Why MMS's strategy on Pakistani terror will never work

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Singh, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    India will never win the battle against terror because it is based on three flawed assumptions: one is that improved relations with Pakistan will reduce cross-border terrorism (this is Manmohan Singh’s solo song); two, the local legs of terror modules can be knocked off by wooing the Indian Muslim with jobs and education and appeasement (this is the Congress’ political line); and three, that it can be tackled without strong political will (this has been the UPA reality since 2004).

    There is some truth to the first two assumptions, but that is not the same thing as saying that they will be enough.

    Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Manmohan Singh government is banking on: a single-minded Pakistan peace policy that flies in the face of reality. Though the Delhi blast cannot yet be connected to Pakistan’s ISI, the chances are that it will ultimately be traced back there or to its client organisations like HuJI or Indian Mujahideen.

    To tackle Pakistan-based terror, we need a hardball strategy to supplement our soft approach of diplomatic talks, enhancing people-to-people contacts, and more trade with unilateral concessions.

    The soft approach is needed to build a long-term constituency for peace in Pakistan and convince the world that we are not the bully of the neighbourhood. But soft talk without hard power behind it is of no use because we are up against the Pakistani army’s intransigence – which views Kashmir as an unfinished business. Moreover, enmity with India is the only way it can retain its power vis-à-vis civil society.

    The more we keep rolling with the punches and picking ourselves up to get back to normal, the more we are encouraging them to hit us harder the next time. This time it is the Delhi High Court; next time it may be the Supreme Court. Parliament has already had its attack as far back as 2001.

    Quite simply, Pakistan is not going to give up terrorism against India even if it destroys itself in the process. Talks won’t achieve anything — but are useful for the optics involved.

    As C Raja Mohan points out in The Indian Express: “If the US could not buy the Pakistan army’s support against terrorism after nearly $20 billion of aid since 9/11, or coerce it through relentless drone attacks in recent years, there is little hope that India can negotiate away the threat of terrorism from Pakistan.”


    Pakistan is not going to give up terrorism against India even if it destroys itself in the process. Talks won’t achieve anything — but are useful for the optics involved. Reveendran/AFP

    The truth is quite simple: at least as far as the Pakistani army and hardline Islamist parties in that country are concerned, they are prepared for a 1,000-year-war of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts.” They have the motivation and the power to continue terrorism in India indefinitely – and will do so.

    From this it is obvious that we have to prepare for an equally long fightback. And this does not mean stoically taking punch after punch on the chin and keep going. We have to build two other long-range capabilities: the ability to strike back at terror camps in Pakistan and other countries through covert action that can’t be traced back to us; and developing long-term intelligence assets on the ground in India and abroad.

    A covert strike capability is needed even if it is never going to be used. As long as Pakistan can be 100 percent sure that there will be no cost to sending terror groups to cause havoc in India, it will have no reason to rethink its gameplan. But if it can expect reprisals in a covert way, it will think twice.

    There is a related worry when building this covert strike capability. As evident from its Kargil foray, Pakistan will use any opportunity to escalate tensions to the nuclear level so that the world then starts pressuring us on Kashmir. It is building a tactical nuclear weapons capability – and we need to prepare ourselves for that, too.

    Manmohan Singh’s peacenik orientation is dangerously compromising our preparedness by putting all our strategic eggs vis-à-vis Pakistan in the talks basket. It needs repeating: only those who prepare for war can ensure peace.

    The second assumption – that terrorists of the Islamist kind will not find domestic traction if our own Muslim population is appeased – is again a gross misunderstanding of ground realities. While there is absolutely no doubt that we must expand employment and education opportunities for our minorities – and especially recruit more of them in our police and investigative wings – the political establishment is actually making things worse by pandering to the wrong Muslim fears.

    Getting Digvijaya Singh to talk about Hindu terror or demoralising the police force for the Batla House encounter – where militants killed a decorated police officer – is not the right way to generate Muslim support for the anti-terrorist cause. It will, in fact, stoke precisely the kind of terrorism that we are trying to fight.


    The pursuit of short-term vote banks among Muslims (or Hindus, in the case of the BJP) will destroy any possibility of developing a coherent counter-terrorism plan.

    The third mistake is to assume that we can tackle terror by doing a few things here and there sporadically – an extra NSG hub, more ammunition for the police force, a special agency to investigate terror cases. These are mere actions without conviction. To really tackle terrorism, we need very strong political will to put all the elements of a strategy in place.

    What are these elements?

    One is obviously better intelligence. Developing intelligence assets in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other places where terror modules are holed up will take us nothing less than five to 10 years to set up. This cannot be achieved without a long-term political commitment to build these assets and giving them bipartisan backing.

    The second thing is systemic reforms, where police forces are given the autonomy to do their jobs. Even after 26/11, the Maharashtra government – and most other state governments – are reluctant to form police service commissions and give their men in uniform the freedom to function without political constraints. When your top cop is more worried about his next transfer, he will be busy sucking up to his political bosses, not building intelligence networks or good investigative capabilities. Why would he risk his neck for the country when his boss is planning to slide a knife into his back?

    Equally, it is important to build local level intelligence among communities both by direct contact and through informers and recruits from those communities. This again calls for a long-range plan. Contacts and trust cannot be built in a day or even a year.

    Lastly, we must have a fast-track justice system. Once the detective work is done and the evidence accumulated, trials should be run continuously from trial court to Supreme Court in in six months. If punishment is not given within the recent memory of victims and victimisers, there can be no closure. Only cynicism remains. Soon people will be demanding undemocratic remedies — encounters deaths, extra-legal killings. This discovery of mass graves in Kashmir should awaken us to this hazard.

    There are many more things that experts will advice – CCTVs in crowded localities, local community policing and citizen support modules, disaster management plans when bomb attacks do happen – and so on.

    But nothing can be achieved without political will. This is what is missing in Delhi and state capitals. The Delhi blast is one more wake up call for Manmohan Singh.

    Why Manmohan’s strategy on Pak terror will never work | Firstpost
     
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  3. xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx

    xXX-Nair:::Saab-XXx Regular Member

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