Terror: Decisive action called for

India's soft approach to terror for vote-bank politics must change to follow the firm and strict course of the US.

In the aftermath of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to meet his Pakistani counterpart, and immediately after that the dastardly terror attack on India’s Air Force base in Pathankot, not to speak of the rising militancy in Jammu and Kashmir which saw a costly encounter at Pampore near Srinagar lasting three days. These again raise the burning question about real intentions of Pakistan towards India.

It proves that Pakistan’s civilian government does not wish to normalise the prevailing tense relations with India as Islamabad is still under immense pressure of its most powerful pillars of ruling establishment – Army, Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and orthodox Mullahs. The same was seen just prior to 26/11 in Mumbai or Kargil war in 1998-99, when the then prime minister A B Vajpayee took recourse to ‘bus diplomacy’ to restore peace across the border.

Similarly, several such earlier attempts by New Delhi had failed and the result had been a continued deadlock with mounting terror strikes on Indian soil, killing several innocent civilians and many brave security personnel fighting against them and also destroying properties worth millions.

Unfortunately, most of terrorists and their networks operating against India have their logistical support in Pakistan from where they carryout successful strikes inside India. Also, it is clear that merely discussing with the civilian government of Pakistan is not of much significance as several earlier rounds of talks have always failed.

Facing severe condemnation by many countries including America in its complicity with terrorists involved in the Path-ankot case, Pakistan detained dreaded terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar and few leaders with an ostensible view to contain terrorism. After contradictory rep-orts, Islamabad has now confir-med that the JeM chief is under detention since January 14.

Maulana Azhar is the founder leader of the notorious terror organisation Jaish-e- Mohammad which is the deadliest terror outfit in South Asia and had been involved in many terror incidents in India in the past, including attack on Parliament in 2001. Consequently, the scheduled foreign secretary level talks between them were deferred.
Obviously, the situation is very precarious for India but one thing is clear that India
has always been perceived as a soft target for terrorists of all hues and shades wherein they can easily enter into and att-ack even the most secure and sensitive places.

Parliament and the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir were not spared from such attacks besides several other important places like Bombay Stock Exchange, markets, railway stations etc. Now, what should India do to protect its innocent citizens, brave soldiers and precious properties?

Soft approach to terror

As a way out, India’s soft approach to terror for vote-bank politics must change to follow the firm and strict course like that of the US, UK, Russia or France which they are doing against “Daesh” or Islamic State terrorists (IS) in Syria, meaning thereby that India can act directly against the terrorists and their networks for their terror-crimes committed inside India. It will, in fact, be replicating the same policy and tactics that these powerful countries adopt while fighting terror on their soil.

It was America which killed dreaded terrorist Osama bin-Laden on the Pakistani soil. Osama was responsible for the terror attack America’s twin towers of World Trade Centre, known as the 9/11 attack. Similarly, Israel had used the same offensives many times against Palestinian terrorists. If these countries can do so in their own interest, why not India?

Indeed, this should have been done much earlier or, at least, New Delhi ought to have had destroyed all the terror camps, providing shelter and logistical support, situated inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) about which India had precise information.

That, indeed, would have deterred Islamabad and its army including the ISI and the situation in India would have been much different today. But the prevailing ad hocism and corruption from top to bottom and party politics on this sensitive issue have killed the very spirit of fighting terrorism even among the security forces and so is the general Indian psyche which remain mostly detached until affected personally.

Despite its frequent occurrences in India, the issue has not yet become an electoral one and no political party has come out openly against it. The vote bank for them is more precious than the innocent lives of the fellow countrymen whose families are left with excruciating agony throughout their lives.

Hence, India must take strong action with firm determination and iron hand against terrorism of all sorts whether it is exported from Pakistan or elsewhere. It must stand above party politics and show clear political will against terror, like the war against IS terrorists being fought by the West. Obviously, India wants peace and friendship with all countries but it will not hesitate in taking bold retaliation if any country dares to consider it a soft target of terror.

(The writer is Associate Professor of Political Science, MDPG College, Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh)

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