Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Go for the Terrorist

Go for the Terrorist
A K Doval
Publication: Tehelka
Date: July 22, 2006
Introduction: Unless India takes up the fight, they will continue to surprise us, says the former IB director

Let us understand and appreciate the ground situation correctly. Pakistan continues to be the fountainhead of terror. They continue to send people and weapons and they continue to train and motivate jehadis. To effectively deal with the threat of the expanding terror network, India must deal with Pakistan as an aggressed state should deal with an aggressor state. We need to send an unequivocal message that we mean business and that we will not negotiate or be part of a dialogue unless acts of terrorism stop.
Mumbai's serial train blasts would have taken a few months of planning. The operation would have required procurement and storage of material, safekeeping of the persons carrying out the operation, bomb experts and a survey of the locations. The perpetrators would have worked out escape routes and studied police vigilance patterns. This type of support can be provided by only two sets of people in Mumbai: the underworld and the fundamentalist groups. The need of the hour is to dismantle underworld structures, controlled, guided and supported by the Pakistani ISI, and demolish their collaborative networks of gunrunners, currency counterfeiters, drug syndicates, traffickers, hawala operators etc. Mumbai will find it hard to retain its status as lndia's financial capital if it fails to become a safe and secure place for the investor, entrepreneur and the common man.
Existing legislation leaves much to be desired even though Maharashtra has the Maharashtra Control Of Organised Crime Act. The follow-up action taken on intelligence inputs leaves much to be desired. India is one of the worst victims of terrorism that the world has seen. If the future has to see a departure from the past our response will have to be much more determined at all levels - political, diplomatic and operational.
The message has got to be given to them loud and clear that India can increase the cost for them as well. It would be a fallacious presumption that in asymmetric warfare the stronger nation has no option of waging war through other means to protect its supreme sovereign interests. Pakistan claims it is doing all that it can to contain terror, but let Pakistan give the name of one single terrorist operating against India who has been dealt with in accordance with UN resolutions to which Pakistan is a signatory. They might have taken action against those who have targeted them domestically or who are wanted by the West, but that is a source of little comfort for India. It is now incumbent that we extract assurances from them through action and not mere words. That India has failed to build the requisite pressure despite its state power is a matter of regret.
The expanding terror network is a matter of serious concern. Terrorists are now coming in through
Bangladesh. The entire jehadi network is expanding because Pakistan wants to not just bleed India through Kashmir but bleed it through nationwide attacks. We have to understand the threat in the right perspective to be able to deal with it effectively.
Till yesterday, the agenda of the jehadis was Kashmir-centric, today the arc of violence has expanded and threatens our hinterland. It is aimed at communal conflagration and it is most certainly aimed at expanding their constituency amongst Muslims. They are building more bases and recruiting from amongst the community. And it is not a numbers game. The majority in the Muslim community may be against jehad but the jehadis succeed even if they are able to make a dent with 0.1 percent. Last week there were reports that a boy from Maharashtra was being trained in Kashmir. If people from different parts of the country are being taken to Kashmir for training it is a matter of very serious concern.
India as a state has got the strength, the capabilities, and the resources to combat terror effectively. But we have to put our house in order. There have to be better-defined strategic and tactical objectives, appropriate doctrines both for proactive and defensive operations, systems and standard operating procedures for better coordination and necessary enablement and empowerment of the intelligence and security agencies. A certain amount of complacency seems to have set in. Follow-up action on intelligence reports is not being taken as seriously as it should be. We need to device a system where an action taken report on all intelligence information should be made mandatory.
The most effective way of dealing with terrorism would be to identify boys who have got the courage of conviction, the motivation to match that of the fidayeens and the highest degree of professional expertise and who are capable of taking risks. Identify them and put them in action - they will unfailingly deliver. KPS Gill was able to do that in Punjab. He provided the environment and the leadership.
We seem to have become prisoners of our system. We have lost the ability to think new and original - always surprising our adversary. let us decide that we will not use the same technique twice irrespective of its success or failure. Within six months the terrorists will be running for their lives. But it is no easy task for the run-of-the-mill leaders of security agencies to reel out so many ideas and at the required rate. In the game of terrorism, the terrorists will keep on surprising us unless we keep on surprising them.

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