution) and Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India ( which read down section 66A of the information Technology Act as violative of the constitution and held that restricting freedom of speech and expression on an online platform is goes against the provisions of Article 19 of the constitution) seems to be a step in a right direction.

  • Definition of “terrorism”/ “terrorist act”

Neither the amendment nor the principal act provides for a concrete definition for the term “terrorist act” and more specifically the usage of the phrase “by using bombs, dynamites….or by any other means of whatever nature likely to cause”has been the primary argument of opposition. However, the concept of ejusdem generis, which is present both in Indian jurisprudence and international law which seeks to give meaning to general words in order to determine the legislative intent, can be applied to this particular case.  This phrase has to be interpreted in context of the words preceding to it. The Maharastra High Court while interpreting the term ‘other unlawful means’ under the Maharastra Control of Organized Crime Act had applied the principle of ejusdem generis and held that the term must be construed in accordance with the objective of the act.

  • Designation as terrorist

The UAPA vests the central government the power to list an individual or an organization as terrorist. The UNHCR commenting on the listing and delisting process had highlighted that although listing individuals and organizations for their involvement in terrorist activities might be a reasonable effort against terrorism, such procedures in order To comply with human rights must be fair and transparent. The UNHCR, additionally prescribes certain criteria for it to qualify as fair and transparent: based on clear criteria, uniform standard of evidence, independent review mechanism. The contention against UAPA is hinged upon the powers of the central government to list and delist individuals as terrorists which is held to be violative of article 14 of the Constitution of India (which deals with right to equality) and Article 14 and 7 of the ICCPR and UDHR respectively . The process of listing and delisting in India is dealt by the counterterrorism and counter radicalization division of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Furthermore, a person not satisfied with the decision of the government can appeal to the Home Secretary and a decision on the same is to be reached within 45 days. A further appeal can be lodged with a review committee which would comprise of a retired or current judge of the High court (as the chair person) and two officers of the government.

  • Freedom of Speech and Expression

Freedom of speech and expression is ingrained in the constitution of India vide Article 19(1)(a) and in international conventions ( ICCPR and UDHR, both being ratified by the country). Section 35(3) of the UAPA mentions four conditions based on which an organization is deemed to be involved in terrorism which include “promoting or encouraging terrorism or if otherwise involved in terrorism.” This leads us to the analysis of expressing dissent and incitement to terrorism. The UNHCR notes that while incitement to terrorism is a legitimate grounds for limiting freedom of speech and expression, it must satisfy the test of necessity and proportionality. Furthermore, the report notes the growing trend of barring statements which glorify terrorism but does not necessarily incite terrorism and vague terms such as “promoting terrorism” are not to be used.

  • Fair trial and Due process

 Even when charged with an offence under the anti-terrorism laws, person charged have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and must be subjected to a fair trial and these will be discussed in two folds. Firstly, following the footsteps of TADA and POTA, the recent 2019 amendment on UAPA makes no changes to the burden of proof placed on the defendant.

Secondly, access to fair trials includes right to hearing before a competent and independent tribunal and prescribing to the principals of natural justice. However, in practice, by taking into consideration the judgments passed by the UAPA Tribunal (headed by a high court judge) often seem to deviate from the principals. Evidence against the individual are often presented to the judge in a sealed cover and is not presented to the defendant. This hampers the right of the defendant to know the evidence against him and violates the principle of Audi alteram partum. 

4 RECOMMENDATIONS

On analysing the various aspects of the UAPA and its amendment in 2019, the following recommendations by the author are made:

  • The effort of the government to bring lone wolf terrorism within the ambit of the anti-terrorism laws is laudable. However, as mentioned above the way to tackle lone wolf terrorism is by internet surveillance. This is a double edged sword. A clear distinction is to be made between expressing opinion or dissent and inciting terrorism.
  • The act introduces certain vague terms such as “ promoting terrorism”. Although applying the principle of ejusdem generis, a clear criteria as to what constitutes as “promoting terrorism” would leave less room for misuse.
  • The act presumes guilt on the accused which is against the ICCPR and the constitution of India. Coupled with this issue is the defendant not being made privy to the documents which are submitted as evidence against them. This hampers the fair trial rights of the accused. Although the author concedes to the fact that national security and terrorism is an issue that needs to be tackled and such must be done by taking into consideration the human rights of the individual. The author suggests in-camera proceedings and the information be made privy to the defendant then as a solution.

    5.CONCLUSION

The anti-terrorism laws in India have been enacted as a response to an event. The legislation in consideration was the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The act was recently amended in 2019 which raised questions as to its constitutional validity and its compliance with international human rights law. It was contended that the act violates not only the rights vested with an individual under the constitution via Article 14, 19 and 21 but it was also in contravention to international conventions i.e. ICCPR and UDHR. The paper analysed the amendment act in five folds. Firstly, the concept of lone wolf terrorism although being addressed in the act, poses questions as to the powers of the government to use internet surveillance. Secondly, the definition of the term in the act was discussed which is to be interpreted in the light of ejusdem generis. Thirdly, the power of the government to designate an organization or individual was discussed. Fourthly, the debates between right to dissent and freedom of speech and expression with respect to incitement of terrorism was analysed and finally, the due process rights was discussed. The act although a step in the right direction can be subjected to misuse. The recommendations proposed (clear criteria as to what constitutes promoting terrorism; in camera proceedings) by the author can be considered as a stepping stone for tackling the lacunae in the legislation.


Law of politics

Author: Dhakshayanee Srinivasan

TOWARDS THE PHASE OF OTHERING?: A CRITICAL STUDY OF INDIA’S POLICY ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES

INTRODUCTION

Refugees are subjected to inhumane and cruel treatment not only in the home country but sometimes in the host country as well. Mass influx of refugees are often perceived as a burden to the economy and as a threat to the national security for refugees are often linked to terrorism and terrorist activities. The case of Rohingya refugees in India is no different. The Rohingyas migration to India can be traced via two routes: first through Bangladesh and second by north Eastern states such as Meghalaya and Mizoram. A study conducted by the Mixed Migration Centre had identified that most of the refugees who come into India are fearful of being apprehended by the Border security force. A recent order of the government to deport 40,000 Rohingyas had sent shockwaves across the country and pursuant to that order a Public interest litigation was filed by two refugees stating that India was in violation of established principles of international law. The author through this paper would like to discuss the othering techniques and securitization language used by the government of India in constructing the Rohingya refugees as the ‘other’. This is discussed in three folds. Firstly, the conceptual framework and academic debates surrounding the concept of othering and securitization of migration. The works that are relied upon are of Susan J. Stabile and Giorgio Agamben. Secondly, the paper analyses how the aforementioned concepts of othering is employed by the Indian government. At this juncture, the focus is placed on how the refugees are stripped off of their rights legally by analysing the Foreigners Act,1946. Finally, the author discusses and recommends legal and political suggestions to effectively regulate and abolish the practice of othering

  1. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND APPROACH

This section of the paper deals with the theories and the academic debates surrounding them as a setup to the case study with India and its approach to the Rohingya Refugee crisis. The framework is discussed in three folds: Firstly, the concept of othering and the factors that contribute to othering are discussed; secondly, the through the concept of identity, the process of constructing refugees as “undesirables” is discussed and finally, causal link between terrorism and migration is discussed. At this juncture it becomes imperative to note that the study and conceptual framework that underpins this essay are those of Agamben and Susan. J. Stabile.

1.1.1 Religious Underpinnings

Susan. J. Stabile highlights that regrettably religion has often been used as a  tool to divide and segregate people. This can be attributed to the fact that for many, religion operates as the single truth and views contrary to those expressed, are considered inferior and false. In order to establish their “superior” faith, violence was often resorted to by men and even in circumstances which do not culminate in violence, a religious fundamentalist approach would more often than not lead to othering. She highlights the incidents of the crusades, Islamic jihadists, the conflict in northern Ireland and ISIS

1.1.2 Cultural Underpinnings

Relying on the work of David Brooks where he emphasizes on the need for an establishment which cuts across the ethnic, racial and social backgrounds of people, Stabile highlighted that although cultural pluralism is much needed in a society, there exist ideologies that harbour a sense of segregation by turning cultural identity into a political section.

1.1.3Legal Underpinnings

Susan. J. Stabile brings to the light the fact that law (which not only includes legislation but also the executive who implements the law and the judiciary) may legitimize and institutionalize othering. Drawing from the examples of post-World War 2 effects in USA towards Japanese origin people and “ugly law” concepts of Cathleen Kavney she highlights that legislations and judicial actions more often than not legitimize othering. Furthermore, she contends that via the speeches and tone, the government

1.2 Refugees as Undesirables

At the core of this section lies the concept of identity and how refuges are ascribed certain identity which connotes them as the “other” or as undesirables. Refugees are often subject to the laws of the country that they seek refuge in. Owing to the difference in political structure and the difference in the laws that exist in different countries, they (the refugees) often find themselves in difficult and conflicting situations. The UNHCR defines this as “identity reformulation” and states that in the case of refugees, the “othering” often manifests in multitudinous folds. Crucial to constructing refugees as undesirables, are the 4 pillars of manifestation of othering coined by Grove and Zwi .The four pillars are: “the language of threat; queue jumping and uninvited guest; charity and choice; overload”. Firstly, in constructing them in the language of threat, extraordinary and extreme measures against them such as detention and pushbacks are often justified. Secondly, the notion of uninvited guests and jumping the queue further solidify the concept of othering by differentiating people who go through an immigration channel and those who claim international

protection. Grove and Zwi, note that tags such as “uninvited guests who jump the queue” often undermine the experience of the refugees and the situation from which they hail. Moreover, owing to the dynamic nature of refugee flow, the laws and policy on refugees often shifts the focus on the reasons as to their movement to the state’s sovereignty and guard its borders. Thirdly, the notion that the host government are doing a charity when they assess an asylum claim suggests that refugees are often perceived as a burden. Furthermore, despite international law claiming it to be an obligation, in practice it is often perceived as an act of charity. Finally, the approach of the host countries generally lean towards characterizing the limit of accepting refugees to be at their maximum capacity and often “overloaded”. Consequently, such overloading would result in shortage of resources.

Stemming from the four pillars we then are forced to divert our attention to the question as to why they are considered as undesirable. From the above discussion we can point out that the answer is two-fold: they are considered as a threat to the economy and as a threat to the national security. The scope of this paper is limited to analysing the construction of refugees as a threat to the national security.

  1. Securitization debates: A causal link between terrorism and forced migration

The securitization theory was developed by the Ole Waever of the Copenhagen school. He opined that the act of securitization is a “speech act” i.e. the security is neither a subjective nor an objective but rather constructed socially through “speeches”. The speeches here entailan interaction between the actor (the government) and the audience ( the people in the country).The securitization act focuses upon the acceptance of the audience (i.e. the people of the country) accede to the fact that there exists a threat for which the proposed extreme measures seem acceptable. Subsequently, this leads us to the fact that securitization not only involves speech acts but political situation of the specified country and as well as the policy practice. Thus it becomes important to study the brief history of how the “actor” came into being. Thus when securitizing migration, the rhetoric mentioned above ( threat to economy and national security) are the tools often employed by the actor (the government). Furthermore, in terming them as a threat to national security, a preconceived notion as to that there might be terrorists among these refugees calls for an extreme measure. In analysing the need for

securitization of migration, Boswell had noted that often such measures are taken up in lieu of ‘power maximization’.Terming such an issue as onethat involves threat to national security can often gain the approval and legitimacy it requires to implement extreme measures. Consequently, it leads to a situation where the human rights of an individual would often be undermined for the sake of legitimizing security measures. When discussing the legitimization of security measures, due consideration must also be given to Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer.

2.INDIA’S APPROACH TO ROHINGYA REFUGEE

This section of the paper deals with India’s policy on the Rohingya refugees. This is approached in a three folds. Firstly, a brief outline as to the Rohingya refugees is highlighted. Secondly, the indian stance is described by taking into consideration the political factors (Indo-Myanmar relations; the presumptions on the present Bhartiya Janata Party led government (hereinafter referred to as BJP) as a predominantly a Hindu Nationalist government and how the government’s speech acts helped in construing the Rohingya Refugees as the other (perceived and construed as a threat to the national security is discussed and at the core of this analysis is the interview given by Rajnath Singh, the then Home Minister of India. Finally, how the refugees are ascribed as “other” legally by focusing on the Foreigners Act is analysed.
2.1A Brief history of the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

The Rohingyas are a Muslim community who live in the Rakhine state in Myanmar. Even within the country they are considered to be stateless and thus lack access to rights and guarantees. Owing to their ethnic and religious backgrounds in a Buddhist majority state they were excluded from the census and the first democratic elections as well.They were construed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.The military crackdown  in August 2017 acted as a catalyst to the movement of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Following the report published by the UN in August 2018 which termed the mass exodus as a genocide, the International Court of Justice in January 2020, had delivered an interim order to the Myanmar government to take measures to protect the Rohingyas from being persecuted. Furthermore, the International Criminal Court had taken Suo motu cognizance of the issue and had approved an independent investigation alleging that the Myanmar government had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. At this juncture it becomes imperative to highlight the role played by Indian government.

2.2India’s role in the issue

This section i.e. the role played by the Indian government will primarily focus on the executive limb of the government and the role it played. It is analysed in two folds: firstly, as a foundation for analysing the speech acts of the government, the rise of BJP to power is highlighted. Furthermore, the “presumption” as to the government being a Hindu Nationalist as opposed to being secular is crucial to understand the speech acts and hence being highlighted. Secondly, India’s Refugee policy with respect to Rohingyas is discussed. At the core of this issue is the Indo-Myanmar bilateral relationship and the interview (which is considered as speech acts) given by Rajnath Singh, the then Home Minister aid to construing the refugee as the other by using securitization language.

  1. A Hindu Nationalism or Secular?: BJP’s rise to power

A presumption as to the nature of the BJP as a Hindu Nationalist government i.e. which appeases or caters to Hinduism is prevalent not only in the western media but within the country as well. At this juncture it becomes imperative to briefly venture into how the BJP set its footprint in indian electorate in 2014 and for the second term in 2019. In order to understand the political background in India, it becomes important to understand the concept of secularism from the indian perspective. As opposed to the traditional western school of thought on secularism which advocates a strict separation of the church and the state, India on the other hand practices the concept of principled distance i.e. it recognizes that religion often manifests as a practice in the public domain and serves as an identity to many, however it does not necessitate that religion acts as a ground for discrimination or distribution of rights and guarantees. In other words, religion may intervene in the state only if such intervention advances the concept of freedom, equality or any other quality central to secularism. Whether the two main national parties (the Indian National Congress and the BJP) are secular is not within the scope of this paper. A Hindu nationalist organization in 1925 named the Rashrtiya Swayamsevak Sangh (hereinafter referred to as RSS) was established in as a response to the colonial rule and the brewing riots between Hindus and

Muslims. Although initially it was not established with an intent to manifest as a political organization, in 1951 it changed its character and established its political wing the Bhartiya Janata Sangh (BJS). Following the Sikh riots, recognizing Aligarh Muslim University as a minority institution and invoking sharia law as a framework in the wake of Shah Bano case, the INC was accused of being pseudo secular and appeasing one particular  religion to gain vote banks. Following the break in BJS, BJP was established in 1980.The idea on which the party operated went from positive secularism to Hindutva to being liberal. Owing to its founding organization being affiliated to RSS it was often perceived as promoting Hinduism and thus against other religions. Furthermore, the stand it took against issues like Ramjanmabhoomi (which centres around the contention that Babri Mosque was built on the demolished temple of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram. The Supreme Court recently had ruled that the site was in fact the birthplace of Lord Ram based on the archaeological evidence), beef ban ( which centres

around banning illegal slaughter houses), abolishing triple talaq (which forms a part of condemnable practice in Islami.e. talaq-ul-biddat) and the recent citizenship amendment act solidified the fact that the government was often perceived to take on an Hindu agenda. This brings us to the question as to how a political party which was perceived to be anti-secular manage to capture a single party majority in both 2014 and 2019 general elections. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in its study of indian democracy and religious nationalism had noted that the elections in India are majorly fought on two axis namely politics of statism (which deals with the level of state interference in moderating societal norms) and politics of recognition (which deals with addressing pre-existing inequities present in the society). In the 2014 election, statistics show that the party had not only swayed the “upper class” members but also marginalized voters. The corruption scandals committed by the INC led coalition, the perception that the party was “dynasty” oriented added fuel to the fire. Departing from the traditional views of Hindutva that the party represented, the candidacy of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister banked upon economic and business friendly policies which was modelled out of the success in Gujarat and the representation of marginalized communities was made more prominent. Continuing the “modi wave”, in 2019 the party was set to form the government for the second term. The key factor as identified was linked to not only to economic performance of the country but as well as taking a stand against terrorism that the country is plagued with unlike the soft approach taken by the opposition.

2.2.2 India’s Rohingya Policy

Within the framework of Hindu Nationalism that the government is presumed to be acting on as the focal point for understanding the stance taken in the Rohingya issue. This will be dealt in two folds. Firstly, the obligation of the country under international law will be highlighted. Secondly, the stance taken by India (by focusing on the speech acts of the government agent) and the factors that contributed to it are considered.
2.2.3 International Obligations

India neither a signatory to the Refugee Convention, 1951 nor its optional protocol, has signed and ratified various human rights conventions such as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Cruel Inhumane or Degrading Treatment which mirrors the principle of non-refoulement mentioned in the Refugee Convention. Even in such a circumstance, the principle of non-refoulment has evolved to be a customary international law i.e. a country has to abide by the principle irrespective of the status of ratification.The principle of non-refoulment however is subjected to the limitation provided under Article 33(2) which states that in light of public order or national security a country may deviate from the principle of non-refoulement.
2.2.2.2 Constructing the Rohingyas as a threat to National Security

It is this provision (Article 33(2)) that India banked upon to justify the deviance from the principle of non-refoulement. This section of the paper will deal with the three phases of stance taken by the Indian government and the factors contributing to the such stance.

India’s response to the Rohingya issue can be dealt in three phases. The first phase( in 2013) was characterized by a marked sympathy towards the Myanmar government. The Indian government characterized the conflict as an internal matter and did not choose to intervene. Despite them being characterized as such, the refugees were let in the country and the principle of non-refoulement and voluntaryrepatriation was strictly adhered to. However, even with the change of government in 2014 (rise of BJP), the stance taken by the previous government was accepted and remained unchanged. The driving factor behind the stance is the fact it might push Myanmar towards China furthermore. Myanmar was ignored in 1980s which helped China establish its footprint. Additionally, the establishment of commercial ports (which are used for military purposes) in Srilanka, Pakistan and Myanmar (countries that surround India) setIndia in the backfoot.The second phase is marked by the plans of the government to deport the refugees, who were termed as illegal immigrants back to Myanmar

The factors behind the decisions taken by the government is marked by the security risks and the need to diplomatically balance between both Bangladesh and Myanmar as well. At this juncture, the construction of Rohingyas as a threat to national security is of importance. For analysing the securitization rhetoric surrounding the issue, the speech given by the then Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh in a seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission (hereinafter referred to as NHRC) in September 2017. Excerpts from the speech (which are translated to English) are as follows:

We have to think about human rights of our own people before talking about human rights of people from other countries…

The Home Ministry has clarified its position via an affidavit to the supreme court that they (Rohingyas) are illegal immigrants and they will be deported. They are not refugees. Furthermore, there is a procedure to grant them the status of refugee and none of these procedures have been followed. They have neither applied for international protection nor received any asylum in India….

people say that India is in contravention of International law. I say there is no contravention of international law. The law which governs refugees i.e. the Refugee Convention, 1951 has not been signed and ratified by India…

the issue of national security is often linked to the illegal immigration and the affidavit provided to the Supreme Court states that they have ties to Islamic State and other terror outfits…” By looking at the excerpts from the speech made by the government agent, it can be clearly construed that the Rohingyas via the language of securitization, are being branded as the “other”. However the author would like to point out that as a response to the statement made by the Minister, due consideration must be given to the decision of the

Supreme Court in Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan[1] where it was held that the in absence of a domestic law in the field, the contents of the international convention can be used for interpreting the rights. Furthermore, this adds to argument that the government led by BJP is anti-muslim.

The third phase[2] of response from the government starts soon after (November 2017 onwards) the speech made by the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh, when China proposed a three step plan addressing the Rohingya issue. With geopolitical interests in mind, the country was quick to initiate the plan of ensuring safe return of the Rohingyas and of building and maintaining standard conditions of living to those who returned back to Myanmar

2.3 Foreigners Act: Bringing Agamben’s sovereign ban to life

As mentioned earlier, India lacks a specialized domestic legislation which deals with refugee status recognition. Also it isnot a signatory to the Convention on Status of Refugees, 1951. Currently, refugees are termed as foreigners or illegal immigrants who act as a burden on the economy or pose a threat to the national security. Legally stripping of rights vested with those who are termed as refugees is a concept explored by Agamben in his work “Homo Sacer”. This concept will be applied in the Indian context by taking into consideration the plight of Rohingya refugees. A slew of Public Interest Litigation cases were filed in the Supreme Court of India in 2017 challenging the order of deportation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.  The petition was filed by two refugees who banked on the report by Reuters that the government had intended to deport the 40,000 refugees from India. It was contended by the petitioners that the said order under Section 3(2)(c)

of the Foreigners Act,1946 violates not only the constitutional guarantees but as well as the principles of international law. Apart from testing the legality of the order, a question as to the degree of applicability of fundamental rights to non-citizens was also raised. The respondents (the state) in the instant case contended that Article 19 does not extend to non-citizens and owing to the reason that India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, they are bound by the principle of non-refoulment. The direction of the government dated 08 August 2017 had instructed the state governments to report on Rohingyas who were suspected of engaging with terror outfits and deport all of them was also placed under scrutiny. On October 04, 2018 the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the government’s decision to deport 7 refugees back to Myanmar. A fresh petition was filed and along with the initial one filed by Mohammand Salimullah. Currently as of 10 January 2019, the Supreme Court had combined all the existing petitions challenging the deportation of Rohingya refugees and had posted them for hearing.  At this juncture it becomes imperative to analyse the laws which deals with refugees. This will be dealt in two folds: firstly, the laws governing refugees in India are discussed and secondly, the Foreigners Act,1946 is focused upon and analysed

2.3.1 Laws governing Refugees

Although there exists no specialised legislation dealing with refugees, the Passport (Entry into India) Act,1920; Passport Act, 1967; Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939; Foreigners Act, 1946 and Foreigners Order, 1948

deal with “foreigners”. Within the ambit of the term ‘foreigners’, lies people who seek asylum in India as well.

The Passport (Entry into India) Act,1920 and the Passport Act,1967 require that the person who is entering India to have a valid passport. The former vests power with the central government to make rules and orders regarding the passports and may in certain circumstances (analysed on case to case basis) provide for an exemption However this act was repealed by the Passport Act, 1967. The Passport Act,1967 deals with rules and regulations regarding issuing and impounding a passport of a person. Generally, one of the main prerequisite for obtaining an indian passport is that the person be a citizen of India. However, in the interest of public and pursuant to the notification of the central government, passports may be issued to non-citizens.

The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 was enacted with an intent to register the foreigners stating in India. The act requires that any foreigner entering India present, on demand, valid documents and identity cards Furthermore, the act vests powers with the central government to exempt a person or class of persons from the ambit and scope of the act The Foreigners Act,1946 was enacted by the imperial legislative assembly which grants the interim government powers to deal with foreign matters. A detailed overview of which will be discussed in the subsequent section. The Foreigners Order, 1948 vests power with the state government to grant or refuse entry into India on certain grounds: which includes lack of valid passport, public safety and or the conditions under the Foreigners

2.3.1 Analysis of Foreigners Act,1946

At the outset, the author would like to highlight the fact that the limiting the scope of analysis to Foreigners Act,1946 is in light of the case pending before the Supreme Court as mentioned earlier.

The Foreigners Act,1946 was enacted by the Imperial Legislature (before independence) in the wake of second world war in order to deal with matters regarding foreigners. The act reproduces the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1940 which was deemed to vest wide and unfettered powers in the hands of the government.The act vests power with the central government to regulate and make rules regarding entry, presence and departure of foreigners into India. The act defines a foreigner as a person who is not a citizen of India. At this juncture it is imperative to note that since India does not have a domestic legislation that explicitly deals with refugees, they are categorized as ‘foreigners’ under the act.

The focal point of the act revolves around the wide and unfettered powers vested with the government Section 3 of the act vests the government the power to make orders regarding entry, presence or departure with respect to an individual foreigner or a class of foreigners. Additionally, such an order by the government can entail that the foreigner enter or not leave India “only by such routes and places or ports”as prescribed by the government. The section provides for restricting freedom of movement (in addition to detain, arrest or confining them) and right to life. The penalty for contravention of the provisions of the act includes arresting the concerned person up to 5 years and is also levying fine.

The act at the outset, ascribes a different legal personality for a refugee. By including refugees within the ambit of the term ‘foreigners’ not only violates the rights vested with them under the Refugee Convention but also the fundamental guarantees of Right to equality under Article 14, right to life as envisaged in Article 21 and freedom of movement as envisaged in Article 19. Additionally, owing to the lack of a specialised legislation dealing with refugees, other penal or criminal legislations ( which includes Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act etc) would be made applicable to the refugee) which given their individual circumstance may hamper their rights and guarantees. Furthermore, the act vests wide discretionary powers to the state. At this juncture it becomes imperative to note that the Foreigners Act, 1946 was amended in 2015, which included provision 3A.[9]This provision stated that the people belonging to the minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, which explicitly includes Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek refugee (by reason of fear of religious persecution) were allowed to enter with or without valid travel documents.Currently, the petition challenging the validity of the Amendment Order,2015 is pending in the Supreme Court.

Transposing the provisions to the Rohingya issue, the order of deportation was made pursuant to Section 3(2)(c) of the Foreigners Act,1946not only vitiates their rights but raises the two folds argument that the law brings to life the concept of sovereign ban (where the state’s sole power relies on the power to include or exclude people within its bios) and has led to a circumstance where the rights of the refugees are stripped of legally as proposed by Giorgio Agamben and the present government is engaged in othering especially towards the Muslims.

In a situation where the legislation ( or lack thereof) or governments fails to protect the rights of refugees, the duty dawns upon the judiciary to uphold these rights. However the courts in Louis De Raedt&Ors vs. Union of India& others ; Vincent Ferrerr vs. District Revenue Officer,Anantapur have upheld the government indeed has unfettered rights to expel a foreigner. Quoting the judgment “ The power of the Government in India to expel foreigners is absolute and unlimited and there is no provision in the Constitution fettering this discretion. The legal position on this aspect is not uniform in all the countries but so far the law which operates in India is concerned, the Executive Government has unrestricted right to expel a foreigner.

3.WAY FORWARD

The two factors that drive the refugee policy in India are political recognition of the refugees and humanitarian relief measures. The so called vote bank politics to appease certain sections of the society has often characterized by disinclination of the legislators to act on the refugee issues. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies had highlighted this phenomenon by using the vetoing the repeal of Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983. The act was enacted with a view to regulate theinflow of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who settled in Assam posing as  citizens of the country. Although India’s approach to refugees have been quite welcoming and inclusive, the decisions of the present government with respect to the Rohingya refuges have been quite contrary to the established position of India. Use of the securitization language and construct them as others (by speech acts and as well as using legislations), violate their rights and the guarantees vested with them. In a circumstance where the law confers unfettered and wide range of powers to the central government  (vide section 3 of the Foreigners Act,1946) and lacks clarity, it becomes the role of the judiciary to uphold the rights of refugees. Subsequently, the role that has been taken up by the judiciary has been restrictive and limiting the scope of the rights applicable to that of the refugees as aforementioned. This raises the need for an domestic legislation which specially deals with identifying and dealing with refugee inflow along with proper authorities and organization structure that supports the refugees.

Although the government, as mentioned above in previous sections, has been engaged in the act of othering legally and through its political discourse, a recent bill that has been put forward for consideration of the Rajya Sabha (Upper house of the Parliament) can be considered as a step in the right direction. The Refugee and Asylum Bill,2019 had been introduced by the Husain Dalai, as a private member bill, which is now being considered in Rajya Sabha . The bill seems to unify the varied state practices with respect to refugees and bring in  uniform standard of identification and other processes with respect to a person seeking protection. The bill mirrors provisions of the Refugee Convention, 1951with respect to recognizing the principle of non-refoulement, voluntaryrepatriation, cessation of the refugee status, rights and guarantees (for instance, family reunification and right to legal assistance etc.) vested with them and the role of United Nations High Commission for Refugees(hereinafter referred to as UNHCR). Furthermore, for effective implementation of the provision of the bill, it proposes establishment of a commission that will assess the applications for asylum, cessation of refugee status and revocation or cancellation of the status. The refugee can further appeal against the decision of detention, repatriation or any other order as prescribedunder the bill. Such a commission is to consist of a chairperson (whose rank should be that of a judge of a High court), ten to twenty full time judicial members, ten to twenty expert members and a member of the UNHCR, persons having specialized knowledge on matters before the commission (appointed on case to case basis).

Although legally introduction of such a bill serves as a giant leap in the right direction, politically certain changes are to be incorporated so that the rights of the refugees are protected. The following are certain recommendations put forth by the author:

  • The plight of refugees are not to be seen as vote bank politics or in the larger scope not to be politicised. Unfortunately, such is the current practice in India.
  • The current practice in India is to turn a deaf ear to mass influx of refugees and they are grouped into one category. However such should not be the case and each must be assessed individually.
  • The author concedes that India faces difficulties with respect to terrorism. However, usage of securitization language to construct all refugees are terrorists or constructing them as threats violates not only their rights but affects them psychologically as well.

4. CONCLUSION

Giorgio Agamben in his work the Homo Sacer had discussed the concept of sovereign ban and othering. He had stated that the sovereign’s sole power rests on the fulcrum of its ability to include or exclude people within its bios (or territory). Furthermore, he states that refugees are people who are deemed to have no rights. Unfortunately, this practice of othering is still being employed by the states to regulate the mass influx of refugees into their country and circumvent the international conventions and practices. Key to constructing the idea of “Us vs. Them” is the usage of speech acts, legislations and constructing the refugees as a threat to national security. This space where the refugees are legally stripped off of their rights is what Agamben terms as “ refugee camps”. This paper analysed the concept proposed by Agamben and transposed it to the current situation of Rohingya refugees in India.

In order to analyse the refugee policy of India, a brief profile as to the current political scenario was discussed. The BJP lead government is often perceived as being anti-muslim and keen on establishing a “Hindu” state. Since the majority of the Rohingya refugees practice Islam this forms the core background of the stand taken by the government. This perception of the government coupled with the lack of specialised domestic legislation leaves the refugees at a disadvantageous and vulnerable position. To further strengthen the argument that India is moving towards a phase of othering and exclusion, is by analysing the legislations with deals refugees (either implicitly or explicitly) and the judicial decisions surrounding the area. A slew of judgements such as Louis De Raedt & Ors vs. Union of India & others; Vincent Ferrerr vs. District Revenue Officer, Anantapur had always stated that despite the availability of rights to refugees under the constitution, the right to reside and remain in India is not applicable to them and the government has absolute and unfettered rights to expel or include any foreigner into the country. Furthermore with respect to the Rohingya refugees the public interest litigation filed by two refugees challenging the deportation order passed by government pursuant to Section 3(2) (c) of Foreigners Act,1946 in 2017. At this juncture it became crucial to analyse the term ‘foreigner’ and the usage of the term with respect to refugees. It was found that the Foreigners Act,1946 was archaic and ascribed a different legal characteristic (within the wide ambit of the term foreigner which used to connote all persons who are not citizens of India) to the refugee.

At this juncture the need for a concrete domestic legislation was recognised and the Refugee and Asylum Bill,2019 can be construed as a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the author suggested that the refugees are not to be politicised and the practices of the securitization language ideally become outdated or banned, if not, must be kept at its minimum.



Strategic Perspective on Dynamics, Dilemma and Diversities of Indian Borders

Authors:

Dr. Neeta Rani Assistant Professor, Department of National Security Studies, Central University of Jammu, Rahya-Suchani (Bagla), District-Samba – 181143(J&K) Email: neetam29@gmail.comProf. (Dr.)Rakesh Datta Professor, Department of Defence & National Security Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh-160014 Email: dattarakesh594@yahoo.co.uk

While borders are associated with establishing a security perimeter for controlling entry into the territory of a nation, Indian perspective in this regard, takes a more expansive view in terms of defining, demarcating and delimiting of borders. The country’s dilemmahas been that, but for little more than half a period of last century, India didn’t exist as a sovereign nation and so were its boundaries.

Even though, India claims to be an ancient civilisation with recorded history of five thousand years, it has seen frequent change of frontiers with every passing of time, and so was dealing of boundaries, by the respective rulers. Not going much far, if Khaybar Pass dominated passage to Afghan, Turks and Mughals on the hinterland, European powers chose coastal areas to assault, marking diversities of varied frontiers to deal with. On both the accounts, it was Panipat Syndrome which largely prevailed, shifting battlefield frontiers much inside, besides providing an indelible mindset to stay forever.

The independent India rests more with truncated frontiers on its land borders, in all diversities from marshy ground to snowy heights, not much seen in the world. Combined with territorial contestations, it offers a great dilemma and new dynamics in terms of building strategic infrastructures, and border management more terrain specific.

India being increasingly getting globalised and service orient economy relies, heavily on the movement of people and goods, causing pressure on the borders. It demands, progressive review of ever evolving challenges, including lagging of robust counter strategies, involving all stake holders to develop unified integrated border defence mechanism.

Given the premise, that border is an area far from the centre of political, economic and social power in the country, but close to someone else political and cultural boundaries; such advantages can help the country next door, to indulge into activities suiting its requirements, which may be detrimental to home security. In this regard, the lack of aggressive strategic perspective, in India’s frontier areas, to make them dissuasive to external luring loose relevance, as the wars are becoming more strategical, notwithstanding, the role of the local people, as well significance of initiating any development processes, facilitating national integration.

Before independence, Indian subcontinent was considered a single geographical unit, comprising Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal based on their cultural, economic, social and political unity. People had the freedom of movement, from one place to another, within the subcontinent. However, division of Indian subcontinent, based on ethnic and religious identities, marked the beginning of briny relations, and tensed boundaries, between India and its neighbours.

There is no uniformity in India, in terms of the physical nature of borders, as being both natural and man-made,with distinct features such as land, rivers, deserts, marshy, mountains, jungles, oceans, and snowy peaks makingthe country unique. The topography of the coasts, include backwaters, beaches, estuaries, creeks, hills, lagoons, mudflats, small bays and islands, rivulets, rocky, sandbars, swamps etc.

While some borders are rigid and porous, others are open, such as India Pakistan border, demandingRound the Clock Protection. In such place,movement of goods and people are either restricted or clogged, most of the time. Similarly, India and Bangladesh border is also rigid. India and Nepal border is open one, which does not require much attention and people are free to move between these two nations; such border however are more vulnerable to smuggling, illegal movement of migration and goods etc.

India has been facing dilemmas with regard to its borders, from the very beginning and after independence; its ill-defined borders have led to conflicting situation with neighbours. The protection of India’s land and maritime borders is one of the national priorities. It has always remained a major challenge for the country, due to several factors.

Different featured borders face different kind of threats, which keep on increasing, with the passage of time. The threat to India’s border security emerges from neighbouring Pakistan, China, Bangladesh andMyanmar,in profound manner, and apparently from Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka in lesser way.

India’s border with Pakistan, suffers several dilemmas, which it needs to overcome. The border disputes over Siachen Glacier, Kashmir, Line of Control, IB in J&K, Sir Creek and water sharing, have caused immense trouble between the two since independence.

The border between India and China, is highly sensitive, can be triggered by any small incident and behaviour, of either of the two countries. The Chinese occupation of Tibet, transgression of Aksai Chin, occupying areas in Ladakh, claiming Bara hoti and Arunachal are some of their blatant realities of troop building and heightened tensions, on our borders, creating lasting dynamics and dilemmas, on diversified borders.

India has the longest border with Bangladesh, marked with territorial and water issues, illegal migration, smuggling of cattles, ammunition, drugs, salt, sugar including movement of some insurgent groups,as some of the major dilemmas.

There are nearly 54 areas of dispute between India and Nepal, bringing new dynamics to the open borders, between the two countries. There is growing trust deficit, marking fragility of existing closer ties, demanding vigorous counter strategies.

With Sri Lanka, India share international maritime boundary. Palk Strait is one of the major border disputes between these two countries. It is not a dispute for land or people, but for abundance of fish, a source of livelihood of fishermen of India and Sri Lanka.Further, added to other challenges between, India andSri Lanka; Coastal and maritime security requires critical technology infrastructure, such as surveillance mechanism, to monitor coastal security, across coastal states and union territories. Lack of such technologies lead to gaps in the maritime security of India.

Thus India’s borders since independence have several issues and challenges beginning from difficult terrain and climatic conditions, disputed borders, militancy, smuggling of narcotics and drugs, human trafficking, ceasefire violations, fake Indian currency, lack of information sharing and ill-coordination among security forces and agencies, lack of infrastructure etc.

The security forces are under several dilemmas, due to India’s border security. They have to cooperate and coordinate, according to the government orders. The communication is a big issue for them as theborder areas lack communication and telecom facilities. Moreover, shortage of personnel in the forces leads to lengthy duties for these personnel. The available infrastructure and equipments are not sufficient for guarding the border, as well as for their own security.

To counter the evolving challenges, India needs to strengthen its border management. India is caught between securing the borders or managing them. In this regards, the number of border outposts and guarding personnel should be increased specially in the sensitive areas. The security forces need to be trained properly and should be equipped with advanced technology weapons, so that they can keep vigil on the border, in a better way.

Regulating border is equally important. To remove obstruction and get a clear line of vision, it is necessary to restrict civilian intervention and cultivation between the border, and fencing known as no man’s land. Steps like installation of alarm systems, providing advance technological weapons, open markets near borders, and issuance of identity cards to people living along the border etc can improve the security and management of India’s borders.

The Indian government has launched border area development programme, through which it assists the local people, as first responders, and builds infrastructure for their education, health and livelihood. Bilateral mechanism, which includes interactions and meetings, help in resolving border disputes, chalk out the tensions andmaintain peace between nations along the border. All these united efforts can facilitate India’s borders defence mechanism in a better manner.

There are some points for which need attention. India has no one to blame as far protecting its strategic interest on country’s borders are concerned. Itpossesses a false dichotomy as far our internal and external frontiers are concerned. Those are completely enmeshed.

Indiais a country of countries joined by 7 nations by land and 3 by seas; besides, jungles, mountains, oceans and deserts connect and separate us. It shares all kinds of religions with strong sense of mixed culturalization in its neighbourhood.

So, when China attacksIndia, it traces its bonding to ancient civilisation with Buddhism as ever flowing viscous. India will not bomb Pakistan nor create trouble for it, despite their stated objective of dismembering India by thousand cuts. It is important tomention here that Government of India was more concerned with the safety of Musharraf, that, no harm comes to him or Mullahas may take over Pakistan.

Imagine India’s destiny of cultivating good relations with all countries in the region, which generally backfire. India had state visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2013, and before that Chinese incursion occurred at the LAC. In the following year, the two countries locked horn in a standoff at Demchok, with the backdrop of President Xi Jinping visit to India with many such instances.

Mr Vajpaype under took bus drive to Lahore, and on the other hand Pakistan was building offensive action in Kargil.

So, where does it yield to. Speaking of external security challenges on India as theme of the session,India needs to change its inherent basic defence philosophy. It is not fighting Maratha Wars, where the losses seemed were bare minimum.  It is in the 21st Century, and so are the conflicts, with cripple down effect.

India’s borders marked as LOC with Pakistan, and LAC with China, are ceasing to exist as two separate domains, instead the growing nexus between the two, is compelling India to think about TWO FRONT WAR. But the question is, does India have the capability to kill a terrorist or a militant given its capabilities. India needs to look rationally, at its basic strategy of deploying huge troops on the borders, and that too on permanent basis, rather should start searching for a political solution. Though may not be possible in many ways.

Yes, there are some pronounced changes, in terms of SURGICAL STRIKES as modulating strategies, in the recent past, but there is no set mechanism. Instead, national security seems to be hijacked as a convenient poll plank.

See, when we speak about security challenges, which India have rather inherited, from colonial timesmanifesting as territorial disputes; there are only two ways of dealing with it. Either India continue to live with those and forget, letting ourselves to be bled constantly courtesy our adversaries, or be little stern, in its outlook and behaviour, besides raising its capabilities with credibility.

India must understand that it is a dominant power in the region with high aspirations and this majestic Elephant should not be seen behaving as a Hare or a Kangaroo. However, unlike its good friends,assaulting iton various fronts, India is generally plagued by No Policy Approach, thereby making it reactionary, giving advantage to the enemy.

For instance, Chinese strategy is to keep India on tenterhook on the frontiers including claiming and possessing large chunk of Indian territory, thereby keeping border issue alive; also support rebels andinsurgent movements; opposing India on diplomatic front to mention a few.

Pakistan on other hand, has Kashmir as an objective, besides active infiltration on borders, and heightening terrorism. So with these objectives in mind, they are hell bent on creating trouble for India, individually and in close support with Beijing.

It is amazing to know, that there is Kashmir Chowk in Islamabad close to diplomatic enclave. India does not have such aims, on any other country and history is witness to it, right from the time of two epics.

This makes India’s defence forces more reactionary in approach to simply defend us as and when country is assaulted. India does not have LAHORE or Beijing, as an objective. So, this 4th largest army supported by Nukes ceases to be a deterrent or dissuator, rather, remains at the receiving end.

It’s so amazing to see Nepal front, getting active at times reflecting soft acrimony, despite India’s constant help on political, economic, trade, cultural and military angles.

In fact, India is deeply enmeshed with its neighbours whether Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka or Myanmar But, all these countries, sovereign in their status and outlook, have different national security interests, and expectations from India. While the latter try to meet those, its China factor which tries to wean them away from India by doling out large chunk of money; influencingtheir political processes, equipping them with military support and  making them partner in her Belt and Road Initiative concept.

Kautiliya said, while citizens of the country must have MORALITY and Character, the nations can afford to be AMORALS.  The Geopolitics also teaches how to govern nations and their interests.

But India has difficulty in thinking strategically. We as a country are incapable of dealing forcefully, rather are more spiritually inclined. The more defining moment is when we have the capability, but are unable to be proactive.

India needs to develop a multi-tiered strategic matrix for its neighbourhood in the manner that China has. Similarly, India needs to begin asserting itself in the region, in order to have a leading role in the decision-making and delivery process, concerning the region’s security.

India’s counter insurgency and counter terrorism actions are more at domestic level, than seen to be across the borders. This is unlike countries of Israel, the United States, Syria, and even Palestine who bomb their insurgents in their hideouts. Could it be imagined, that while nearly sixteen states of India both on the hinterland and along the coastline are succumbed to left wing extremism, the Government of India refuses to use the Air Force to bomb them, justifying its own people.

Well various countries have undertaken, different border management system, to strengthen their frontiers susceptible, to extraneous influence.The Government of India, is also becoming progressive on building strategic roads and infrastructures along the borders, ailing for the last several years. However, there is a fundamental question warranting attention is, “Does India need to defend borders or manage borders”?

Border Defence Management is a national security matter, and cannot be left bewildered between the Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs.It may be mentioned, that, the United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum, have co-opted to bring out a set of Good Practices for border security and management.

In this context, the creation of Homeland Security Department, after 9/11, has taken over majority of border functions, in the United States: while Australian Customs and Border Protection Serviceis given the leading role in border protection.

According to Pakistan, it has completed fencing of 900 km border with Afghanistan, barring infiltration from entering.

The United States, assisted in building Jordan’s border management, beginning in 2008, it was launching 20 million USD project to install surveillance along 30 miles stretch with Syria, later extending to border with Iraq and Israel.

Saudi Arabia has history of internal terrorist attacks, driven by external influence. The borders are generally open, with vast stretches of deserts. Saudis, have built a fence with ultraviolet sensors with facial recognition software and observation Towers, at every 100 yards.The United Kingdom Border Agency was established in 2008, with the purpose of securing the UK borders and controlling migration for the benefit of the country.

Our country, which is acknowledged as an IT powerhouse, has a lot of resources and standalone systems in place, which should be integrated to converse with each other, to share data with each other, and raise alarm on any abnormal activity or behavioural pattern, within and in neighbouring countries. India cannot get bogged down by such assumptive notions as privacy intrusion etc., where border management and national security is concerned. Most of the Western countries like US, Israel as well Russia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia etc. are already utilising such systems for the said purpose. They have the capability to monitor movement of all persons of interest, whether friendly or inimical including in the neighbouring countries. India knows the areas controlled by it, irrespective of existing border disputes, and can install and utilise advance systems, within areas controlled by us. In current globalised threat scenario, no country can take refuge behind high moral ground factors at the cost of security of nation. 


The clash within the Muslim Brotherhood and the organization’s future perspectives

0

Giovanni Giacalone, January 2022, GCTC Conference

In the last months, a lot has been said about the clash within the Muslim Brotherhood-MB, with the London-based branch led by Ibrahim Mounir accusing the Istanbul-based branch, led by the Secretary-General of the MB, Mahmoud Hussein, of corruption; while the latter is accusing Mounir of attempting a coup against the group. It is also interesting to notice how the two branches are now
running two different websites. On top of that, younger members of the MB are accusing the old guard of using the money received
from financial donations to enrich themselves. According to researcher Amr Abdel-Moneim, the MB’s Turkish administrative office receives an estimated $ 1.7 billion monthly in donations from various sources.
Researcher Amr Farouk explained that the clash between the two branches also has to do with the Egypt/Turkey reconciliation moves that began in mid-2021, as part of a process that led Ankara to shut down anti-Egypt TV stations based in Turkey and expel some of its employees. Egypt’s Minister of Information Osama Heikal said he welcomed news of Turkey’s decision to ban anti-Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood channels, referring to it as “a good initiative.” Heikal said the decision “creates an appropriate atmosphere for discussing controversial issues.” Additionally, he also said Egypt’s position was constant and worked to “develop relations with everyone according to common interests.”
Those Egyptian MB members who fled to Turkey as Al-Sisi took power in 2013 are now afraid of being deported back to Egypt and many of them see London as a safe haven. In the meantime, the MB also has to deal with its lack of credible leadership, with the critics of
younger members accusing the old guard of failing to reach any kind of reconciliation with al-Sisi that could help in the release of activists currently behind bars. As if it wasn’t enough, many activists also complained about the inflexibility of the old guard.
One statement that is worth mentioning is the one made by Ahmed Matar, a Muslim Brotherhood member affiliated with the London branch who not only said that the group’s Supreme Guide, Mahmoud Ezzat (currently detained in Egypt), and his followers in Turkey are “a secret gang that joined the MB between 1954 and 1974, and are not really MB”…He also added that “this subgroup was responsible for excluding qualified members of the group during the one- year presidency of Mohamed Morsy”. It is indeed evident that the MB is going through the worst phase of its history due to its internal crisis that goes side to side with a very complicated situation on an international level.
According to some information, Turkey and Qatar would be limiting their support to the MB, but it is hard to say what is really going on behind the scenes. Is it realistic that the two Muslim countries are willing to withdraw their historical support to the Islamist organization? Or is it only a façade move that hides other objectives?
The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is in a critical situation doesn’t necessarily mean that it will lose its importance, and even less, that it will collapse. As Dr. Nasser said during the GCTC conference, the MB is a functional group and it has been so
since its very beginning. Interests and ideas don’t die and the MB will preserve, even if on a small scale.
As Peter Mandaville explained in his work “Global Political Islam”, the MB is able to adjust its models and methods to suit local circumstances and priorities. The organization and its branches can adapt to situations and environments, in order to reach their objectives, may them be survival, political leadership, ideological hegemony over the Muslim communities. Taking a step back, there is no doubt that the MB went from glory to misery in very few years. During the so-called Arab Springs, the Islamist organization was seen by many international key players as the only possible democratic solution to the Middle-Eastern regimes.
Before the revolutions, from their Western hubs, MB leaders were very efficient in their propaganda against those regimes while at the same time displaying a democratic façade that enchanted some Western leaders, but that unfortunately did not correspond with reality once they took power in Egypt and Turkey.
The year of government led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was disastrous, with a systematic persecution of political opponents and journalists not aligned with the Islamists. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced the sad record of the “Morsy era” in regards to the legal measures against journalists. According to this report, the number of complaints was four times
greater than in the Mubarak era and twenty-four times greater than that of Sadat; now, considering that Mubarak stayed in power for thirty years, Sadat for eleven years and Morsy for only one year, the data is alarming.
Now, Turkey’s situation is even worse when dealing with issues related to political opposition, women’s rights, LGTB’s rights, the Kurdish issue, the persecution of journalists, and the support for Islamist extremism. On January 22nd, journalist Sedef Kabas was arrested for “insulting Erdogan”, after she referred to a proverb while taking part at “The Arena of Democracy” show on pro-opposition TV channel TELE1. Kabas said “When cattle enter a palace, it does not become king but the palace becomes a stable,” during a discussion about Erdogan. Kabas said she was using a proverb and changed it, from ox to cattle, and therefore did not mean to insult the president, according to reports. However, Turkey’s telecommunications watchdog RTÜK fined TELE1 for the episode for “inciting hatred” and banned the show from broadcasting for five episodes, according to reports. Tunisia did not go so far, but the country still faced serious Islamist-related issues during the Ennahda years.It is also important to recall that in March 2013, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood lashed out against the UN declaration for women’s rights (presented to the 57th section of the Commission on the status of women), calling it “a sensational violation of Sharia law that would lead to the disintegration of
the family”.
Now, considering that reality is based on facts, and not on propaganda, it is clear that the MB leadership was a total failure and the collusion of their major supporter, Erdogan, with jihadists in Syria and Libya did not help. However, the MB, despite all that it’s going through, will still try to reorganize its international efforts through its globally spread branches, in order to connect politically and beyond. In Europe and America, they can now count on new generations that know the social and political contexts very well. They know how to speak, who to speak to, they are able to fit in, and want to become mainstream interlocutors. They don’t have the flaws that the first generation had, such as the inability to use proper language and terminology; the exhibition of extremist ideological and political positions (such as the support for Hamas; intolerance towards women’s rights and LGTB rights), and the obsessive attention to the issues of their countries of origin. These new generations have no trouble in presenting themselves as progressive and mainly going
hand in hand with left-wing parties (mainly, but not exclusively). Not because they share the same values, but simply because that’s where the doors are more easily open for them. We have seen it extensively in Italy, one of the European countries that can be
considered more “Muslim Brotherhood-friendly”, not only politically speaking, but also on an institutional level.
Let’s not forget that Italy was notorious for being the main hub for Morsy supporters between 2011 and 2013 (as claimed by MB activists themselves). The country also hosted strong activity on behalf of the Syrian MB, which still covers major roles within the local Muslim community.
In January 2017, Muslim Anthropologist and community leader Maryan Ismail exposed the links between the Italian left-wing Partito Democratico-PD and the Muslim Brotherhood. Partito Democratico filed a legal suit but the court dismissed the accusations, as the judge indicated that the report wasn’t based on malicious allusions but rather on facts. Let’s also recall that Italy sided with Turkey and Qatar in Libya, backing the Tripoli-based pro-MB government. Even Lega’s Matteo Salvini, who initially had strong positions against Islamists and the MB, changed opinion on Qatar as he took office as Interior Minister and even received Fayez alSerraj in Milan, back in July 2019.

Some European countries are beginning to open their eyes to Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood; we have seen the UK banning Hamas, France, and Austria taking steps against the Islamists, but there is a lot more that needs to be done. Indeed, there is a limit to what a democratic country can and should do, but understanding the real face of the Muslim Brotherhood, its ideology, and its real objectives is extremely important and it can be done, as long as certain State institutions and politicians open their eyes on the Muslim
Brotherhood. No doubt that since the early 1970s the Muslim Brotherhood has been able to root and connect in many countries, presenting itself as the main religious actor able to organize and represent Muslims.They organized separate spaces for Muslims and worked on the Muslim ummah from below, just as they did in Egypt in its early phase. In some Western countries they went far beyond, establishing links with politics, institutions, and even intelligence. No surprise there, considering that the Muslim Brotherhood was used by the West against Socialist Pan-Arabism and the Soviet Union. However, times have radically changed and that type of political
imprint doesn’t make any sense today. The Muslim Brotherhood might have presented itself as the only legitimate democratic alternative to the regimes, but they proved to be no different from them.
In conclusion, it is very likely that the future of the Muslim Brotherhood will once again be played in Europe, not in the Middle East. London could once again become its main hub; the MB will transform and adapt and it will use its multiple connections in those countries that can still be classified as Muslim Brotherhood-friendly. Now we need to wait and what the outcome of the clash
between the London-branch and the Istanbul-branch will lead to

Cyber Crime – Challenges and Solution

-Blanket More
In the world with population of over 7.8 Billion, almost every person have some electronic devices associated with themselves. It is reported that, number of connected devices that are in use worldwide are now more than 17 Billion, which is more than two times of the world’s total population. This number is estimated to be more than 20 Billion by 2030.
Every device is directly or indirectly connected to one or more devices, which overall forms a huge network of devices.  These devices are used by people and they often share their valuable information while completing various day-to-day tasks. Caber Criminals tend to use this information against them in an offensive manner.
Caber Crime is a very broad term. The simple way to explain this would be, “Any illegal activity which is done by making use of any computer and network”. These are some serious threats to one’s privacy. The depth of this can be understood by following example,
DEFCON (Defense Readiness Condition) is world’s largest continuously run underground hacking conference. Ethical Hackers from all across the world actively participate in this. When this conference is held, all the security agencies are put on high alert. It is seen that the hackers are capable of hacking various devices from ATM Machine to a Car.
There are many ways in which Caber Crime is carried out. Some of the commonly seen Caber Crimes are Hacking, Social Engineering, Identity Theft, Spreading Communal Hate, Encouraging Terrorism, Caber Bulling and many more.

  • Hacking:

The modern technology has made it possible to hack any device which is connected to other devices in the network. The simple example of this would be Wi-Fi Network. Wi-Fi hacking is very common but one should be concerned about this as there are chances that the whole Computer Network Security can be compromised. Common attacks include,
SQL injection: Entering the True SQL command which enables to access unauthorized data from database of the application.
XSS: Cross Site Scripting refers to accessing the cookies or digital identity from the target’s server and carry out activity using target’s identity.
In general, hacking is carried out by identifying the loop holes in the source code, written to program the software. The measures that can be taken to prevent this are securing the firewalls, avoid use of third-party applications and secure all the end points of the network.

  • Social Engineering:

Social Engineering basically refers to hacking into people’s mind. Here attacker tends to access data by manipulating the target psychologically. This can be carried out in many ways, one of them is by creating fake links and trick the target to click on it, which then allows the attacker to gain control over target’s system.
One good example to explain this, is the well-known Tamara phishing scam, where the scamper retrieved the personal bank account details of people by manipulating them which resulted in money theft.

  • Ransom attack: Breaching into person’s or organization’s personal data and encrypting it, so that the target can access his own data only with the help of key known by the attacker. One of many ways to counter this, is to avoid accessing malicious web applications. Such type of attacks may cost millions to a company.

Recently, ‘Big Basket’ has reported a data leak of 15 GB from their database, which included user’s name, email, contact number, password hashes, location and their system’s IP address. Later, this data was made available for sale on Dark net, which is a part of internet, that can be accessed only with particular software and makes it difficult to trace the IP address or any communication protocol.

  • Identity Theft:

It refers to misuse of target’s personal identifying data without their consent to carry out some illegal activity.
Sim Card Cloning: It refers in duplicating a legit sim card, which can be used in a similar way as original sim card. This is possible by extracting sim card’s IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identifier) and Authentication Key.

Some basic measures in order to secure our networks are to make use of long passwords including special characters and numbers which makes it difficult to decrypt, Backup the data which can be useful in the scenario of Ransom attack, Keep on learning about the latest attacks and ways to tackle them, in case of an organization make sure to have a caber insurance. Government of India is actively working to prevent this and have an open portal to report a Caber Crime in India:
cybercrime.gov.in
For Women and Children:
Complaint-mwcd@gov.in

Increasing accessibility to E-learning during the pandemic in Argentina

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With the dissemination of SARS 2019 Novel Covid across the globe, the close vicinity of 1.5 billion novice learners is denied in-person education and presently relies upon remote learning. The catastrophe exacerbated massive pre-COVID-19 education, ponderously jolted the education precinct, towering monumental constraints and stipulation leading to the temporarily shutting down of academic establishments. With social distancing coming into utmost foreplay, education and empowerment of the masses have taken the backseat. The fear of losing semesters, classes, and board examinations has taken a mental toll on some, while families coming from marginalized sections have to choose between their basic sustenance to survival to digital literacy mode. Closure of learning spaces has called for UN agencies, government, and other stakeholders to pursue policy responses that align with the bedrock of just, equal and peaceful schooling, the nodal indicator of the progress of all SDGs. Demarcating the Pampas region in the south, bordering five other countries, Argentina had shut down academies for more than seven months. A survey conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education accounted for nearly 1.3 million children having minimal or no communication with their educators during quarantine. The households with children, having access to good quality Internet or a computer available for educational purposes are mostly well off or are urban-centric. With an upsurge in the number of drop-outs,gender-biased crimes like sexual exploitation, child trafficking, child labour, child marriage have recorded a massive influx over the past months as most economically challenged families are dependent on school-feeding programs. A recent study showcased that girls are prone to a gender digital divide that barred them from distance learning programs, causing the second-highest decline in school enrollment in the region. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics (Ibid. 2020a) accords 3.1 million secondary and nearly 14.2 million primary learners have to avail themselves to e-learning medium of study. The Govt. of Argentina, in observation to international protocols of SDGs, have laid down didactic proposals which aim to provide (i)
pedagogical standard procedures for carrying out activities at distinct stages of educational circuits; (ii) equip mentors with precise and
legitimate coaching at various educational levels; and (iii) conducting educative methodologies which will enable institutes to hand out germane academic materials to the students. The teachers in Argentina are continuously engaged in providing dynamic educational content that would relatively ease the predicament of e-learning. UNICEF is trying to restore effective distance and home-based learning delivered through radio, TV, the internet, and other platforms to ensure quality education received by all. CTERA, a
member of Education International (EI), have accentuated the obligation to continue improving the program in coordination with provincial authorities, integrating new content with resources that the jurisdictions themselves have already published online in an effort to reach students affected by school closures throughout the country. They have further encouraged the educationists and management teams from all schools throughout the country to visit the “Seguimos Educando” (Let’s Keep Teaching) platform which boosts the health of the teachers through series of digital educational resources and materials, which has reduced the cancellation of classes.
To bring the ‘call to action to life, policies, strategies and protocols should be put in place and implemented across the region to ensure safe school operations, facilitate the return to school and retention of the most vulnerable groups, make adequate funding available for safe reopening, guarantee the continuity of learning and scale-up social protection measures for everyone.

Written By : Anamitra Banerjee

Virtual Assets- Potential Red Flags for Illegal Activity

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Virtual assets are any digital representation of value which can be traded or invested in a particular environment, it can be used as a means of exchange or store of value among a given group or community. The scope of virtual assets go far beyond crypto currencies, they may or may not be assigned values in fiat currency. Blockchain technology that gained traction in the past decade has created a new world in finance and subsequently money laundering and terrorism finance. 

Case studies done between 2017-2020 showed that the majority of crimes committed using virtual assets were money laundering offences. The criminal world has also taken advantage of Virtual Assets, the types of crimes include sale of controlled substances, fraud and tax evasion, human trafficking, illicit pornography, extortion and other crimes. The layers of security and anonymity offered by virtual asset providers makes it an ideal ground for illegal activity.

Some commonly acknowledged guidelines for knowing if a transaction should be red flagged include: a small number of large transactions from an inactive account during a short period of time, in some cases account holders who had incomplete or fraudulent profiles with constantly changing addresses or details. Large transactions preceded by a period of inactivity or by people unfamiliar with VA technology was found to be a sign of ransom cases. Constantly changing unrelated IP addresses were a major indicator of cybercrime. Another common trend was to link the VA assets to various shell corporations and fake businesses, this trend was prevalent in money laundering as well as criminal funding. The AEC Currencies that charge extra to ensure more privacy also known as “private coins” are found to be widely used for purchase of controlled substances including but not limited to firearms. Most commonly used tipoff points are the existence of discrepancies between the customers’ profiles and the IP addresses used or the age of the user is not in the nominal range. 

IP addresses or browsers linked to the dark web is a major indicator of illicit activity, as seen in the Alphabay case. AlphaBay was one of the largest criminal darknet markets dismantled by authorities in 2017, it was used by hundreds of thousands of people to buy and sell illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals over a two-year span. The site operated as a hidden service on the TOR network to conceal the locations of its underlying servers as well as the identities of its administrators, moderators, and users. AlphaBay vendors used a number of different types of VAs, and had approximately 200 000 users, 40 000 vendors, 250 000 listings and facilitated more than USD 1 billion in VA transactions between 2015 and 2017.

All the above are subject to change under various circumstances. The problem with tracing virtual assets that are used in money laundering and other illicit financial activity is that the volume of transactions among the various networks that exist is enormous. We currently do not have the technology to trace and identify each potential red flag. The guidelines provide a basic identifying mechanism, and it is up to law enforcement nationally and globally to adapt to the same to catch if not prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

Written By -Neha Ramesh

References- http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/recommendations/Virtual-Assets-Red-Flag-Indicators.pdf

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/virtualassets/documents/virtual-assets.html?hf=10&b=0&s=desc(fatf_releasedate)

Humanitarian Response to Maharashtra Drought Disaster: Marathwada Case Study

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The ramification of climate change has led to an upsurge in humanitarian aid in the fashion of providing basic sustenance like food, shelter and medical care. The aftermath is chaotically weighted against the impoverished poverty-stricken masses with the infinitesimal collateral assets to overcome climate shocks and stresses. Humanitarian relief can help to focus on the repercussions of climate-related crunches, but a massive escalation in international efforts is needed to alleviate and acclimate to global warming, curtail the liability of disasters and restrain the suffering. Paltry levels of precipitation over the years coupled with insufficient and irregular rain gave rise to precipitated drought conditions in western parts of India. It is the most distressed and has recorded moderate to severe drought conditions in most of its districts.


When societies are affected by drought, FAO caters for support to help them quickly get back on their feet and start producing food. In the aftermath of drought, cash transfer mechanisms are provided to the neediest and underprivileged people, while refurbishing vital irrigation framework, water reservoirs and feeder roads which will boost food production in the longer term. In the most drought-prone areas, people are provided with cattle to rebuild their herds and ensure they can keep producing milk as a source of income. Farmers are encouraged and provided with quality seeds and farming inputs as well as given new ideas about investing in drought-resistant techniques which can be adapted, in time for the next rains. Millets and other drought-resistant crops are also advised to be grown in regular intervals to avoid the scarcity of food shortage and famine.

More than fifteen per cent of the citizenry accounting largely for hundred and thirty million netizens, across seventy thousand villages and two hundred and thirty urban hamlets are affected due to drought. Women and children being the most susceptible segment of the drought-affected population. In the severely distressed areas, roughly sixty million people – including nine million children, one and half million pregnant women and lactating women –  comprise the high-risk group. The obligatory duty of walking long distances to obtain water often falls on women and juvenile girls. The livelihood of the rural population has also been affected as cattle have died from starvation and agricultural production has been threatened. As a result, seasonal migration was amplified, with whole communities going to nearby cities. of families found shelter, food, water, and some work in the government’s relief camps in the most affected districts.

The paucity of water has provoked the poor and marginalised sections with thousands of litre available water. With the emergence of drought, the level of salinity and fluoride has increased in all areas. The water tables have dropped below normal and are significantly very low. Handpumps operations have broken down in several places due to poor maintenance and excessive usage. Excessive pumping of groundwater to cope with drought impacts have led to groundwater depletion, which not only poses a serious threat but is also, an important concern of Maharashtra State.

In the Marathwada region, water scarcity is not rare in summer – although its severity is exceptional at times leading the Governments at central and state levels to be prepared and to develop and come up with contingency plans. One of the large-scale governmental strategies is to authorise relief camps where families were provided with work, shelters, food, and health care. Care and protection for women and children were a priority in these camps. They are provided with health care, nutrition and education.

With the onset of the monsoon, some of the relief camps start terminating and operations get ceased for a time being, the  Government, continues to seek support from international agencies, with its efforts to help the most affected population in the mid and long-term. Indeed, with the emergency phase being called off, after the onset of the monsoon, it is of utmost importance to intensify the root causes of the crunch and bring resolutions for the long run. Drought-prone states of Maharashtra need to develop strategies and policies and mobilise adequate resources to prevent future severe droughts.

In the lexicon of great needs, it has been imperative for United Nations to carefully design its assistance. While UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women along WHO released immediate assistance through its state offices, it was decided to focus on long-term assistance to help mitigate such situations in the future.

United Nation’s acknowledgement for drought mitigation in the affected areas is a methodology based on a swift investigation conducted through field visits and via series of dialogues with Government counterparts. The predominant objective is to equip immediate relief to women and children in the water distressed localities and to curb health issues, including epidemic outbreaks like famine, diarrhoea, malnutrition and dehydration. Instant relief operations are carried out by nodal agencies like UNICEF which significantly contributes to addressing major concerns such as availability of drinking water, primary health care for women and children nutrition and health.

United Nations-supported schemes for the availability of drinking water supplement efforts through tanker supply, revitalization of handpumps, power pumps and installation of new handpumps. WHO also expediated precautionary and remedial health care system through procurement of essential drugs, vitamin supplements, iron tablets, Oral Rehydration Salt packages, disinfection of drinking water and on-site sanitation facilities.

The mid-term frame of reference to bolster the availability of drinking water in rural areas: the classical long-established response to the drought-related dearth of water has been to devise new sources, further capitalisation of existing sources or bring water to improvised areas by tankers and trains. This technique of methodology has not been altered in the last several decades, although such mediations have failed to provide lasting solutions.

Sources of Drinking water can be maintained by administering substantial environmental protection and management of the water sources at regular monitoring, with the help of community participation. This can be enacted by rain-water harvesting at catchment areas through the systematic erection of check dams and other recharge methods of architectures. This also equips an alternate source of employment to the natives, as pastoral activities have ceased due to crop failure and fiasco in the loss of cattle. UNICEF campaigns strongly about the construction, maintenance and management of these structures should be upheld at the community level via the locally elected bodies like panchayat. At the household level, rainwater rooftop harvesting will be promoted as an option to ensure household water security.

In consultation with the State Governments and nodal governing agencies, the United Nations is determined strongly to aim attention at its efforts in the mid-and long-term results to devote to drought prevention. Indeed, empiricism at the grass-root status depicts that planning at the micro-level, involvement of the localities and community-based solutions, will allow interior villages and hamlets to prevent the detrimental fallout of water scarcity. Along with the Government and civil society, Unicef works constantly to support these causes and to develop a stable and safe environment and policies. At the end of May 2000, UNICEF led a joint UN mission to identify long-term initiatives.

For a sustainable long run, UNDP, are engaged in functioning side by side with the state governments to expedite and promote the evolution of adequate and competent policies and programmes for drought-prone areas. It comprises facilitating the decentralisation and fragmentation for better management of water sources at the individual and community level. The ultimate challenge is to maintain the higher interests and greater good for all by the decision-makers in issues on water, after the onset of monsoon and termination of drought. In Maharashtra, at the request and initiative of the state government, UNDP along with various UN nodal agencies continues to support the development of a white paper on water management.

To be legitimate, impartial, principled and fair, the government has been proactive in dealing with matters related to the drought situation, but a lot more can be achieved with the advancement of science and technology. To date, the focal drought preparedness proposal and procedure consist of just donating money in the name of ministerial funds or alternative packages to the affected people. Also, the cattle shades, school programs, women empowerment schemes and initiatives are mostly undertaken by CSR or stakeholders other than the government. They do provide water by tankers or by using train water supply, but serious examination should be about the feasibility of such measures prevailing in modern times. We can utilise and call for action new water harvesting technologies to save water during the monsoons. For instance, cash crops that require lots of precipitation intake should be cultivated depending upon the availability of water. Also, the usage of green or natural pesticides and the practice of local HYV seeds should be given utmost preference over western technologies. Also providing insurance will be a great help to the farmers apart from setting up local agricultural banks which will provide loans to farmers.


For projects on large-scale water harvesting, they can rely on NREGA schemes, which will give them an interim livelihood and sustainability in the future.  The alignment of NREGA with agricultural programmes and allied sectors will lead to enhanced yields. The scope of works under NREGA is under expansion to include lands of small marginal farmers, it is now possible to significantly enhance the irrigation potential in rain-fed areas and drought-proof small-holder agriculture, leading to sustainable and higher yields.

The main aspiration of the NREGA proposal is to implement complementing recruitment chances with the auxiliary objective of eco-restoration & renewal of the natural resource base for viable rural livelihood. This will aid in transparency and accountability to permeate rural governing bodies, leading to the calcification of grassroots level democracy. The following water-based projects are listed under the domain of the NREGA scheme for drought preparedness.
• Water harvesting
• Desalting of tanks
• Micro and minor irrigation works
• Renovation of traditional water
• Provision of irrigation facilities bodies
• Flood control and protection works.

 Directions and guidelines given in the program are aligned to SFDRR priorities. The AIDMI team is devoted to achieving activities mentioned in the proposal in AIDMI’s ongoing projects and activities. The NDMP provides a framework and guidelines to the governmental agencies for all stages and aspects of the disaster management cycle. The NDMP is a “dynamic report” in the sense that it will be improved regularly keeping up with the ongoing global best practices and knowledge base in disaster management in lieu to the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the guidance given in the National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009 (NPDM), and the established national practices with the country.

Poverty and risk to disasters are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing. The poor section of the society is worst affected in case of disaster. The situation further aggravates due to the compulsion of the poor to exploit environmental resources for their survival, increasing the risk and exposure of the society to disasters, in particular those triggered by flood, drought and landslides. Poverty also compels the poor to migrate and live at physically more vulnerable locations, often on unsafe land and in unsafe shelters. These inhabitations of the poor at such locations are either because there is no other land available at a reasonable cost or it is close to the employment opportunities. The inhabitants of the poor people on marginal land are prone to all types of disasters. The type of construction of these houses further deteriorates the condition. These dwellings made up of low-cost material without giving much consideration to technical aspect are easy targets of various hazards.

 Drought is a recurrent phenomenon in Maharashtra State. Recently Maharashtra State has experienced a drought of moderate severity which commenced in 2011 and continued, expanded and further deteriorated into 2012. This drought, along with the other droughts that have occurred previously, threatened the agrarian economy of the Maharashtra State and caused considerable social and economic impacts on farming communities. Farmers were aware of the drought and also well perceived the various socio-economic and environmental impacts of drought in the Upper Bhima catchment. Failure of agriculture subsequently resulted in a lack of employment for unskilled labourers, which further exacerbated their livelihood situation and ultimately weakened the financial situation of farmers. Poor farmers affected by drought could not afford to participate in the celebration of festivals and showed a common tendency of postponement of wedding ceremonies due to drought. Less-educated farmers reported that drought-driven water scarcity has caused conflicts in society. It is also found that farmers from frequent and severe drought-affected areas considered drought as the main cause of suicidal tendencies due to lower incomes and high indebtedness. Environmental impacts of drought were perceived to be high to very high.

To mitigate the drought impacts farmers used various drought preparedness and adaptation measures. With the anticipated drought, farmers stored crop harvest (grains), stored crop residues for livestock, saved money, migrated for employment, sold livestock for income generation (and also because they were unable to provide food and water for the livestock), and sought an alternative source of income through employment under NREGA, labour for local construction work, sand mining etc. Although farmers were familiar with autonomous adaptation options in agriculture, less preference was given to their adoption. It is found that low education, small landholdings size and low incomes were major constraints in the adoption of these adaptation strategies discussed earlier.

Recurring drought is a major challenge in the Drought Prone Area of Maharashtra State in India. Agriculture (e.g., rainfed cropping and livestock) is the primordial income activity of over 64% of the state’s population. The objective of this case study is to grasp and comprehend the rural farming community’s perception of drought impacts on their socio-economic activities and environment, their adaptation at the household level and opinions on government drought mitigation measures.

Special attention should be given to while designing and formulating policies for increasing community resilience to future drought events. Also, the extent of irrigation was found to not affect the farmer’s perception of drought impacts and adoption of adaptation strategies, mainly due to a prolonged drought with moderate to severe intensity over the whole catchment. Emphasis should be given to water harvesting techniques to increase the extent of irrigation coverage. Besides household-level adaptation measures, administrative strategies played a very crucial role in adapting to drought. As a response to serious drought events in the state, the government has undertaken various relief measures. It was observed that the mitigation measures provided relief to affected households to some extent, but the level of satisfaction was still low amongst beneficiaries due to ineffective planning and management.

Responses to drought in Maharashtra. States are generally receptive under the conclusion of crisis management and poorly implemented strategies due to lack of coordination. Hence, the state calls for a change from a cognizant crisis management strategy to a more proactive game plan. This is persistent with the findings from other countries as examples through which lessons can be learnt for a greater cause and existing strategies ought to be considered for implementation in India. The case study is based on both secondary and primary data collected via a survey of 223 farming households. The results show that a decrease in the yield of cereals, horticultural crops, livestock production and loss of employment, all associated with decreased income of farmers, were the most immediate economic impacts of drought.

The NDMP assimilates substantively the technique enunciated in the Sendai Framework and help the country to meet the goals set in the framework. Equivalent water-based projects can also be used in climate change adaptation through community involvement and as means of conscious choice of livelihood. Conservation technologies should be stress-tolerant whereas providing climate-resilient varieties of seeds, drip irrigation, zero-tillage methods of agriculture, raised-bed planting, laser-levelling, Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI), can build flexible capacities to adapt with increasing water exploitation and shortage, providing “more crop per drop”. Similarly, strengthening land development practices such as land levelling, conservation bench terracing, contour and graded bunding, and pasture development prevent soil erosion and loss of organic matter. Reclamation of wastelands and degraded lands together with afforestation, horticulture plantation and agroforestry has the potential to sequester carbon both above and below ground, thereby contributing to carbon mitigation. Also, other projects such as land development, horticulture and road network development can be used for climate change adaptation in a drought situation


Conclusion :

Based on the findings for this study, the following recommendations are provided to improve farmers’ resilience and to enable farmers and governments to better

combat future droughts:

  • Promotion of various micro (farm) as well as macro (National) level adaptation strategies amongst farmers with the help of government officials to cope with drought.

  • Developing, introducing and implementing water harvesting practices at the community level and in situ water harvesting practices such as conservative agriculture should be introduced through community participation
  • During drought, about 75% of farmers use flood irrigation practice to irrigate their crops.
  • To save wastage of water, traditional flood irrigation practices should be changed to water-saving irrigation practices such as sprinkler or drip irrigation

  • The introduction of crops that consume less water and drought-resistant varieties of crops should be explored as a way of increasing resilience against drought and reducing crop failure in dry spells

  • Television, radio and newspapers should be used as a tool to disseminate weather information to the larger community about the current and predicted  state  of the drought and also drought adaptation practices

  • Although there are government drought relief measures, community-based effective planning, implementation and management should be done to overcome the failure of the relief measures.

Written by Anamitra Banerjee

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