Delhi 10/29

The Union home ministry is said to be zeroing in on the Lashkar-e-Toiba for the terror attacks on Saturday in which over 60 people were killed after a series of bombs went off in three separate places inside the heart of Delhi. The impact of the blasts may still be too early to call even as the death toll continues to climb up. 

While infiltration by the enemies of State into the country in order to create pandemonium and terror is nothing new, what should come as a surprise though is the timing of the 10/29 blasts, coming as it does when both New Delhi and Islamabad are cooling their heels off in a rare period of détente and bonhomie. The explosions occurred even as Indian and Pakistani officials were having talks in Islamabad on an unprecedented opening of the territory’s disputed frontier to help victims of the massive October 8 earthquake believed to have killed about 80,000 people.

The terror networks and those who operate them, one would have thought, may have been dug into the quandary following the devastating earthquakes in the region. But this does not seem to be the case and more than anything else; terrorists are using this vulnerable period when the country itself battles with unprecedented flooding in the south, the political violence in the Northeast etc to put further strain on the countries political and military machinery. 

While it may not always be easy to detect the intent of those hell bent on using violent means to achieve their goal, much still needs to be done to improve intelligence services within the country so that any attempt at creating disturbances or terror can be pre-empted. Further, the political leadership in the country needs to take extra care in drawing up its policy on sensitive issues. India, with its new found role as a global player in the international stage also faces the danger of getting itself embroiled in global politics and conflicts. 

For instance, the Iran nuclear issue is a serious policy dilemma for New Delhi. Even an act of commission or omission could land itself in a situation jeopardizing its traditional good relations with Iran or for that matter with countries in the Middle East where in the past India’s role as a non-aligned country was both appreciated and reciprocated. In the fast changing post-cold war world, rightly or wrongly, India has cemented its ties with both the United States and Israel. 

New Delhi would therefore do well to initiate diplomatic efforts in removing misperceptions that it has become anti-Islam or a satellite of the US and thereby avoid giving a pretext to terror groups such as the Al-Qaida and its cohorts to target India.

Side by side, the drive against terrorism must continue but on the reasoning that other non-military elements are required as well. One of them is resolving political conflicts be it Kashmir or Palestine while intensifying at the same time, support for economic development in areas of Central Asia, the Arab world and northern Africa where repression and poverty provide breeding grounds for international terrorism.