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War is not an option after the Mumbai terror attacks

December 15, 2008

An article in the Stratfor weekly, “the world’s leading online publisher of geopolitical intelligence” which analyses the current Indo-Pak stand-off makes interesting reading. It is written by George Friedman, the founder and CEO of Stratfor. I have summarised some of his pertinent points and interjected them with my own comments and other links.

It does seem clear now our Congress government is not going to war and the opposition parties seem to have toned down their aggressive rhetoric. Pranab Mukherjee, our foreign minister has clearly said that war is “not a solution” and it appears as if the BJP has supported this decision.

Friedman discusses the disastrous consequences of war.

What will war achieve anyway?
If India actually attacks Pakistan because it holds the government culpable for either ignoring/aiding terrorist activity, the question to ask is whether this will reduce terror attacks in India and the world. The answer is no. An Indo-Pak war will  destabilize the Pakistani government and their Army and their ISI will take centrestage. In the resulting chaos produced by war, terror groups could well gain control of the country, even if temporarily. Right now no one knows whether Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure, and so no one wants terror groups to take control of Pakistan, not even for a day.

Also, it is believed that in case of war, Pakistan will have to move its troops from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border where they are helping America fight the Taliban. Pakistan is sure that this will not be liked by America. But Friedman suggests that Pakistan should not assume that the United States is dependent on Pakistani troops. If necessary America could send in more of its own troops into Afghanistan and/or bomb Pakistan’s border areas more actively now that the Pakistanis are out of the way.

In any case even if war between India and Pakistan results in routing the terrorists from Pakistan, there is no guarantee that it will end terrorism in India. In fact terrorism in India could well worsen as more “recruits” will be brainwashed into hating India…and the terrorists will re-group in some other lawless region/country. There are countries which will welcome such anti-India activity and I need not even name them here.

Pakistan doesn’t want war either but then why doesn’t it get rid of the terror camps?
Everyone knows that Pakistan is not going to be able to disable terror camps with any seriousness or prosecute any of the criminal terrorists and the Pakistanis will certainly not hand them over to India. Analysts believe that the Pakistani government won’t do it because if they do the terrorism in Pakistan will go up manifold.  According to Friedman, this implies that Pakistan is allowing the export of terror, to keep their own citizens safe. Friedman says:

The cost to Pakistan of these concessions might well be greater than the benefit of avoiding conflict with India.

So if Pakistan drags its feet, what do we  do? Here are some steps that India could take:

  1. A naval blockade which will cut off supplies to Karachi, Pakistan’s main port and this would hurt Pakistan badly financially but if Karachi were blocked, this would cut off the flow of supplies to American troops in Afghanistan. (Karachi is the main port serving U.S. forces in Afghanistan) so it is unlikely that this option will be considered by India.
  2. Airstrikes against terror training camps and bases in Pakistani-occupied-Kashmir. For one thing, this may not work as the terrain is tough and the camps can easily relocate and mushroom in other places. In fact in their heart of hearts the Pakistani government might even be glad if India does their dirty job for them…as long as they keep up their anti-India rhetoric about the attacks. If they do so, the terrorists will not hold them accountable and it is also possible that the angry Pakistani public will forgive the government for the ugly situation. The strikes will certainly assuage some of the anger at home in India, but the idea is risky and won’t reduce terror. As Shekhar Gupta, editor of the Indian Express writes, such an action is dangerous as it could escalate into full-scale war.
  3. Another possible scenario is bombing ISI instalations and buildings, destroying them alongwith files and personnel, but again this one is sure to escalate into full fledged war. In fact it is believed that the Pakistani airforce is already on high alert.

So if we discard all these options, the only thing left is coercive diplomacy. But will this work? These are some options:-

  1. Force Pakistan to clamp down on terrorist organisations and criminals living openly in Pakistan. The process has started and so far been successful. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has declared Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawah (a front organization for Lashkar-e-Toiba), a terrorist organization. Four top leaders of the LeT, including its founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, have also been labelled as terrorists.This may seen a minor victory, but actually it is a humiliation and loss of face for the criminal organisation.
  2. Pakistan could be forced to give up Dawood Ibrahim, a known criminal mastermind who has already been declared a global terrorist and is “on the wanted list of Interpol for organised crime and counterfeiting. He is believed to have helped the LeT in the Mumbai terror attacks as he has a vast underground criminal network. Dawood is believed to be under the protection of the ISI. Indian authorities have already asked for a long list of wanted people… another one wanted badly by India is Maulana Masood Azhar, a man who is accused of masterminding an attack on India’s parliament. Analysts believe that Pakistan will not give up these people as the ISI won’t allow it.
  3. India could try and get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. As long as General Musharaff was around this was deserved as he was responsible for Kargil, but not now, not as long as the democratic government is in place.
  4. There are other diplomatic options for India, “like freezing bilateral trade and diplomatic and people-to-people contact, such as travel and cricket tournaments.” India can also suspend the peace process and talks on the gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and the joint counter-terrorism mechanism.

Number 4 seems possible, but there are those who feel that this option will be counter-productive as it will affect and alienate the very people who are against terrorism in Pakistan. But the other point of view is that as long as there are those in Pakistan who are in denial about their export of terror, the country deserves such measures.

The only solution for India
We cannot control Pakistan. Or any other country. We cannot force the United States to help us either. We have been begging them to help us for the last two decades, ever since the ISI started sending criminals into India, but so far no one has helped us. We have to help ourselves and the first thing to do is strengthen our security and intelligence organisations. There have been many suggestions, from NSG commandos for all cities, refurbishing security organisations, building up disaster management systems that work, sharing and collaborating with international security agencies, upgrading training, getting better equipment like surveillance cameras, hi-tech patrol boats, reviving the covert action capability of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), revamping all security services by stopping politicisation of these organisations and getting effective people to head them.

And Indian citizens have to help the security forces by refusing to make fake identity cards, ration cards and passports, and by being alert and responsive to the possibility of terror attacks. We need to report any suspicious person in our neighbourhood and we need to strengthen the hands of our security forces by cooperating with them.

The road ahead for Pakistan
Their road is the harder one. A leading Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat explains it well. It says that it will be very difficult for Pakistan to wipe out terror anytime soon as the Pakistani public would oppose any kind of international intervention (like air-strikes) to get rid of terrorists and terrorist camps. The Pakistani government cannot do the surgical job either because of the “elements within Pakistan’s security authorities” who would “foil” any such game plan. The article concludes:

By not taking any action, Pakistan would be dependent on the mercy of Islamist extremists, and if it descends into chaos [by clamping down on them], the influence of the Islamists would increase even further. Therefore, in both cases, the consequences of the Mumbai terrorist attacks may result in an increase in the influence of Islamist extremists in Islamabad.

Maybe one day the enemies of India in Pakistan will realise that the way to grow strong is not by cutting someone else down to size, but by focusing on internal growth. That is why I think India will keep growing and will triumph, because we are directing our energies positively.

(Note: This post is about the external threat to India, and not about criminal elements on our own soil who are also involved in criminal activities.)

Related Reading: What or whom do we blame for our terrorism deaths?
Too many policemen on security duty in India
Poor police to people ratio forces common man to fend for himself
Sleeper cells proliferate while government sleeps
Security personnel at malls are more interested in checking for chocolates rather than weapons
Does India need a Prevention of Terrorism Act?
Investigations into the Malegaon blasts
SIMI and Bajrang Dal – can they be compared?

77 Comments leave one →
  1. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:41 am

    The way I see it is –

    There is no way Pakistan can control its jihadi groups. That is just not going to happen. It doesn’t matter whether Pakistan is supplied with more arms for this or whether more outfits are banned.

    What keeps this jihadi groups going? Many of us may readily jump to the convenient answer – their idealogy. But if anyone takes a closer look at that, the idealogy is a combination of a framework for a ‘Just war’ (the doctrine of jihad) plus the facts that justify the war. The jihad doctrine itself is broadly worded in moralistic terms and lacking in specific detail. Not only that, it is derived from an interpretation process from the basic texts of Islam. As interpretations go, they invariably come in various flavours. If anyone takes the pain to closely examine it, one will be hard pressed to find any intrinsic flaw in some of the flavours, except if one is a diehard pacifist. The idealogy has two limbs. The first limb of the idealogy actually regulates waging war where a justification already exists. Whether a justification actually exists is left to the conscientious interpretation of the facts on the ground by the believer. The idealogy cannot run till the second limb (justificatory facts) also exist. Even when recruiting, nobody is enrolled untill they are shown videos of the alleged injustice going on.

    Next, granting the jihadis their basic humanity and conscience (which requires a great deal of humility on our part; for we are more than ready to dehumanize them ), it is not difficult to see that they need to have a clear cause with concrete facts to recruit and fight for. They see injustice that needs to be dealt with. Where do they see it? In the case of India, it is the Kashmir issue. So, unless India and Pakistan solve the Kashmir issue, trying to deal with the terror groups themselves is merely dealing with the ramifications of the Kashmir issue.

    About the Kashmir issue I cannot see it solved except with UN intervention. It is too emotional an issue for both Indians and Pakistanis to deal with pragmatically and dispassionately. The way things are, the LoC is the de facto border and it would only settle matters to agree on that. People on the Pakistani side of the LoC actually carry a Pakistani passport and work with Pakistani administration. I think the floodgates argument often raised against this (if we give them that then where will they stop) is pure paranoia and even presumptuous and self-conceited.

    • December 15, 2008 9:16 am

      Vinod, Kashmir has nothing to do with terrorism even though the ISI insists. We need to be stop getting brainwashed by the ISI claims. Pakistan has no right over Kashmir. They have already taken some part anyway, through aggressive means. We have almost as many Muslims as Pakistan so there is no logic in giving up Kashmir. This is not 1947!! Any problems in Kashmir are our own and Pakistan has no business to interfere. These terrorists also want to come to the “aid” of Gujarati Muslims, where is this going to end? In the course of my work I have talked to many Gujarati Muslims, leaders of the Muslims organisations mind you, who say they don’t want Pakistanis to take up their cause. Even victim of Godhra have denounced the terrorists using their name for killing innocents. I have a link somewhere on this. A victim of Godhra gave an interview saying all he wanted was to fight it through the courts, get the perpretrators to justice, he was a broken man after the riots. He was horrified by killers using his story to kill more innocents.
      Its time that borders are respected, we have problems but we will solve them oursevles. Also what the ISI hates is that Kashmiris don’t want these sick killers on their turf, they are voting for a peaceful J&K. Please understand these killers are not “freedom fighters”, they are inhuman killers and criminals and if Pakistanis think it is related to Kashmir, it is their own tragedy because this is why terrrorists in Pakistan have flourished. I wonder if you read the interview of a well known “freedom fighter” (a real Kashmiri btw, not a fraud one like these criminals who were from Punjab in Pak) who said that these criminals who conducted the terror attacks have harmed the Kashmiri cause. That is because all this talk about Kashmir being the reason is bullshit. Even the Kashmir separatists think its bullshit.

      p.s. And yes I am willing to respect a real Kashmiri freedom fighter, but not those those criminals who usurp their cause.

  2. December 15, 2008 9:32 am


    I do support “No War”. We have dealt with extremist in past. And we can even now. There had been questions raised of credibility of Pakistani Government. Which i see as a “Puppet”. A dancing doll, whose some strings are controlled by International Aids in terms of Finance, and remaining by Extremists thinkers.

    Until Govt. stands out and does some thinking of their own, and more positively for benefit of people. The poor Pakistani’s nationals are going to fall prey to extremist Ideas and brain washing in for Jehadi Movement.

    I think its misuse of International Aid, as there are not enough opportunities in Pakistan in terms of Job, People rebel.
    Its the people in, who Pakistan need a rising. They need to break the Marshal LAW.

    Sunny, the misuse of international aid, which was diverted to the ISI by Musharaff is shocking. The Pakistani press needs to show their people the reality. That the terrorists are actually their own worst enemy, that they are not “jehadis.” I have seen this understanding amongst some Pakistanis, but it needs to be a mass movement. – Nita.

  3. December 15, 2008 9:48 am

    Hi Nita,

    IMO the problem doesn’t lie with terrorist camps, ISI, army or anything.

    The whole identity of Pakistan is anti-India. The people were fed propaganda for years and if the anti-India identity is gone, Pakistan will breakup into Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and what not.

    Secondly, the bigger problem lies in the rules that were formulated in 4th century AD to control warring tribes in Arabia. It is called Islam and its absolute intolerance to accept anything but Allah and their point of view is, in my opinion, uncivilized. Today we make decisions based on dialog and mutually enriching open conversations, and not under the fear of the sword. (I hope people are sane enough to see that I am opposed to Islam, not Muslims)

    Priyank, I agree with you that I too find (from reading Pakistani blogs) that they seem to be anti-India. About what you said about Islam, well theoritically even Christianty does not accept any other God except theirs, but they are not into sending criminal terrorists into other countries. These terrorists have political ambitions. – Nita.

  4. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:53 am

    Pakistan has no right over Kashmir

    I’m afraid I don’t view the matter in such simple terms. Rhetoric like this clouds the historical mess behind the issue, where the interests of the Kashmiris themselves has been sabotaged by both sides.

    Personally, I would want a UN-administered Plebiscite in Kashmir to know what Kashmiris really want. They need to be allowed to choose. Both Indians and Pakistanis should not be imposing their agenda on kashmiris. As long as India retains their heavy military presence in kashmir and the human rights violations continue, there is enough fodder for Jihadi groups to recruit.

    The support of the majority of the Kasmiris is not so material for their operations.

    And as far as anecdotal evidence goes about where Kasmiri loyalties lie, I wouldn’t be surprised to find many that are with Pakistan. The same goes for Gujarat muslims. We like to think that muslims of India feel good and want to belong to India. I tend to think a big part of that wanting is wishful thinking. I too do not have objective evidence on this matter. But what I do know is that there is a strong sense of disenfrachisement and discrimination amongst the muslims in India. I also do know that many middle class non-muslim Indians do harbour negative feelings about muslims. There is no shortage of that. I hold no illusions that muslims in India are all hunky dory with India.

    These terrorists also want to come to the “aid” of Gujarati Muslims, where is this going to end?

    I know where it starts. It starts with acknowledging that perhaps the wrong could lie on our hands as well. Perhaps, there is discrimination against muslims in India. Wasn’t there a report that was published by a govt study recently that substantiated this? (a study conducted by Paul Atwell of City University of New York and Katherine Newman of Princeton University).

    I wonder if you read the interview of a well known “freedom fighter”

    None that I know of. I’d appreciate if you could provide a link.

    I will send you the link after searching for it. I saw it on television. However your views I do not agree with at all. Our internal problems are none of the business of foreigners. Also, I think the discrimination of Muslims is being hyped by ISI. I have written an article on this very subject for a Dubai magazine, after talking to representatives of the ordinary Indian Muslim. I will tell you send you the article once this is published. It is worth reading because I have talked to senior police officers as well. I am not indulging in wishful thinking. I think many people who live outside India often go by various studies, studies need to collaborated with an understanding of the real situation. I am not denying that muslims face some element of discriminatin, I am saying it is none of the business of Pakistanis, and the Indian Muslims believe so too. In fact they do not see the Pakistanis as “jehadis” at all. Indian Muslims would feel insulted if you claim that they support the foreign “jihadis” they wuold say such a claim shows how biased Indian Hindus are. I have been told this directly, that never ever even think that Indian Muslims support the Pakistani jihadis. It is a huge insult to our muslim brothers and sisters in India. – Nita.
    p.s. and about kashmir, I do not agree with you either but because I think the mumbai terror attacks have nothing to do with Kashmir, I prefer not to get into it.

  5. December 15, 2008 9:57 am

    So now what shoud we do, Nita?? ..

    Sit idle, watch all those jihadis to get trained just 500 KM from us, enter our cities and kill more and more people, blame politicians for that, vent out our anger on everybody including police, politicians, buerocrates, write tons of blog posts about it and again sit idle and wait for the new terror attack and this vicious circle continues ..

    I also dont want WAR .. But at least we have to attack training camps in POK and Pakistan ..

    That’s true WAR is not the answer, I guess it’s the only answer ..

    We, Indians , are such a hypocrites that we follow Americans to a drop of a hat but when it comes to tackle the terrorism, we opt for a different route .. I dont know why?? …

    Because we are a relatively poor country? – Nita.

  6. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 10:07 am

    Nita, two more things –

    (i) my opinion does not imply that Pakistan can sit smugly about their terrorist groups. They have to continue to do what they can do. I’m not absolving them of their failures to take adequate measures to check that. However my point is that there is going to be no end to the problem till the Kasmir issue is resolved. It is unrealistic to expect otherwise.

    (ii) My opinion is not based on what the ISI claims. It comes from my interaction with everyday common muslims who fully support these jihadi groups or who are atleast sympathetic towards them. It doesn’t take too much to recruit from such a mass of people if poverty and other social issues are added to the mix.

    And my opinions comes from a lot of Indian Muslims whom I know quite well. They do not support taking away of Kashmir, they do not support terrorism. the terrorists groups make them sick. In fact I have interviewed prominent Muslims on this subject and they say that calling these people jihadis is misplaced. However, the ISI thinks differently. – Nita.
    p.s. and let me repeat, I do not think that the mumbai terror attacks have anything to do with kashmir, although the ISI claims so. This is the reality and of late even the Pakistani newspapers are admitting it.

  7. December 15, 2008 10:13 am

    This damn thing is so very irritating!! and i don’t know in what sort of a world my child is going to grow… damn frustating 😦

  8. December 15, 2008 10:21 am


    I agree with you, We can go out bombing all terror camps, But what about Ideas, funds.
    We are well aware, that all this is because of Extremist ideas of certain leaders.
    Which are funded by White collared professionals.

    They are not staying at this campsites. Terror recruitment will continue.

    If one LeT Falls another will have a rise. If people can get Jehadi ideas out of tier religion, i guess that would be best.

  9. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 10:52 am

    Also, I think the discrimination of Muslims is being hyped by ISI.

    That could well be a possibility that I haven’t considered so far. It is possible that the media in Pakistan is feeding a biased view of kashmir to the Pakistanis. But the same could be said about India. We Indians like to think that there is nothing wrong on our part, while human rights groups have repeatedly cried foul at the Indian armies’ antics in Kashmir. I think both sides need to take a more dispassionate, self-critical and neutral approach to the matter and not run away with opinions based on what we are fed with by our respective govt and media . We are going to encounter these biases and that is why it is worthwhile to also examine what International groups/studies have to say about the matter.

    Not to belittle the sentiments of Indians and Pakistanis, but I don’t think the real issue is India or Pakistan’s sovereignty. The real issue is the interests of the Kasmiris. Can we honestly say, that in our jingoistic participation in this controversy, we have given due consideration to that?

    Our internal problems are none of the business of foreigners

    Well, you have some identity assumptions in there which may not apply to muslim populations. It is realistic to approach the matter by considering that faith based identities do transcend national boundaries.

    Lastly, it doesn’t take a majority support for the jihadi groups to operate. It merely takes little sectional support from the various muslim populations. You may well be right that the majority of muslims in India do not support these groups at all. But it is not the majority’s support that is material, isn’t it? However, isn’t it is true that engaging the majority sufficiently to stop the spin-off jihadi groups from occuring is going to be a challenge while they do feel discriminated and burdened by social/economic issues? Even the parents of the captured Pakistani never wanted him to end up where he did.

    ps- I want to apologize for derailing the subject so drastically from your post, Nita. I just feel that matter needs to be looked at holistically and not pigeon-holed into a mere “terrorist” or “border” problem. If you feel that I need to stop doing that and keep my comments focussed on the subject of the post, I will gladly comply.

    Vinod, you are welcome to give your views if you feel that Kashmir is a related problem. I just don’t see it and therefore i am not answerign your query on the matter. Maybe soem other commentator might tackle this. I need to start working ona post for tomorrow because I am going to be out the whole day! And you are always welcome vinod, I enjoy reading your comments! 🙂 – Nita.

  10. December 15, 2008 11:05 am

    @ Nita : War is not an option with Pakistan but suppose if it was. Would it not then do immense damage to India? As a person who would probably die in event of such a war because I live a stone’s throw away from that country may be I can add a line or two……

    North India has some crucial Indian assets including hydro-electric dams that if Pakistan hits can flood a lot of the country. It also is an area that is economically and industrially relevant. The destruction in this war would be so immense that it would make the previous two wars look like ‘skirmishes’. I would also add that the weapons of today are far more accurate and precise so nothing would be left to ‘chance’.

    I think the problem between India and Pakistan is the same old Hindu-Muslim problem that has plagued this nation for centuries and frankly I think these both communities need to resolve it if they can. Kashmir is something completely different. Kashmir is basically a disputed territory that both India/Pakistan want to gobble up. It is no different from lets say a Sikkim or a Manipur. You have a huge “Indian Empire” and a small state and somehow one day the small state finds itself a part of the new empire. The Pakistani’s see themselves as a counter to India’s power play in this region. Which to some extent they are. Of course they were propped up by the Americans in the past and now by the Chinese. Although I must say that they have managed to survive well. The only way India can solve political problems over geography is by somehow appeasing the people who live in these gobbled up places. Although even if that would work is doubtful as far as I am able to see.

    The future of India like the future of South Asia is shaky at best. Personally I do not see India remaining in the same shape as it is today but if it does the cost would be a great deal of instability. We can of course continue blaming our neighbours for that instability but the fact is that India is far too diverse and there are far too many ‘ways of life’ for us to accommodate each other. The only good news is that the neighbours are dealing with the same problem.

  11. December 15, 2008 11:15 am


    I have interacted with people of Pakistan, and from a well educated class i never had a feeling of Anti India.
    Although there have been proven cases were “Madarsas” have been teaching grounds for “Jehad”. We can work together with Pakistan and get solution out of it. Not all Pakistanis are anti-Indians or anti-nationals.

    Problems when bound with religion propagate faster. And terrorist use name of Islam for the same. Most educated Muslims form this side of border understand this, and hopefully from that part as well.
    We are able to establish peace for brothers in our countries, we can hope they will also.

  12. December 15, 2008 11:27 am

    Lot of hate in the air 🙂

    I neither hate nor do I love any particular nation..I was reading an article from a IIM professor where he list 12 things to crush Pakistan..I was feeling dizzy after reading it.Forget it,will deal it in my place later 🙂

    Yours is a balanced article Nita..I read with atmost interest till the end..and more interesting,are the comments..

    If it was ‘ideological’ issues,I guess,there are other nations that ought to be more dangerous..Pakistanis themselves don’t claim that they are the epicentre of Islam,in case if people think that Islam is had never been a stable nation and if India tries to make it more unstable,we will have more sleepless days ahead ..What we need is a stable Pakistan..I am saying this not out of love or sympathy but out of my selfish motive ,to live in peace..

    Pakistan as a nation was and is a faliure as they never emphasised on education and ever since its formation,lot many countries, mainly USA and Saudi,intervented in its daily issues,thereby giving no chance or credibility on its own as an institution..Lot lot more..I am working on knowing more and hope to have a post on this soon..

    Good day and thanks for this enlightening article..Helped me a lot..

  13. December 15, 2008 11:27 am

    I would be hugely disappointed if there’s a war… I think diplomacy should be the only option, irrespective of what the consequences are… We are known to be a diplomatic country, perhaps a bit too much, but I guess we should remain so!

    Slow and steady wins the race. 🙂 – Nita.

  14. Chirag permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:37 am

    Nita, agreed ‘War is not an options’, however, Are we not going to take any actions against these mini-wars springing up every month.

    Why do we have to be on the receiving end? Do we even fear an assertive step or we fear we might loose our support from USA or we fear we’ll not be sympathized by International community?

    If we were a world power it was different. We aren’t. That’s the fact. – Nita.

  15. December 15, 2008 11:55 am

    Nita, both Pakistan and India share one thing in common- indecision and inaction when it comes to cracking down on attrocious crimes of mindboggling magnitudes. Both need pressure to begin some semblance of stirring from deep slumber. We can use this juncture in history to put pressure on Pak to take action against terrorist training camps and such ghastly activities and that has begun to happen with pressure from US, UK and international bodies like the UN. But when will our own authorities stop the activities of D-Company inside India, @Mumbai? It is surprising that everybody knows that the D-Company is still actively carrying out business as usual – newspapers report about it. What stops us from cracking down on such activities on our own shores? Is it easier to ask for handing over Dawood than crippling his business here?

    Gopinath, people are being bribed I guess, that’s how the criminal network operates. Corruption is a huge problem. – Nita.

  16. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:49 pm

    I thought this quote is worth sharing –

    Everything we do in our life, all our actions, our efforts and our strife stand on the one singular pillar of our will to live. A patient who goes through the intense days of chemotherapy and radiation has only one force driving him to oust the cancer that has taken over his body, his will to live. A terrorist who flies a plane into a tower and happily takes the bullets of commandos, had lost his will to live. He came there knowing he would die. He came there knowing he would never have to look at himself in the mirror after having killed so many innocent people. Only sheer hopelessness could take away one’s will to live. Call me an optimist, an idealist but maybe preventing terrorism would have to start at finding and eliminating this hopelessness and not just the people who fall prey to it. And finally, it is the innocent, unsuspecting people who go about their lives and get killed when this man’s hopelessness seeps through bullets and bomb explosions.

  17. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:51 pm

    The quote is by Aditi Nadkarni. She is a cancer researcher, a film reviewer and a poet; her many occupations are an odd yet fun miscellany of creative pursuits.

  18. December 15, 2008 12:59 pm

    Following this post and the comments, and I am totally with you on this Nita. Brilliant post.

    //This is not 1947!! Any problems in Kashmir are our own and Pakistan has no business to interfere. These terrorists also want to come to the “aid” of Gujarati Muslims, where is this going to end?//
    //A victim of Godhra gave an interview saying all he wanted was to fight it through the courts, get the perpretrators to justice, he was a broken man after the riots. He was horrified by killers using his story to kill more innocents.//

    Well said 🙂

    Thank you IHM. It’s time people realised that international borders needs to be respected. – Nita.

  19. December 15, 2008 1:23 pm

    I agree full on war is not the solution, but we should use this opportunity to neutralise the terror camps in POK first up… POK is not Pakistan. This is time to finish the infrastructure in POK, seal your borders… put pressure on Pakistan diplomatically and force its government to act against the extremists. Let them fight amongst each other and weaken.. This Pakistan is future Afghanistan but the time has not yet come… Unfortunately we have to share a long border with them….

    If we could do all of that it would be ideal. But I have heard that it is very difficult terrain in POK, and our airforce may not be able to do the job completely. I also feel that the situation in Pakistan is going to get worse before it gets better. – Nita.

  20. December 15, 2008 1:31 pm

    bets thing to do,would be to…would be to…

    the problem is we can’t gain anything here,without giving up something..and PAK has kept it self safe by all the factors you said…this is because of the imbalance in power i guess…here it is the opposite..

    and peace talks are just a waste of about sending the peace keeping forces of UN?

    Vishesh, Pakistan is in a worse situation than us. It’s their own creation though, the creation of their successive dictators. – Nita.

  21. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 3:24 pm

    In analyzing terrorists, I see two methods taken by most, the first of which is as follows and is a popular favourite everywhere in the world, including Indians.

    The two methods answer the question – why do terrorists do what they do?

    The first method, is to not look beyond the mindset of the terrorist. It excludes any social, political or economic connections to the act of terrorism. It views terrorism as something in and of itself to be dealt with, independent of anything else. In this view, it is common to point to the faith and/or ideology of the terrorist and stop there. That is the logical end point of this approach. But people who take this approach have a problem proferring cogent explanations for the post-colonial start of Islamic terrorism while the faith has lasted well before that as well as why the majority are not affected the same way as the terrorists are.

    The second approach, a not very popular one (but something that I prefer), is to see terrorism as a result of underlying socio-economic and political conditions that gives a reason to trigger a Jihad. Here the terrorist must be given a sympathetic look (here’s where the rub lies for those opposed to it). They are to be seen as the symptom or unintended consequence of a protracted and systematic suppression of their community’s dignity. Their faith itself is left untouched. This is very popular among the muslim community itself, regardless of nationality. In this view, there is the uphill task, and arguably a weakness of this view, of explaining why many of the us-vs-them teachings of the faith do not mean what they apparently mean and also why the muslim community seems to be particularly prone to this.

  22. December 15, 2008 4:17 pm


    That is what should the only religion! 🙂 – Nita.

  23. December 15, 2008 6:15 pm

    For practical purposes, I feel war is not an option, but it should not be stated officially, since it can have some value as a diplomatic pressure.

    Hmm, you mean what the BJP did after the parliament attack I guess, moving the troops to the border to threaten war! Well, I think the situation now is more dangerous than then, because Zardari is less in control than Mush ever was. – Nita.

  24. December 15, 2008 6:19 pm

    Vinod, I will repeat an oft repeated clique, but there are other groups in India that did (and still do) have significant grievances against the staatsvolk (if there is one), but none have resorted to the kind of arbitrary violence that these people have. Naga rebels dont blow up buses in Bangalore and the original Kashmiri ‘freedom fighters’ did not conduct fidayeen attacks in Surat. Those guys had/have problems with the Indian state and the Indian army.

    Attacks like the Mumbai ones, do originate from hopelessness, but not the hopelessness of disenfrachment (btw Muslims in India do vote in large %ages) and discrimination (which is usually a denial of justice and Hindu middle class prejudice). The hopelessness here is one of being completely outgunned militarily and economically. It is the ISI that has a political objective, which is the waging of a proxy war against India. And it does this by supporting criminal and terror groups and also distributing fake currency in India !

    All this talk about India not realizing its home-grown terror problem really annoys me. Would we be arresting a colonel from our army and a Hindu sadhvi otherwise ? This is in addition to the numerous other arrests such as that of Safdar Nagori.

    “symptom or unintended consequence of a protracted and systematic suppression of their community’s dignity”.
    This sounds like something straight out of a Hindutva handbook. The Hindu extremists also talk of Hindu dignity. This is a ridiculous notion. I am lucky to have access to Indo-Islamic culture, but frankly their community today has not much to be proud of (neither does the Hindu community as a whole). Only a few communities (Christians, Malayalis, Maharashtrians) in India can legitimately be proud of their accomplishments in Republican India.

  25. December 15, 2008 6:26 pm

    Wonderful post.
    I saw many people commenting “nuke Pakistan” “Declare war” at various posts in blogosphere . But I tend to agree with Pranab Mukherjee. I will repeat what I had commented at Amit’s post few weeks ago.

    I quote from the one of the articles from The Hindu – “A private estimate made in 1990 by the Pakistan army, of the cost of a full scale conventional war with India was $300 million a day. Today the figure would probably be above $500 million.To this one would have to add the cost of infrastructure destroyed roads, bridges, airports, radar and telecommunication facilities, dams, power stations, oil refineries and offshore oil installations. All this is assuming the two countries don’t turn their bombs on cities. Overall the destructive potential of each country has increased so dramatically in the last 30 years that the minimum damage each will do to the others infrastructure would exceed Rs. 100,000 crores and could easily be twice as high.Industry will grind to a halt. Blackmarketing, inflation and massive layoffs or bankruptcies will follow. ”

    So its like while trying to smoke out the neighbor u end up burning your own house. Or rather to stop the thieves, we burn our homes. That is not the solution. To stop theft we need to lockup our homes first. We have to make our security one of the best.

    Reema, thanks. Yes, no one can afford war. So lets pray that it never happens. – Nita.

  26. wishtobeanon permalink
    December 15, 2008 7:41 pm

    Hi Nita, great analysis and I agree with you completely – war is not the solution!

    thanks. – Nita.

  27. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:08 pm

    Vikram, I have not absolved Pakistan’s ISI of its involvement in the past. My point is that even if they do all that they can, it is unrealistic to expect the terrorism to stop. Is the ISI still involved and how much is the govt of Pakistan culpable are difficult questions to answer. The govt of Pakistan is doing something about their terrorism problem, which is now a domestic problem there. How much are they doing is a value judgment that depends on the camp you belong to. It varies from doing all that they can to fully supporting a proxy war. Nobody knows where the truth lies about that. There have been some bannings, freezing of accounts and arrests of suspected terrorists and their handover to the US.

    It is incorrect to compare the muslim community with the nagas. As i’ve mentioned they have a faith based identity that does transcend national boundaries as well as a belief in a doctrine of jihad that is easily manipulated to recruit for various causes. What then remains is the logistics of providing guns, which is easily available now not only from the ISI but also from other countries.
    Remember that Afghanistan and Iraq was a dumping ground for American weapons in the not so distant past of the cold war. It’s not too difficult for guns to flow into Pakistan, given the rather porous border it shares with Afghanistan.

    Lastly, as Indians we too have our fair share of denials. It goes without saying that where military power is dominant (like Kashmir) there will invariably be human rights violations. This is true of any country. It is in the nature of military power to corrupt. With such a heavy presence in Kashmir and that too for such a long time, coupled with the strong anti-muslim sentiment, there is enough bad blood on our hands that we are so quiet about. All this is fuel for the terrorist ideology, regardless of the nationality they belong to. Calling it an ‘internal matter’ is a statement of little relevance to the jihadi groups. They do not recognize national boundaries. Their identities are not based on nations.

    I wish my statements are not taken to be justificatory of terrorism, although I realize I’m treading a thing line between exposition and justification.

    I think it is important for us to learn to be suspicious of our govt and military and what they tell us, even if it be about something in relation to Pakistan.

  28. December 15, 2008 8:19 pm

    Vinod, when you talk of “hopelessness” you’re talking about the foot soldiers, not their masters who are pulling the strings. So your theory doesn’t cover the masterminds who are not acting out of hopelessness.

    Second, if poverty and hopelessness leads to terrorism, there are a lot many poor people in this world as well as victims of injustice who haven’t resorted to blowing others up. Why?

    Third, this hopelessness is mitigated to a large extent when one believes that one is acting in the cause of One True God (TM) and if one succeeds, one will go to heavcn and get beautiful virgins.

    Fourth, there is a third approach that acknowledges both Islamic extremism as well as socio-economic factors. Neither of the two approaches you mentioned are complete, and do not explain all acts of terrorism, or actions of all terrorists – from the foot soldier to the mastermind.

    The theory you like is also popular in India because of vote-bank politics, but of course, that’s something the theorists won’t acknowledge.

  29. December 15, 2008 8:39 pm

    Lastly, as Indians we too have our fair share of denials. It goes without saying that where military power is dominant (like Kashmir) there will invariably be human rights violations. This is true of any country. It is in the nature of military power to corrupt. With such a heavy presence in Kashmir and that too for such a long time, coupled with the strong anti-muslim sentiment, there is enough bad blood on our hands that we are so quiet about.

    Vinod, India has a number of NGOs, human rights organizations and human rights activists – all very vocal as well as powerful. So I’m not sure where you got the idea that we are quiet about it. After all, you are mentioning these military excesses which implies there is a framework and a media which has the freedom to
    a. report on such excesses, and
    b. have a discussion on them.
    So what exactly do you mean when you say “India’s denials”? Is there a popular and mainstream opinion in India that says our society is the best, we have a wonderful and quick judiciary and honest cops? I read plenty in the newspapers and blogs that says anything but. Would you like to explain what denial and who’s denying it?

    I’m not sure we are at a stage where we can have ZERO excesses, or ZERO injustices in our society – and I don’t think it’s possible, given human nature. So, the next best option is to provide recourse and recompense to those who are treated in an unjust manner and try to remove systemic causes of such injustices, and this is where India can improve – but still, we do have a judicial and constitutional framework that provides those rights to citizens. Minimizing injustices is a journey, IMO, and not a destination.

    And yes, when you mention all these distractions, it does come across as justifying the actions of terrorists, a “we deserved it” mentality. India’s faults are there, but I’m not sure that you can show a causal link between those faults and the Mumbai attack which also targeted and killed Jews.

  30. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:49 pm

    Vinod, when you talk of “hopelessness” you’re talking about the foot soldiers, not their masters who are pulling the strings. So your theory doesn’t cover the masterminds who are not acting out of hopelessness.

    I admit, it covers only the foot soldiers. But there is also the difficult question – how autonomous are these foot soldiers now? Can they not act independent of their (former) masters? Can they not find new masters in the muslim world? Also, how many masterminds are actually there? Is it just the ISI? If there are more, for how many of those is the govt of Pakistan responsible for?

    You see, the issue is quite complex than the simplistic nationalistic rhetoric suggests.

    I think I have addressed your second and third point in my earlier posts.

    The theory you like is also popular in India because of vote-bank politics, but of course, that’s something the theorists won’t acknowledge.

    I admit it has vote-bank appeal.

    By mentioning the theories, it is only my intent to show that the two sides are not talking enough to get to the truth of the matter. The diversity of views is necessary to check our assumptions before we talk of a plan of action.

  31. wishtobeanon permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:55 pm

    Vinod’s statement – “Lastly, as Indians we too have our fair share of denials. It goes without saying that where military power is dominant (like Kashmir) there will invariably be human rights violations. This is true of any country. It is in the nature of military power to corrupt.” – is right.
    We need serious reforms in our Army and Police. I wonder if the armed forces’ are held accountable for their torture of innocent individuals? My guess is they are not.

    wishtobeanon, sure, India has its problems but we don’t need pakistan to interfere. I know Vinod has mentioned that Muslims (extremists amongst them) tend to not respect international borders, but well, respecting international borders is what our civilisation is all about. Those who don’t are law-breakers. If not respecting international borders is accepted, then the civilized word as we know it will disappear. – Nita.

  32. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:11 pm

    Amit, may I suggest this –

    It’s painful to read these reports, not least because of the small print. But pls take the time for it.

  33. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:15 pm

    I wonder if the armed forces’ are held accountable for their torture of innocent individuals? My guess is they are not.

    The pragmatic approach is to minimize the use of armed forces and resolve issues quickly.

    I have been wanting to ask this question, particular to hear from Shefaly.

    Perhaps the issue faced by India and Pakistan can be compared to the historical issue faced by the UK with its Catholic Irish population. Perhaps there are lessons there for India to take. I am often impressed with the pragmatism of the Brits. Shefaly, any thoughts?

  34. Vinod permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:33 pm

    India’s faults are there, but I’m not sure that you can show a causal link between those faults and the Mumbai attack which also targeted and killed Jews.

    Well, generally speaking, an examination of the justifications given by terrorist groups shows that it is not a case of a mind of a madman but of someone who does have a thinking mind. He does have clear statements of facts of injustice to point to. He is also likely to have a family (wife and kids) that supports him. That doesn’t sound like a madman to me. Whether the overall story of the terrorist about who is responsible for it has any credibility is a separate discussion. But the fact that he has such facts to substantiate his actions (besides his ideology) is something for us to think about. Our dismissive attitude to what the terrorists say may not be helping us get to a resolution.

    sorry to butt in to your conversation Vinod, but in my opinion, it’s just the opposite. It is precisely because people do not dismiss them, but give importance to idealogy and reasons that there is no resolution. These people need to be treated for what they are – criminals. So-called freedom fighters do not approve of their killings because true freedom fighters fight the state as Amit said, they do not gun down little babies. At vt station, a woman screamed and tried to run, but Kasav turned and shot her and then he shot the baby in her arms. It’s time that we do not call these inhuman cruel people freedom fighters. As long as people do, these sick killers will proliferate, like a disease. – Nita.

    • December 15, 2008 9:57 pm

      Odzer, In case of war, we in Mumbai too could go up in a puff of smoke. 😦 But when it comes to terror, it is global movement and something needs to be done. It is believed that these people are creating trouble in Britain too. They will create trouble whereever they can.

      Sunny, I have interacted with Pakistanis some years ago, for a brief while. They were educated but all of them used to go on about Indian excesses in Kashmir, but completely in denial about the massive ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus, the massive atrocities of the local Hindus, the human rights abuses by the terrorists. So, I was left with the feeling that the Pakistanis saw only one side. Or perhaps they believed that Kashmiri Hindus needed to be kicked out of Kashmir, I don’t know. I always avoided asking.

      Nimmy, thanks. I do not believe that this terrorism is related to the idealogy of Islam. If it was so, then all Muslim countries would be like that or at most, most Muslims. Neither is the case. A group of criminals have hijacked the cause of Jihad and they want to infect everyone with their poison. No fight against injustice is ever won with more injustice. But criminals don’t want justice. They want an empire.

      Vinod, I found one link in which Kashmiri separatists have condemned the terror attacks, here. Another link is an interview with Kashmir’s veteran separatist leader Maulana Abbas Ansari. he says that “I know for sure that those responsible for these ghastly terror attacks are not keen to see these two nuclear armed neighbours come together to resolve the issue of Kashmir. The Mumbai attackers could be anyone: those who can’t see us live in peace. The people involved in these incidents could not be the friends.” The link is here. Another link is about a story in the Kashmir Times about how Kashmir is bleeding from the Mumbai attacks. The article says: “Expressing strong outrage and indignation over the terror attacks in Mumbai, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and injuring others, various pro-movement political organizations have termed these as highly condemnable inhuman acts.
      Condemning the attacks, the Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ Liberation League chief spokesman Muhammad Qasim said those involved in these heinous acts were enemies of humanity and religion.” Another leader: “The incarcerated senior leader of Hurriyat Conference (M) and chairman Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement (JKSM) Zaffar Akbar Bhat, while condemning the attacks, termed them as unpardonable crime against humanity.” The link is here . The Kashmir separatists themselves are not being fooled by the ISI propaganda, but it looks like the ISI is influencing some people.
      Do remember that perpretrators of the terror attacks are no friends of Kashmir or Kashmiris. This issue has nothing to do with Kashmir or separation of Kashmir. It is a bogey. A red flag, but a red flag of the kind which only Pakistanis may fall for. No one in India or the world believes it.

  35. December 15, 2008 10:06 pm

    Thanks for this eye-opener post Nita.

    I can see, I’ve read and thought about all the steps can and need to be taken by our govt agencies/forces. It is so frustrating that the solutions are apparent, yet without cooperation from domestic agencies and international allies, it seems impossible.

    I also agree with Reema – we need to keep our borders and country safe, within our walls by strengthening our internal precautionary methods.

  36. December 15, 2008 10:35 pm

    Vinod, by giving me a link to hrw, you are contradicting your own theory that there is denial and that we are quiet about what’s happening in India.

    You seem to be adopting a “we deserve it” and a fatalistic mentality (karma?) which I don’t agree with and find quite idiotic, to be frank.

    Nita has addressed it in her comment above. Let’s not glorify terrorists and their actions. Injustices and grievances are a part of any society – mere presence of an unjust act or a valid grievance does not mean we let terrorists come and kill innocent people, or justify their actions.

  37. December 15, 2008 10:53 pm

    Our dismissive attitude to what the terrorists say may not be helping us get to a resolution.

    Vinod, there you go again. Who exactly is dismissing the injustices that happen in India? You haven’t really given a straight answer here, and are using a generic and fuzzy “we.”

    LeT’s objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to “liberate” Muslims residing in Indian administered Kashmir. You probably went through the links that Nita provided – that those in Kashmir do not think terrorists speak for them.

    Why do you think India should sit down and talk to them? What kind of resolution will that achieve – the finer points of Islamic state and how to implement it?

  38. December 15, 2008 10:57 pm

    The diversity of views is necessary to check our assumptions before we talk of a plan of action.

    Not necessarily a diversity of views, but only those views that are valid and supported by facts.

  39. December 15, 2008 11:16 pm

    Well, you have some identity assumptions in there which may not apply to muslim populations. It is realistic to approach the matter by considering that faith based identities do transcend national boundaries.

    Hmmm…does that mean Indian Hindus have a legitimate claim to take Pakistan and B’desh to task and indulge in terrorist activities there for what has been done to Hindus in those two countries? According to your theory, if Indian Hindus indulged in some violence in the neighboring countries, their actions would be justified and legitimate, since their grievances are valid and fact-based. 🙂

    After all, vasudhaiva kutumbakam doesn’t recognize any national boundaries. 😀

  40. December 16, 2008 7:36 am

    I was glad to hear from you, Nita.

    What an amazing amount of research you’ve done here. It’s such a delicate, complicated situation, with everyone on tenterhooks. I hope through diplomacy a war can be avoided. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

    Stay safe!

  41. Vinod permalink
    December 16, 2008 10:42 am

    Nita, there’s food for thought there for me. Thanks for those links and thanks for taking the effort to see the essence of what I’m saying and responding to that.

    Amit, I’m afraid you’re not getting me and that’s probably because of my slipshod writing that has not done a good job of treading that thin line.

  42. Vinod permalink
    December 16, 2008 12:35 pm

    Nita, I’ve gone through those links and I must say they were quite an eye-opener for me. It seriously casts doubts on claims that the Kashmir issue is linked with terrorism. The only question lingering in my mind is whether the APHC is still the true representative of the Kashmiris or whether that representation is now with the Pakistan-based jihadi outfits. If it is the latter then the link with the Kashmir issue and terror attacks still hold. Would you have something to answer that question, Nita?

    Vinod, I don’t think we need be concerned with political outfits in another country representating Indians. The Kashmiri Indians don’t think so and that is what matters. Tomorrow Al Qaeda might say they are fighting for the Kashmiri cause, but anyone can say anything, it doesn’t have meaning until the ordinary kashmiris support it. And from the election turnout (hope you are following that news) in Kashmir it is clear that the ordinary kashmiri are defying even the Indian separatists, some of whom had given a call to boycott elections. Don’t you see why the terrrorists from foreign countries have become more active? If there was enough support by the locals there would be no need for them at all. In fact one of the reasons why the separatists in Kashmir (Indian ones) have become milder now is because they have sensed a change in the mood of the ordinary people. The kashmiris are fed up with militancy and want peace, this is the feeling for some years now. That means the business of LeT and Al Qaeda will end (they collect millions in the name of “jihad”) and they don’t want that. They want to keep the issue burning. But again, I have diverted from the main point, so please don’t question me on whether kashmiris really want independence because there are other blogs who have done more research on the subject and maybe one day I too will write a post on that. 🙂 – Nita.

    – Nita

  43. Dnyanesh permalink
    December 16, 2008 1:20 pm

    I think we should spend money on improving internal security first. Our police force needs an urgent upgrade. Our judiciary needs upgrade too. Common man has little faith in these systems. That needs to be improved. Strict laws are needed to punish terrorists. We need to seal our borders, improve coast gaurd, improve technical capabilities. Israel is a very good example to follow in this regard.

    Regarding Pakistan, it will be a waste of money, time and energy to attack state which is already failed. There will be a total chaos if we attack and there is a risk of falling nukes in the hands of wrong people. We can go back to Pakistan once our internal security improves. Pressurizing Pakistan through UN should be enough.

  44. Vinod permalink
    December 16, 2008 2:11 pm

    Nita, this link gives a small sample of the views on the Mumbai attacks on the two sides of the LoC. It is remarkable that they do not buy the Indian govt’s line hook, line and sinker, unlike the rest of India. Notice also that the scepticism of the Indian govt is far stronger on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.

    vinod, the fbi, scotland yard etc have been shown the evidence. the un security council is not an idiot to ban the outfit for nothing either. there are dead bodies, satellite phones, telephone intercepts, confession too. the pak media has also gone to kasav’s village and talked to his father. please don’t say an offensive thing like our “govt.’s line” when hard evidence is accpeted by the world. i have seen worse links, in fact i have seen links where even today people believe that the twin towers in america were blown up by the americans themselves. we don’t need to give any credence to such views. – nita

  45. Vinod permalink
    December 16, 2008 6:20 pm

    Nita, just want to say thanks for going out of your way to make me understand. Sorry that I’m a little slow on these matters. But I do appreciate that you are investing a lot to help me here.

  46. December 16, 2008 7:59 pm

    Once again a long and wonderful discussion here. Going for war will be disaster. the things written by George Friedman were really so well analyzed.

    I think we must take a firm stand and pressurize Pakistan for some time (say a month or so) along with US, UK and other military economic powers, and then at least open up free trade. It is important that walls between the countries should go down (for our benefit). It’s important that we opt for free trade, and ensure all our companies, brands and products rule there. This will create jobs there, convince people the importance of education and population control, i.e. make pakistan a progressive democratic state. If they take sufficient actions against these outfits, lets give them a place in WTO. The Pakistani singers, movies, and cricketers coming here is imp. If we stop that, there will be a big hostility between the citizens of Pakistan and the citizens of India.

    Consider the classic example of China and Taiwan. Since the time they are engaged in free trade, their hostility has reduced. In 2003-4 elections in Taiwan, the party assuring more electronic component companies coming from China won, and the party supporting continued hostility towards China lost! Motherboards won over motherlands!!

    Reportedly, no two countries ever engaged in free trade ever had a war. No two countries with McDonald’s have ever had a war. In a globalized world, this is the solution: To imperialise Pakistan with all our companies, brands and products. That will make our companies and our economy richer as well! But, above all that creates a harmony between the citizens of the two countries.

    All this, after a span of a few months. Right now, pressurize but do not hit. Fingers crossed…

  47. December 16, 2008 8:06 pm

    Nita, I totally agree.. War is just not an option.. It might just play into the hands of the terrorists. However, India should continue campaiging on diplomatic lines. And of foremost inportance is to ensure that we ramp up our security forces, modernise our police force, improve the workings of the intelligence, have a crisis management strategy/cell for every important city – basically do what we can to stop such attacks happenning..

  48. Anonymous permalink
    December 16, 2008 8:37 pm

    Apart from the responses that you have given, we need to take some internal actions. I am giving below some of these to stall future terrorist attacks:
    a.Accountability. Hold all persons responsible for the lapses in 26/11, e.g. National Security Advisor, the PMO, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, etc. and take action against them. It is not sufficient to sack only the politicians; the bureaucracy is also responsible.
    b. Also question why the Taj and the Oberoi did not have basic security systems working, e. g. CCTV.
    c. Mobilise public opinion for electoral reforms, e.g. negative voting and the right to recall a public representative.
    Your piece is excellent and I compliment you for such a fine analysis of the Stratfor assessment.

  49. December 17, 2008 12:01 am

    Amit, I’m afraid you’re not getting me and that’s probably because of my slipshod writing that has not done a good job of treading that thin line.

    Vinod, that’s what a blog is for – to discuss and clarify what we mean, and to explore and make explicit the implicit assumptions we have in our arguments. Please feel free to explain your approach in more detail. 🙂

  50. December 17, 2008 12:09 am

    I guess we should suspend the gas pipeline plans. In future incase there is a war like situation, our pipe lines could be destroyed by militants or the forces themselves.

  51. December 17, 2008 12:28 am

    i dont know what to say.. i read the post 2-3 days before but off late i have been feeling low ( blogging syndrome is raging) and this time i dont have any opinion
    i will take some time to come over it and have my opinion ready 🙂

  52. December 17, 2008 2:33 am

    Hi Nita,

    Apologies for hogging the space. There is an award waiting for you here 🙂

  53. Vinod permalink
    December 17, 2008 8:19 am

    Amit, with the hope of having a fruitful discussion with you, I’ll try to explain a bit more carefully this time with the right tone and I hope Nita will not object that I’m using her blog like this –

    With Kashmir being a disputed territory right from the day it was made, it is not inconceivable that Kashmiris may have many among them that would want to be independent or merge with Pakistan. With the meddling of the two countries in Kashmir, often at the expense of the Kashmiri aspirations, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kashmiris, even if only a section of them, support militant groups from Pakistan to overthrow the current military rule of India over it. India’s human rights violations there would give the jihadi idealogues a reason to recruit and make terrorist attacks on India. We may cry foul about a lot of things in that – they are killing innocents, they are messing with India’s internal issues, Pakistan is waging a proxy war against India and so on. They are all true, no doubt. The terrorist act itself is inhuman. But there remains a factual causal connection (and not a moral one) between the situation in Kashmir and the recurrence of terrorist attacks. When I say ‘not a moral connection’, I mean we do not deserve the attacks but that there may be a drip/leak in the chain of causal connections that we are not addressing. The human rights violations are a moral wrong in themselves, but they do not morally legitimize the terrorist attacks. And perhaps the ultimate solution may lie with solving the Kashmir issue and not merely by govt action against terrorist organizations.
    Terrorism, I believe, is not rooted in mere ideology. It is partly rooted in the oppression on the ground. As long as that state of affairs continue, terrorist groups are going to continue to recruit and regroup. It doesn’t matter how many you arrest and ban or kill. The reason we have difficulty acknowledging the connection is that
    (i) most of us operate with national identities, whereas terrorists operate with faith-based identities.
    (ii) we have a strong polarity in our position on Kashmir and do not see it as a disputed territory like the way the international community does.
    (iii) Terrorism does not require majority support. It requires a disgruntled and impoverished population subjected to iron-hand suppression and terrorists will find just enough sympathisers to keep going. That is the nature of terrorism. To treat it as mere street gangs with an ideology is to underestimate it.

    Lastly, there are hundred of flaws in the logic of terrorists at so many levels. We needn’t buy that but we can still see the factual connection without buying all that.

    I hope this time, I made my case more carefully without implicating India.

  54. December 17, 2008 9:23 am

    hi Nita
    it is so nice to see the voice of reason vis-a-vis our neighbors.
    i have another point to add – when we look at the Peace process in Punjab, we look at K.P.S.Gill crushing Khalistani terrorists. But, we forget that the Government of India and Punjab had gone in with a massive employment packages, to get people – especially young men back to work.
    Underlying this entire tragedy is poverty, time on hands, and a general sense of resentment that the system does not work for them. Kasab agreed to kill people for Rs.3 lakhs.

    Armed response should always be an option Governments keep in reserve to protect their citizens. And, there is a lot that a Government can do to avert armed conflict.

    But, a wise system also looks at reataining and bringing back these people into the system. – and there is no better redemption than economics 🙂

    • December 17, 2008 11:44 am

      Kiran, thanks. Yes the situation is frustrating and that is why it is going to be very difficult for all of us to heal.

      Christine, thanks. As you said if there is a war, the terrorists win! Violence is what they live by.

      Dnyanesh, agreed, a waste of our energy to attack, but when it comes to barking, we have to keep on 😦

      Vinod, you are very polite and gentle, and I appreciate very much that you take the time to read and comment. It is a pleasure to answer your comments, but at times it gets a little difficult so don’t mind when I don’t.

      ameyawaghmare, thats really the ideal solution. it is clear that the violent elements in Pakistan do not want development.

      smitha, I think our diplomacy has improved to some extent as compared to the situation a few years ago and to improve it further is our only hope.

      Anonymous, yes ofcourse accountability is critical otherwsie the same mistakes will happen again and again. It does seem from what I have been reading that the Navy did not act on the Intelligence provided. Also mobilising public opinion is very important and in my own little way I try to do it.

      xylene, the militants will destroy what’s most valuable…or iconic. What is worrying is the bandra worli sea link that is coming up and is supposed to the landmark of Mumbai. Already the state govt. has realised it, and massive security arrangements are being planned. what a say way to live, but this is how it will be as long as the brigands who seek to destroy are allowed to flourish.

      Arpit, thanks for reading. 🙂

      Harini, thanks. yes there needs to be a multi-pronged approach.

  55. Sanjeev permalink
    December 17, 2008 2:08 pm

    we have always been the soft approach on un social element ,let us start crack down to the earth & erase the map of terrorist territory from map of the world

  56. December 17, 2008 10:52 pm


    Instead of replying to your points, I’ll direct you to this post by your namesake, as it explains a lot:

  57. Vinod permalink
    December 18, 2008 6:56 am

    Hi Amit

    Read through that, and principally, there is nothing to disagree. I may have played down and even ignored the role of the ideology in fuelling terrorism in my posts. So, I’ll make it clear now that addressing the ideology is part of the solution. But my emphasis in my comments is that ideology only provides one limb to terrorism. State-sponsored suppression of a populace provides the second limb to that. Both of these take time to deal with. But the realization in India is long overdue, that there is a link between the state of affairs in Kashmir and terrorism that goes beyond Pakistan’s support of terrorism.

  58. fawad permalink
    December 18, 2008 4:12 pm

    The people who really wants to see the reality must visit this site.It is not done by ISI as all indians think.This report is of Human Rights Watch an independent NGO.

    so I just ask you people to be realistic and always face the reality. A Muslim is a human being too as you all hindus are .You people forget the Narinder modi? who killed hundreds of Muslims in Gujrat.He is still not arrested and sitting on a reputable post in your Government.

    Please be human.


    Fawad Malik

  59. December 18, 2008 11:06 pm

    A full scale war will cripple both the countries. It is only through pressure that the situation can be controlled. Although, the way the Pakistani PM was acting today by eating his own words, I have very small hope left.
    I was amazed to know that they still want some evidence. Is being anti-India and making our lives miserable becoming a full scale hobby for these people?
    I am not anti Islam or anti Pakistan but there should be a dignified expression of shame when you are caught red handed.

  60. December 19, 2008 1:04 am

    But the realization in India is long overdue, that there is a link between the state of affairs in Kashmir and terrorism that goes beyond Pakistan’s support of terrorism.

    Vinod, that’s why I’d mentioned a third approach in an earlier comment. 🙂

    And yes, Kashmir does play some part. However.

    Regarding Kashmir, one of the ideas of India is secularism – however imperfect, but still enshrined in the constitution – where people of different religions can live and practice their faith. If you check some of the Amnesty International reports (don’t know if HRW has similar reports) on the treatment of non-Muslim religious minorities in our neighboring countries and especially Pakistan, you’ll find many state-condoned abuses against minorities, including Ahmadiyas. (And yes, India had violence in Gujarat and Orissa etc., so I’m not ignoring or condoning those acts.)

    So why should India knowingly consign non-Muslim Kashmiris to such a fate which would surely follow if Kashmir were to become a Muslim-majority independent state, or join Pakistan? You’re ignoring that Muslims are not the only people living in Kashmir. Or are you proposing another migration from Kashmir a la 1947, to add to many Kashmiri Hindus who have already been driven out from their homes and had their family members killed by terrorists? Does India have no responsibility towards Kashmiri Hindus and Buddhists? They also have human rights.

    I know I’ve raised more questions, but I don’t know of any easy answers or solutions to the Kashmir issue.

  61. Vinod permalink
    December 19, 2008 2:18 am

    Vinod, that’s why I’d mentioned a third approach in an earlier comment.

    I’m sorry I missed that.

    state-condoned abuses against minorities, including Ahmadiyas. (And yes, India had violence in Gujarat and Orissa etc., so I’m not ignoring or condoning those acts.)

    Amit, I’m going to say something that may sound like as if I’m changing goal posts now. But the truth is the more I think about this, the more I have to refine my ideas. So, here goes –

    First, just to reiterate – Terrorism, like any other crime, should be analyzed wearing the hat of a criminologist and psychologist. One should get into the mind of a terrorist and see why he does what he does. Law enforcement alone does not solve a problem of crime that has become chronic. Every terrorist justification has ideology combined with an ongoing injustice on the ground. Here’s where I haven’t been able to adequately address what Vikram raised about Nagas. Why don’t we see Nagas engaging in terrorism?

    I believe that the answer lies in the distinctive qualitative level of suffering of a population that is subjected to a military rule, that is a pre-requisite for terrorism. Is it just a coincidence that the countries that was and are victims of terrorism are those whose militaries are involved in occupation-like activities over another population/community? When India sent forces to assist SriLanka against what the SriLankan govt had merely characterized as “rebels”, India quickly got a whiff of terrorism from Sri Lankans (the LTTE, who are under a the direct effect of a similar military presence as Kashmiris are). US, Israel, Spain and UK experienced terrorism as it meddled (US is most guilty of this) with Middle Eastern countries, thwarting the legitimate expression of their populations repeatedly and sent their military to (mis)govern over them. You will not fail to notice that with the withdrawal of Spain from Iraq terrorism in Spain will/has stop(ped). When UK let the Catholics have their state (Republic of Ireland) and withdrew its heavy police presence there, it too stopped being the victim of terrorist actitivies. Is the US really safer now against the threat of terrorism after all its military action? In the case of the Nagas I will venture to say that if India’s heavy handedness with them increases and its diplomacy, development work and negotiations fail, it would come as no surprise if Nagas too take up terrorism. Military action over a population is a sure sign. Anything short of that, I cannot be certain, but it will be risking it.

    So why should India knowingly consign non-Muslim Kashmiris to such a fate which would surely follow if Kashmir were to become a Muslim-majority independent state, or join Pakistan?

    That is a valid concern and my answer is not going to be very satisfying. In fact, it is going to be very disappointing. But I hope you will see the merit in it, nonetheless.

    Even in the worst case scenario, where the muslim state of Kashmir engages in severely discriminating its non-muslim population, it has to be treated with diplomatic and economic pressure, negotiations on that muslim state and supporting its democratic institutions . I believe that what India’s military presence does there is more damaging in the long run to all Kashmiris, Hindus and Muslims alike than in granting a self-expression to Kashmiris and letting them govern according to the results of that. Note that, Kashmir has always been a muslim majority state. At whatever stage they had chosen to go independent, whether at partition or now, they would still be a muslim state. The emmigration of the Hindus there has not been such as to change the essential demographic character – the majority muslim feature – of Kashmir. This may sound cold and distant, I know. But I believe that is the pragmatic half-way house solution to the matter. Also, above secularism we should believe in democracy to work. We can see that Kashmiris are more and more willing to believe in democracy with their participation in elections. We have to therefore believe (make sure that when withdrawing our military there is sufficient arrangement made for that) that if Kashmir self-governs, their institutions of democracy will stand firm (unlike Pakistan) and democracy will find a way to resolve such inequities as discrimination of a minority community. We too believe that through democracy and good governance, we will in due course of time adequately address all inequities suffered by any community in India.

  62. Vinod permalink
    December 19, 2008 3:05 am

    One last bit, remember that secularism got enshrined much later in our constitution. The absence of that did not preclude us from becoming a democratic state. I believe secularism need not be a natural outcome of a thriving democracy. But that is for another discussion 🙂

  63. December 19, 2008 5:51 am


    I’ll copy-and-paste Nita’s response from above:

    “Vinod, I don’t think we need be concerned with political outfits in another country representating Indians. The Kashmiri Indians don’t think so and that is what matters. Tomorrow Al Qaeda might say they are fighting for the Kashmiri cause, but anyone can say anything, it doesn’t have meaning until the ordinary kashmiris support it.”
    (emphasis mine)

    Let’s just call it quits, because otherwise, we’ll be flogging a dead horse till the cows come home. 🙂
    It’s OK to have different perspectives on an issue.

  64. Vinod permalink
    December 19, 2008 8:58 am

    Thanks for the friendly exchange, Amit.

  65. Vinod permalink
    December 19, 2008 11:03 am

    Amit, my one last bit on this, for your consideration –

  66. December 20, 2008 10:42 am

    Vinod, thanks. But there’s no end to such intellectual debate (because each perspective has some validity) – I could forward you a link to what Salman Rushdie had to say about Mumbai attacks, or criticism of Arundhati Roy’s crappy piece in Guardian that’s doing the rounds. Then you’d send a link to me in response, and the dead horse will die a second death because of all the flogging. 🙂

  67. rightWriter permalink
    December 21, 2008 11:52 pm

    rest assured, no action will be taken against Pakistan.

    Congress is to busy pandering to its muslim votebank.

  68. Vinod permalink
    December 23, 2008 7:29 pm

    This is interesting –

  69. Vinod permalink
    December 23, 2008 8:02 pm

    Amit, Nita – you may like the Ambassador’s talk.

  70. nehru mantri permalink
    December 24, 2008 10:44 am


    After watching the Ambassador transfer all his new wine into that old bottle that is his nation, it would be wise to also have a look at the link below that originates from the same source. The Ambassador had to be good, else he wouldn’t have taught at the Boston Univ. While mentioning the elitism existent among the Pak literates he seems smug about himself but his choice of words betray his integrity on the issue and appears as though he is talking about a country that is not his. It is more like a professor’s detached lecture (The groups have to come together…..The Army has to comply…). It takes a real special person like the uncanny Haqqani to acquire the skills to be a diplomat with 3 or so regimes and skillfully prognosticate with not a hint of remorse on previous failures in which he was a player as well. But of course, this time it is for real (main kal se peena chod doonga). He is repeating the same old tune ….”the USA and the world can ill afford Pakistan to become a failed state since it will only come back to haunt them”. So……MONEY will certainly help. I certainly resent the way Indians give away their lack of sophistication and display the utter rustic pathetic wet dog look and sad face when we go begging. Haqqani has panache. Is it my thinking or could it be that we are a bit conscientious. Regan to Bush I and II were the willing cows for the paks to milk. The answer for the lack of progress is always the same “how can you expect development when we have had to fight the elements so long”. So………MORE MONEY!!!! The following link was very illustrative as to how Pakistan really functions in addition to reading between Haqqani’s well regurgitated cud.

  71. nehru mantri permalink
    December 24, 2008 2:00 pm


    Or pouring his old wine in a new bottle……I must be drunk but you get the picture. The point is this. As Rushdie says Kashmir and Iraq are just excuses. Rifles will not become plough shares once that mission is accomplished. Kashmir was not an issue in ’47. If it was, Pak would have descended like the swarm of Arabs who tore into the newly declared state of Israel. On the contrary it is a perception of the weakness of India emboldened by the support and provocation of our neighbor that the delayed process of land grab is given various shades of color as and when it is required. But there is a certain justice here. Pakistan cannot in the same breath hold on to the northern territories that want to align with Afghanistan or deny the sindhis who demand separation. The proof of the pudding is what you should be looking at. From the north western tip of Africa to SE Asia along the muslim path only one thing stands out. Savagery leading to subjugation. They are pretty cavalier about the red that lies below the green on display.

  72. nehru mantri permalink
    December 24, 2008 10:58 pm


    I had a chance to peruse most of your above posts here. Your philosophy will only aid in making our grave deeper and wider to the delight of our muslim brethren who must be shedding a lot of hair from irresistible imploding mirth. You are asking for compassion to a jehadi’s viewpoint. The onus to create that credibility rests on the jehadi. Would you negotiate your savings with a bank with the knowledge that it is going broke. The corpse of Afghanistan is still warm in that aspect. 7 or 8 factions all armed to the teeth fighting the Russians but importantly fighting each other viciously at the same time. Yes, many muslims are respectful fun and people you like to befriend. But you do that with the knowledge that it is a one way street that ends in a cul de sac where your own ideas end. You want to share democracy since you know it. He on the other hand abhors it and is smug with the totalitarian desserts his tribe have dished out since the middle ages. Watch”Lawrence of Arabia”. It was Afghanistan before Afghanistan. What has Bradford got to do with Iraq? You would assume that Muslims given the opportunity that were seemingly denied would rise above the bickering. Instead turning the place into a slum, inciting violence and professing allegiance to Pakistan and blaming the events in Iraq as the cause hardly bestows that benign nobility they like to be associated with. Oft circulated is the concept of Kashmir as the head to severe to easily access the body. Kashmir is just the beginning and the proponents of the theory many of whom are in Pakistan are aware that Pakistan may die in the process but in the end it would be part of a greater entity (w/Ind, Pak BD) which they assume is what destiny rightly owes them. You have not taken the opinion from the security forces point of view on their modus operandi. It is not different from what happened in any civil or other wars like Vietnam or now in Iraq. You interact with the police or army in any way even as their informant and you will end up as a target of their scrutiny. That is how security is supposed to work anywhere. Bush did not kill Iraqis other than necessary to overcome Saddam’s army. Iraqis looted, destroyed their own infrastructure and then set about the cycle of avenge upon revenge. They had all the means to build a second Germany but they chose not to.

  73. vasudev permalink
    December 26, 2008 11:24 pm

    the war rhetoric comes only when there is looming unemployment…one rhetoric balances another. and so, may it remain only a sabre rattling excercise…afterall news channels and politicians need some excitement too.


  1. What if Indian "surgical strikes" fail? - Page 6 - Pakistan Defence Forum

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