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Home > India > News > Columnists > Sitaram Yechury

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Military strikes in PoK will provoke war

December 08, 2008

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Complete coverage: War on Mumbai
In the aftermath of the terrorist outrage in Mumbai, the country has to decide what is to be done. The three horrific days in Mumbai saw 183 people dead and 294 injured. That 10 men came from Pakistan by sea is established. That there has been a dismal failure in our intelligence system is obvious. That we have no coastal security system worth the name has also been exposed. That the National Security Guard has been more involved in VIP security duties has outraged the people.

The first task is to revamp the intelligence system and ensure co-ordination among the security agencies. The way different forces rushed to brief the media during the operations itself points to the lack of a single co-ordinating agency. The government proposes to set up a federal investigation agency to deal with cases of terrorism and other pan-Indian crimes. This has so far not found favour with the states which legitimately fear that they will be kept out of sensitive security investigations. There has to be a co-ordinated mechanism to deal with terrorism but co-ordination needs to bring in the states. Can one tackle the problem of Ulfa's terrorist violence without the co-operation of police and security agencies in Assam?

The second area to be taken up as a priority is police modernisation and reforms and re-working the coastal security system. The present scheme is not practical because of various shortcomings in the matter of training for the police personnel, provision of boats and suitable equipment and patrolling by coastal police stations.

Shivraj Patil [Images] has quit as home minister after a belated recognition of his incompetence. But this is not sufficient. The systemic problem should be addressed. The corporate media, particularly the television news channels, have begun a mindless anti-politician campaign which only covers up the systemic problems and promotes an anti-democratic, authoritarian atmosphere. The same corporate media is rooting for an American 9/11 type response. They shamelessly advocate the Bush doctrine and justify this by stating that the US has not been subject to any terrorist attack since 9/11. The right-wing BJP is not far behind. Arun Jaitley, the BJP spokesperson, has stated, "What happened in Mumbai is India's 9/11 and India's response should be substantially closer to what US did after 9/11."

What Bush did was to wage war against Iraq, a country and government which had nothing whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attack. The attackers came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt [Images] but they were not touched as they are close allies of America. Ten lakh Iraqis died and terrorism, which was totally absent in Iraq, has become a constant feature there. The reality is that terrorism has spread world-wide and not curbed by the US global "war against terror" post-9/11.

As for the argument that there have been no terrorist attacks within the US since then, it is wrong to compare the situation in the US with the domestic scene in India. Most of the terrorist attacks in India in the recent period emanate from the internal situation. The series of terrorist blasts in 2005-08 can be traced to extremist elements within the Muslim community. The recent revelation of extremist Hindutva elements resorting to terror in Malegaon and other places is the other side of the coin. Nor should one overlook other types of terrorist violence that exists in the country, such as the Ulfa sponsored blasts in Assam and the terrorist violence resorted to by extremist ethnic groups in the North-East.

The link with Pakistan of the terrorist elements who attacked Mumbai has led to a chorus of demands for military action against Pakistan. Military strikes against targets in the PoK will be a sure way to provoke a war between the two countries.

(Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury wrote this editorial piece in the forthcoming issue of People's Democracy)


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