Thursday, September 18, 2008

India's War on Terror

[At the time of writing of this post, the prime suspect and probably the most wanted in India for his role in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi, Indian Mujahideen’s Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Taufeeq Bilal is reported to have fled to Bangladesh via the Malda border. Such is the co-ordination (or the lack of it) between the various law-enforcing / security agencies of the country that in spite of keeping track of the suspect, he was not picked up].

Four blasts in five months. Major cities – Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi (And one failed attempt in Surat) have been targeted from May 2008 to September 2008 by a relatively little known Islamic fundamentalist group called the Indian Mujahideen. An expert rightly remarked that India had become a picnic spot of terrorists where they could gaily carry out their activities without fear of reprisals or punishments. In fact there is no deterrence. As a result India seems to have been rendered so vulnerable that Islamist terrorist groups merrily strike at will with increasing frequency and intensity. It is quite unthinkable for any rationale human being to fathom as to how a country which has been repeatedly ravaged by terrorism does not even have an anti-terror law. Thanks largely to our politicians, national security concerns have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. Every time there is a big terror attack outside Jammu and Kashmir an oft heard remark is that it is time to get tough with organized terror. It is just a lip service to assuage the feelings of the common man who bears the brunt of these attacks. If we had really acted tough in 1993 after Mumbai was rocked by serial blasts, we would not have found ourselves in this predicament.

After every terrorist strike in India, a comparison is made with US and how even a country as large and powerful as the US was not immune to terror strikes. However, what is important to note is that post-9/11 there has been no incident of terrorism in mainland USA. This is primarily due to the fact that the US adopted some of the harshest measures apart from declaring an all out war on terror. The measures included enacting tough anti-terror legislation, incarcerating terror suspects captured in Afghanistan in Guantanamo Bay, etc.

India which has been a victim of Pak-sponsored jihadi terror, on the other hand, has had to its credit, two anti-terror laws (TADA and POTA) repealed. This is the sincerity with which India has been tackling the cancer of jihadi terror.

India’s policy on national security has always been a hostage to vote-bank politics. How else does one explain the support given by politicians like Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav to Students’ Islamic Union of India (SIMI) a banned terror outfit responsible for most of the recent terrorist strikes in India? Should not action be taken against these two leaders for openly supporting the revocation of ban on SIMI? Are these rogue politicians not as culpable as the ones who commit the dastardly acts of terror?

Jihadi terror’s root cause is Pakistan. So any measure initiated for containing terror within the country must be taken by keeping Pakistan and its closest terrorist ally Bangladesh in mind. For measures taken within the country will only address the symptom and not the disease.

At the time of writing this post, the country’s cabinet had not been able to come up with any concrete proposals to counter terror. The Government said “no” to a strong anti-terror law; rather it proposes tightening the provisions of the existing law. We continue to adopt the soft, laid-back approach to terror with of course some cosmetic changes like, more CCTV cameras in public places and raising the issue of cross-border terrorism with Pakistan.

Terrorism especially of the jihadi type can be countered only by ruthless measures not by lip service and cosmetic changes.

Firstly, there is an urgent need to cleanse the Home Ministry of nincompoop ministers – the boss Shivraj Patil, the serial dress changer who has had no clue how to tackle the terror menace and one subordinate Jaiswal attending inauguration function in his home constituency and the other, Ahmed defending his boss. No, there is nothing political about this. The continuance of this trio does not augur well for the nation’s security. The political leadership at its own peril and that of the country can permit these three gentlemen to function in their present capacity.

A policy of no compromise – India’s counter terror strategy has been compromised by successive governments by giving in to terrorists’ demands at various points of time. A strategy to counter organized terror cannot be subject to and subservient to narrow electoral politics and populist measures.

India lacks the political will and resolve to fight terror. After every terrorist strike all we get to see is political blame game; condemnation by ministers and politicians and compensation for the victims. On the ground there is very little progress in connection with the terror crimes. Otherwise how does one explain India’s inaction over the Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul? In the aftermath of the attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001, India mobilized its army on its Western borders but stopped short of going all out against Pakistan. All our initiatives have turned out to be half-hearted attempts. Contrast this with the US Special Forces action in Pakistan from across the Afghan border. India must gear up for attacking terror infrastructure in Pakistan or Bangladesh or elsewhere with all necessary means possible. Even if it means risking an all out confrontation.

Carrying out assassination and abduction of foreign nationals responsible for terrorist activities against India or its nationals and interests. So also to carry out sabotage and counter terrorist activities in enemy states to protect national interests.

Incarceration of known terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay type detention camps. And curtailing rights of the detainees.

Stepped up surveillance of madrassas and places of worship like Mosques.

These measures may not be easy to adopt or implement. However, India has not too many options excepting taking measures undemocratic and extra-judicial.


exasperated indian said...

Assassination is a great policy..if its kept low-profile and clean. The Israeli offensive actions almost stopped suicide attacks(not because of the wall barrier). Now, the only thing bad-guys could do is to cowardly launch rockets at civilians. That would also be shortly dealt with, by deployment of "Iron Fist" defense system. The way they responded to kidnappings was awesome by launching massive air-strikes and special forces attack in lebanon.
Sigh! This stupid chair oriented politicians like MMS,Laloo,patil and ideologically infected leftists are a bane for India along with stupid novel writers like Arundhati roy who wants to hog lime light by feigning to be (pseudo-)iconoclasts,out-of-the-box,"secular" and "objective". Yak!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the views of exasperated indian.