Friday, December 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



India, USA & Pak-blessed terrorism: signs of dangerous fallout on domestic politics

THIS refers to the article "India, USA and Pak-blessed terrorism" (Dec 6) by Hari Jaisingh. He has spelled out very logical views from three different angles i.e. American strategy in the subcontinent, Pakistan’s stubbornness and the Indian communalised polity. I do not agree with the writer when he says that a decisive Indian offensive could destroy the terrorists' training camps in PoK and Pakistani areas because such a task was not only beyond the Indian conventional military power but also would have resulted in a full-fledged war, which the government never intended.

Moreover, the 1965 and 1971 wars have shown us our limitations in the conventional warfare, as penetration into the enemy territory along the international border/LoC running from PoK to Karachi was not more than a few kilometres in each case. Therefore, the deployment of the Indian defence forces was basically for domestic consumption to keep off internal political pressures which could threaten the very existence of the NDA government.

Also there appeared an illusion in government circles that the USA, seeing the war clouds in the Indian subcontinent (which could prove counter-productive to the American game-plan), might pressurise Pakistan to abandon cross-border terrorism, which never happened and Pakistan continued the pressure with some vigour in spite of US warnings.


To wriggle out of this situation after having realised the folly, the government started looking for lame excuses to pull back the troops from the border. Pressures from within the military circles and the doctored statistics of militants’ intrusions/violence made it convenient for the government to finally withdraw the troops. The answer to this problem is therefore not war but sustained military operations within our own territory with our own resources and will, under a well thought-out long term anti-terrorism national policy.


A vocal threat: After the September 11, 2001, plane strikes on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon, everybody in India believed that now the USA would have a better realisation of India's suffering by Pak-sponsored trans-border terrorism. Also major nations of the world seemed to unite over the issue of terrorist violence. But after America's war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, nothing tangible was achieved on the terrorism front. America's proclamation to capture Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, and eliminate his al-Qaeda outfit has remained a mere vocal threat.

India must not overlook the fact that nations have their individual interests. No Western country has cared (or dared!) to challenge and act against Islamic terrorism carried out by Pakistan in the Kashmir valley and elsewhere. It is no secret that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was Pakistan backed. Russian President Vladimir Putin's apprehension that nuclear weapons accumulated by Pakistan can fall into the hands of renegades is true.

No lukewarm approach can stamp out terrorism. More than America's strategic interests, we shall have to watch our own national interests. We can no more afford to test the people's patience. They have suffered pangs of terror so long. Only joint action by both countries — India and Russia — can root out the monster of terror.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

India a mute onlooker

WHILE at the international level our response to Pak-sponsored terrorism may be constrained by the US imposed limitations and their strategies, yet the country should not have remained a helpless and mute onlooker of terrorist violence. In fact, it has been our policy of appeasement and a fear of communal polarisation that made our political leadership to offer a weak-kneed response to this ever-growing monster.

In the early eighties when the problem surfaced in stray incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, we, instead of ruthlessly curbing it, preferred to ignore it with the result that in the nineties this dragon captured in its tentacles not only the border state but spread to those parts of the country where the Muslim population could be exploited for support. During all these years our political leadership responded with a 'loud and bold rhetoric but no action” approach. Of course, we kept raising our finger at Pakistan's dubious role in encouraging and supporting terrorism. But such repeated accusations, without any substantial action on our part, instead of gaining international sympathy, earned us the dubious distinction of a “constant grumbler against neighbours”.



US role: After the fall of the USSR, the USA feels no challenge to its totalitarian policies. The developing countries, including India, are facing many problems, but these need the approval of Uncle Sam, or otherwise the problem is stamped as "no problem"! Instead these countries are advised to get their myopic vision corrected. The omnipotent USA has its own compulsions and priorities based on strategic permutations and combinations to evaluate how best the given situations can be exploited to serve its vested interests.

Terrorism in J&K and elsewhere in India will never end until the USA tells Pakistan to do so. Pakistan is a committed ally and loyal pet of the USA. Whereas India has to be administered the bitter dose of destabilisation to follow the diktats of the Super Power to eliminate any threat to its hagemony. What type of freedom we have when we can't take any decision to safeguard our sovereignty?

KARNAIL SINGH, Ranjit Sagar Dam

Whims & fancies: It is crystal clear that the US policy, having secured Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan, has focussed on propping the Musharraf regime. In this situation, Washington has been reluctant to hold Musharraf to his earlier pledges to stop cross-border terrorism despite being fully aware of the continuing flow of horror to India. Operation Parakram compelled Musharraf to acknowledge Pakistan's ties with terrorism and to demonstrate that when he wants he is able to exercise control over terrorist elements. Cross-border terrorism dropped sharply even if only for a few weeks when Musharraf made anti-terror promises to avert an Indian military attack.

A question to consider is: whether India was duped by those it banked on or got taken in by its own whims and fancies, an enduring characteristic of Indian foreign policy since Independence? Did India voluntarily and eagerly beat a retreat or was it led up the path by Washington?


Where is decisive war?: Pakistan is a breeding place for terrorism and as far as the USA is concerned, it has got no concern for our sufferings because of terrorism from across our border. When we collected our forces on the borders for wiping out terrorism, we were told by the USA not to go ahead in Pakistan and even in occupied Kashmir and we had to obey the lord and we asked our forces to come back to the headquarters. We are sorry to note that our leaders had been telling us that this time they would be fighting a decisive war i.e. "aar paar ki ladai".


Islamic factor: It is gratifying to see Hari Jaisingh strongly condemning the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and Mr Modi for their post-Godhra stance. Mr Modi's strategy to communalise the polity and divide the people to swell his vote-bank instead of practising religion as a personal choice is the root cause of the Islamic factor fomenting trouble in the socio-economic aspect of the country.

Mr Modi is intelligent enough to keep the constituents of the vote-bank poor and ignorant so that they cannot ask questions. For instance, the Congress won again and again as long as the poor were poor and Indiraji advised her daughter-in-law to follow the same policy.

Thus the vote-banks can be sustained only by making the poor feel good without improving their lot. Currently, the tendency of each party is to organise a small vote-bank and then cobble together some sort of a coalition. That is what the United Front has done and what the BJP is doing.


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