Towards a new national anti-terrorism policy

A seven-point programme for your favourite party’s manifesto

Start fighting the war of minds
1. Project the war for what it is—that the New Jihadis are against everything that India stands for: freedom, openness, democracy and a tolerant way of life.

2. Assure the nation that we will fight—and win—this war. This will bring fence-sitters onto the side they think that will win. But the assurance must be credible.

Dominate the battle on the ground
3. Connect every thana, every chowki (and in future every policeman) to a national database and network. Neither POTA nor a new anti-terrorism agency is crucial: connect existing intelligence and law-enforcement agencies through a common network.

4. Empower police by implementing police reforms. Use the Supreme Court of India’s judgement in Prakash Singh & Others vs Union of India & Others to generate momentum. Strengthen police-public partnerships.

5. Move internal security to the PMO. The Prime Minister should chair a Cabinet Committee on Internal Security; a dedicated internal security advisor (rank of secretary or higher) should be appointed to act as the point man covering all aspects of internal security.

Engage the nation (don’t merely ‘secure their approval’)
6. Mobilise the nation through a national satyagraha against terrorism. Get the grassroots to be uncompromising and unrelenting in the battle against terrorism. Pay special attention to reconciliation and form national integration committees in sensitive areas.

7. Liberalise the economy. Terrorism and dissatisfaction are a direct result of the polices of “communal socialism”, a form of social “license-raj” that stifles socio-economic mobility. Economic freedom will lead to economic growth that will undermine the jihadi base.