Under the guise of ‘cultural battles,’ fourth-generation warfare largely focuses on causing instability and cracks within society, which eventually leads to the breakdown of society and state. It pits countries against non-national organisations and networks, which include not only fundamentalist extremists but also ethnic groupings, mafias, and narco-traffickers, and operates through indoctrination and brainwashing of the vulnerable and disaffected.
It gets increasingly powerful since the Internet has transformed the power of the media and the process of public opinion creation in a free society. False reports of community conflicts, riots, terrorist attacks, and other events have gone viral, causing false panic and anxiety.
False narratives have become easy to distribute and even establish from anywhere on the planet. This has given non-state actors as well as adversary governments the ability to destabilise the country. For example, teenage indoctrination via the internet and lone wolf assaults are becoming increasingly difficult to combat.
Even typical internal security threats become more sophisticated and dangerous in this environment.
Tendencies toward secession and separatism- Pro-Khalistani militants in India and other countries want to resurrect militancy in Punjab. Similarly, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is in upheaval, owing to difficulties in isolating extremists from civilians.
Under the guise of advocating human rights, a powerful support network has been developed for publicly and covertly assisting the Naxals/Maoists who are waging a military, social, political, and economic war against the government.
The emergence of armed ‘Senas’ along caste and ethnic lines threatens the police and the authority. The primary source of this dangerous trend is the public’s loss of faith in the government’s ability to protect their lives and property.
Intense competition and an unstable border between India and China and Pakistan have the potential to convert competing influences and interests into a rivalry.
Discord among ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups, political criminalization, and population shifts and movement all contribute to the country’s instability.
Civil society, on the other hand, is the only barrier between the individual and the state. Individuals congregate in webs of associational existence here. The overly broad idea of “internal security,” when combined with terrorist legislation and actions, must not have a negative influence on India’s civic space by alienating civil society actors, as this not only impedes India’s economic progress, but also reduces democratic space.
As a result, state intelligence and law enforcement must be used to address such threats. To combat the “fourth generation” conflict with an invisible opponent, the police force must maintain a constant state of self-training and place a premium on engaging with people.
Furthermore, internal security issues should not be viewed solely as law and order issues. They must be addressed holistically across all aspects and at all levels – political, economic, and social.
They’re all connected. The key to properly meeting these issues is striking the right balance. The necessity of the hour is for a comprehensive security policy that will be implemented successfully at all levels.