Tavleen Singh : Sun Feb 24 2013, 03:02 hrs
THE BIGGEST THREAT to India's security today is jihadi terrorism. Have you ever heard any of our political leaders acknowledge this? Have you heard them admit that this jihad is a war against the very idea of India and that its ultimate goal is to see this country divided once more in the name of Islam? Have you heard them tell the people of this country in clear terms that what the Pakistani army did after its Kargil misadventure was arm, finance and train Islamist groups to wage an insidious new war against India more lethal than those fought on battlefields?
Quite the opposite has happened since Dr Manmohan Singh's 'secular' government came to power in 2004. On more than one occasion, senior Congress leaders have gone out of their way to emphasise that the real threat to India's security comes from 'saffron terrorism'. Rahul Gandhi said this to an American ambassador according to Wikileaks, and his political mentor Digvijay Singh publicly promoted a book whose title was, '26/11: an RSS Conspiracy'.
The most recent statement of this kind came from the Home Minister himself when he charged the RSS with running terrorist training camps. No sooner was the statement made than the Home Minister got instant support from Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. If India's most wanted terrorist had listened to the Home Minister's statement after last week's Hyderabad bombings, he would have been totally assured that the Government of India was not serious about fighting jihadi terrorism. All that Sushil Kumar Shinde could come up with as words of comfort was a short catalogue of what he did in Hyderabad. "Along with the governor, the chief minister and other colleagues, I visited the places where the incidents took place and then we went to the hospital and met some of the non-critical patients. We talked to those who had suffered."
From the Prime Minister we heard that the guilty would not go unpunished and, from Sonia Gandhi, that she suffered pangs of sorrow and anguish. Well, the time has come to admit that this sort of namby-pamby response is the reason why we are no closer to winning the war against jihadi terrorism than we were four years ago when Mumbai was attacked. After the 26/11 attack there should have been a concerted strategy, a robust time bound plan of action and it is time to ask why this did not happen. Did it not happen because of fears that it might alienate Indian Muslims? If this was indeed the reason, then it is hard to think of a bigger insult to them because it amounts to an admission that all Muslims support jihadi terror.
Is this what 'secular' Congress leaders secretly believe?
If, after the 26/11 attack, the Government of India had been serious about winning the war against terrorism the first thing that would have happened would have been improved policing at the lowest level. No matter how many national intelligence agencies we set up, real intelligence will only come when local policemen are trained in counter-terrorism. As someone who spends much time in Mumbai I can tell you that nothing has changed on the ground. Every now and then, armoured cars and armed policemen appear in the streets but this is usually to reassure visiting VIPs and not ordinary citizens. This city is as vulnerable as it was four years ago and so is every other Indian city.
When P Chidambaram was in charge of the Home Ministry, he laid a lot of emphasis on setting up a National Investigative Agency. There is no harm in this if simultaneously we had seen state governments cooperate by setting up counter-terrorism units in local police stations. Without this happening, there is not the smallest chance of India winning the war against jihadi terror. I use the word jihadi deliberately because I am tired of hearing politically correct nonsense about how terrorism has no colour and no religion. It absolutely does. When jihadi groups kill innocent people in their cowardly war, they do it for what they believe is the greater glory of Islam. They believe infidel lives are worthless. And, when Hindutva groups try to counter this with their own cowardly attacks on unarmed people in bazaars and mosques, they do it because they believe they are defending the Hindu faith. What is not right is the consistent effort of senior Congress leaders to portray Hindu terrorist groups as the real threat to national security. They are not.
The real threat to India's security comes from jihadi terrorist groups because they are financed and trained by the Pakistani army to the point that they act as its fifth column. Until those in charge of national security acknowledge this, there is every likelihood that jihadi terrorism will continue to spread its poison through the veins of India.
Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Posted by Professional Matters at 8:13 PM