General Studies Paper 3 (Security Issues): Non-state actors


IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3 (Security Issues)


What do you understand by non-state actors? What challenges do external non state actors pose to India’s security ?



Internal security for any country is of prime importance. India’s internal security is manifestation of internal weakness and external attempts. If the internal security issues are undertaken effectively, rebellion by the external forces to that extent becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, the rise of quarrelsome politics based on sectarian, ethnic, linguistic or other divisive criteria, is mainly responsible for the many communal and secessionist movements thriving in India. The presence of hostile neighbours allows the internal conflicts to get external support, which includes money, arms and sanctuaries. The vested interests exploit these conditions to pursue their own schema.



Non–state actors:

  • Non-state actors are the entities that are not part of established government of the state. They are not directly employed by the state but have independent ideological existence or sometimes act as proxy element generally employed by state.
    • g. NGOs, Pressure Groups etc.
  • Anti-establishment non-state actors are those who are wholly or partly independent of state governments and threaten or use violence to achieve their goals.
    • g. Naxalites, IM etc.


Role of Non-state actors in creating a challenge to internal security:

Non-state actors both have played an active role to disturb internal security and raise numerous problems in India.

  • Smuggling:
    • They smuggle weapons, drugs (especially in Punjab and North east), counterfeit currency through Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent into the country and target youth.
    • g. RBI data shows that counterfeit notes in FY17 were 20.4% higher than the previous year.
  • Human trafficking:
    • Indo Nepal border is vulnerable for smuggling and human trafficking.
  • Attacks:
    • They carry out well-planned attacks on major establishments, public places to disturb harmony and peace of the country.
    • g. 26/11 attacks, 1993 Bombay attacks, Akshardham attacks etc.
  • Religious fanaticism:
    • They propagate religious hatred to disturb communal harmony and incite people on religious lines to carry out attacks.
    • g. Radicalization of Indian Youth to join militants in Syria.
  • Fuelling Extremism:
    • These incite people for regionalism thus demanding separate states, further giving boost to secessionist tendencies.
    • g. North-East issues, Left Wing Extremism etc.
  • Anti-development:
    • Non-Governmental Organizations like Greenpeace were lobbying against Government’s policies and obstructing India’s energy plans as witnessed during Kudankulam protests.
  • Cyber-Attacks:
    • The cyber-attacks like WannaCry and Petya ransomware were carried by non-state actors to disturb the entire ICT infrastructure of the country.
  • The state sponsored non state actors from Pakistan and China etc. influence our security dynamics in Jammu & Kashmir, North-east as witnessed in Uri and Pathankot attacks recently.


Strengthening role  played by non-state actor:

NSAs have always existed and have always played an essential role in governance,

  • Electoral Democracy – NGOs like ADR and NEC brought out extent of criminalisation of politics. A PIL was filed by ADR which lead to apex judgement for disclosing education details, criminal records and income of contesters.
  • Development – NGOs like Akshaya Patra take part in implementation of MDM. NGO like MKSS of Rajasthan has played an important role in forcing government to come up with right to information to bring transparency.
  • MNCs – FICCI like bodies represent corporate and business entities and take part in corporate policy making.
  • Social movements like Chipko and RTI movement have brought impact on policy


Way Forward:

  • Comprehensive Border management system should be implemented in all international borders.
  • NATGRID would help to locate the terrorist and criminals.
  • Extradition treaties must be signed with neighbour countries to handover criminals.
  • Maritime patrolling by coast guard must be strengthen.



In a well-established political system and a developed economy, conflicts between the various group identities are kept under check as in due course they get assimilated into the national identity. It is high time that the authorities keep in check these non-state actors as with globalization and advances in Information and Technology, their reach has no bounds and the 21st century India cannot afford to be affected by them. 


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