Indian Police Plan Special Unit to Combat Lone-Wolf Terrorists

Akash Vashishtha
New Delhi
180119-IN-terrorists-620.jpg Police stand guard near the site of an explosion that killed four officers north of Srinagar in Indian controlled Kashmir, Jan. 6, 2018.

The Indian Home Ministry is expected to announce the formation of a special security unit to deal specifically with combating lone-wolf and do-it-yourself (DIY) terrorists, an official told BenarNews on Friday.

DIY terrorists perpetrate acts of violence without any formal training after gaining information on suicide attacks and ways to make homemade explosives over the internet. A lone-wolf terrorist, on the other hand, is one who carries out a terror attack after being radicalized by a group but without any command structure or material assistance from the group.

Earlier this month, Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh suggested the formation of such a unit, saying attacks could be a cause for worry in India following last year’s attacks in Nice, Berlin and London.

“Exploiting the power on internet and ideological motivation, terror groups like Daesh (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda have already flooded the internet with literature pertaining to bomb-making and suicide attacks which present a risk of emergence of DIY terrorists,” Singh said at the time.

India’s top security agencies are meeting to finalize plans for the security unit dedicated to dealing with such terrorists, a senior Home Ministry official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity.

“The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are having hectic discussions to come up with the structure, functions are other components of the wing,” the official said, adding that once discussions finish, the proposal will be circulated and delivered to the ministry for approval.

The official refused to divulge an exact timeframe for the launch of the unit, which would include senior officials from the IB and NIA.

Security analysts said the task of the new unit would be challenging because it would require state-of-the-art technology to monitor DIY and lone wolf terrorists.

“It is a good idea, but it won’t be easy. The police in all Indian states have special cells, but they too need to be strengthened. The mutual coordination and information sharing also has to improve if such attacks are to be prevented,” security analyst V.N. Rai, secretary of the Association of Retired Senior Indian Police Service Officers, told BenarNews.

“The big challenge for India is to have the right, advanced technology as such attacks are happening everywhere and countries are not able to contain them. Without technology, a special cell has no meaning,” he said. “You also have to have the right, skillful personnel on the job who are able to identify actual adversaries and not just go about harassing the people.”

Strategic affairs analyst Dushyant Nagar said the government needed to go beyond simply creating a special cell to deal with lone-wolf attacks.

“New trends of terror attacks are emerging across the world. Terrorists in Afghanistan have laid their hands on chemical, biological and low-grade nuclear weapons. The Indian government needs to think seriously of measures to prevent such attacks,” Nagar told BenarNews.

“India is fast emerging as an economic superpower in the world and is a potential contender to the Security Council’s permanent seat and it is most vulnerable to such new forms of attack,” he added.


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