Is India any more secure?
Jagadish’s score card points out that three years after the attack on India’s parliament, the jihadi masterminds remain at large and their Pakistani backers unrepentent. Sandeep cites an Arun Shourie article and asks whether India is serious about its security at all. That prompts the question — is India more secure now than three years ago?
Cross-border infiltration from Pakistan, by all accounts, has declined. While terrorist attacks are still common in Jammu & Kashmir state, body counts at least have fallen. There have been no major attacks from outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba in the rest of the country. It is unclear whether Musharraf and his subordinates in the ISI were convinced by India’s Operation Parakram or compelled by international (read American) pressure to tone down the full-blown jihad against India — but Pakistan is no longer able to support anti-India terrorism with the impunity it became used to all through the 1990s, famously with the hijacking of IC-814. But the battle is hardly over, as Musharraf has by no means dismantled the jihadi infrastructure and organisations; they have been mothballed but remain in wakeful hibernation.
In the north eastern states, the terrorist groups that pose the greatest danger are the ULFA, NFDB and NSCN-K; there has been no let up in the violence here, as the Indian government remains unwilling to use maximum force to crush these groups. Case in point — ULFA carried out multiple bombings yesterday after rejecting Manmohan Singh’s offer for unconditional talks. As long as the Indian government lacks the political will to use maximum force to crush these terrorists, blaming Bangladesh for not cooperating fully will remain a moot point. Commitment to beat terrorism, like charity, begins at home.
Perhaps the newest challenge to internal security comes from Maoist/Naxalite terrorists — counterparts of those fighting to overthrow the Nepalese government. Their activities receive narrow attention because they are concentrated in rural areas and economically backward regions, but the dangers they pose to life and property and the writ of the state are serious. Perverse election arithmetic and ideological-plus support from the politically empowered Left have contributed to the relapse of Naxalism.
So back to the question — is India more secure today? Perhaps. But are ordinary Indians more secure today than three years ago? Perhaps not. Has India evolved a clear policy that proactively prevents acts of terrorism and reactively punishes perpetrators? Certainly not.