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Insights into Editorial: Fighting terror from Mumbai to Paris + Mindampas on Issues

Insights into Editorial: Fighting terror from Mumbai to Paris + Mindampas on Issues

16 November 2015

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Paper 3 Topic: Security challenges and their management, linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Fighting terror from Mumbai to Paris

France has become victim of two ghastly terrorist attacks this year, this time with even more damage and loss of innocent lives. In January this year, the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris were attacked by the terrorists.

How the recent attack differs from the January attack?

The January attack and the recent attack differ in terms of scale, planning, target and intent.

  • In January, the intent was to teach the Charlie Hebdo journalists a lesson for drawing a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad. The attack did not seem to have a great deal of pre-planning, the targets were specific, and the aim limited.
  • However, the recent attack witnessed large-scale killing and was targeted against the general public. This attack was mainly intended to spread terror and convey that the French would pay for their war efforts in Syria right inside the French heartland.

Who has claimed responsibility for this attack?

  • The terrorist group ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) has claimed responsibility for this attack.

What do these attacks indicate?

The deadliest terror attack of the decade was the al-Qaeda-inspired attack in Madrid (2004) in which 191 lives were lost. This was followed by the less intense ones in London (2005), Norway (2011), Toulouse in France (2012), Brussels (2014) and the January attack against Charlie Hebdo. This shows that in the last decade the main focus of terror groups has been the west.

Why the western countries are being targeted?

  • The geopolitical developments in West Asia and Afghanistan post-9/11, and in the backdrop of the Iraq war, have had deadly implications for the West.

Within the West, France has become a major target of the Islamist terror outfits, especially the Daesh, for the following reasons:

  • France has been at the forefront of the ongoing operations against the Daesh (ISIS) in Syria.
  • France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. However, its Muslim minority remains less integrated into the national mainstream and has grievances against the French government’s not-so-friendly way of mainstreaming them.

Implications for India:

ISIS is a clear and present danger to India. Hence, it is necessary to address this threat before it decides to focus on us.

How the recent Paris attack was different from the 26/11 Mumbai attack?

  • The difference between the 26/11 attack and the Paris attacks seems to be the presence of external handlers.
  • Though both attacks displayed high levels of sophisticated planning and execution, the former was planned and directed by the LeT leadership based in Pakistan, and the Paris attacks seems to be have been self-directed.

Are we prepared for such attacks now?

  • Compared to western countries, our technological, material and human resource preparedness to deal with terror continues to be abysmal.
  • Despite 26/11, the Indian intelligence agencies continue to be ill-equipped to prevent future attacks.

What should be done?

  • India should check extremism of all kinds, irrespective of its religious colour.
  • It is necessary to equip and constantly monitor the security agencies, preferably by a joint parliamentary committee.
  • India should also proactively involve communities in fighting terror.
  • It is also necessary for the government to send out the correct political message that terror has no religion.

Should India join the war on ISIS?

Arguments in Favour and Reasons:

  • India’s support may further strengthen the efforts of Russia. Currently, Russia is conducting airstrikes against ISIS, al-Qaeda and CIA-backed terror groups all by itself.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army have been fighting extremists in Kashmir and eastern India for decades. India also stamped out separatism in Punjab after a take-no-prisoners campaign that lasted nearly 20-years. Such valuable experience in counter terrorism could play a decisive role in combating ISIS as well as CIA supported terrorist groups.
  • Such joint efforts will also help India’s Armed Forces gain Invaluable Experience.
  • In future, there is a serious threat from these media and technology savvy terrorist organisations that are able to radicalise its citizens via the internet. Hence, India should join the war and help in combating terrorism before it is late.
  • If India sends its armed forces to Syria, its stock will rise globally as one of the few countries able to hit the ISIS.
  • India’s Entry will also be a Landmark Geopolitical Event.

Arguments Against and Reasons:

  • No prior experience on foreign soil.
  • India already has enough internal problems like Naxalism, Bodo militant attacks etc.
  • These wars will cost the Indian exchequer massively. As per estimates, the US government spends $300,000/hour for their air strikes against the ISIS, which is definitely unaffordable for India.

Conclusion:

Daesh, for sure, is pure evil, and needs to be defeated for humanity’s sake; but critical questions need to be asked, also for humanity’s sake, about the many wars on terror and convenient wars of intervention that the Western nations are currently engaged in. Clearly, the ill-conceived war on terror is coming back to haunt the West, and the Paris attack is a direct fallout. And also the carnage in Paris should not be allowed to accentuate the refugee crisis in Europe. It is important for Europe to proactively integrate the refugees. Respect for multiculturalism should form the basis of the process of integrating refugees.

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