Steps to Counter Terrorism

Preparedness against Terrorism

  • Intelligence gathering:The foremost step is terror preparedness, includes gathering crucial information from ground level and collating that such that it is easily accessible to the agencies involved. Thus, role intelligence agencies are of utmost importance. Thus, NATGRID established post 26/11 is key for analysis of intelligence inputs.
  • Training:Training of security forces involved in counterterrorism activities is of grave importance. Thus, counter Insurgency and Anti-terrorist Schools (CIATs) have been established to achieve this goal.
  • Mock security-drills:Mock drills should be conducted in areas vulnerable to terror attacks, so that loss of lives in such attacks can be minimised.
  • Securing key installations:like army bases, buildings of National importance, police stations should be ensured. Recently terrorists have been targeting army bases like Pathankot attack, Uri attack etc
  • Counter terrorism Operations:Such operations are undertaken when a terrorist attack takes place. NSG has placed a key role in counter terror operations. However, questions have been raised on procedure of operations as followed in Pathankot attack. Thus, standard operating procedure should be established.
  • Investigations:NIA is key organisation for investigation of all such cases. Thus, this body needs to be further strengthened to improve prosecution and conviction.
  • Prosecution:Prosecution should be speedy and accurate. However, at times false cases are registered against innocents due to pressure on investigating agencies. This should be effectively checked.
  • Strategy to counter terrorism:A multi-pronged approach is needed to handle menace of terrorism. It needs to be clearly understood that socio-economic development and providing a secure environment must go together as one cannot survive. In this context, socio-economic development is a priority so that vulnerable sections of society do not fall prey to propaganda of terrorists promising them wealth and equity; and administration, particularly service delivery mechanisms need to be responsive to  legitimate and long-standing grievances of people so that these are redressed promptly and cannot be exploited by terrorist groups. Strong measures are required to deal with criminal elements but with respect for human rights. 
  • Political consensus: Political parties must arrive at a national consensus on need for broad contours of such a planned strategy. Based on this national strategy, each of States and UTs should draw up its respective regional strategies, along with required tactical components for implementation of strategy.
  • Good governance & socio-economic development:This would necessitate high priority being given to development work and its implementation on ground for which a clean, corruption-free and accountable administration at all levels is an imperative necessity.
  • Respect for rule of Law:Governmental agencies must not be allowed to transgress law even in dealing with critical situations caused by insurgency or terrorism. If an extraordinary situation cannot be dealt with by existing laws, new laws may be enacted so that law enforcement agencies are not provoked or tempted to resort to extra-legal or illegal methods. Police and governmental forces must adhere to some basic codes of conduct. This will help in checking alienation of people.
  • Countering subversive activities of terrorists:Government must give priority to defeating political subversions/propaganda (Ex. terrorists and Maoists).
  • Psychological ‘warfare’ or management of information services and the media, in conjunction with intelligence wing of the police, can play an important role in achieving this objective.
  • Providing appropriate legal framework:Ordinary laws may not be adequate to book a terrorist. It requires special laws and effective enforcement mechanisms, but with sufficient safeguards to prevent its misuse. 
  • Building capacity:Capacity building exercise should extend to intelligence gathering machinery, security agencies, civil administration and the society at large.
  • As was highlighted in the Report on Crisis Management, strategy should encompass preventive, mitigation, relief and rehabilitative measures.
  • Role of Citizens, civil society, media in fight against terrorism: A multidimensional response to combat terrorism would require well-coordinated action on all fronts and agencies/institutions viz civil society, Media and political parties has an important role to play.


  • Often violence has its roots in the discord between different social groups who feel alienated from each due to political, religious, social or ideological issues.
  • Changing individual psyche through education would make society more harmonious and cohesive overall and less likely to get influenced by terrorists’ ideology.
  • Education has a role in creating proper environment for peace. People in India and Pakistan must realize that politics of war and social mindset which supports it are our own creations and therefore we are the only ones who can change them.
  • Response to Jihadi terrorism being advocated in some madrassas needs to be countered by emphasising on true essence of Islam. Educational Institutions like madrassa and other social institutions could play a major role in this regard.

Civil Society

  • Involving civil society in a multi-dimensional response to threat of terrorism had been recognized by UN General Assembly which, while adopting UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in 2006.
  • In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in involvement of civil society groups in public affairs. They have been instrumental in drawing the attention of government towards grievances of the citizens.
  • Given proximity of these groups to grassroots their potential could be engaged several ways which would help in State’s fight against terrorism including information of a “local” intelligence type.
  • They could play an advisory and educative role. Civil societies and NGOs can partner with law enforcement agencies to develop targeted programs for cooperation focusing on awareness and in developing outreach activities for healing community rifts and tensions. Civil society in conjunction with agencies of State can help in developing this capability.


  • Media refers all channels of mass information and communication including newspapers, publications, electronic media and internet. It has been a formulator as well as a reflection of public opinion.
  • There have been instances where media reports have stoked conflicts, though on several occasions they have been instrumental in prevention of violence.
  • Terrorism in democratic countries shows that terrorists thrive on publicity. Media does not intend to promote cause of terrorism, but nature of media to cover events, developments and issues can be exploited by terrorists.
  • Therefore, it is necessary that government should work towards harnessing power of mass media as a part of its strategy to defeat terrorism. It would be necessary to have an affirmative media policy:
  • Transparency in governance.
  • Advancing media’s role as an instrument of vigilance to scrutinise, check administrative, legal, excesses that endanger civil and democratic rights in situations of conflict and terrorism.
  • Engaging, enabling, encouraging and assisting media to fulfil its role of informed, fair and balanced coverage of crisis, particularly terrorism. 

Media policy should include principles of self-restraint. Publishers, editors and reporters need to be sensitized to avoid and exclude those elements of media coverage that may unwittingly advance the agenda of terrorists.

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