India's Security Environment: An Overview

Rescue workers carry the body of a policeman at a police camp attacked by Maoist rebels in Silda village, Midnapore district of West Bengal. On Monday, about 24 jawans were killed in the biggest-ever Maoist assault when the rebels caught the troops unaware. Photo Courtesy: Reuters

But such days are getting as rare as snow in the desert for Indians. The violent terror attacks in Mumbai on 26/11 2008 had barely receded into the recesses of our collective minds when the bakery blast at Pune returned to remind us of the external threats. And just as we were reeling from that blow to the solar plexus came the upper-cut straight to the jaw in the form of a daring Naxal attack on a police camp in Sildah, West Bengal.

And our country continues to bleed from a thousand cuts inflicted on us by envious neighbors and militant desperados.

In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh surprised many by his recent statement that naxalism and not terrorism was the bigger threat to India's internal security. He sought to know the reasons for this sense of alienation amongst people in central India and suggested that the new age policeman must train to be more professional, motivated, empowered and above all trained to use technology for investigation.

Be that as it may, the question that springs to mind is the ease with which terror actors get access to weapons of war and funds in the region. While external help is easy to understand, where do the Maoists find the money and the guns to raise a stink?

The answer is not too difficult to fathom. Fly three hours in any direction from New Delhi and what do you get...? A conflict zone or one where a conflict has recently resolved. There is Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal - each a hotbed of conflict and each providing a haven for desperados with a veritable departmental store for arms purchase.

In effect, we are expecting a peaceful home in a noisy neighborhood!