‘Lone Wolf’ terror attacks have recently been on the rise across the world, especially in Europe. What do you understand by ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks? What threat do they pose to the internal security of India? Suggest strategies to curb this threat.
- Introduce with meaning of lone wolf attacks
- Discuss the threat they pose to India
- Discuss strategies to counter them
- Conclude appropriately
A lone wolf is a terrorist who is not part of a group or directed by an outside organization, and commits terror activities by himself. However, he/she is usually radicalised by a terrorist outfit and subscribes to the ideology of that outfit. The rise of Islamic State (IS) and encouragement of lone-wolf attacks on crowds using fast moving vehicles, as seen in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm etc. has brought the issue to the forefront.
Threat to India’s security:
- Attacks encouraged in India: While India has not yet experienced a lone wolf terrorist strike, it is in the list of countries that IS, as well as Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), has encouraged to be targeted by lone wolf terrorist attacks.
- Attacks thwarted: In 2017, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested two people for planning an IS-inspired lone-wolf attacks. There have been other arrests all over India of potential perpetrators.
- Radicalization: A fast growing population, especially youth with access to mass media and social media, opens limitless avenues of unrestrained radical propaganda.
- Challenges in thwarting them: The absence of lone-wolf attacker from the radars of the intelligence as he is not part of any group, and the limited security and intelligence personnel to monitor them.
Strategies to curb this threat:
- Counter-radicalisation: Big data analytics can be used to understand the level of radicalisation of potential recruits, their networks and sources of information, funding and leadership in order to unravel the roots of radicalisation.
- Monitoring the web: The IB has set up a cell dedicated to monitor the web, and infiltrate jihadist social media accounts, and identify individual terrorists and disrupt their communications.
- Special teams: There is a need for specialised police teams to be trained and organised in every state to act as first-responders.
- Coordination: We must coordinate with various agencies across the world to improve intelligence sharing mechanisms, strengthen measures against terror financing etc.
- Social interventions: There must also be interventions at a social level, and society and parents should be encouraged to keep a watch and report suspicious activities.
India remains an important target for groups like the IS and Al Qaeda, which see the country’s democratic, secular and open social fabric as a threat to their ideology. It is therefore important to undertake suitable proactive measures to limit the potential damage that can be caused by such attacks.
Subjects : Editorials