A gathering resolve?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gets the words right

Here’s a bit of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his address to the nation:

We are not prepared to countenance a situation in which the safety and security of our citizens can be violated with impunity by terrorists. It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country.

We will take the strongest possible measures to ensure that there is no repetition of such terrorist acts. We are determined to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the safety and security of our citizens…

We will go after these individuals and organizations and make sure that every perpetrator, organizer and supporter of terror, whatever his affiliation or religion may be, pays a heavy price for these cowardly and horrific acts against our people. [PMO via Rediff]

These are the right things to say, and do. He does not have too long to follow through though, but there isn’t any excuse left for not getting things rolling on a war footing.

Earlier, L K Advani had spoken to Prime Minister Singh to offer support and solidarity at this time. This too was the right thing to say, and do.

Much depends on how long they can sustain this.

38 thoughts on “A gathering resolve?”

  1. What a pathetic weak kneed response ! You would think after listening to this idiot that this was the first time a terrorist attack ever happened in India or Bombay for that matter.

    I would say that Indian Intelligence has quite a few moles in it – the way the ATS chief and the other high ranking officials have been taken down seems to point to a lot of co-operation within Indian intelligence itself.

    But worse, the Indian Coast Guard has been caught napping – there are now reports that some of the terrorists came from Karachi by sea ! Not to mention how do you smuggle such heavy weaponry into the city with such impunity.

    India is an absolute joke – this bodes very badly for the Indo-US nuclear deal. I am not sure that we have the security infrastructure, the political will to combat terror – imagine if an attack was launched was on a nuclear facility.

    If MMS is really concerned for India’s security he should sack Shivraj Patil once the terrorists are fulshed out/killed.

  2. Right.

    Not the time for petty politiking. Time to close ranks and give any appearance of exploitable weakness.

    Follow-up has not exactly been a strong forte of the UPA sarkar, going by past evidence. Am hoping the security establishment onthe country will be able to push through some long overdue measures in this moment of crisis – such as having a central coordination agency for internal security emergencies, getting inter-agency protocols right, having NSG units stationed at all metros, building forensic analysis capabilities at all state capitals and so on.

  3. There’s no doubt the BJP is going to get some political capital out of this. After a brief moment of public solidarity and collective expression of shock, finger-pointing is going to start. The UPA is going to be under immense pressure to do some anti-Pak sabre-ratting to appease the masses and refute Bhajpa’s “soft on terror “allegations.

    What I find interesting is this question of “external linkages”. Can we blame Pakistan or Pakistani elements? To what extent is this a homegrown threat. I don’t for a second swallow this Deccan or Indian Mujahideen nonsense for that matter. Let’s call it what it is: the LeT-Jaish-e-Mohammad-ISI nexus.

  4. It comes about 4 years late.

    But we’ll still be watching if he keeps his word.

    How he goes about it will help us to test the hypothesis – “why a degree at Oxford doesn’t necessarily translate into great leadership qualities.”

  5. Top story headline in the allegedly rightist Pioneer

    Major counter-offensive launched against militants

    I’m like, ‘militants’? Why not simply say ‘terrorists’? And without the quote marks too!

    GOI needs to make it quetly but firmly clear that terrorists should be called such, no exceptions for any dhimmedia outlet. Sorry.

  6. I read some report where it quoted a terrorist as calling up some news channel and saying they wanted mujahideens in Indian jails to be released and atrocities stopped in Kashmir.

    This proves the Pak angle, because if it was a domestic outfit, they would have spoken about Gujarat riots, Malegaon blasts, rounding up of innocent Muslim youth, etc.

  7. Talk… Talk… Talk…
    There’s never been any cost to giving statements … esp after each and every terrorist attack..
    what will really be noticed is the followup action..
    How many terrorists are brought to book?
    How many terrorist financiers are rounded up?
    How many terrorist cells are neutered?
    How many heads will roll for incompetence?

  8. Nothing will happen because of elections in few months other than talks with Land of Pure and leaks of toughness, at the table, to the media. They just hope and pray that no more terrorists will attack until May and that people, egged on the psec media, will forget this too. How many remember Mumbai train carnage? Do people remember more people were killed then?

    Don’t underestimate the utter callousness of Indian establishment, psec media, and, of course, secular people.

  9. Right words, but spoken all too often. Let’s see if he still can act on them. How many CCTV cameras are going to be installed? What kind of national electronic surveillance system is going to be installed? What are they going to do about the borders to choke the terror at the source? We need concrete answers to these questions. The BJP could certainly get traction out of this, which may just further the terrorists’ agenda and accomplish exactly what they set out to do.

  10. Folks,

    I can’t recall previous speeches where he states intentions as strongly as in this one. It’s not the usual “we should do…” or “I am distressed by…” or “We are all victims of…”

    Here he says “We will…”

    I won’t blame anyone for being cynical. Cynicism is warranted. But I get a sense that something has changed.

  11. Silver Lining: Crowd gathered outside the hotels cheered and clapped when Commandos arrived at the scene. Source: NDTV

    [Meanwhile Barkha Dutt was seen crying when she saw admiration for India’s security force. She was worried that at such pace of growing admiration for the forces her job will be in danger in a few years] Source: Optimism

  12. So these “militants” or “miguided boys” are upset about what is happening in Palestine. Honoring Yasser Arafat with all those Nehru, Gandhi awards and treating Israel as a pariah had this effect.

  13. Unless Congress pays very dearly for this, it is not good for India. The question is not that whether BJP will be able to solve this problem. In a democracy, they have not been demonstratively failed in their posture of ‘tough talk’. So they get the next chance to clean the house. It is accountability.

    And I am saying all this when I always voted Congress while I was in India and still support them. What supporters like me and Congress leadership have failed is to distinguish between legitimate vote banks of Muslim folks and playing with fire when Congress ignores the fringe Islamic extremists.

    Not that BJP and other Nationalistic political forces can absolve themselves by the damage of their excessive Hindu Nationalism; there is no denying that each and every failure of Congress in being tough with these terrorists nourishes extreme form of Hindu Nationalism. Congress is responsible in a way for the growth of extreme Hindu Nationalism.

    I think what may happen is LK Advani to vacate his position and claim for Premiership in lieu of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi. (Of course, every liberal in the world knows that it is equivalent of ‘murder as leader’.) Modi will campaign as the leader on the single plank of rooting out Terrorism. The real issue, if this were to happen, is not how appalling it is to take place. Sure it is sad, but is Congress providing the alternative? Yes, Left has good record of Secularism; but it can not be lost on Indians that Left is Secular when it comes to protect minorities only. But they are not much known to be tough on those miscreant elements of minority who shake the foundation of Indian State. This means it is the totally irresponsible void left by most political forces in India when it comes to deal with Terrorism in a strong manner. Can we blame Indians, if in such situation; they all flock to Modi and his band of Ultra Hindu Nationalism?

    Tragedy is failure of Secular Polity in India makes many thinking people to accept this possibility. In absence of such a strong reaction Indian State is lurching towards fragmentation otherwise.

    To write this means for Liberals to accept the colossal failure; to admit inability to think through properly. But performances of Messers Dr. Singh, Shivraj Patil, Sharad Pawar, Rahul Ghandi and Madame Sonia Ghandi do not inspire anything at all. In their political failure, Modis of the world seem inevitable. After all why do people pay taxes? Why do brave policemen die for the security of society? Why do people make honest efforts to follow laws? If all of those things still do not remove the existential threat of Terrorism; then where would people go in believing their State? The State stops working for them and people resort to extreme means.

  14. We’ve heard this before. Believe me, we’ll hear this in future with sickening regularity. Remember the blog that told us ‘it’s been six weeks, and yet there’s no bomb blast; let’s have a bomb blast’. The plain, prosaic truth is that this Government does not have the political will to combat Islamic terrorism. For, it is convinced, as Swapan Dasgupta pointed out in an article in the Indian Express, that Islamic terrorism has genuine grievances. And the brand of leaders we have have no stomoch for terrorism. Since the day Jinna waved a hand and unleashed ‘direct action’ to press for partition which chilled the heart and mind of Nehru and Gandhi, we’ve always caved in to terrorism. Nearly 60,000 people are believed to have perished owing to terror acts in India and the righteous indignation, the moral outrage has been no where in evidence. We’ve internalised the notion that lives should be laid down to the inexorable hunger of the terrorists for the sake of communal harmony.

  15. President-elect Barack Obama, in response to the terrorist attack on Mumabai, stated:

    “We stand with the people of India, whose democracy will prove far more resilient than the hateful ideology that led to these attacks.” [emphasis mine]

    I hope Mr. Obama is right. I hope the Indian polity wakes up to the danger of the hateful ideology called Islam, before it is too late.

    It’s not the Muslims, who come in all different hues — refuseniks to moderates to fundamentalists — but the barbaric and violent ideas that constitute Islam that present the greatest threat to civilization as we know it. What we are engaged in is a war of ideas, a war against Islam. Not a war against Muslims. Muslims may not recognize this distinction, but the rest of us must.

    The idea of punishment by death to the non-believers, the blasphemers, and the apostates; the idea that women are inferior to men, and forever be oppressed and subjugated; the idea that killing is okay in the name of “honor” — these arcane ideas are central to Islam and unchallengeable. The overarching goal of the custodians of Islam is to impose these ideas on the entire world, and enforce them with the draconian laws of Shariat.

    Restoring the rule of Islam in India would be a critical milestone in this grand scheme. No other land mass presents the strategic depth and contiguity, and the resources that are required to accomplish the goal of Pan-Islamism (Ummah). Mumbai has been, and still remains, the Gateway to India.

  16. 100+ lives; dozens of terrorists; the financial capital; death by a thousand cuts; irresponsible media; inept polity; indifferent bureaucracy; unaware masses..

    1 fight; lots of realism; some pragmatism; some emotions; several brave men; few opportunities; heart of the nation; 1 country India

    Will this be the obituary of inaction or another tribute to selfish gains? Is there anything we can do, can we change history and perhaps Geography, forever?

    And once we are done with these illegitimate children of fanatic thinking, can we answer these questions?

  17. Shivraj Patil – “Maalomaat to hote hain, lekin aise nahin maaloom hota hai ki kahan aur kab attack hoga”


    ??? ??? ????, ????? ?????. ???? ??? ???????? ???????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ???? ???????!

  18. Aw crap that Hindi fonts don’t seem to have come out well. It reads – “Koi baat nahin, Patil saheb. Agli baar aatankvaadi ugravaadi aapko do hafte pehle aamantran patra bhejenge!

  19. The solution starts with voting out the Congress Party and its crummy policies of terrorist appeasement.

  20. Some shopkeeper tells Rajdeep Sardesai that a bunch of people bought Rs. 50,000 worth provisions 3 days ago. This is an indication of the low level of security awareness. 50K is a _lot_ of provisions! The next thing he should have done is to report it to the police. The police may have not done anything, but that shouldn’t have stopped him from doing so!

  21. Now how the hell is this India’s 9/11? A nation that has been subjected to “mini 9/11s” for the last 20 years is perhaps the biggest victim of terrorism.

    And no I have full sympathy for innocent people who died in US but why should our tragedy that cumulatively is of bigger size than any other nation’s be described in other terms.

  22. Umesh @ #7:

    Thats exactly what I was afraid of. Modi becoming a PM of India come next election, with his roles of omission or comission in Guj-2002 still not accounted for, is a nightmare scenario – and could be a dream situation for these jihadi types.

    I hope and pray that doesnt come about- it would be a big victory for the terrorists. I hope we get reasonably tough laws on terror from the UPA instead of blanket “no POTA, not even anything that comes close to POTA” electioneering-as-governance slogans. I’d take an effective UPA over the NDA.

    Lets look at the brighter side: terrorists are being met head-on whether in Jamia Nagar, or Bombay. No negotiations. Malegaon is being investigated regardless of religion of perpetrators.

    Pls reconsider… Advani and Co came out in full force support for Sadhvi. As pathetic as the UPA has been, there doesnt appear to be a secular alternative. I wish the BJP challenged it on a more secular plank.


  23. Briganza,

    Lots of Indians believe that Modi becoming PM is a nightmare situation for jihadi types and their sympathizers. You seem to be living in your own world.

  24. Jai, can you (and others like you) please stop your nonsense. You guys are nuts…there is no other way to put it…

    What exactly do you think was going for the past five years? I know you secularists need to look at the religion of everyone killed to make a balance sheet of how many muslims and hindus are killed in riots to see if which group is more secular.

    Can you balance the numbers killed in terrorists attacks – based on religion, of course, to satisfy your secularism? Were more Hindus killed then Muslims? And then tell us who exactly is responsible for those killings? And then tell us who exactly was in charge of stopping these killings?

    And then tell why you (and your type) hate Modi? Because he is an unabashed practicing Hindu? Because he speaks truth about Bharatiya history – both of Islamic plunder and white colonialism, without the veneer of JNU history? Because he speaks, without mincing words, about terrorism sponsored by Pakistan? What exactly is your grouse about Modi? Are you saying he himself killed his fellow citizens?

    Again count the numbers killed under your monster Modi and tally it with the numbers killed in the terror attacks (just in the past three years)….On what basis exactly do secularists support Congress I and its UPA is beyond me….

    Only thing that makes sense is, you secularists hate Hindu politicians – a Hindu hater like Nehru would be perfectly fine, ruling over majority Hindus, despite national disgrace of defeat and humiliation vs a Hindu like Sardar, who care more about the country then anyone and probably would have saved the country from the disgrace….

    Your pseudo-secular nonsense is mind boggling!

  25. Jagdish

    Yes, I was referring to ur post only. The emphasis was on the predictable occurrence of the terrorist strikes and to underline the ability of the terrorists to strike any time, any place, at will. Sorry, if it was not clear enough.

  26. Enough of talks and high level conferences. we do not need ISI chief here. We need to cross the border and dig the burrows. Otherwise the rats will keep coming back to our house again and again and again….

  27. Nitin,

    Can we talk about defining political culture in India? It would be interesting to see what you think about the political landscape, and how people respond. The most interesting point -for me – would be what exactly is Hindu Extremism? Is any Hindu coalition extremist? Is there any ‘legitimate’ response by a Hindu faction to Muslim extremism? Must Hindus wait for a long time (forever) for Muslim ‘moderates’ (wherever they are. . ) to speak up against, issue fatwas against extremism? Every major world religion can censure their more extremist wings, with the exception of this purest religion. How can India – the origin of the world’s oldest living religion – ever truly be secular in the American sense; even in America, there is a Protestant predominance in the executive. If there is a Hindu majority, but everyone is treated fairly, it seems that this is still not ‘secular’ according to Muslims. Even with Haaj subsidies for select groups, India is still not secular. So I think that defining the political landscape wrt India – and clearing these perverse notions that lead to Anti-India sentiment by India’s Muslims and ‘secular’ Hindus – is a key step, whether done at the beginning or the end, towards getting India back on track.

    And speaking of re-aligning incentives, what is to be done (and how?!?!) with illegal immigrants? Talking of clearing out 50(+?) million illegal Bangladeshis (which would be a third of India’s 150 million Muslim population, if I remember correctly), I can already hear the ‘secular’ groups in India and passionate US-based Sonal Shah supporters chipping in their two cents on genocide; no matter that Indian farmers are killed in Assam by these illegal immigrants, BSF jawans are killed and sent back in pieces, and LeT operations are (as we knew all along, and the world now has spelled out for it) run by Bangladeshi terrorists!!

    I’d also be interested in seeing commentary on transitioning India from a parliamentary to a presidential system – I’ve talked to numerous people, incl. Harsh, and have received interesting feedback from them, but would like to get a wider response.

    Sorry if I’m a bit incoherent – like everyone else, I’ve been up for a while. .. and kudos on a great journal – it’s relieving to see that we’re going somewhere, hopefully soon!, with all of this.

  28. Ajith-
    Invading Pakistan would be a bad alternative.

    An unstable Pakistan is not what India needs; it needs a reasonably stable Pakistan with enough problems of its own to worry about India or anyone else.

    Unless India has a day by day plan to micromanage after-invasion Pakistan, you’re only to invite war on all fronts.

  29. Kesav – this is exactly the excuse the politicians are also making. But we should understand one thing, pakistan can never be stable unless ISI and Army takes power. Once they are in power, pakistan will be stable but they will ensure that India is unstable. Let was founded by ISI to do a proxy war. All the so called Indian terror outfits like SIMI and Indian Mujahudin are all Let’s brain. We have a problem in our hand, we cannot solve the problem unless we go get them from their home. I completely understand your concerns. A war anywhere anytime is bad for the people and economy. But as an indian we need to ensure that common man has to LIVE to enjoy the benefits of this econnomy.

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