India needs an offensive strategy too
Praveen Swami concludes his comprehensive two part series (linkthanks Chandra) on the origins, rise and strategy of the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Indian arm with a call for ‘giving substance to India’s promise of secularism’ alongside improved intelligence and policing.
Swami’s prescriptions are all necessary conditions, but by themselves are not sufficient for India to secure a victory. The strategic environment under which Pakistan sponsors these terrorists, exploiting Islamic fundamentalist movements in various countries to its own advantage, is unlikely to change merely because of communal harmony, better intelligence and policing. But the war analogy is correct — it is war in which India cannot win merely using a defensive strategy. The jihadis can go on opening front after front, with each small success drawing closer to their objective of setting off cataclysmic communal violence. Clearly, giving substance to the promise of secularism requires India to address the external forces that challenge it too.