Multiple approaches to end terrorism

India is late in creating a robust and dynamic response system to terrorism

Six heavily armed Pakistan trained terrorists sneaked into Pathankot air base and were gunned down by the Indian security personnel in an encounter.  India lost the precious lives of seven security personnel which include NSG’s Lt Colonel Niranjan Kumar, Subedar Fateh Singh, the veteran shooter and Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist and Air Force Garud’s Commando Gursewak Singh.  Eight IAF and 12 NSG personnel were injured in the terrorist attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif to take decisive action against the terrorist groups.

The attack happened a few days after Modi’s peace mission to Pakistan. Terrorist attacks on India from across the border have the clear objectives of encouraging separatists, destroying India’s social, cultural and economic fabric. According to the third edition of the Global Terrorism Index 2015 (GTI), India ranked sixth out of 162 nations most affected by terrorism in 2014. Between 1988 and 2016, a total of 6,186 security personnel have reportedly laid down their lives in terrorist violence across the country. The GTI 2014 observed that around 43 terrorist groups - Islamists, separatists and communists(Maoists) —planned and carried out attacks in India between 2012 and 2013. The Maoist attacks have also caused 6,886 fatalities between 2005 and 2016 in the country. The total economic loss across the country due to the loss of elite security personnel, destruction of forest products, loss of priceless folk art, cost of deployment of security personnel, cost of compensation, relief and rehabilitation, cost of sophisticated weapons and surveillance gazettes, training expenditure, loss of jobs, loss due to destruction of roads, bridges, rail tracks, office buildings and vehicles etc is inestimable.

 A Home Ministry document mentions between 1990 and 1998 the loss to private and public property in Jammu and Kashmir alone due to violence is estimated at Rs 20,000 million.India cannot afford to wait for any powerful nation to mend Pakistan. The USA, Britain, France and Germany are so much infested with Islamic terrorism that they can only show concern for India. Christine Fair in his book “Fighting to the end”, observed Pakistan has already churned out $ 30 billion from the US for the American war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Terrorism has become a thriving industry in Pakistan. The US supply of advanced weapon system, fighter plane and establishing armament factories in Pakistan will prompt Islamabad to take more adventures in India in order to divert the growing discontentment among its people against its own policy  Since India shares its border with turbulent Islamic nations, Maoist infested Nepal, strife torn Sri Lanka and a China with growing military strength, it should emerge as a strong nation for its own survival.

The Task Force on National Security and Terrorism in its report observed that India is already late in putting in place a robust response to terrorism in creating a dynamic, multi-layered response system and pre-emptive intelligence gathering and sharing mechanism. The existing system is woefully inadequate, and the very framework of those responses do not take into account the role of many players, especially the private sector and civil society in fighting terror.

Counter-terrorism system
India cannot develop a robust counter terrorism mechanism unless it develops a joint political will to fight terrorism. It has to put in place a purely merit based dedicated and transparent recruitment mechanism for officials in security, defence, police and judicial services. Politicians over the years have thoroughly demoralised the police system by misusing their services and by interfering in their functioning. The 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai had exposed the poor grass root level intelligence collection and its dissemination by the security agencies.

The Bureau of Counter Terrorism-Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 found India’s efforts at counter terrorism were hampered by poor inter-agency coordination and information sharing.  In addition, the local police forces at the state level have limited command and control capacity and they suffer from poor training and equipment.The security agencies need quality leaders, physically strong, efficient, honest and committed manpower to become vigilant and fit. The point is from where they will get the human resources in a country whose Human Development Index is one of the lowest in the world; where one out of four women suffer from malnutrition and half of the population go to bed hungry.

 India lives with the largest number of malnourished and unlettered children in the world. People who are responsible for illiteracy, backwardness, hunger and malnutrition in a nation of plenty should be brought to light. Its economy should not be in mono sector growth mode to cater to the demand of the global biggies but be inclusive to cover vibrant tourism, pilgrim tourism, handicraft, handloom, agriculture, forestry, fishery, horticulture and animal husbandry etc.

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