Counterterrorism by default

In Assam it is the terrorists that set the agenda

Almost like Schrodinger’s cat, the UPA government’s position on terrorism in general, and in Assam in particular, is unknowable. Until, of course, the terrorists themselves make it known. Like yesterday, when they set off three explosions killing at least 17 and wounding scores of others. That’s when it becomes clear that whatever it was the UPA government was doing about terrorism has failed. [See Offstumped]

In fact, the government does not even have a clear sense as to the perpetrators behind the attack. ULFA is a likely suspect, but the chief minister of Assam has suggested that the jihadi hand cannot be ruled out. The ULFA had sufficient time to regroup, which it did quite visibly. And jihadi infiltration from Bangladesh has been known to be a problem for some time now. ULFA and the jihadis have links with each other, enjoy sanctuaries across the border in Bangladesh, and are linked to Pakistan’s ISI. It is, no doubt, important to find out who exactly is behind the attacks. But that should not distract attention from the course the UPA government should have taken, and must take now.

There is nothing in ULFA’s track record that suggests that its leaders are prepared to negotiate a peaceful settlement on anything other than their own terms. Counter-terrorism therefore requires the use of military force until such a point that it is no longer capable of armed violence. The ULFA leadership itself should be targeted—even if parts of it are holed out outside Indian territory. Once this is accomplished a political solution will be easier to arrive at.

3 thoughts on “Counterterrorism by default”

  1. This has been very accurately predicted by the KPS Gill couple of weeks back in this column..If only Govt spends time with our Experts on national security than rubbishing them ..

    “The sudden emphasis on insurgencies in India’s North-East, rather than any other regions afflicted by comparable problems, is not accidental, and is significant in both Ms Aslam’s statement and Gen Musharraf’s specific reference to Assam. This is evidently part of a strategy to shift focus towards an ethnically and geographically distinct region in India, and may well be a prelude for greater covert activity by Pakistani and Bangladeshi intelligence, through local militant groups including the ULFA, in the foreseeable future”

  2. Our man MMSingh talked of confluence of civilizations as opposed to the clash and got applauded by the liberals. I guess this is what he was predicting. Confluence of various anti-India elements.

  3. It is no secret that our Union Home Minister is doing nothing at all. Unless we get a change of guard in that Ministry, events and problems like these will continue to increase.

    This N-E insurgency issue has been bugging me for quite some time, especially the way our Govt. is blithely ignoring the whole problem. For a layman like me, sitting in South India, and to so many other common people, it is so apparent that the N-E region is ready to boil over, and bureaucrats and politicians don’t seem to have a clue. What can I say ?

    In fact, after reading an article last week about the Naga insurgency, in The Hindu, I had blogged about it, and about a general lack of activity from the Home Ministry on the N-E front. And, within a week’s time, bombs go off in that area.

    While it is true that one doesn’t have to be a genius to predict an event like this, our Home Ministry in general, and our Home Minister in particular, don’t seem to have a clue. As much angst I feel, and many others feel, I wonder if the Union Home Minister feels anything at all.

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