September 14, 2006Security

Force for the task

Lt Gen A S Kalkat’s thoughts on counter-terrorism

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Gen Kalkat, the former commander of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka argues that counter-terrorism must be separated from conventional warfighting and law enforcement. India took a little step in this direction more than a decade ago when it raised the Rashtriya Rifles to tackle counter-insurgency. What Gen Kalkat is calling for goes way beyond that: for India to put in place an entirely new machinery and legislation in place to fight a kind of war the founding fathers of the Indian constitution didn’t even dream of.

Terrorism needs a top-down approach while insurgency requires a bottom-up approach.In tackling an insurgency, it is a fight for the `hearts and minds’ of the people and the people have to be addressed and won over. With terrorism, the leadership or perpetrators of terrorism need to be targeted…

Our laws were made for the normal law-breakers and criminals; our forefathers did not envisage the rise of this new threat to humanity and civilisation.

A structured two-pronged approach is needed to combat the new threat: first, a set of laws or `rules of engagement’ for dealing with terrorists; secondly, a special force organised and trained to operate under these special laws, with the authority to operate domestically and externally to prevent disconnect. This special force should be supported by a dedicated counter-terrorism intelligence unit…(with) capabilities more akin to the military; this requires highly specialised forces and a dedicated organisation. This may be the time to constitute such a force in India. [The Hindu]Related Link: Guru at The Mutiny points out Harish Khare’s call for an internal security doctrine.

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