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1. “Lone Wolf” Attacks

Lone Wolf Attacks

  • A "lone wolf" is a person who prepares and commits violent acts alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.

  • It is an efficient way of spreading terror in hard-to-access places for organised terrorist groups. Lone wolf attacks in India

  • Volatile neighbourhood of India acting as terror hotbeds, fast growing population especially youth with access to mass media and social media, heavy concentration of people in public areas with limited security and inadequate capacities of local police increase India’s vulnerability to lone wolf attacks.

  • However various other factors tend to pose challenges in growth of lone wolf attacks in India: o Unlike in the US where sophisticated weapons can be easily bought by ordinary citizens, gaining access to such weaponry in India is difficult.

  • Indians have not displayed the psychological willingness to undertake high risk attacks.

  • The absence of past examples of lone wolf attacks in India inculcates the fear of the unknown in the minds of potential volunteers.

Some Steps Taken by India

  • Education and skilling - Modernization of madrassas, Employment and skilling schemes for jobless youth like Nai Manzil, Himayat etc

  • Specific programmes like 'Operation Chakravyuh' of the IB, where a dedicated set of officers monitor the web, tracing the activities of the youth who are in touch terror operatives.

  • NATGRID is in the process of being scaled up.

  • National Cyber Coordination Centre(NCCC) has been established as a cyber security and e-surveillance agency in India.

  • WHAM (winning hearts and minds) strategy approach by security forces to prevent alienation.

  • Deployment of private security at high value targets like malls, hotels and schools has been upgraded, which acts as a deterrent to an individual aiming to target them.

  • Volunteers are likely to come from the middle class and educated families.

  • Prominent recent examples across the globe include Boston marathon bombing of 2013, Sydney hostage crisis of 2014, recent attacks in New York and London where vehicles were used to run over and kill a number of people.

1.1. Causes of Lone wolf Attacks

  • Alienation of communities: As communities get isolated and become less trustful of law, they become alienated. It then provides grievances for terrorists to exploit as individuals from such communities tend to easily be self-radicalized by accessing material online.

  • Mental and psychological disorders can also often be a trigger for carrying out random attacks by individuals.

  • Lax gun control (for example in USA) create a fertile ground for carrying out of Lone wolf attacks.



  • Difficult to Apprehend: Traditional terror groups with command and control “are easier for government to control. “Leaderless Resistance" like lone wolf attacks create an intelligence nightmare.

  • Use of Social Media by terror groups:

  • Since the IS has been able to successfully recruit Indians via social media for the war in Syria it is a matter of time before they find recruits willing to employ violence in India itself.

  • The head of Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent called on Indian Muslims to follow the example of lone wolves in Europe and kill officers in India.

  • Possibilities of a complex Network: Recent investigations have shown that often these attacks are not entirely independent and leaders operating remotely exercise various degrees of influence, acting as confidants and coaches and coaxing recruits to embrace violence.

Way Forward

  • Monitoring of Online content –

  • Better vigilance regarding online radicalization by terror groups is required to curb this challenge.

  • Big data analytics must be used to discern the level of radicalisation of potential recruits, their networks and sources of information, funding and leadership in order to help unravel the roots of radicalisation.

  • Enhancing Social capital: Enhancing the “sense of belonging” among different groups rather creating division can be of great impact. For example, preventing polarisation along religious or ethnic lines through effective social integration is needed.

  • Influence of Family and Peer Groups: must be utilised by the state to pre-empt any radicalisation of young individuals to any terror group’s ideology.

  • Providing access to Mental Healthcare and counselling.

  • Helplines by professional counsellors to counsel against radicalization once it is reported by some friend or family member.



  • Coordination and intelligence sharing between agencies such as IB, NIA, State police, etc is a must to prevent such incidents.

  • The nature of threat that groups like the IS represent is transnational in nature. Therefore there is also a need to improve intelligence sharing, faster processing of information requests, countering the finance mechanisms, and facilitate easier extradition.

  • Providing training to police personnel: State police forces should be trained to develop counter-terror capabilities as they are the "first responders" when an attack takes place.

2. National Security Council

National Security Council

  • It is the top executive body of India which advises the Prime Minister’s Office on matters of national security and strategic interests.

  • Established in November, 1998.

  • A three tier Organizational Structure consisting of Strategic Policy Group (SPG), National Security Advisor Board (NSAB) and National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).

  • Main task of SPG is to make policy recommendations to the NSC.

  • The Strategic Policy Group (SPG) formed to assist the National Security Council (NSC) has been reconstituted with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as its chief.

2.1. Strategic Policy Group (SPG)

  • Was set up in 1999 by Vajpayee Government.

  • First tier of National Security Council structure

  • Mandated to publish National Defense Review- a draft of short term and long term security threats and defense matters for consideration of NSC.

  • Was earlier headed by Cabinet Secretary.

2.2. Salient features of the new notification

  • NSA replaces Cabinet Secretary as the Chairman on SPG

  • The SPG shall be the principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in the formulation of national security policies

  • The other members of SPG are Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Cabinet Secretary, three services chiefs, RBI Governor, Secretaries of External Affairs, Home, Defense, Finance, Defense Production, Revenue, Atomic

  • Energy, Space and National Security Council Secretariat besides Scientific Advisor to Defense Minister, Secretary (R) in Cabinet Secretariat and the Intelligence Bureau chief.

  • The Cabinet Secretary will coordinate the implementation of SPG decisions by the Union Ministries and departments and State governments.

2.3. Challenges

  • It has shifted the formal and de jure authority of national security from Cabinet Secretariat to National Security Council Secretariat.

  • While Cabinet Secretary, the top civil servant of the country, has more institutional sanctity, National Security Advisor is a political appointee. NSA chairing

  • SPG meetings means a huge shift of power towards Prime Minister’s Office.

  • A formal centralization of power towards PMO while marginalizing transitional institutional structures might affect checks and balances of the system. It might raise the issues of accountability of decisions.

  • Shift from a silo-driver approach to a more integrated, centralized and authoritative approach.

3. Terrorist Travel Initiative

3.1. Terrorist Travel Initiative

  • It will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners, and international organizations to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watch listing and screening tools.

  • The initiative will a develop set of good practices which will reinforce countries and organizations to use border security tools prescribed in UNSC Resolution 2396 to stop terrorist travel.

3.2. About Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)

  • Launched in 2011, the it is an informal, apolitical, multilateral counterterrorism (CT) platform.

  • It develops good Practices and tools for policy-makers and practitioners to strengthen CT civilian capabilities, national strategies, action plans and training modules.

  • The GCTF has 30 members. India is a founding member of GCTF.

October Internal Security Threats

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