His own experience with cracking the Civil Services Examination (CSE) prompted Syed Waquar Raza, a serving IPS officer, to pen a one-stop guide on internal security and disaster management for future aspirants. In addition, his 14 years in uniform have given him an opportunity to closely study the security challenges about which there a general idea but cannot be delved deeper “in the dust and grime of everyday policing”.
“Internal Security of India and Disaster Management” (Oxford University Press) has been primarily intended for aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services examination, but “any reader interested in the myriad internal security challenges that India faces will find the book useful and instructive”, Raza told IANS in an interview.
However, beyond generalities, he sidestepped a question on the fresh challenges posed by the situation in Afghanistan, saying service rules did not permit him to do so.
Studying the questions from previous years’ examinations showed that the subject required an analytical understanding of the various challenges along with knowledge of current developments.
“My own experiences of working in different capacities at various places of West Bengal such as in LWE-affected areas, bordering districts, and CID gave me the opportunity to observe closely the various aspects of internal security challenges that India faces today. Also, as a first responder in times of disasters, the nature of policing job provided me with valuable insights in aspects of disaster management,” Raza said.
“Though I have been working as an IPS officer for over 14 years now, the journey of writing a book provided me with an opportunity to closely study various topics related to security challenges, about which we do have a general idea, but would not have got a chance to delve deeper in the dust and grime of everyday policing. My aim was to write a book covering the internal security and disaster management portions of UPSC Civil Services syllabus that would be a one-stop solution for the aspirants and would relieve them of the necessity to search and sift materials from various sources, including the Internet. I hope my effort will be helpful for the aspirants,” he added.
He expands on this in the Preface.
“Authors often face the dilemma about which chapters to include, what topics to cover in the chapters, how much to include in each topic and what to exclude. I have tried to throw the net wide, so that an aspirant does not have to look for multiple learning resources ï¿½ available online and offline ï¿½ but can solely rely on this book for covering virtually all topics related to the internal security challenges that India faces today, as well as the various types of disasters and their management efforts. At the same time, I have tried to provide just the optimum depth of topics so that the aspirant gains the confidence to answer any related question to the examiner’s satisfaction,” Raza writes.
While writing the book, he relied heavily on articles of many security experts and think tanks including IDSA, CLAWS, ORF, etc. He also referred to books such as “India after Gandhi” by Ramchandra Guha, to understand the historical context of many of India’s current security challenges.
“The Internet provides an excellent tool to search, verify and cross-check facts and figures. Government websites such as that of the Ministry of Home Affairs also provide valuable and up-to-date information related to our internal security challenges,” he said during the interview.
Question: Hitherto, Internal Security in India has focused on three broad areas: Terrorism, Secessionism and Maoism. Have the developments in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal added a new dimension to this and how can the Indian state best cope with the challenge?
“Yes, the current developments in Afghanistan have been a cause of concern for India. It has the potential to cause regional instability and a possible spill-over effect in terms of a surge in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. China and Pakistan too have been eager to increase their footprints and influence in Afghanistan. However, the UNSC resolution 2593 requires that Afghan territory should not be used for terrorist activities, and it specially refers to UN-proscribed terrorist organisations such as the LeT and the JeM,” Raza said.
“India has been keenly following the current developments in Afghanistan. It seeks a broad-based and inclusive government in Afghanistan. India has helped build over 500 infrastructural projects worth over $3 billion, which has generated tremendous goodwill for India, among the Afghan people. Owing to her historical friendship and ties with the people of Afghanistan, India should continue supporting the common people there with humanitarian assistance,” he added, declining to go further due to service restrictions.
This does not take away from the value of the book, with important key words highlighted in each of its 18 chapters; maps, diagrams and tables included for conceptual clarity, boxes provided for topics of recent relevance; quick revision provided at the end of each chapter; and conceptual videos for each chapter linked by QR code for easy access.
In sum, this book is a must read not only for CSE aspirants but for the general public too.