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Naxals could hit investment climate, warns FICCI report

Posted by Admin on November 10, 2009

NEW DELHI: Recognising that Naxal violence could cripple India as a growing economic power, the corporate sector has proposed deeper international cooperation and private sector involvement in securing domestic and international borders.

FICCI taskforce report on national security and terrorism released on Monday stressed on strengthening Intelligence Bureau and preventing its misuse for political ends, developing human intelligence, revamping coastal security and involving the private sector in fighting terrorism.

The Naxalites may pose a graver threat to India’s economic power, potentially more damaging to Indian companies, foreign investors and the state than pollution, crumbling infrastructure or political gridlock, the report said. "The growing Maoist insurgency over large swathes of the mineral-rich countryside could soon hurt some industrial investment plans. Just when India needs to ramp up its industrial machine to lock in growth and when foreign companies are joining the party — Naxalites are clashing with mining and steel companies essential to India’s long-term success,” the report said.

There was growing concern over the widening reach of Naxalites as they operated in 30% of India, up from 9% in 2002, the report said. The terror groups have already begun operating on the edge of industrialised Maharashtra. "They (Naxalites) are planning to penetrate India’s major cities, and are looking to encircle urban centres, find sympathy among students and the unemployed and create armed, secret, self-defence squads that will execute orders,” it added.

The report suggested that a vulnerability assessment be done and investments made in foolproof security. Describing corporate attitude to security, MP and taskforce chairman Rajeev Chandrashekhar said, "While corporates were apathetic to security before 26/11, it has become a real issue now. Corporates and investors have a larger stake in securing a country.”

Outlining implications for India’s economic growth, the report said such attacks were sending a signal that India was not in control of its territory and the "investment climate” was worsening. The other reason for sounding the alarm stems from the increasingly close proximity between the corporate world and the forest domain of the Naxalites.

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