And why the V P Singh government made India a soft-target

Continuity of (spineless) policy

And another one — this time from the ‘third front’ — the V P Singh government’s cave-in on the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping.

Even as intelligence agencies were negotiating the release of the hostage, the Centre unconditionally conceded all the terrorists’ demands, and with this single act of abject capitulation all of Kashmir simply exploded into a full-blown insurgency within days. The Rubaiya Sayeed incident – and the then Central government’s response to this crisis – is now widely acknowledged as the central event that triggered the terrorism in J&K that is now in its thirteenth year, and has already cost at least 33,159 lives in the State.

The Rubaiya Sayeed incident sent out an unmistakable message to extremists all over the country: the new Government – and evidently its Home Minister – had neither the will nor the understanding to define and implement a cogent and resolute policy against terrorist violence. [KPS Gill/Kashmir Herald]

It is abundantly clear that the lack of offensive action against terrorists has made India the soft target that it is today. V P Singh was followed as prime minister among others, by I K Gujral, he of the doctrine fame. Deve Gowda has no doctrine named after him, but no one is quite sure what he did anyway. But there was the famous ‘continuity in foreign policy’. Only Chandra Shekhar (remember him), in the few months that he was prime minister, is credited with some decisive action that nearly broke the back of the ULFA in Assam. In the end all parties are guilty of sins of commission and omission as far as terrorism is concerned. Will they ever learn?

7 thoughts on “And why the V P Singh government made India a soft-target”

  1. Ironically, that same Rubaiya Sayeed goes around the town bad mouthing the Indian government and praising the terrorists. A nice way to pay back for saving her life from those same people.

  2. There is certainly a big dearth of hawks in our foreign policy. I am personally all for staking a well defined position and sticking to it through thick or thin. A cursory glance at the regimes who do follow a “no-tolerance” policy show that they are doing quite well actually (cf. Israel). Remember that terrorists who kidnap for ransom are not interested in the kidnap victim, but actually in the “ransom”. Making a clear unambiguouos point that India is not going to give up the “ransom” no matter what, will soon make “kidnap-for-ransom” policy moot. Hold a national referendum on this issue and set clear expectations will the population. Chalk the policy **before** the next kidnap happens. Not in the middle of it. What is the downside to a hard policy ? Yes, there will be deaths. But that is a neccessary sacrifice we will have to make.

  3. We need is a ‘rightist’ political party with deep moorings in multiple states.

    In spite of various painful realities of the BJP government they were good at the game of getting Pakistan on the backfoot.

    Two events IC814 and Gujarat have done more damage to Vajpayee than all his other mistakes put together.

  4. Sandeep

    >>Will they ever learn?
    Are you seriously asking the question?

    Are you seriously asking me if I’m seriously asking this question? 🙂

    It was not even rhetorical. Frustration, perhaps. But it looked like a good sentence to finish the series of posts.

  5. Nitin, don’t you think post on Prime Minister Narashima Rao’s defense cuts, under the then finance minister Manmohan Singh, and related J&K policies would complete the chronology of ineptitude attitude of Indian leaders, during the past decade and half, when it comes of violence against Indians?

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