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Third anniversary of 26/11: Strategic outlook bleak

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by tariqkhan18, Nov 28, 2011.

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  1. tariqkhan18

    tariqkhan18 Major Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    (C. Uday Bhaskar is Director of the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation. The views expressed in the column are his own.)

    The third anniversary of the terrorist-fidayeen attack that scorched Mumbai on November 26, 2008 resulting in the death of 170 innocents and injuring more than 700 people is behind us. India exhorted Pakistan to act "decisively" in the prosecution of the perpetrators even as homage and tributes were paid across the country.

    But the outlook is bleak. The fact that the Home Ministry has issued a general alert prior to the anniversary is part of this insecurity that has been engendered in India. It may be recalled that in 2010, at the time of the second anniversary there were similar apprehensions. Yes, it is true that there has been no repeat of Mumbai over the last three years and this is a reflection of the improved security procedures and constant surveillance by the police and other agencies – but the pattern is tenuous.

    A large democracy like India will remain inherently vulnerable to a determined terrorist attack, especially by the suicide-bomber fidayeen type of perpetrator and this is the abiding challenge to the Indian security establishment. Post November 2008, the central and state governments – Maharashtra particularly – announced a slew of policy measures to ostensibly plug the many gaps in the national security grid – but the results have been modest.

    While a certain degree of improved coordination between the Navy and the Coast Guard - and some coastal states - has been evidenced, the larger strategic backdrop that led to the Mumbai attack in the first place is cause for concern.

    For India, the first sponsored terrorist attack on Mumbai took place in March 1993 – a few months after the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992 – and over the years there have been attacks on the city in 2002, 2003 and 2006 before peaking in November 2008. And Mumbai is one of the many targets of terrorist violence directed against India.

    This proxy war is part of the strategy of investing in religious extremism leading to terror, that has been adopted by the Pakistani establishment and from all accounts, there is little change in this position. On Tuesday (Nov 22), the Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha: “ As per available intelligence inputs, Pakistan-based terrorist outfits, particularly Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hijbul Mujahideen etc., continue to receive support from ISI."

    While there has been some improvement of relations with Pakistan in the recent past - as for instance in the IAF helicopter incident and the granting of MFN status for trade - it appears that this is more of a tactical nature and does not imply the change of mindset in the Pak establishment that will make the strategic difference to the challenge of terrorism.

    Two illustrations of this unchanged attitude to terrorism in the Pakistani state were discernible over the last month. At the Male SAARC Summit, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik adroitly shifted the onus for the entire Mumbai attack to the ‘non-state’ entity, urged the death penalty for Kasab - and thereby distanced the Pakistan establishment from any kind of involvement let alone support to these groups that goes back to 1993 - based on investigations carried out by Indian agencies.

    The second incident which points to the Pakistani security agencies complicity has emerged in the Headley related testimony and other reports where it has been revealed that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT chief arrested for the brutal attacks in India, was still directing Lashkar operations while in Pakistani custody. It has been reported by American sources that Gen. Kayani rejected the U.S. suggestion that at the very least Lakhvi's access to a cell-phone should be immediately withdrawn.

    Further reluctance by the Pakistan establishment to effectively contain terror groups was seen as recently as Thursday (Nov 24) in Lahore, where the Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) organized a large protest against the granting of MFN status to India and issued a warning to the Pakistani state for doing so. The shrill anti-India rhetoric that is either actively supported by the Pakistani state - or tacitly endorsed – is at the core of the strategic challenge for India and the global community that has been directly affected by terror and Islamic extremism.

    How can the Pakistani military be prevailed upon - or compelled to change its strategy and desist from supporting terror? This was the central issue in the January 2004 Vajpayee-Musharraf agreement between India and Pakistan and Delhi has been consistent in exhorting Islamabad to deliver on this commitment. But while Delhi is in dialogue with Islamabad and the civilian leadership - Rawalpindi – the HQ of the Pak military clearly is a reluctant partner in improving ties with India or stopping support to terror groups.

    It merits recall that even the USA has been unable to find the right mix of carrots and sticks to make Rawalpindi alter its strategy of investing in terror.

    Concurrently there is increasing assertiveness by the various groups that subscribe to the Islamist ideology espoused by the al-Qaeda or the Taliban and the discourses within Pakistan are instructive. The Pakistani Taliban and their support base is threatening to fulfil its supra-national agenda of imposing a ‘sharia’ system through a caliphate - and while this is often seen as a fringe group – their determination and ruthlessness to realize their objective is not to be ignored. The patterns emerging from the Arab world, wherein conservative/right-wing Islamic parties are gaining popular support is part of this increased contestation about Islam and its practice.

    Thus the aftermath of the third anniversary of Mumbai's 26/11 ought to lead to a far more sombre and objective assessment about the threats and challenges that India needs to address and the need for a bi-partisan political approach to matters of national security.

    Column: Third anniversary of 26/11: Strategic outlook bleak | Reuters
     
  2. lucifer

    lucifer Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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  3. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Don't get mad, get even. STAR MEMBER

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    close one of these 2 thread
     
  4. satya

    satya Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    A nice writeup by my friend shinjan chakraborty (going to n.d.a as cadet this december)


    MUMBAI,THE GUTS OF A NATION

    Not the money it makes.Not the
    pace it sets.
    Not the dreams it sells.A city is
    made by the guts it shows.
    On a day when you are hit by 4
    terror strikes
    in 15 minutes and half the city
    rushes to help instead of
    rushing away,THAT'S GUTS.
    When u pay almost half the
    nations taxes for
    almost half it's liabilities and still
    show up at work
    when the train services are
    disrupted,THAT'S GUTS.
    When you crush a man firing an
    AK-47
    in a bear hug so that all the
    bullets stay in your body
    and don't hit anyone else,THAT'S
    GUTS.
    When u abandon your fancy car
    on a flooded road
    and wade on to keep an
    appointment with someone
    who's probably just abandoned
    the virar local,THAT'S GUTS.
    When a cabbie drives a pregnant
    woman to hospital through
    bullets
    and grenades at no cost but
    overcharges the next customer
    to cover his loss,THAT'S GUTS.
    When you open a wada-pav stall
    next to MC-D and believe
    it's fair competition,THAT'S GUTS.
    When a cafe that has been blown
    into bits by terrorists
    opens to record crowd in just 3
    days,causing it to close early
    because it can't
    handle the demands,THAT'S
    GUTS.
    So the point really is this.
    You can bomb our hotels and
    shoot out our railway stations
    You can spill our blood and shed
    our tears.
    BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT
    OUR GUTS????
    MUMBAI THE GUTS OF A
    NATION!
    By shinjan chakraborty
     
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