Monday, October 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India



US action in Afghanistan & Indian strategy

In the article "US action against Osama and Taliban" (Oct 4) Inder Malhotra has analysed the scenario of US vis-a-vis terrorism in a precise manner. We Indians boast that we have a man at the helm who is a statesman of international standing with more than 50 years of experience at his backing. But unfortunately we have been out-manoeuvered by a novice (Musharraf) who is green to political and diplomatic machinations. This means that there is a basic defect in our thinking and strategy. We have not been able so for to get the perpetrators of terror on our land labelled as terrorists from Uncle Sam, whereas we hope that he will fight for us to eliminate them.

I think our strategists believe in wishful thinking. A few days after it became clear that America will attack Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden, our thinkers floated the idea that India will be relieved of terrorists because those who are operating here will move to Afghanistan to join their brethren there to fight America and in the process get eliminated. As expected, they have been proved wrong as terrorists are striking with more vengience. Take the suicide attack on the state Assembly. Instead of taking a principled stand against them we again went running to Uncle Sam like a nursery kid complaining to class teacher and getting assured when the teacher says that she would pull up the other child. Our Foreign Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, returned full of hope and assured the nation.


Afghans has a long history of guerrilla wars. Guerrilla warriors can inflict heavy casualties on the enemy and then disappear in thin air. So the Taliban and Osama are not lame ducks and one canít just go and get them. In the pursuit to liquidate terrorists, only innocent people will become targets whereas war veteran guerrillas of the Taliban and Osama will manage to play hide and seek.

Another important factor is that while the Pakistan government may wilt under pressure of American might , most of its forces and people will remain with the Taliban and Osama. Pakistan will be playing to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. It will provide logistic support to the USA but will keep on providing tactical support to the Taliban and Osama.

Another important historical fact is that when alien forces move out, they leave most of the hardware stuff in the host country and gift many sophisticated things to that nation. So, whatsoever Pakistan acquires on this count will pose a security threat to us.

One more important point is that these militant outfits hit soft targets most of the time. India has been and will keep on providing that soft target stuff to them to quench their thirst for blood.

Keeping all this in mind, there is no place for complacency for Indians. They should stop looking towards America or the West to label these elements as terrorists and then condemn them. Now it has been shown to them that these elements are terrorists and India should not ask for a certificate from them. It should declare a war against terrorism on its own and hit the targets on both sides of the border. It is the time to act, may God give courage to our leadership to act.


Half the truth

Capitalising on the indignation created by the events of September 11 the Indian government has been selling its version of India's experiences with terrorism. A full-page advertisement in national newspapers beckoned Indians to join the war against terrorism accompanied by images of the Bombay bomb blasts, hijacking of IC814, the Anantnag massacre and the recent attacks in the USA. These heinous attacks were all carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. The same images will now form the theme of Doordarshan promos on terrorism.

Have these images been chosen to brainwash Indian citizens into thinking terrorist attacks are only committed by radical Muslim groups? India will be successful in fighting terrorism only if it faces the threat from outside as well as inside. We should not forget the images of terror during the anti-Sikh riots, demolition of the Babri Masjid and the communal riots that followed, attacks on Christian missions, the recent attack on a hospital by Shiv Sena youths, repeated attacks by the People's War Group and militant groups in the North-East, to name a few.

Further, spreading half the truth will make the Muslim community in India vulnerable to mindless hatred by their fellow Indians. Maturity on the part of the government and the media in examining our past mistakes would help us learn from them and hopefully avoid them in future.


USA: equally cruel

Had it been the Russians or the Chinese who had destroyed the World Trade Center, would America have attacked them? I think not.

The American government has acted in as cruel a manner as the terrorists (whoever they were) who killed thousands of people in the USA. Attacking the weak and defenceless Afghans is a mean, cruel and cowardly act which should be condemned by all right thinking people, especially as such brutal and mindless force can never lead to the end of terrorism.

A better way would have been to beat the terrorists at their own game and use the CIA, Mossad and the world's best commandos to kill terrorist leaders and destroy their camps all over the world. If the KGB had masterminded the strikes in America, I am sure that is what would have happened and that, coupled with the spread of education, is the only effective cure against terrorism that comes to my mind.

DEEP INDER, Hoshiarpur

Selling PSUs

The editorial comments on the selling of CMC and HTL ("Selling PSU for a song", Oct 10) were poorly thought through. In the first place, it is impossible to predict when a particular PSU will fetch an acceptable price. The fact that there was only one bidder for CMC, in spite of the fact that it is a profit-making concern, is telling.

Why do you think nobody else bid for it? The reason simply put is that nobody else thought it was worth buying! Should the government have waited till it could fetch a better price? Given that the market for computer services is shrinking right now, it is more than likely that the price would have fallen. It is far better for the government to stick to its goal of selling all PSUs in industries that it has no strategic reasons to be in.



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