India considers a no-nonsense policy on hostage-taking
J N Dixit, India’s National Security Advisor, has announced the government’s intention to adopt a no-negotiations-with-kidnappers policy. That’s welcome but a trifle late. The test of any theory is in its practice, and there was no need for the Indian government to wait until the three Indian hostages were released before it announced its heroic ambitions. After the entire world saw the craven capitulation of the Indian government in the face of the threat held out by Iraqi kidnappers it is hard not to see the government’s new policy as too much (bluster), too late.
Besides, it is rather rich for Dixit to compare the outcome of the current hostage-crisis with that of IC-814 and conclude that this government has done better than the previous one. In both cases the government conceded to the hijackers’ every whim and fancy and prostrated itself at their feet. Both outcomes have endangered lives of Indian citizens abroad by emboldening criminals and terrorists of various hues.
Dixit’s attempts to contrast the two episodes risks politicising the new line on counter-terrorism and kidnappings that he has just espoused. He would do well to steer clear of the shameful past and instead focus on the challenges ahead.