PM Modi must plan for the worst

PM Modi must plan for the worst

By THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN | 16 July, 2016

The murder of more than 80 innocents in Nice, France, by the driver of a heavy truck has once again shown the impossibility of protecting citizens from those linked to a philosophy of terror. Ironically, France under both Nicolas Sarkozy as well as Francois Hollande was among the most enthusiastic backers of the “Arab Spring”. The eruption of street protests and subsequent violence against existing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries was aided by social media operators working closely with elements in the US State Department to fan the fires of agitation and thereby ensure regime change. The collaboration between huge internet-related companies based out of the US and officials in the government of the world’s most powerful country has not remained a secret for long. Although the age of western colonialism is more than a century past its high point, chancelleries in Europe and surprisingly (in view of its own colonial experience) the US contain several officials eager to play the role of colonial overlords and order around other countries. The effects of such meddling in the internal affairs of other countries are visible in Iraq and Libya most starkly, as well as in Egypt and other countries, all of whom are in varying degrees of chaos as a consequence of the efforts at regime change connived at by officials in countries which ought to have know better. The consequences of such interventions have been the flood of refugees into Europe, mainly via Greece, as also a rash of terror attacks. Ironically, in Benghazi, the US diplomat who played the key role during 2011 in supplying weapons to those fighting against the Libyan regime at the time, himself fell victim later to those he had assisted. Interestingly, thus far, not a single high official has faced anything more than a few critical newspaper op-eds about the role they played in plunging a region into anarchy through ill-considered and often bloody interventions. Instead, not having learnt any lessons from the immediate past, several of them are demanding a Libya in Syria. Or in other words, arming what only in their illusions are “moderate” fighters. In actuality, more than half of those given cash, training and weapons by NATO allies are extremists having a mindset similar to those responsible for the Paris and Nice attacks.

India has been identified by ISIS as a target, with practically the whole of its territory marked out in black as part of the future “caliphate” of this fanatic force. Hence, it is no longer a question of whether a mass terror attack sponsored by ISIS and its networks will hit India, but when. The question is what happens next. The country ought not to suffer the indignity and harm caused, for example, by the clumsy response at Amritsar during the Kathmandu hijack of an Indian Airlines aircraft. It is hard to imagine another country whose authorities would be clueless and incompetent enough to permit the hijackers to get away without blocking them. The subsequent shameful exchange of terrorists for the passengers of the aircraft followed soon afterwards. Nearly a decade after that, the 26/11 attack on targets in Mumbai again by the ISI showed yet again that those responsible for the country’s security deserve to be put into the “dunce” category. Commandos were sent in late, the police in Mumbai were so careless as to permit the head of the Anti-Terror Squad himself to drive into an ambush because of the absence of the most elementary of precautions against such an attack. Now that Narendra Damodardas Modi is Prime Minister of India, hopefully the next mass terror attack will be met by a firm and crushing response, rather than the weak responses we have seen all too often in the past. An ISIS attack needs to be met with India going on the offensive against these scourges and using its military assets to degrade and to the extent possible eliminate the group in its strongholds. The PMO needs to plan for the worst rather than follow the path of its predecessors, who were wholly unprepared when mass terror struck. The country expects more, it expects a response so strong as to deter the group from a repeat attack.


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