India is a multicultural, largest functioning young democracy still engaged in the process of nation building. The stated features have made it extremely vulnerable to radicalisation which further leads to various national security threats. The growing technological advancement and globalisation has aggravated the situation making it more prone to radical ideas.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing DGPs of North-eastern region in a meeting attended by top security officials including NSA Ajit Doval, in May 2017 stressed that “radicalisation has come as a huge security challenge. Radicalisation is a trans-national phenomenon. If we can’t check it, it will turn into terrorism”
The privilege of anonymity provided by Internet and the flexibility for adoption of identities has becomes latest tools for extremist elements. With large number of reach to targets they are able to incept radical ideas easily, most importantly using social media, by targeting youngsters. As stated by Home Minister in the same meeting ,”Some of these agents are operating in the name of religion while some others are operating in the name of NGOs or carrying out development programmes for individuals, socio-culture uplift and education,”
In order to track these radical elements via social media and other networking sites it is important that we turn the tables around and use the same technology to investigate their pattern. In a 8 pointed guideline letter sent by MHA Joint Secretary Kumar Alok to states and Union territories on January 13, Centre has directed states “to gear up institutional mechanism” and “maintain data of suspects” by creating special Cyber Crime Cells.
But the important bottleneck apart from being at par with technology used by offenders and influencers is to upgrade both technology and approach to address the threat of radicalisation effectively. We have to plan a system of prevention,counter and reaction.
In context to approach, we need to fill in the vacuum channelized by radical influencers on social media and networking sites. The major reason for the success of radical influencers to spread the misinformation is due the vacuum created on the interactive sites by less involvement of security agencies. We need a special team of experts to work closely with the monitoring team to bridge the gap on citizen portals and social media networking.
In context to technology, we need to work on Big Data Analytics tools and social media aggregation tools. Unclassified data is almost useless until it is sanitized, aggregated, and visualized in a material form that it represents a pattern for security agents to get a desired insight. Moreover with the increasing threat we need to have a proactive surveillance strategy based on proactive alerts based on real-time data feeds. This will help the security forces to understand a pattern and relate to the suspicious elements .At the same time it will help in preparing a full evidence case to avoid backlash of harassment.
Though we have been able to protect radical attacks but the threat of radicalisation is growing every day. Cases such as ISIS recruitment, provocation of north east insurgents, Maoisim and Naxalisim, J&K rift fuelled by hostile neighbours have already started affecting youth of our country. It is high time that we adopt modern technology to devise and implement an effective counter strategy for dealing with the challenge effectively, before it’s too late.