Thursday, 10 July 2014 04:27




Terrorism has posed a threat to our national security than a conventional war. Terrorism's capacity to destroy life, to destroy economy, to destroy sovereignty of countries, is tremendous. So far, national response to terrorism in its varied form has been inadequate, of an ad-hoc character and generally ineffective. Moreover, in the present international security environment, proxy war and terrorism have become preferred means of hurting a neighbour's social, political and economic well-being. This is really the magnitude of the threat that we face today. How do we try and answer this threat?

Terrorism in India, a subject on which in the last one decade a lot has been written and spoken about. But, when the debate goes on and on, one of the impressions which are formed by an ordinary citizen is one of great frustration. Why is it that we are not able to contain this menace? At times some of us even do not aptly realise what the major dimensions and consequences of this issue have been.

We have in the last 25 odd years, seen 5 different kinds of terrorism emerging in India. Of course, the most significant one is on account of cross border insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir. The second in the Punjab in the 1980s and early 1990s, which India was fortunate to overcome it in the region. The third was a severe problem, since then partly diluted, in the South from the LTTE. Apart, the country has had continued insurgency in several parts of North East and the latest to join these categories has been the kind of terrorism which has spread along various parts of central India, the Maoist insurgency from Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar right up till the Nepal border. No less severe, the kind of terrorism which was inspired by various other external agencies.

In the last 15 years, the number of civilians who have lost their lives to terrorism is 62,221. A figure almost 6 to 7 times more than those who have lost their lives in conventional wars. The security personnel killed in various terrorist actions is again over 9,000. You can add this to the 62,000 figure and you can find that conventional wars, which now don’t seem to be a recurring occurrence, is very insignificant in comparison to this proxy war which has continued. Number of people rendered homeless is close to 6 lakhs. The total amount of money spent and this doesn’t include the amount spent on security forces, army and so on, on merely relief and rehabilitation, on the special paramilitary forces that is deployed for anti-insurgency - the figure now crosses Rs.45, 000 crores. More than Rs. 45,000 crores is what is deprived to our villages in terms of electricity and power, in terms of health care, in terms of education, in terms of roads. That is the kind of money which has actually been employed in just the anti-insurgency measures.

There is another great aspect - as to what are the other hidden costs, which are involved as far as terrorism is concerned. Firstly, there is a large political cost. The political cost involved is that terrorism tends to undermine democratic values. It undermines democratic institutions. It assaults each one of them and then a feeling gains ground that in order to deal with terrorists, you need certain strong methods to deal with them, and, therefore, you have to depart from what is the chosen democratic cause itself. It has an adverse effect as far as economic growth and development is concerned. How much did one of India’s most affluent states, Punjab, suffer on account of terrorism in 10 years?

Terrorists have undermined democratic values. They have had an adverse impact on the growth rates in the state; they lead to an increased sense of alienation. They assault social cohesion of the society. You have had migration of population. You had dissatisfaction between different groups of population. One community, the Pandits, had to move out completely. The valley has discontentment for its own reason. If you go to the Ladakh and Jammu region, there is discontentment that we don’t get our share of the entire assistance and development and the root cause of this discontentment that builds up, is the kind of impact that terrorism leaves on a civil society. There is also on other areas a serious adverse effect that it can have on the defence preparedness of the country. Because, if a large part of the national resource is to go into various other anti-insurgency measures and the costs involved therein, then you tend to neglect areas where you should conventionally have been spending These are several areas with which different agencies and instruments of the government have been fully seized of. In fact now the realisation that the state is having repeatedly, that the conventional wars are not the real threat. It is the on-going proxy war by way of terrorism, which can have a far more dangerous impact on a society and far more difficult to fight with.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing terrorist attacks across Mumbai, India’s financial capital and its largest city. The attacks, which began on 26 November 2008 and lasted until 29 November, killed at least 173 people and wounded at least 308. The attacks drew widespread condemnation across the world.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe,  Cama Hospital, the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier's College. There was also an explosion at the Mazagaon docks, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the TajMahalPalace had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces. An action by India’s National Security Guards on 29 November resulted in the death of the last remaining attackers at the TajMahal Palace, ending all fighting in the attacks.

So everyone should be aware about the menace of terrorism and work against it with unity and determination.