There’s No Such Thing As A Good Ter­ror­ist

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page Longer Lifespan -

Be­ing un­der siege in Iraq and Syria does not pre­vent the Is­lamic State from look­ing east. The deadly at­tacks in Pak­istan, on a court and a Sufi shrine, and the un­earthing of an IS cell in Hy­der­abad in In­dia are proof. While ter­ror in the name of Is­lam has an ide­ol­ogy and or­gan­i­sa­tional frame­work not re­stricted by ge­og­ra­phy, coun­ter­ing it has to have both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional di­men­sions. Ad­her­ence to the prin­ci­ples of democ­racy in In­dia’s mul­ti­de­nom­i­na­tional polity and bet­ter in­tel­li­gence and polic­ing rep­re­sent the do­mes­tic di­men­sion. The global di­men­sion is less straight­for­ward.

In­dia must re­dou­ble its ef­forts to rally gov­ern­ments across the world to iso­late and act against coun­tries that serve as safe havens for ter­ror­ists. The re­cent spate of ter­ror at­tacks in Pak­istan does not make Is­lam­abad a vic­tim of ter­ror on par with In­dia. By spon­sor­ing what it chooses to call non-state ac­tors, Is­lam­abad seeks to ex­tend its strate­gic ca­pa­bil­ity be­yond what its small econ­omy, large army and nu­clear mis­siles per­mit. But all ter­ror­ists are not amenable to con­trol by its se­cu­rity agen­cies and so or­di­nary Pak­ista­nis pay the price. The global strat­egy against ter­ror has to pri­ori­tise pres­sur­ing gov­ern­ments, in par­tic­u­lar that of Pak­istan, to stop spon­sor­ing ter­ror. New Delhi must re­dou­ble its diplo­matic ef­forts to rat­ify the UN Com­pre­hen­sive Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Ter­ror­ism and make Bei­jing shed its blink­ers.

Con­cep­tual clar­ity on the do­mes­tic agenda is easy. But to be con­sis­tently demo­cratic, re­sist­ing the temp­ta­tion to curry favour with par­tic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ties is not, par­tic­u­larly when that seems to be a short­cut to win­ning cru­cial elec­tions. As a mul­ti­cul­tural coun­try with a long tra­di­tion of proud di­ver­sity, In­dia has to sum­mon the will to se­cure democ­racy.

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