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Pune terror attacks

Challenge the infrastructure where it stands

Nine dead, several injured in an IED triggered explosion in Pune last night.  By Home Secretary Pillai’s account, the IED was placed in an unattended packet, which exploded when a waiter tried to open it. The attacks come just weeks after Lashar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed issued specific threats to the cities of New Delhi, Kanpur and Pune in a February 5, 2010 Yaum-e-Yakjehti Kashmir speech in Lahore.  Indeed, Pune was also one of several Indian cities recceed by David Coleman Headley.

The attacks also come at a time when India and Pakistan are scheduled to begin their first round of talks at the Foreign Secretary level, starting February 25.  The talks were offered by India at the prodding of Washington, which wants to be seen as being sensitive to Pakistan’s India-paranoia, as US begins its largest military operations against the Taliban since 2001 in Marja.

So what must India’s response be?

Much can be done, both as an immediate response to the attacks as well as from the standpoint of expunging the notion that India is incapable of challenging the infrastructure that supports such attacks.  Pragmatic Euphony’s excellent post details how India should lay out short- medium- and long-term goals vis-a-vis Pakistan.  In the here and now, India must mitigate the threat of immediate attacks in other Indian cities and soothe public apprehension and anger. It must also carry out a full investigation of the attack, identify the perpetrators and bring those under its jurisdiction to book.

Equally important, India must also ensure that talks with Pakistan continue as planned.  The idea is one that many will scoff at, but consider this: despite public statements that indicate otherwise, Pakistan is not keen on talks with India.  Talking to India denies Pakistan from invoking the convenient “beast on the east” schpeel that today finds more resonance in the Obama Administration than it ever did during Bush 43’s reign.

Hence the even more vocal “help Pakistan solve Kashmir and it will return the favor in Afghanistan” (or alternatively, “help Pakistan solve Kashmir so that they can dedicate more troops to the Pak-Afghan border“) jabber from the American intelligentsia.  India is vested in a successful US/ISAF operation in Marja and if talking to Pakistan can help tweak perceptions, it must do so.

Moving forward, India must develop the capability to challenge the infrastructure that continues to support attacks on Indian soil.  Today, those who plan, finance and otherwise support terrorism against India are as smug as they are cozy, knowing India is incapable of challenging them in their own backyard — a heavy price the country is now paying for ill-advised policy shifts made by a fractious coalition in 1997. These ill-advised policy changes need to be reversed immediately.  This will only happen if Manmohan Singh’s government stops playing the perennial apologist, provides the funding, training, technology and resources necessary to impose heavy costs on terror infrastructure operating outside Indian territory.

The alternative to this is to continue to absorb ceaseless body blows and mutter away about surgical strikes and our patience not being inexhaustible.  So what will it be?

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28 Responses to Pune terror attacks

  1. Venkat February 14, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    When the world talks about Kashmir, it unanimously seems to mean the India side of Kashmir, IOK, IAK, or J&K as we know. There is absolute silence about POK. Nobody knows what is happening there. Why isn’t India able to deflect the attention towards situation in POK? Why aren’t we able to point out access or the lack of it to POK for international press?
    By solution to Kashmir, do these intellectuals mean the whole of Kashmir or just liberation of the Indian side?

  2. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 15, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    The talks were offered by India at the prodding of Washington, which wants to be seen as being sensitive to Pakistan’s India-paranoia, as US begins its largest military operations against the Taliban since 2001 in Marja.

    Thats just total B.S. It is indeed clear that Obama has co-erced India to offer these “talks” and India allowed itself to be bullied by Washington in such a transparent manner.

    The Govt of India is supposedly meant to look after its own interests – not Washington’s. We are not here to play the court jester to Obama and his pals. We are not exactly getting back any thing in return other than more terrorist attacks.

    Equally important, India must also ensure that talks with Pakistan continue as planned. The idea is one that many will scoff at, but consider this: despite public statements that indicate otherwise, Pakistan is not keen on talks with India. Talking to India denies Pakistan from invoking the convenient “beast on the east” schpeel that today finds more resonance in the Obama Administration than it ever did during Bush 43’s reign.

    This is even more BS. Basically you have pointed out what is wrong with Indian foreign policy and supposed foreign policy analysts like yourself.

    By agreeing to this charade of talks, India effectively agrees that there is more than a kernel of truth to the idea that it is a direct security threat to Pakistan and is planning to engage in either overt or covert war.

    If we enter an open war, we are threatened with “nuclear blackmail” anyways. And if India is fighting a covert war in Pakistan, it should be news to Pakistan. and Indians like me.

    Furthermore, you never tackle the issue of Pakistan’s military jihadi complex maintains plausible deniability over these terror attacks. “Officially” as of today, the terrorists of 26/11 are nothing more than an isolated bunch of Pakis who have no connection whatsoever with the Military. Hafiz Saeed is still free and is making open threats to India from the streets of Lahore… Huh ?

    So we can keep talking from now on till the end of time and Pakistan will keep denying responsibility for the attacks in Bombay, Pune and what ever city is up next on their list. And what is India’s move after that ?

    What exactly are the objectives of these talks ? And what exactly does India do if Pakistan wastes time at these talks by saying that Kashmir is what needs to get liberated from Indian control ? What then ?

    What is going to happen to Pakistan then ? Nothing. They know it, we know it, America knows it.

    Moving forward, India must develop the capability to challenge the infrastructure that continues to support attacks on Indian soil.

    India has a perennial enemy in Pakistan – this country is sworn to our destruction. Every third grader knows this basic fact. There has been an active war of terror on India for the last two decades – Bombay was first bombed in 1992 – and we are now talking about “moving forward” ?

    The alternative to this is to continue to absorb ceaseless body blows and mutter away about surgical strikes and our patience not being inexhaustible. So what will it be?

    We do suffer endlessly from body blows – has been happening since the last two decades. We do have infinite patience. And no, no body is talking/muttering about “surgical strikes”..

    OTOH, we are talking about how important it is that we should continue talking with the Pakis or otherwise , it will give them an “excuse” to… i forget – if we dont talk, how does it hurt us and help the Pakis again ?

    Face it, there are three main problems

    A. Indians are the most pliant people you will face in the world – we are and do get taken for granted. These “talks” that we were bullied into by Washington shows that rather clearly.

    B. We dont have the gumption to face Pakistan in any kind of war as of today.

    C. The Indian electorate does not see national security or threats to national security as an issue – it never has and it never will. There is no pressure on GoI do to anything.

    Under Congress rule from 04 to 09,i can think of atleast 5 major terror attacks – and, they were reelected with an even bigger majority …enough said.

    Indian citizens on average dont care about terrorism and its only the Indian blogosphere and some in the old media which treat this issue seriously.

    • filtercoffee February 15, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      @Nagarajan Sivakumar: So what course(s) of action are you proposing the Indian government take at this point?

  3. George February 15, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    India can be secure only when India’s borders are secure. Forget attacking another country for our own short comings, surgical strikes and all that talk of war will accomplish nothing. Pakistan is playing a very dangerous game and is paying for it multi-fold, they don’t need us to destroy them. India as a country should work towards securing its borders, implementing some sort of registration system that identifies illegals as well as its own citizens, track visitors better and do something to modernize and better its law enforcement apparatus and do it quickly. Its been a decade since the first major terror attack in Bombay, has anything changed from a security standpoint ?

  4. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 16, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    @FilterCoffee,
    I would first of all stop pretending that Pakistan is a democracy that has civilians in firm control of the military. It is not. This would help us stop wasting time talking with people who have absolutely no control whatsoever on the military jihadi complex.

    Also stop pretending that the Pakistani civilian Government wants to have peace and it is only the military jihadi complex who are supporting terrorism. If their govt really wanted peace, they would go after all terrorist bases in Pakistan, including the religious schools, its Wahabist financiers.

    They either wont or cant (see Paki military) Which only makes the argument of “talking” to them even more pointless.

    My concrete steps would include

    A. First off, halt all trade relations with Pakistan. Yes, this would mean a temporary loss of the small gains that have been made in the last 5 years or so. But it is nothing compared to the loss of face by the Indian Govt which has repeatedly been taken for granted by both Pakistan and the United States.

    Stop granting visas to Pakistanis – their civilians need to know the cost of inflicting terrorism on India.

    LEARN something from the Israelis. What ever you may say about their strategies regarding Palestenian terrorism, they dont allow themselves to be taken for granted. Not even their closest ally, the US takes them for granted.

    B. Publicly renounce the NFU policy. Strive for nuclear submarines that would attack Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad at the same instant from the Arabian Sea and leaves them with zero chance of retaliation. In short, India should develop capabilities for total destruction of Pakistan.Without this improvement in our nuclear capabilities, we are stuck in square one

    C.Stop listening to the US/UK/EU or any one else on what GoI should be doing. I am pretty pro-American myself but i see the conduct of the Obama administration as essentially harmful to Indian interests and promoting Pakistani interests.

    The argument that we should be accomodating Pakistani “apprehensions” is laughable on its face and no Indian should be repeating this nonsense.

    When you repeat this, you are enabling enemy propoganda yourself. And i dont know what is more foolish than this, no matter what other strategies India undertakes.

    It is a bad as it is to have the US openly propogandizing for Pakistan – now we have to join in too ?

    What else can we do to “accomodate” them ? withdraw from all our Afghan related efforts ? You know, that would make Pakistan really happy and “secure”.

    D. In the long run, the Indian electorate has to be more… Indian.. and less parochial. We dont expect much from GoI but we dont expect them to do absolutely nothing either on the question of national security. This is definitely an area where India’s fragile notions of one nation are badly exposed.

    I was in Buffalo, New York when 9/11 happened – No body, i repeat nobody took this as just an attack on the North Eastern part of the US. They saw this for what it is – an attack on the American nation. The response was calibrated accordingly.

    Frankly, i dont think we can say the same thing about most Indians. We are very very parochial to say the least and this is hurting us more than anything else. There is no way we re-elect a Government that allowed five terrorist attacks to happen, knowing fully well who is behind it AND STILL GETS coerced into talking to its sworn enemy…

    This is an insult to Indian dignity first and foremost. Forget everything else.

  5. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 16, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    @George,
    There is a difference between what India must do and what it wants to do. There is a question of WILL, whether it comes to economic prosperity or national security.

    Indian GOI simply does not have the will to do what it takes – we are expecting the Americans to do our dirty work for us. Not happening, given the strategic advantages that Pakistan has vis-a-vis the United States. Let us never forget that the US still considers Pakistan an ally, no matter what.

  6. SR Murthy February 16, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    @Nagarajan:
    “This is an insult to Indian dignity first and foremost. Forget everything else.”

    It is a mistake to base strategy on things like Honour and Dignity — best to stick to tangibles and measurable interests. Pakistan’s is in its present state because its entire self-image and policies that flow from it are based on “preserving Honour and Dignity” (even as they are being eaten alive by their own monsters).

    So, no, “Forget everything else” is not an option.

    Also, you need to think through things better, specifically you need to go beyond your “Recommendation” and follow through with how the world will change because of your recommendation, and why this changed world is better from the Indian standpoint than today’s world.

    For example, Let us say India revokes NFU, and Pakistan immediately starts pretending that it is about to push the red button — do you think this Indo-Pak situation will remain localized after that? Just because India says NFU, does that mean India needs to follow NFU? Who’s going to penalize India if it doesn’t?

  7. sanjay February 17, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    India has to come out of the vicious cycle of talks followed by terror attacks followed by talks, our strategy should be based on the understanding of the enemy’s strategy. Pakistan has honed the use of terrorism as a tool to achieve their strategic objectives to an art, their strategic objectives are retain afghanistan as strategic depth, dismember Kashmir from India and bleed India. Though they have not succeeded in their second objective but have succeeded in the last one and seems to be succeeding in the first one as well. To ensure that Pakistan doesn’t succeed in its objective of bleeding India, India must make sure that the so called MJC will well and truly dismantled. All this while India depended on US/Nato forces to do this job but their is no point denying that they can’t and won’t do that. Only option available to India is extracting a payback for every loss suffered. Was pakistan made to pay for mumbai pune or any of the terror attack carried out on india? no i am not refering to war, there is no point anyway, but there are other means like getting pakistan declared a terrorist state, and use trade sanctions against countries who don’t cooperate with us regardless of which country, yes that would result in economic losses but IMO are preferable to loss of lives.

  8. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 19, 2010 at 3:03 am #

    @SR Murthy,
    “It is a mistake to base strategy on things like Honour and Dignity — best to stick to tangibles and measurable interests. ”

    Sir, i hate to say this but you seem to have this ability to distort the view points of people who are opposed to your view. If you read my post carefully, i point out that there is no use or strategy in continuing to talk to people who have no control over the military jihadi complex. Please continue to debate on this point or concede that the point of talking is useless and that you are advocating a useless strategy.

    There are such things as Honor and Dignity – you might be surprised to hear this. But when you have no sense of honor and dignity you allow people to take you for granted.

    For instance the United States can take it for granted that India would accede to its coercion to talk to Pakistan inspite of knowing who caused 26/11 – you know why ? The US knows that it can push around India inorder to achieve its interests in the AfPak region

    Pakistan’s is in its present state because its entire self-image and policies that flow from it are based on “preserving Honour and Dignity” (even as they are being eaten alive by their own monsters).

    And in one stroke you made a fallacious comparision between the world’s largest democracy and world’s largest religious state… and you are Indian to boot. I am lost foe words.

    Btw, Pakistan is not exactly “eaten alive” by its monsters – it faces serious difficulties but do not try to hype up its shortcomings – after 9 years it is looking to come out a winner, trumping the US and India in the AfPak region.

    For a country that is being eaten alive it just made India look real silly to offer talks even after 26/11. Please stop the hyperbole and do some analysis.

    Also, you need to think through things better, specifically you need to go beyond your “Recommendation” and follow through with how the world will change because of your recommendation, and why this changed world is better from the Indian standpoint than today’s world.

    If you have better ones, please share them. Why is it that you insinuate that people dont think through their ideas especially if they are contrary to yours. Again you feel the need to disparage comments without showing the reasons.

    You SHOW ME how India continuing to talk to a known terror state will actually change any thing.

    My recommendations are a recognition of the fact that India has very little options but to increase its security and its nuclear stockpile. We are dealing with an enemy that is sworn to our destruction and is wily in nature. Unlike you, i dont have any pie in the sky ideas of what will happen if we continue to talk till the end of time.

    And for starters, i would beg you tostop using such nonsensical phrases like “how the world will change”. There are only specific countries that are of interest here in this region – namely the US, Pakistan, China, Iran, Russia.

    For example, Let us say India revokes NFU, and Pakistan immediately starts pretending that it is about to push the red button — do you think this Indo-Pak situation will remain localized after that? Just because India says NFU, does that mean India needs to follow NFU? Who’s going to penalize India if it doesn’t?

    Mr Murthy, you are very defensive minded to say the least.. if you are not Rip Van Winkle, you should know that the India Pak situation is ANYTHING but localized. Why exactly are the United States, China involved then ?

    And yes when India renounces NFU, it means it needs to follow up on it IF IT FEELS NECESSARY. Which is exactly why i suggested that we need to have the capability to attack Pakistan with nuke submarines and attack its major cities giving it no chance of any retaliation.

    NFU is no bluff – when Pakistan does not follow NFU, it means what it says- – which is kind of why we are hesitant to attack them, arent we ? It is not that we cannot retaliate – it is that we dont want to lose our cities.

    Of course,we can always renounce NFU without telling anyone and develop capabilities to wipe Pakistan off the 1947 created map. But i am not holding my breath here.

    But to be more pragmatic, we need to develop a no nonsense approach to domestic security, foreign policy and pretty much everything else

    A. We will do our darndest to improve security domestically

    B. We will not negotiate with terrorists and terror sponsoring states

    C. Go beyond just a “deterrent” strategy when it comes to nuclear weapons.

  9. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    “?you read my post carefully, i point out that there is no use or strategy in continuing to talk to people who have no control over the military jihadi complex.”

    I have read your points of view and they resemble something I was just about to step on in the street.

    I have already mentioned that the consequences of not talking help Pakistan more than India, which is the need for this tactic of talks right now.

    Go read up on the difference between tactics and strategy before you address your next post to me.

  10. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    Nagarajan Sivakumar, using big words like NFU and speaking like 10-year old will not win you any point. I have explained to you how to think through such stuff and you come back with a pile of nonsense like teenager.

    What the heck is the matter with you? Grow up.

  11. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    Doing any of the following right now does not help India:

    1. Revoking NFU
    2. Getting into a fighting match with Pakistan
    3. Writing India into a corner by making proclamations that restrict India’s options down the line.

    What will help India:

    1. Securing India Internally
    2. Engaging Pakistan and USA and make them clean up Af-Pak or make sure the world knows that they did not clean up after themselves.

    That is all.

  12. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 19, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    I have already mentioned that the consequences of not talking help Pakistan more than India, which is the need for this tactic of talks right now.

    Go read up on the difference between tactics and strategy before you address your next post to me

    It is very difficult for some people to have a civil dialogue with people that they disagree with. SR Murthy, you are a good example of that. There is no need for you to show such petulant fits of anger.

    Your ideas of “not talking to Pakistan helps Pakistan” are INANE and unfounded. These are just assertions not backed up by facts or any reasoning.

    This great “tactic” of yours earns nothing and can very easily be turned back at India. When you are ready for “talks” what prevents Pakistan from asking India to “talk” about Kashmir ?

    Are you already attaching pre-conditions to the talks by saying that only terrorism should be the issue ? If that is the case, Pakistan can rightly point out that it is India which is intransigent while at the same time being insincere – after all India is the country which wanted talks – not Pakistan. And what talks can leave out the core issue that has caused 4 wars ?

    When two countries cannot even agree on the agenda of these so called “talks” how does this tactic help India ? It only shows India as being insincere.

    How does it help Pakistan if India did not offer to talk in the first place ?

    If you have ANY exposure to US media, blogs you would know that

    A. The US Government is very well aware of the games that Pakistan is playing. They were among the first to know that Pakistan was involved at the highest level in the Kabul Embassy bombings. They also have enough evidence about how the Pakis military uses the Taliban and AQ to its advantage.

    After all they have been dealing with them for the last 8 years. You think they are fools ? Why do you think Kerry and Lugar introduced legislation that conditioned aid to Pakistan based on military being more under civilian Govt control ?

    So if India did not offer to talk and stood firmly in its original stance, the US would not be able to do bupkis – something that does not seem to register in your head. It is Pakistan that is dependent on US aid militarily and economically. Not India.

    B. The US is gone in the next couple of years – all they are looking for is a face saving exit from AfPak- they have co-erced India in to talking with Pakistan in exchange for the high profile arrests of those in the Taliban leadership… hence the sudden “arrests” of the senior Taliban..

    There is no “tactical” value for India to talk now or ever to a powerless government that has no control over its jihadists masters in the military. On the contrary it is Pakistan that benefits by portraying India as intransigent as it refuses to negotiate on the core issue of Kashmir. And if India capitulates and returns to a dialogue that involves Kashmir, who the hell wins ?

    Instead of arguing based on points and facts and reason, you resort to name calling and pejorative rants.

    May be i should not have expected any better from strangers on the Internet. My bad.

  13. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 19, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    What will help India:

    1. Securing India Internally
    2. Engaging Pakistan and USA and make them clean up Af-Pak or make sure the world knows that they did not clean up after themselves.

    “Engaging Pakistan” is a pie in the sky language… if you have not already noticed, we have been “engaging” Pakistan since forever.. you seem to forget the talks in Agra when Musharaff walked all over Vajpayee..

    Every strategy should be calibrated and not followed blindly. If you can show me the value of talking to an enemy state with whom you cannot negotiate in good faith, it is neither tactical nor strategic. Just because you shout loudly that it is a great tactic does not make it so.

    You have to prove the value behind such talks – 8 years after 9/11 the US is looking to leave Afghanistan at the earliest possible and is now pretty much dancing to Pakistan’s tunes and you are so obliviously talking about “engaging” the USA…. GIVE ME A BREAK… how much more blind can you get?

    or make sure the world knows that they did not clean up after themselves.

    Make sure The World knows !!! Ha, that should do the trick – the most predominant power in the world is looking to leave Afghanistan in a hurry and you are asking “the world” to know that US did not “clean up”.

    Please DO NOT JOKE.

  14. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 19, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Doing any of the following right now does not help India:

    1. Revoking NFU
    2. Getting into a fighting match with Pakistan
    3. Writing India into a corner by making proclamations that restrict India’s options down the line.

    These are all mere opinions – not facts. Nothing is provided remotely as evidence of these opinions.

    India does not have too many “options” to begin with. The day India makes a bolder foreign policy that is not inhibited by paralytic fear like the one that you espouse, the better it is for all of us.

    And one last thing about the NFU – India need not publically revoke it. It can work towards its nuclear arsenal keeping in mind that the NFU is non existent for all practical purposes. As long as it gains significant capability that can damage Pakistan completely, it would be doing itself a favor.

  15. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    @Nagaragan pukes: “”

    Let’s put it this way, your opinions are ill-thought out, impractical, and will cause India harm. You are a pakistani in an Indian body — you speak like a pakistani and think like a Pakistani, and say brainless twaddle like “honour and dignity” and ill-informed statements that are just argumentative and do not shed any light on the matter at hand. Pakistanis should probably try and acquire the services of Indians of your kind because you have a lot to offer them.

  16. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    @Nagarajan vomits some more:”India does not have too many “options” to begin with. The day India makes a bolder foreign policy that is not inhibited by paralytic fear like the one that you espouse, the better it is for all of us.”

    Did you consider the possibility that people who make policy in India are trying to balance various issues in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term? Of course not, it is a whole lot easier to pretend everyone else is an Idiot and a Coward, except you of course. Another classic Pakistani Trait you have acquired. Congratulations!

  17. filtercoffee February 19, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Folks, let’s try and keep our discussions civil on this forum. I think we’ve all shared some really interesting ideas and it’s worth remembering that in doing so, we all have India’s national interests at heart. It is important for us to continue to have free discourse on this platform and I would be loathe to have to moderate comments.

  18. SR Murthy February 19, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    @filtercoffee, please delete any and all posts of mine. Was a mistake to engage people in this blog. Thank you.

  19. Nagarajan Sivakumar February 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    @FilterCoffee,
    I beg you not to moderate comments as long as they dont contain explicit/profane language – what SR Murthy indulges in is a typical ad hominem attack -questioning the patriotism of people who disagree with him only proves the adage about how patriotism is the last refuge of the .. you know who.

    In the interest of free speech, i would request you NOT TO DELETE Mr.Murthy’s comments – let has lack of civility and his angry approach to arguments that run contrary to his be there for every one to see. Let these arguments stand on their own and let people who visit this blog judge for themselves which of these are reasonable and which of these are displays of petulance and emotion.

    Sincerely,
    Nagarajan

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