If I were Prime Minister of Hindu-majority India, I would discard without delay the debilitating missionary propaganda about turning the other cheek (interestingly never followed in western Christian nations), and respond to the grave national challenges with manly valour and statesmanship. In the penumbra of the approaching Krishna Janmasthami, this would be the most appropriate message to our pusillanimous national leadership.
Security experts have observed a sharp rise in anti-India jehadi terrorism since the London blasts, when the West probably decided not to allow further attacks on its own soil. Perhaps that is why the Canada police successfully uncovered a plot to bomb that country'sParliament. And it is undeniable that the decline in terrorist attacks in the West is real, as is the grim escalation of jehadi violence in India.
Mumbai'sJuly 11 serial bomb blasts were one of modern India'sworst terrorist incidents. They followed a pattern of frightening attacks like Parliament, Raghunath temple, J&K Assembly, Akshardham, Ayodhya, Sarojini Nagar, Varanasi, Bangalore'sIndian Institute of Science, RSS HQ at Nagpur, et al. Mumbai'sblasts were expertly coordinated with serial grenade blasts in Srinagar, which killed seven Hindu pilgrims and injured 37, and are therefore believed to carry the signature of Al Qaeda or its surrogates, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) and/or Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Behind all this, of course, is the ubiquitous ISI.
Mumbai has shattered the government'sfalse complacency that Indian Muslims are not part of Al Qaeda'sglobal terrorist empire. Yet it seems unlikely that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will be permitted to take concrete action to safeguard the security of ordinary Indians; Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi made an inane call for calm and restraint and retreated into the safety of her luxurious bungalow.
What advice does one give a Prime Minister who cannot even act as Prime Minister? Dr. Manmohan Singh thought he was acting tough by blaming Pakistan for the bloodletting; but he lapsed into silence when President Musharraf rebuffed him. The postponement of foreign secretary level talks had little impact upon Pakistan because the Prime Minister made a spectacle of himself at the G-8 in Moscow, virtually begging the international community to take pity on India. They responded by condemning acts of terror, and America told him to shut up about naming pet poodle Pakistan as a terrorist state. He returned with his tail between his legs.
Pakistan constitutes an international political dateline; Dr. Manmohan Singh and strategic experts need to recognise this fact. Pakistan is a Janus-faced creation of the western world, carved out of India, to facilitate the West to monitor and control (or contain) the Gulf and parts of Africa on one hand, and India, China, South East Asia and Russia on the other. Pakistan was created by West (British) sponsored terrorism in 1947, and anyone having any doubts on this score should read the able documentation of the 1946 Great Calcutta Killing by retired police officer R.K. Ohri in Long March of Islam (Manas, 2004). It is no surprise that Indian intelligence believes that key fund-raisers for the outfit behind the Mumbai blasts function from Britain, operating behind the mask of false charities to transfer as much as eight million pounds annually to terrorist groups in Kashmir, such as LeT.
In the circumstances, it was only natural that the Prime Minister got the cold shoulder in Moscow. The western world acts as a concerted bloc in the pursuit of its strategic and economic interests, and these gel poorly with Indian national interests. Both the Indian Prime Minister and the political class as a whole, as also the Indian people, need to face up to the unpleasant truth that Pakistan is a western creation; it is kept financially afloat by western munificence; it is regularly armed by the west; and above all, it is the only Islamic country in the world that was allowed to successfully pursue and complete a nuclear weapons programme. Recall that Libya with all its oil wealth had to give up its nuclear ambitions and succumb completely to American oil companies, and witness Iran'scurrent troubles, and you will see what I mean.
The naked truth is that Pakistan was created to contain India ? it was and is a weapon of Indian destruction. Since it is wielded by the West, it is for the Indian people to shed their blinkers and assess if the West can be considered friendly to India and at what price we should be cultivating its friendship. The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi understood this aspect clearly, and sought a healthy distance from the West.
It is hardly accidental that the US ambassador to India, David Mulford, brazenly posited a link between the Mumbai attacks and Kashmir. Is this friendship? Pakistan'sForeign Minister Khurshid Kasuri was quick to link terrorism to the settlement of ?real issues.? Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment, he said: ?I think in principle we all understand that Kashmir is a key issue.? The Washington Post blamed India for the terrorism as it had failed to resolve bilateral issues like Kashmir and pressed India to show ?leadership,? by which it obviously implied giving up Kashmir or continuing to tolerate terrorism.
If Dr. Manmohan Singh wants the respect of ordinary citizens who are daily being targeted by West-armed criminals, he needs to find the guts to tell America and Britain where to get off. He needs to stop the bleeding of India. A realistic military option is to crack down on ISI bases in Bangladesh and the eastern border, either on the lines of the joint cooperation that Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee secured from Burma, or a solo Indian operation. Indeed, such an action should have been initiated in Nepal while the king was still in-charge.
In my view, the time for action on the western front will come later. A better strategy is to pull out the ISI-Pakistani sleepers and moles, along all borders and in the inner cities of India. Another concrete step is to crack down on overseas funding to terror groups and a complete ban on madrassas along the borders. Finally, the Prime Minister should stop looking over his shoulder for western sanction and approval for doing what is his duty as the leader of the Indian people. India needs to face up to the hard reality that an enemy'sfriend is no friend.
(The writer is a senior journalist and columnist.)