PM to DGPs: Tackle external threats, be sensitive internally
PM Narendra Modi suggested that while police forces should further leverage technological solutions such as biometrics, there is also a need to strengthen traditional policing mechanisms like on-foot patrols, etc.
Growing religious extremism, political instability, uncontrolled activities of terror outfits and failing economies in the neighbourhood pose a security challenge to the country, India’s police and intelligence brass concurred at a three-day annual conference in Delhi attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.
Modi, who attended the conference on Saturday and Sunday, lauded intelligence efforts to counter external threats and suggested making police forces more sensitive towards citizens and training them in the use of new technologies. He recommended replicating the model of the DGPs/IGPs conference, organised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) every year, at the state and district levels for discussing emerging challenges and evolving best practices among teams operating at the ground level.
The director generals and inspector generals of police from across the country also discussed measures to counter the online mobilisation of people for mass agitations that could emerge as a threat to national security, they said.
“PM Modi suggested making police forces more sensitive and training them in emerging technologies. He emphasised on the importance of the National Data Governance Framework for smoothening of data exchange across agencies,” a statement by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said on Sunday.
Modi suggested that while police forces should further leverage technological solutions such as biometrics, there is also a need to strengthen traditional policing mechanisms like on-foot patrols, etc.
“He recommended repealing obsolete criminal laws and building standards for police organisations across states. He suggested prison reforms to improve jail management. He also discussed strengthening of border as well as coastal security by organising frequent visits of officials,” the PIB said.
Stressing enhanced cooperation between state police and central agencies to leverage capabilities and share best practices, the PM “suggested replicating the model of the DGPs/IGPs conference at the state/district levels for discussing emerging challenges and evolving best practices among their teams”, the statement added.
Sharing details of the topics discussed during the meeting, a senior counterterrorism officer, who did not want to be named, said, “India’s neighbourhood has seen a marked rise in extremism in the last decade. Growth of radicalisation is no longer limited to Pakistan and Bangladesh, but has now spread in various forms in our larger neighbourhood. This has created a serious threat to both our internal and external security matrix. Growing religion extremism, political instability, uncontrolled activities of terror outfits and failing economies are fuelling this growth in radicalisation in these countries.”
India, this officer added, “being the much better performing among South Asian countries, provides a surfeit of reasons to these countries to deflect their failings towards India.”
“This creates a situation where any sudden trigger in these countries or even here domestically can cause events directly threatening our security,” he added.
“Tackling this menace calls for a multipronged and robust approach that would need to account and counter both external and internal factors. A uniform statutory and policy framework will be needed, which would involve the best practices learnt from other countries like the European concept of CVE (countering violent extremism) as well as domestic models like community policing, Maharashtra’s de-radicalisation programme and so on. There is also a need for better and holistic border areas’ development, effective border security and control measures, stronger and more advanced intelligence set-ups that would provide teeth to India’s counterterror and counter-insurgency strategy,” said a second officer, who also didn’t want to be named.
The conference discussed steps to deal with the use of social media for organising mass agitations such as the recent anti-CAA demonstrations and the farmers’ protest.
“Widespread use of social media by protesters is a major challenge faced by law enforcement agencies today. Predictive planning and use of artificial intelligence for making timely interventions is the need of the hour. To this end, the law enforcement agencies will have to adapt to rapidly changing law and order scenarios and use proactive methods to nip in the bud or curtail violent protests, which not only disturb peace and harmony in society but also adversely affect national security and stability,” said a third officer, who asked not to be named.