November 28, 2008Afghanistanal-qaedacounterterrorismForeign AffairsIndiaISIjihadisPakistanrealpolitikSecuritystrategic affairsterrorism

The right way for India to respond to the terrorist attack

We call for a well-considered, national response to the war that has been thrust on India

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The most important national response at this time is to support and strengthen the government and the state’s security apparatus to enable it to finish the job. Pragmatic Euphony recommends:

Support the Indian state in the immediate near future irrespective of your political or social beliefs, prevent breeding of cynicism against the inefficacy or imeptiitude of the state, avoid calls for increased securitisation of the state, disabuse the Indian electronic media of its notion of unbridled freedom without responsibility” and hold the political parties accountable for a vision and worthwhile action plan for internal security when it comes to choosing the next government. [PE]

Offstumped reinforces the message and calls upon citizens to support police efforts to apprehend the escaped terrorists by greater civic vigilance civic to verify the identity and antecedents of those around them and make sure no one has gotten away or found shelter in a safe haven in the dark alleys of Mumbai.”

There are reasonable grounds to believe that the attack was planned, supported or executed by international terrorists. There are also reasonable grounds to believe that it could not have been carried out successfully without local participation, support or connivance. Getting to the bottom of this is a question of fact, not opinion, diplomacy or geopolitics. This does not mean that the Indian government must wait until everything is proven in court—it can and it must act once it has enough information to convince itself of the identity of the attackers and the design behind the attacks.

Yet, that does not call for a knee-jerk response. And certainly not a repeat of Operation Parakram—when India mobilised its armed forces for a war against Pakistan. The geopolitical context is different today. In fact, getting India to raise military pressure on Pakistan suits the interests of two quarters. Al Qaeda, Taliban and the Pakistani jihadi establishment would see this as a way to get the (anyway reluctant) Pakistani Army off their backs along the Durand Line. The Pakistani military establishment would also like the risk of a India-Pakistan military confrontation” to change the way the United States frames the problem in the subcontinent.

On the contrary, an Indian strategic response ought to focus on Afghanistan, and its border with Pakistan. That theatre is a key front in the global war on terror—and India’s own.

And finally, as Offstumped, Retributions and Swaraj have started doing, it is necessary to call out the motivated, mistaken or plainly wrong commentaries that have started pouring out into the domestic and international media.

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