Intro: Pakistan reventures its proxy war in Punjab. A united effort and resilience to meet the evil challenge posed by forces inimical to the progress and prosperity of the country would constitute the best method of ensuring its failure.
A bestial terror attack in Dinanagar, Gurdaspur, Punjab on July 27, has left the nation brutalised yet again. Across the country, there is a sense of outrage and revulsion against this dreadful act. Even as investigations are on to establish the identity of those who committed this crime against humanity, there is a widespread belief and ample evidence to prove that it has originated from the soil of Pakistan.
The planners of the attack took great pains to hide the identity of the terrorists; markings on their shoes, the GPS system found in their possession and nomenclature of the weapons and equipment that they were carrying constitute irrefutable evidence of their Pakistani origins.
The manner in which the attack was carried out bears a distinct signature of training and preparation of the Fidayeen (suicide) squad by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of the Pakistan Army and its favourite militant wing, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The attack bears an eerie similarity to terror strikes carried out in the Kathua-Samba belt of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by terrorists infiltrated from Pakistan on multiple earlier occasions.
The neighbouring country quickly got into damage control. The condemnation came fast, and so did the tongue in cheek words of commiseration. The complicity and the proof available thereof, however, continue to be denied.
It should not be forgotten that the LeT, though initially conceived for spreading terror in Jammu and Kashmir, extended its tentacles across India a long time back. The organisation supports the ISI with strikes wherever and whenever it can. This time round it saw an opportunity in Punjab and it lost no time in exploiting the same.
The terror leadership and the ISI in Pakistan would definitely not be ignorant of the porous conditions of the International Border in the Punjab sector caused by the rampant proliferation of drug smuggling. The process would have led to digging of a number of tunnels and breaching of the IB fence to create gaps. In any case, the vulnerability of the border fence increases with the onset of monsoons especially in unplugged gaps along river beds.
A big worry enveloping the nation post this incident is the possibility of a revisit of the terrible days of terrorism in Punjab that this strike has brought in its wake. There is every reason to be concerned since there is a feeling of disquiet in Punjab due to bad administration, corruption and economic stagnation. Terror mongers across the border are aware of this malaise and impatient to exploit the same. The idea of resurrecting the legacy of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale is too lucrative for terror mongers in Pakistan to be discarded arbitrarily. The attack in Gurdaspur could be a spark designed to ignite a flame. There is, however, every reason for the Nation to remain confident about the tenacity of the people of Punjab to thwart such evil enemy designs. What is required is fast and affirmative action.
The Indian response, fortunately, was swift, strong and well coordinated. Once the attack was identified the
government took no time in putting emergency plans into motion and the security forces moved in with speed and efficiency. The terrorists were blocked in by the quick movement of reinforcements and were killed after a gun battle that lasted only a few hours. By doing so, the damage that they were capable of inflicting was greatly reduced. Creditably, it was the Punjab Police that carried out this very successful operation.
It is imperative to ensure that such an incident does not take place ever again. In this regard, what is of utmost importance is to tackle the drug menace in Punjab on a war footing. A good way of doing so is to provide gainful employment to the youth of the state; they are well educated and hard working, but lack opportunity. It is necessary for the nation to channelise the energy of the versatile Punjabi community towards gainful pursuit.
Nobody had any doubt that Pakistan will deny involvement as it has with earlier strikes. There is little probability of the country acknowledging its hand in this incident any time in the future considering that the volumes of incriminating evidence provided for the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai has yet not been accepted by it as authentic. Even going on this route would be an exercise in futility.
Pakistan is going through a rough patch. Power continues to be concentrated in the hands of the Army but the organisation itself stands weakened due to defeat at the hands of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on its western borders. The Pakistani Army also has to deal with other militant groups spread across the country that have been and continue to be nurtured by it and are constantly looking for their piece of cake. Power, therefore, is slowly flowing into the hands of fundamentalist extra-constitutional entities, with the government being relegated to the sidelines. Due to the ongoing turf war, the situation is spiraling out of control and the nation is on the brink of a civil war.
Under these circumstances, any idea of initiating talks with Pakistan would be self defeating, as has been seen in the wake of the last few initiatives taken by the NDA Government.
J&K has witnessed a wave of ceasefire violations, infiltration bids and terror attacks in the hinterland in the wake of the Ufa meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The terror attack in Punjab can also be considered a part of the policy of creating tension between India and Pakistan that certain powerful lobbies in Pakistan are pursuing with full vigour and commitment.
India has a diplomatic compulsion to remain engaged with Pakistan. Not much, however, should be expected from this engagement. In fact, it should be subdued and out of the media glare. No effort, however, should be spared in exposing the terrorist activity on Indian soil emanating from Pakistan. The international community should be sensitised and compelled to stand up and take notice.
At the same time, internal security should be strengthened so that the terror attacks on Indian soil become counter-productive, militarily, psychologically, financially and politically. Communication links should be created with the recruitment base of terrorists in Pakistan to send a message that they are being conned into fruitless and ignominious death by evil forces harbouring an agenda of hate and viciousness. It is here that the media can play a positive role rather than playing into the hands of the terrorists by sensationalising their strikes and providing to them the publicity that they are looking for.
Countering terrorism is a serious business that needs the unstinted
support of each and every citizen of the country. A united effort and resilience to meet the evil challenge posed by forces inimical to the progress
and prosperity of the country would constitute the best method of ensuring its failure.
Jaibans Singh (The writer is a Delhi based security analyst) (August 9, 2015, Page 20-21)