THERE is a justifiable frustration, disappointment and rage over the repeated terrorist attacks sponsored by Pakistan on Indian soft targets. In its efforts, it is aided and abetted by the motley Indian groups, who are known by various names, like Indian Mujahdeen, Lashkar or students organisations of Muslim communities. They are sympathetic to Pakistan and to motley terrorist organisations there. Most terrorists, their masters and sympathisers, are confident that inadequate, outdated Indian laws would enable them to have escape routes galore. Perhaps they are not mistaken. How can you have any independent witness present, when army is fighting the terrorists from across the border in the thick forests or at great heights in the mountain?
Even assuming that one is present, nobody is that stupid to come and depose in the court and risk his limbs and life from the dreaded terrorists or their supporters. It is applicable not only in the cases of terrorists, but also all the disruptionist and separatist elements like the Naxalites or Maoists or the groups of North East. It is a outrageous and an unbelievable logic and the highest degree of self-flagellation, that does not put the victims and his perpetrator on an equal footing.
India’s problems and their solutions lie in India. India has been pleading and begging Pakistan all the time to control its terrorists. Now it wants Saudi Arabia’s help. Are we so weak that we cannot make the cost of terrorism so prohibitive in terms of life, money and intrusion, that anybody entering the country with a nefarious objective, should not only think twice but hundred times before entering the country. This can be done by finishing them at the entry point.
It is true that democracy should respect the law and go by a legal system. But a question to be asked is what law the terrorists observe except the law of killing the civilians and security forces, at any conceivable chance they can get.
It is true that Indian police, in most states, enjoy a reputation of being trigger happy and cutting corners in collecting evidence or taking short cuts for the disposal of the cases by disposing off the criminals. But it is also true that police like millions of countrymen feel frustrated when the known terrorists or criminals get away on purely technical grounds thus undoing all the labour put in.
Indo-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks, which were supposed to break the deadlock and goad Pakistan to take action against terrorists in Pakistan, have ended in a deadlock. Pakistan has described the dossiers of terrorists in Pakistan, given by India as a piece of literature and a fiction. Falling foul on India, the Pakistani leader of the delegation said Pakistan does not believe that India should lecture us and demand that Pakistan should do this or that.
It is one of the ridiculous approaches, as whenever, any negotiations are held, each side puts across what it wants others to do. The world all over believes that Pakistan is the fountain of terrorism and has been running both with the hunter and the hunted.
Pakistan’s foundations rest on the hatred of India, particularly the majority of Indians that is Hindus. First total ethnic cleansing was done in Pakistan in driving out the non-Muslims from that country, followed by doing the same in Kashmir valley by its agents. There cannot be half heartedness in fighting terrorism and terrorists.
When it is a question of survival of the country, one can learn lessons from some other countries like Israel. It is believed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorised Mossad, the country’s spy agency to kill senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mahbouh in Dubai in November 2009. There were no tears shed in Israel by any Human Rights-wallahs there.
Incidentally all such operations all over the world are authorised by the political executive, though no official records exist for the same. Israelis have built up a reputation of tracking down and assassinating terrorists no matter wherever they may be hiding in the world.
There can be no fullproof collection of intelligence or discovering all the local contacts and sleeper cells of the terrorists or their supporters.
The only option left is to pay the terrorists in their own coin and pay them with compound interest wherever they may be. This is what exactly USA has done or is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pakistan has always either directly undertaken or used motley groups of jihadis or disgruntled Indian groups, including the gangsters, as an element of its state policy.
Covert operations in the interests of the country are undeclared policy of all countries all over the world. India’s record on covert operations has been colourless or nil. Instead of fighting or acting against terrorism, we have been only reacting to it and never made sure that the terrorists get the retribution they deserve. Terrorism is not going to end by sweet talk at any level. Prime Minister himself has admitted that India does not know as to whom to talk in Pakistan. He indicated that there are so many power centres that talking to one and getting a commitment might and would be undone by others.
Theoretically, there is a Government in Pakistan, but in actual practice the dilemma of the Prime Minister is genuine. Our self-respect demands that we should stop begging Pakistan to control terrorists in its country. Instead our message should be to them “Do your worst, but do not blame us, you reap what you sow”.
What we do within our own borders, should be our outlook. But above all we should mean business in tackling terrorism and take this battle to its logical end. The security and intelligence forces can do it, only if the Government wills it and means it. Talks and sweet talks can succeed only if we talk from a position of strength. Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them.
(The writer is former Director of CBI India and can be contacted at [email protected])