Friday, August 14, 2015

Intelligence Dearth and Public apathy sustains Terrorism in India

First, I started this post immediately after the Gurdaspur attack. However, I was unable to finish it due to my interviews. As you might have guessed, my blog is pretty new and is not generating any income. To add to my difficulties, my fellowship is ending. So I need to find a job as soon as possible.

Ok, coming back to the post. From the time I started to write this post, i.e. from Gurdaspur attack, to until now one more attack has taken place in Udhampur followed by a series of ceasefire violations across the disputed border. What is interesting is that, our 'leaders' are conspicuous by their silence. I believe the world would not have forgotten their jingoistic din upon Indian Army's successful operation across Myanmar border. At that time, I had argued that it may not be able possible for Mr. Modi to repeat Myanmar success.

What is interesting is that no media or public questioned the ministers of their inaction after those jingoistic boasts until now. Interestingly, the parliament session was all about bills and next to nothing about security. Opposition, that was determined to return the favour, almost exclusively focused on the 'Lalit Modi - Sushma Swaraj' scandal that it totally diverted the public attention from what is necessary to something paltry. The public and media fell for this 'mocking bird', quiet readily.

Perhaps, the death of armed personals and civilians in these attacks and ceasefire violations are nothing to be paid attention to. I guess, in Indian psyche, these lives don't matter. It is unfortunate that the loved ones of those victims also failed to unite and say ' we had enough '. In India, which has one of the largest population under poverty, doesn't the lives and livelihoods of poor folks matter?

The problem is also compounded by the apparent dearth of intelligence among our intelligence community, as was evident by their repeated plagiarisms. Even in the recent case of Mr. Maran, it seems Indian intelligence community lifted parts from Wikipedia, which was noted by the preceding judge.

The terrorist attacks and the ceasefire violations are nothing new. Every time something of the likes happens, GoI is happy to point fingers at Pakistan and continue their business (whatever that is...). One of the foremost duties of a country to its citizens, is to provide security and livelihoods. needless to say India has been consistently failing on these counts...!

These attacks are the latest of the series of attacks Pakistan is waging against India since 1990s as a part of its asymmetric warfare strategy against India. The first thing, that should have caught the attention of anyone is how is that Pakistan is still successful? Hadn't India learnt anything? Or is the Pakistani Intelligence really intelligent relative to Indian intelligence? Or Indian intelligence is only concerned about the lives of VIP's? If so, is the Indian tax payer's wasting their money? However, no attention has ever been given to these important questions, neither by the media nor by the public.

A few years ago, 'The Hindu' published an analysis which revealed that just only a third of the IB's work force is working on Indian security the rest two-thirds were entrusted with spying on political opponents. No wonder, none of the political parties wants to provide the intelligence organizations a constitutional status and parliament oversight. These organization survive by the tax payers money, yet serve only their political bosses. In this context, the above questions attains immense significance. Yet, none of the media nor the public seems to be worried about it. I wonder if Gandhi, if alive, would have launched another Non-Cooperation Movement. Notable Gandhians like Anna Hazare and the likes also seems to be silent on this issue, which is really painful. However, it the public which has to wake up...!

To be fair, some questions do prop-up occasionally in the media on security during times of elections. On those occasions, the political parties show the statistics that says the number of fatalities to have gone down since the 1990s. While it may be true, it is also true that the ability to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism poses a greater danger, if ISIS determines to use this network to wage war on India. Pakistan would be more than happy to help ISIS. With India's achilles heels of corruption, nepotism and misuse of power, the implications are terrifying to imagine. It would be in the interest of India and the entire South Asia, to put an end to this unsettling problem of terrorism once far all.

Unfortunately, I think, neither the politicians nor these intelligence agencies are incapable of generating solutions. In their minds there are only four possibilities to deal with Pakistan:
  1. Hand over the disputed regions to Pakistan
  2. Attack Pakistan with over-whelming force and reclaim disputed regions
  3. Continue to negotiate and CBMs
  4. Give Pakistan a taste of its own medicine (covert operations)
Even an absolute idiot would be aware that none of the four choices would work. Handing over the disputed regions to Pakistan is a non-starter. India cannot do that and neither could Pakistan. Any political party/leader attempting this option is clearly committing a political suicide and putting the security of their respective countries at great peril. After all the jingoism and decades of mistrust, this is not going to be a possibility, not in any near future. 

The second option is the favourite of hardliners in the opposition, which they would not embark upon if elected to power. The cost and expense of war, is well known. I'm not sure about Pakistan but if India provokes a war, the politicians who did has to answer the public for the lives lost, even if India wins the war. On the other hand, they may get support if this is in retaliation over a terrorist attack. However, for such a thing to happen, India has to maintain its entire armed forces battle-ready without giving any hints to Pakistan. This is both expensive and Pakistan is likely to get a whiff of India's plans. In such case, there won't be any attacks until Indian soldiers are tired and the forces loses their morale. Further, if India do attack and reclaims PoK, India would lose its stature as a peace beacon in the world stage and Pakistan will most likely collapse, resulting in a much greater threat than Pakistan itself. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of Taliban or ISIS is a much greater threat than the Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Since this affects China and US and many of other the countries in region India would likely face international pressures against this option. It wouldn't be surprise if China jumps in the war to aid Pakistan and India is clearly not capable of a war at two ends. When would India be capable for such an eventuality is anyone's guess.

The third option is the favourite of the party and politicians, as well as the bureaucrats in power. The reason - its a no brainer. No wonder India is doing this for a very long time. The only problem with is approach is the apparent strengthening of security apparatus, which would usually mean oppression and harassment of some weaker sections of the society. Like the staging up of encounter deaths, where usually the dead are innocents.  The fourth option is the recommendations from the security and intelligence analysts in India, which has its moral costs. If the enemy is ruthless at murdering innocents, could it be morally justified to do the same to his people who are innocents, who has no idea of his/her atrocities? Further, wouldn't the innocents affected by our actions become a fertile recruiting ground for more attacks? Gandhi is a genius for coming up with non-violence, because his intention was not to score tit-for-tat but settle the issue once far all. His movement also reduced collateral damage. In other words, none of the four options is likely to give the intended effect. Yet, our politicians pursue a no brainer with the confidence that the public is none the wiser. Hence, Mr. Singh's pursuit of the third solution is as expected. 

In short, the problem of terrorism persists in India costing thousands of lives every year because of the following:

  1. The attitude that lives of poor and middle class doesn't matter
  2. The attitude that police and law enforcement officials can get away with human abuses and atrocities against innocents, poor performances, etc.
  3. The inability and apparent apathy of the intelligence community and bureaucrats to generate out-of-box ideas and innovations
  4. Red-tape that don't provide an opportunity to develop new ideas or incorporate new minds
  5. Corruption, nepotism, etc.
As Sun Tzu says "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles...", Pakistan knows India well and acts with impunity costing the lives of innocent civilians. Yet, the only thing India is being good at doing is the losing innocent lives every year to this barbaric act with rhetoric ad nauseam. I would say that this is because of the red-tape, nepotism, corruption and the snobbish attitude towards to the poor and middle class, that drives away good talents and prevents the sprout of new ideas as the main cause of this continuing horror. In short, while the problem with Pakistan may be a Nehruvian legacy, its continuation is definitely due to the dearth of intelligence in our intelligence community and its snobbish attitude to harness the talents are lost to developed nations every year. It is also because of the defeated attitude of the surviving victims and their loved ones to stand up to the government, and the apathy of tax-payers who fail ask, "why should we pay for your comforts and security?"

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