Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Other Side

Times of India reports
"More than half the attacks reported for 2004 were in South Asia, which recorded 327 incidents that resulted in 502 deaths. The bulk of the incidents were reported in the divided Kashmir state claimed by both India and Pakistan. "

The Mumbai bomb blasts being the last one in this series of terror attacks being faced by India. The bomb blasts have resulted in wide criticism of the Governement,the intelligence agencies, comparison with Israel/US etc. Instead of reiterating those things, this post shall try to look at the problem from a different perspective.

As soon as a terrorist attack occurs, comparisons to Israel and USA are the first ones to pop up. Let us take a logical look at these two before reaching any conclusions

Israel -
Surrounded by hostile neighbours, a hawkish Governement ready to take retaliate immediately, unflinching US support but the biggest difference "The neighbours cannot strike back except with more terrorist actions". Hence, Israel is in a perpetual cycle of terrorist attacks and bloody retaliations.

US -
No hostile neighbours, unrivaled military and economic might, ability to spend billions on intelligence operations and continue against international opinion

A hypothetical scenario:
The public outcry after a terrorist attack on India made the Indian Government take action against the terrorist camps situated in PoK (which incidentally, the Indian Government claims to be Indian soil). Against all international opposition, the Indian Governement launches missile attacks and commando operations against the terrorist camps. However, the attacks lead to civilian casualities and public demonstrations against the Govt in PoK. The public anger was further fueled by religious leaders forcing the Governement into action. The result was an all-out conventional war between the neighbours.

I suppose no sane person would want this to happen. I have seen forums and blogs asking Government to take action. Let me ask, what kind of action are we looking for? The only possible action is trying to prevent such attacks from taking place through intelligence operations. Before, someone starts harping abt the failure of Indian intelligence operations, let me ask a question - How many of us seriously think that its next to impossible to place bombs in Mumbai's local trains or in Delhi's buses ? Considering the ease with which this can be achieved on a regular basis (and I dont suppose terrorists have any shortage of resources to carry out this), the following quote surmises the dilemma of an intelligence agent
"Our failures are known, our successes are not"
- Al Pacino, The Recruit

The summary of this being that instead of just blaming the Govt and intelligence agencies, we should take a look at the options available to them.

I am tempted to include the usual info on sports etc but that would spoil the spirit of this post. Maybe next time.


Lalit Mangal said...

Cool perspective, but dont you think there should be an end to this perpetual ly problematic neighbor. The intelligence infrastructure should be revamped and should be made technically up-to-date.

Abhinav said...

Nice that u didnt include ur usual stuff !!!

GuNs said...

Hey Supriy !

Good you kept your word about writing your views on this. Pleased to read your unbiased point of view. I agree in spirit with all your points. My disagreement is in the CASUAL ATTITUDE that we have developed towards terrorism. Suddenly, we are all ok with terrorists killing people in Kashmir virtually every week. We dont even read the whole news article now...its suddenly a "commonplace" thing. I mean, how insensitive can we get.

As for non-aggressive retaliation, I think we have tried every way possible.

This is snowballing into a situation where the terrorists have absolutely no fear for their families or land or whatever they love. They just come to India, plant bombs and go back. They are damn sure India is never going to retaliate in any way.

I guess the message that we send out to terrorists is that if you can hurt us, dont think you can get away...we will hurt you too !

As for nuclear war, I dont think either of the countries really have the capability to launch a nuclear attack. Its just deterrance that they talk about. Its not a child's play to deploy nuclear weapons and fire them saying "bombs ahoy" !!

I guess we both hope the same thing.... PeAcE


Someone said...

@lalit: I suppose technical upgradation is a must but we wont be able to spend billions on intelligence ops like USA

@Guns: I agree wholeheartedly that something needs to be done. In fact, if Indian Govt can strike back without it escalating into a war, I m all for it. And Indian Govt also needs to play a little hardball like the USA.