The Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a think tank funded by the defence ministry which has Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar as one of its executive council members, has noted that “religious intolerance and provocations have increased”.
The IDSA has made this observation in its concept note for the 3rd Annual Internal Security National Seminar on ‘Radicalisation: A Growing Security Challenge for India’ on December 9. The organisation has noted that there is an “atmosphere of insecurity and alienation”, and “secular” politics may be “key to stop polarisation”.
“Lately, the country has seen attempts of mass mobilisation on ideological lines… The instances of religious intolerances and provocations have increased… Aided with the 24×7 electronic and impactful social media, these diatribes are reaching the masses in every remote nook and corner of the country, creating a charged-up atmosphere of insecurity and alienation. Alienation aids radicalisation,” says the concept note.
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Noting that there are “allegations that the political parties are attempting to benefit from the social polarisation” the think tank has stressed the need to “address the very causes of alienation and ensure building up long-term systematic institutional mechanisms”.
“The well established secular approach to politics is probably the key to stop polarisation and ensuring development,” says the note. Stating that India has “so far” been lucky, with negligible impact of the Islamic State (IS), the organisation has warned of the possibility of the country’s burgeoning youth becoming a “demographic disaster” if not converted into a “demographic dividend”.
Warning against extremist ideologies being spread through social media, the note says that “there are numerous organisations on the lookout for disgruntled and insecure youth, pretending to address their grievances, only to take advantage of it”.
“The unlimited indoctrinating capsules in the virtual cyber world are also available for takers for online indoctrination and eventual radicalisation. There are virtual worlds created on social media of like-minded people absorbing and sharing the poison of extremist ideologies… Radicalisation is the first step towards extremism, as any conflict starts from the mind. These radicals adopt extreme political, social or religious ideals and aspirations that undermine the status quo and reject contemporary ideas and freedom of choice. If opportunity presents, they may not hesitate to perpetrate violence, thus becoming a grave threat to the national security,” says the note, underlining the need to discuss the matter.
When contacted, a spokesperson of IDSA declined to comment.
The IDSA was established in 1965 by then defence minister Yashwantrao Chavan. While it was headed by Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta till August, the current head is Jayant Prasad, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Algeria, Nepal and former Special Secretary (Public Diplomacy) in the Ministry of External Affairs.