Terrorism: International And State Sponsored

Terrorism: International And State Sponsored

Ayushi Aggrwal_JudicateMe


This Blog is written by Ayushi  Aggrwal from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. Edited by Lisa Countinho.



On whom do you trust with your safety? Is he your father or anyone from your family? I believe that the most common answer will be police officers. But on whom should the whole country trust with its safety? Won’t the answer be our military forces? But eventually, our military forces are controlled by our government only, and hence; it’s our government on whom we rely for both of our and our country’s safety. But who can hamper our safety, and why? If we look at the individual level, then it could be hampered by crimes of the society, and if we look at the international level, then it could be hampered mainly because of two major reasons, firstly, not having good relations with another country, especially neighbors, and secondly, existence of non- state actors. Non- state actors or misanthropes mostly hamper the safety of a huge crowd at a time. They are the promoters of terrorism, which are mala in se.


The word “terrorism” has been used for the first time during the French Revolution, 1794. Since then many debates have been made on whether or not terrorism could be defined. According to someone it cannot be defined because it was noticed in the previous definitions of terrorism that the definer sticks to only some specific aspects of it, in other words, it is difficult to define terrorism with including all its aspects in only one definition. On the other hand, some think that defining terrorism will reduce terrorism, cost of terrorism, confusion, misuse of the term, and make counterterrorism activities more productive and accurate. A universally accepted definition of terrorism is not yet discovered. So, let’s discuss various definitions of terrorism.

According to the specialist of terrorism, Yonah Alexander terrorism is “the use of violence against random civilian targets to intimidate or to create generalized pervasive fear to achieve political goals.” [1]

According to the definition given by League of Nations Convention (1937), terrorist acts are “all criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public.” [2]

According to the definition given by the U.S. Department of Defense terrorism refers to “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” [3]

According to the definition given by the U.S. Department of State terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine state agents.” [4]


There are various types of terrorism and a broad classification of them could divide them into two categories i.e., State-sponsored and International Terrorism. The State-Sponsored terrorism, as its name suggests is that in which state itself promotes terrorism activities in its State by either funding or protecting them. Can you imagine why your government could be nursing terrorism in your country? The situation is somewhat similar to Bollywood movies where one gets in contact with criminals to harm their rivals. In reality, countries to deteriorate its rival countries promote terrorism by formulating terrorist groups in their own countries. But we all must be aware of a fact that venomous serpent unlike dogs harm the one who feeds them, similarly, these terror groups when growing stronger start harming subjects of their own country to harass government and force them to fulfill their needs.

These terrorist groups when start affecting more than one country became international terrorist groups. The terrorist groups mainly want to be noticed across the whole world, and to do that they try to increase the scope of attacks in the world as well as the intensity of the attacks to increase fear for them worldwide. They want to rule the whole world by imposing fear of death in everyone’s mind.


Promote International Unity

All of us must have heard of an old proverb that “enemy of the enemy is a friend”. This proverb means that such two parties who have a common enemy can work against it with their integrated efforts. If we talk about International Terrorism then to fight against it, the whole world could unite and go hand in hand as terrorism will be a common enemy of everyone. The countries could intensify the discussion on measures that could be taken to combat terrorism; they could provide each other systematic cooperation, technical assistance, better training for counter-terrorism, etc. This will boost friendly relations worldwide.

On the other hand, if we talk about state-sponsored terrorism, then also the whole world could unite and stand together against such states that sponsor terrorism. If the whole world will put pressure or boycott such states then they will be forced to stop terrorist activities within their local limits. But if terrorist groups start imposing threat on such terrorism nurturing state, then these states could also come together with the whole world and help it in destroying such non- state activities.

Political Significance

If within a country, deaths due to terrorist activities (whether state-sponsored or international) keeps on increasing and the government is unable to tackle it then such government could be replaced with other parties who might be more capable of tackling such situations. So, terrorist activities could ensure a better political party at the power which will somewhere be helpful for the whole country and its citizens.

Economic Significance

If we look at the world, then we could notice that there are some advanced countries and some not much-advanced countries. So advanced countries could produce better military weapons, intelligence technologies and could sell it to less advanced countries to help them in countering terrorism (both international and state-sponsored). This will boost both the technological advancement and economy of a country.

Technological Significance

In this developing and growing era, technological advancement is taking place, both in the civil and criminal world. It was witnessed that the people involved in terrorist activities are very well- educated people belonging from various professions. Such educated people became terrorists only because of their extremist ideology or long-standing feelings against the state. A threat of facing better technological weapons from terrorist groups always keeps us motivated to produce better and better weapons and intelligence systems.


Political Impact

The terrorist activities will promote political instability in a country. Since the main target behind committing terrorist activities is either to earn some gain or to deteriorate other countries; the political structure of a country could highly get affected. For example, whenever we listen about a plane being hijacked by terrorist groups from there, we wait for the government to sacrifice something in exchange for the lives of many people.

Economic Impact

A terrorist attack mainly cause harm to two things, i.e., the whole country and its innocent citizens. The loss of lives of people cannot make good, but reimbursing the damage caused to the country could cost too much. To keep the country safe from terrorist attacks, one has to invest a huge amount in technological development and producing military weapons. The amount of expenditure required to produce such advanced things is too high, and developing countries will have to invest this some in technology rather than in promoting the development of its citizens.

Religious Impact

The religious differences in the world give rise to religious terrorism. Due to longing hatred and causing harm to a particular religion, certain terrorism groups became religious terrorist groups. These activities directly increase hatred for all such people which are related to similar religion as that of terrorist groups. Such hatred further, converts into violence as everyone looks at them as their enemy, which makes it very difficult for these people to even survive with peace and dignity. The religious terrorism promotes religious differences and violence among religious communities.

Technological Impact

Technology in this advanced era plays an important role in solving difficult things in no time. But such technology when used by criminals or wrongdoers could invent a huge amount of risk on human existence across the world. For instance, if terrorist groups who are misanthropes get access to atom bombs or nuclear weapons, then no one could even imagine the misuse of such deadly weapons by terrorist groups. What could be found everywhere will only be dead bodies of humans, animals, etc.


Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

This act strictly deals with activities and associations which hampers or challenges the territorial integrity of India. The act functions under the purview of the Indian Constitution (7th Schedule). The act can declare any organization as unlawful if it will promote secession. It can also control funds of such organizations and could impose penalties on its members

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA)

After UAPA, a more stringent act came into force which has to deal with all sorts of terrorism activities in India. The stringent provisions of this act were challenged in the Supreme Court under Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab [5] case. The provisions were alleged to be unconstitutional. But the supreme court of India upholding the constitutional validity of this provision held that such hard-handed statutory provision should be used for the public good and in good faith. But the law enforcement official misused the heavy-handed power as a result of which this act lapsed in 1995.

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA)

Due to rising organized crimes in Mumbai, especially because of the underworld, the Maharashtra Government came up with the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999. The definition provided in this act of terrorism was more stretched than in any other acts. This act includes organized crimes as well as the crimes which include `promotion of insurgency’ as a terrorist act. To protect oneself from getting punished, one has to prove his innocence. However, this act did not apply to police officers.

Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002

Since MCOCA was only a state government statute to counter-terrorism; a center level statute was also required to deal with cross border terrorism caused by derogatory continuous agendas of the Pak ISI. To deal with such activities and maintain peace and security of the integral India, Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) was imposed on 28th March 2002.


The September 11 attacks

Among various attacks of 9/11 in America conducted by Islamic extremist Al Qaida terrorist group by hijacking four planes which were loaded with fuel for transcontinental journey first was on World Trade Centre Towers. There on 11 September morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 approached the North Tower at full speed and crashed into it making a big hole on the 80th floor of the 110-story building. The evacuation work was started for the twin towers and was going suddenly after 18 minutes of the first crash; a second United Airlines Flight 175’s Boeing 767 appeared and approached towards South tower of the skyscraper, making a whole at 60th floor of the tower.  The massive collisions make debris of the building shower on other nearby buildings and streets. After about 15 minutes, the south tower of the building collapsed, causing injuries and deaths of many.

On the very same day, within an hour, one more United Airlines Flight 77 was watched circling over Pentagon Military Headquarters of Washington D.C. which soon after collapsed with the building causing the structural collapse of the portion of the headquarters of U.S. Department of Defense.

After all this, one more plane in California united Flight 93 was hijacked, with around 44 passengers after 40 minutes of its take-off. Due to a delay in taking off, the flight passengers learned about attacks in the country, and the flight was asked to come to the ground. This was the time when everyone got aware of being hijacked. The passengers attacked the four hijackers and also hit the cockpit, as a result of which flight got flipped and crashed to the ground with a speed of 500 miles per hour. The crash was so powerful that all of them died.

The American Government, to boost its safety and decrease the amount of fear in public, came up with The Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security. This department is a cabinet now, which deals with all the terrorist attacks, disaster management, and border security.

26/11 Mumbai attacks

On 26th November, 10 people of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba terror group attacked five major tourist places of Mumbai. The terrorists reached India via a fish trawler from Karachi, Pakistan. While reaching India, terrorists also hijacked the cars, including police vans from India Gate and divided themselves into a group of three. They were equipped with automated weapons and grenades.

The five prominent places where the attack was imposed were Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Cama Hospital, Taj Hotel, and Tower, the Oberoi-Trident Hotel and. Nariman House business and residential complex Leopold Café. In the first attack was imposed on Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a continuous indiscriminate firing for about 90 minutes on the crowd resulted in death and injuries of many. After it, the Nariman House was attacked by them, before attacking this place a gas station was blown up by the terrorist. After this, the Leopold Café was hit, and people were shot to death. After which they headed towards Taj Hotel and entered there from a side door killing guests and threw grenades here and there. It was a four-days seize, which killed 31 people. The Oberoi- Trident Hotel was attacked by two terrorists who fired on the crowd ruthlessly.

The nine terrorists were killed by Maharashtra Police, and the other one was captured and hanged to death. This was the attack after which the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 was introduced and enforced in India.


This essay discussed the international and state-sponsored terrorism, their significance, their impact, provisions related to them, and two of the major terrorists attacks. It also discussed the political, technological, and economic significance of both types of terrorism. The essay also discussed the political, religious, technological, and economic impact of terrorism on the country. The provisions and case studies show the gravity of terrorist attacks in the world. It was found that no matter how advanced a wrongdoer could be, the government can catch them and punish them. It will be important for all of the countries who want to finish terrorism from the world to come up not only for the sake of showing it, but for effective implementation of measures that could prevent these activities.


[1] Alexander, Yonah (1976). International Terrorism: National, Regional and Global Perspectives. New York: Praeger, p. xiv

[2] League Convention (1937). Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism. Article 1(2)

[3] Joint Chiefs of Staff DOD (2008), Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Washington, D.C.: DOD

[4] U.S. Department of State (1996). Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1995, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State.

[5] (1994) 3 SCC 569

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