UPA Govern-ment'sfailure to blame Pakistan directly for involvement in the Mumbai terror attack doesn'tundermine the irrefutable evidence available that show that the crime was perpetrated by elements based in Pakistan and supported by state agencies. By now, it is well established that all the 10 terrorists involved in Mumbai terror attack were/are Pakistani citizens and were trained and armed in that country. Further, there is clinching evidence to show that the attackers travelled by sea from Karachi in a Pakistani boat, that the terrorists were constantly in touch with their handlers based in Pakistan, that the satellite phone recovered from the Indian boat they had hijacked recorded conversations with persons based in Pakistani soil and that the lone terrorist captured by the Mumbai police alive?Ajmal Kasab?is singing and has revealed a lot about the terror module and its handlers. Pakistan'sfamous newspaper, Dawn, carried a report based on interview on a hidden camera with Amir Kasab, father of Ajmal, that his son was indeed a Pakistani and that he had visited his home village a few months ago to seek his mother'sblessings for his ?jehadi mission?. Earlier, an enterprising correspondent of a British newspaper had reported that the name of the father-son duo figured on the voters? list of the village. More evidence is surfacing on daily basis to show that the terror was indeed exported by Pakistan. Of course, there are indications that there was a lot of local support that remains to be identified and brought to justice.
Islamabad'sclaim that those involved in the terror attack were ?non-state actors? in totally unacceptable. Magnitude of the logistic support needed for an operation like 26/11, strategic experts point out, requires a lot of state support. Col. (retd.) Anil Authale, a reputed strategic expert, says it would have been hard even for a professional navy to launch a sea borne assault more than 500 nautical miles from its base. The manner in which the terrorists operated during the 59-hour battle with our security forces show that they might be trained commandos in the guise of gunmen. There are clear indications that the ISI that functions directly under the army was involved in the attack. It is no secret that a serving Lt. General is the Director General of the ISI?the notorious intelligence agency that is behind the proxy war Pakistan is waging against India. The civilian government'sfeeble attempt in the recent past to bring ISI under the Home Ministry was frustrated by the all powerful army. It is indeed a rogue army if one were to go by its track record. For most part of its sixty years? existence as a country, Pakistan was ruled by the army dictators who staged coups to overthrow democratically elected governments. It is the same army that was held responsible for massacring three lakh Bangladeshis during the run up to the 1971 Bangladesh war as per the findings of the Hamindur Rehman Commission appointed by the Pakistani Government. However, that doesn'tentitle the civilian government to pretend that the terror attack was the handiwork of non-state actors. If the elected government can'tprevent the army from undertaking covert attacks on our country, we will have to do that job through coercive diplomacy and covert operations.
Under pressure from India and international community, Pakistan has arrested or put under house arrest certain notorious terrorists wanted by India, sealing some offices of banned outfits and freezing their bank accounts. These actions lack sincerity of purpose. New Delhi has gone on record to say that the terror leaders whom Pakistan claimed had been arrested were seen on TV channels a couple of hours later spreading hatred against India and threatening to demolish the Indian state. Past experience show that terror outfits banned by UNSC under international law bounce back within days to operate under new names while Pakistani Government looks the other way. These cosmetic actions are no way to deal with blood-thirsty terrorists. It is all a farce to hoodwink international community. This will not do. Many in India demanded that the government should exercise the option of ?hot chase? and attack terror training camps and military installations in Pakistan to teach the enemy a lesson. However, there are others, who know what they are talking about, don'tfavour such a course of action on the ground that it would not yield the desired results. Terror camps, they argue, can be relocated easily. Air attack on military installations and terror bases may escalate into a full-fledged war with no clear cut results. Sooner rather than later, the international community would intervene to call a cease fire. War is an option only if we get an opportunity to cripple the enemy'swar machine and capacity for mischief. USA will not let us do that, they argue.
Does that mean India is helpless and has no option? Should we continue to suffer at the hands of jehadis propped up, armed and financed by unfriendly neighbours? It was Pakistani military dictator Zia-ul-Haq who launched a proxy war against India 35 years ago to bleed India to death by a thousand cuts. Why can'tIndia pay back Pakistan in the same coin? We can, and should, provide the infrastructure to a secret agency to hit the Pakistan'ssoft belly in Sind, Balochistan and NWFP. India had such an instrument that did some hurt to the enemy in the past. But we had a Prime Minister belonging to the United Front propped up by the Congress that dismantled that infrastructure to cultivate good friendly relations with Pakistan and Bangladesh. His wooly-minded foreign policy that was taunted as a ?doctrine? by sections of ?secular? media encouraged our unfriendly neighbours to cause havoc all over the land. Mumbai experience may force the Government to resurrect the instrument but it would take several years to re-equip the agency to launch effective counter-offensives.
In a well argued speech in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Shourie, a former Union Minister and a strategic thinker of repute, urged the Government to launch covert strike across the border in collaboration with agencies specializing in counter terrorism. Brijesh Mishra, who was Vajpayee'sNational Security Adviser, says what India needs is not a federal investigating agency but a federal counter-terrorism agency. India needs to take the battle to Pakistan to cripple its capacity to cause havoc in our cities and coastline. Tackling 10 terrorists involved in the attack is not enough. The machine behind the attack needs to be smashed. Further, the Government must trace the elements that provided local support to Pakistani terrorists. Please, listen to security experts who believe that 100 to 150 persons must have been involved in handling and supporting the terror group that attacked Mumbai. How many of them are based in Pakistan and how many of them are traitors? Has the Government of the day the political will to resort to coercive diplomacy and invest in building counter-terror infrastructure to ensure that enemy would think hundred times before launching a clandestine operation against our motherland? Or are the rulers more interested in consolidating vote banks at the cost of national security and territorial integrity? If so, it would be for the people of India to elect a Government early next year that has the will and the capacity to ensure safety and security to its citizen and knows how to teach a befitting lesson to rogue armies and countries.