The Institute for Economics and Peace in collaboration with the National Consortium for the study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) led by the University of Maryland has released its annual Global Terrorism Index, 2018. It uses the data from Global Terrorism Database (GTD).Covering the data from over the last 20 years this is the 6th report of its kind.

The report represents “a comprehensive study analysing the impact of Terrorism for 163 countries and which covers approximately 99.7 % of the World’s population.

The Global Terrorism Index measures the direct and indirect impact of terrorism, including its effects on lives lost, injuries, property damage and the psychological aftereffects. It is a composite score that ranks countries according to the impact of terrorism from 0 (no impact) to 10 (highest impact).

Terrorism Index in India increased to 7.568 in 2018 from 7.53 in 2016. Terrorism Index in India averaged 7.63 from 2002 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 8.09 in 2010 and a record low of 7.22 in 2004. On the basis of impact of terrorism India has been ranked 7th out of 163 nations of the world. India have been ranked 10th worldwide on the basis of deaths due to terrorist.

The report said that though there has been a palpable dip in terror-related deaths in the last couple of years, the number of terror attacks have actually increased 16 per cent over the last year.

However, India still has the lowest rate of deaths per attack among the top 10 countries that are most impacted by terror-related violence. India had an average of 0.4 deaths per attack compared to 2.7 deaths per attack for the rest of the other countries that figure in the top 10.

The report elaborated that most of the non-lethal explosions were designed to attract people and the government’s attention and aimed at evoking a shock-and-awe effect. In fact, such blasts were intentionally carried out some distance away from crowded places to lessen the impact.

Maoist rebels, operating in the ‘red corridor’ in central and eastern India, remained the biggest challenge for India’s security apparatus. According to the report, Maoist groups were behind the highest number of blasts and were responsible for over 50% terror-related deaths.

Police and civilians were the predominant target of Maoist rebels as they accounted for over 50 per cent of all attacks and 88 per cent of deaths last year, the report said.

On the issue of Islamist terrorism in the country, the report cited dispute with Pakistan over Jammu & Kashmir as the primary reason behind a spike in violence.

The north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir had the mostdeaths in 2017, with 102 deaths committed by five differentterror groups, most notably Lashkar-e-Taliba (LeT), Jaish-eMohammad (JeM) and HizbulMujahideen (HM).

Lashkar-e-Taliba, the most active Islamist terror group in India,was responsible for 10 per cent of deaths in 2017. The samegroup was also responsible for the 2008 terror attacks inMumbai that killed over 160 people in the siege of the OberoiTrident Hotel. The remaining 37 per cent of terror deaths werecommitted by 21 different groups, further highlighting the widedistribution of terrorist groups in India.

What India is doing against terrorism?

  • There exists a close and effective coordination between intelligence and security agencies at the Centre and the states level who maintain a close watch to identify potential ISIS recruits and take further action, if necessary.
  • To deal with the internal security challenges, government has augmented the strength of Central Armed Police Forces.
  • NGS hubs have been set up in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
  • Empowerment of DG, NSG to requisition aircraft for movement of NSG personnel in the event of any emergency.
  • The government has imposed tighter controls to prevent increased immigration.
  • The government has ordered effective border management through round the clock surveillance & patrolling on the border areas. CIBMS for new age border security and protecting infiltration by terrorist.
  • Observation posts have been established. Border fencing, flood lighting, deployment of modern and hi-tech surveillance equipment are among other measures taken by the Centre. Similarly, coastal patrolling by setting new coastal police stations have been done.
  • Amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 have been done to strengthen the punitive measures to combat terrorism. A new amendment have been placed in 2019 to give more power to security agencies.
  • Government has established the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) with an intention to link data bases for collecting actionable intelligence to combat terrorism and internal security threats.
  • Amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in 2009 to inter alia, include certain offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, as predicate offence.
  • Raising of the issues of Cross-Border Terrorism in all its manifestations including its financing in various multi-lateral and bilateral fora as part of India’s zero tolerance policy towards terrorism.
  • Signed Extradition treaty with many nations to bring the culprits to justice.
  • Established NIA and recent amendments brought to strengthen it further.
  • Signed FATF against terror financing which has recently grey listed Pakistan.
  • operation ALL OUT in Kashmir,
  • participation in RATS of SCO to combat regional terrorism,
  • special task force against organized crime in Golden and Crescent drugs corridor.

Way Forward:

India has been always against terrorism of all kind and acting against it.

International Co-operation to control terror financing and agree to UN Convention on Terrorism is need of the time.

Terrorism in all its form and shape needs to be criticized and any State using it as their state policy must be internationally condemned.