Govt plans Counter-Terrorism Academy


In the backdrop of global terrorism knocking on India’s doors, the government is working on a proposal to set up the country’s first ‘Counter-Terrorism Academy’ with an aim to redirect security establishment’s focus on training, research and forensics. Sources in the home ministry said the proposal was being seriously thought over by the government and a series of meetings have already taken place. The move is part of government’s larger effort to recalibrate counter-terror efforts in the face of challenges from outfits such as Al Qaeda and ISIS apart from evermetamorphosing domestic outfits such as Indian Mujahideen and SIMI.

“The proposal is in the works.
The academy will have a training centre, a centre for excellence in forensics and a think tank which will focus on research in internal security issues. We have no credible think tank in the country that focuses on internal security,” said a senior home ministry official. Sources said the idea is to make it such a quality institution that it becomes a south Asian hub. A proposal encompassing this and several other measures that include massive investment in intelligence and data analytics infrastructure has been sent to MHA by National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Touted as a ‘vision document’ by the agency, the proposal has drawn up a tentative future plan for counter-terror apparatus in the country in general and NIA in particular. In order to strengthen its hands, and in effect terror investigations, the agency has proposed a separate intelligence wing for itself to collect intelligence in cases it is investigating. It has also asked for a fugitive tracking unit to trace absconding accused. Most importantly, in an attempt to chart a new course in terror investigation on the lines of US agencies, it has demanded significant investment in tools for database analysis, mapping terror trends, CCTV analysis and use of UIDAI in tracking domestic terrorists.

It has put special thrust on cyberspace analysis and demanded 10 NIA centres with new one proposed in Delhi, Jammu, Patna and Bhopal. “The days of telephone tapping are over. Terrorists are not using phones anymore. Everything is on chat through encrypted messages and they are so quickly latching on to technology that we are always playing catch-up. Unless we upgrade our investigation techniques, we will always remain behind,” said an NIA officer, emphasizing improvement in cyber investigation infrastructure.

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