Cross-border terrorism has emerged as a great threat to the security of India. Terrorism originating from across the border has slowly attempted to strangle the democracy and sovereignty of India.
By its nature, the term “terrorism” is bound up in political controversy. It is a concept with a very negative connotation. Because terrorism implies the killing and maiming of innocent people, no country wants to be accused of supporting terrorism or harbouring terrorist groups. At the same time, no country wants what it considers to be a legitimate use of force to be considered terrorism. An old saying goes, “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.”
While there is no universal definition of terrorism, various experts point out that there are common elements to most terrorist acts. Acts of terrorism usually are committed by groups who do not possess the political power to change policies they view as intolerable. Middle Eastern terrorism intensified in the 1970s in response to defeats of Arab nations in wars with Israel over the Palestine issue. Convinced that further wars were futile, a number of countries, including Egypt, sought peace with Israel. This enraged groups within those countries dedicated to the defeat of Israel, who then turned to terrorism.
Terrorists choose targets and actions to maximise the psychological effect on a society or government. Their goal is to create a situation in which a government will change its policies to avoid further bloodshed or disruption. For these reasons, terrorists often choose methods of mass destruction, such as bombings, and target transportation or crowded places to increase anxiety and fear.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the USA on September 11, 2001 brought transnational terrorism to attention. This kind of terrorism is also known as cross-border terrorism. Cross-border terror groups do not confine themselves either territorially or ideologically to a particular country or region. They are global in orientation, readily moving funds, men and material from one place to another.
Groups like the Palestine nationalist groups and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) also crossed state borders to launch attacks, to smuggle arms and to seek refuge. The IRA got weapons from Libya and launched attacks across Britain; it also launched a one-off attack in Germany and plotted an assault on British forces in Gibraltar. Palestinian ‘terrorists’ crossed into Israeli territory, or what they considered Palestinian territory, and sought refuge in states like Egypt and Syria. They hijacked aeroplanes across the world, took hostage Israeli contestants at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and infamously hijacked an Italian cruise ship in 1985.
However, these groups were politically and organisationally tied to a particular territory. As international experts Ray Takeyh and Nikolas Gvosdev put it, these groups pursued largely ‘irredentist aims’ and built up their memberships ‘from a specific population—even if they sought the sponsorship of a foreign patron for arms and logistical support’.
Today’s cross-border groups view territory expediently, as a base from which they can organise their campaigns and plot their attacks. The new breed of Islamic terror groups are, according to Takeyh and Gvosdev, ‘explicitly global’—in the sense that they have broadly anti-Western views rather than locally defined objectives, and their members hail from different states rather than from a distinct community with distinct interests.
Where the armed groups of old sought to build or remake nation states, today’s cross-border terrorists feed off the demise of state authority. Where national liberation movements sought to redraw state boundaries, cross-border groups think nothing of moving from one failed state to another. Where the earlier violent groups focussed their energies on achieving limited local aims, even as they carried out international operations, today’s terror groups talk about ‘spreading jihad’ around the globe.
Some analysts believe that it was Western intervention in, the third world, specifically the “humanitarian intervention’ of the post-Cold War period, that encouraged the emergence of today’s cross-border terrorists.
By undermining state authority and notions of sovereignty, humanitarian intervention created the space for the rise of non- state actors. And by internationalising local conflicts, Western intervention did much to encourage the flouting of traditional borders and the movement of armed groups between territories.
Through the process of weakening state authority and internationalising conflicts, Western intervention has given rise to a new kind of terrorist—terrorists who, as Pentagon officials put it, ‘respect no borders, no boundaries and no state institutions’, who feed off the absence of state authority and move across territories in the execution of their ‘global’ campaigns.
According to Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett, a Professor at the Naval War College, US, the world may be divided into three areas, the core, the seam and the gap states, based on their level of globalisation.
Core states are those thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows and collective security. States in this category feature stable governments, rising standards of living and more deaths by suicide than murder. Core states include North America, much of South America, the European Union, Russia, Japan, and Asia’s emerging economies (most notably China and India), Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Gap states are those where globalisation is thinning or absent, plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder and most important—the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists.
Seam states are those, lying between the Core and Gap, which are in transition to being fully globalised. Seam states include: Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The results of these efforts show an overwhelming concentration of activity in the regions of the world excluded from globalisation’s growing core. These areas are the Caribbean Rim, virtually all of Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, the Middle East, Southwest Asia and much of Southeast Asia. Most of the nations in this area have demographics skewed very young and most are labelled, “low income” or “low middle income” by the World Bank (i.e., less than $3,000 annual per capita).
Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda sprang to life in Sudan and Afghanistan, which by any standards are two of the most disconnected countries in the world. A look at other places where US Special Forces have recently been deployed includes northwestern Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen which all fall in the same category. Dr. Barnett’s message is: “A country’s potential to warrant a US military response is inversely related to its globalization connectivity.”
Terrorism in India
Synopsis: Terrorism has become worldwide phenomenon with its many faces and manifestations. State-sponsored terrorism presents its worst form. Pol Pot in Cambodia let loose such a terrorism which killed millions of Cambodians In India terrorism has been there in many States. Terrorists do not hesitate in using even the most cruel methods of violence and do not spare even women and children. ln Punjab it has been Pakistan sponsored terrorism it has been in control in Punjab but still not eliminated. Poverty, unemployment, deprivation and illiteracy make a good breeding ground for militancy extremism. ln north-eastern States of lndia the terrorism has been on the rise and nothing effective has been done to check it. The tribal’s of these States have been victims of long neglect, deprivation, economic backwardness and alienation. Similarly PWG has been very active in Andhra Pradesh and has won support, sympathy and participation of the rural public in Telengana. The problem of terrorism need to be tackled on many fronts. lt is a global menace and requires global cooperation between powers of the world to check and eradicate so devastating a phenomenon as terrorism.
Terrorism has many faces, forms and dimensions. lt may be regional, national or global and international in scale’ Then it may be regional, communal, political, state-sponsored or foreign in origin. lt is found worldwide in one form or the other. The development of very fast means of transport, communication and very sophisticated automatic weapons, have given terrorism new dimensions, depth and immensity. With the globalization, economic integration and cooperation of the nations, the terrorism too has become unlimited and can be transported and transplanted to any part of the world easily’ It is a cult of violence, killings, murders, arson and destruction to perpetrate terror, fear and demoralization among the masses. It is in its worst form when it is state-sponsored. Then dictatorial and military rulers resort to violence, killings and shootings of people on suspicion or any other pretext and suppress human rights to make the public obey their unjust, discriminating dictates and administration For Example, Khmer Rouge, led by Pol pot, let loose the reign of terror in Cambodia between 1970 and 1975 and millions of its citizens were killed by its trigger-happy troops in uniform. Similarly, the communist Government in china suppressed and killed people in thousands when they demand political reforms, liberalization and freedom from tyranny in 1989. In Tienanmen square alone outside the Great Hall of the people in Beijing, the main place of students demonstration, about 5,000 young students were shot dead and another 10,000 injured. In Tibet as well, the followers of Dalai Lama and Buddhism are tortured and prosecuted by the government troops and administrators. The people there are being forcibly sterilized and their brains are being systematically washed. Dalai Lama himself fled Tibet and sought refuge in India to escape state-sponsored terrorism, violence and persecution. Now, he has his Government-in-exile at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.
Terrorism in India is widespread and there seems no end to it, at least for the present. The way it has been spreading in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, etc. and spilling-over other states alarmingly, is a matter of great concern. The trigger-happy terrorists and extremists have been using all kinds of violence and automatic weapons and bombs to terrorize people and the administration. Their strategies include killings, murders, bomb-explosions, destruction of houses, looting of banks, disruption of road, and rail transportation and other means of communication, desecration of religious places, hijacking and kidnapping, arson and looting. They rape women and do not even spare innocent children. ln retaliation, sometimes there is more terrorism, blood-shed, violence and destruction. ln the cross-fire between terrorists and the government, the innocent citizens suffer the most because then the opponent forces become totally blind and lose discrimination.
The militancy and terrorism and Punjab have been sponsored by neighbour Pakistan. The Pakistan’s lSI has been supervising and financing the terrorists in the Punjab and adjoining states of Haryana and Rajasthan. lt has misled the many young people in the name of religion and separate and independent state of Khalistan. The extremists are trained and armed in Pakistani camps and then smuggled across the border into India. They explode bombs, loot banks, ransack homes, and hijack trains, buses and planes and kidnap people. The militancy and terrorism in Punjab has been curbed and Controlled to a large extent but is has not been eliminated. The then Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Beant Singh, himself was killed in an terrorist attack. In recent days there has been again spurt in terrorist activities in Punjab. In the Bhatinda train blast in July, 1997, the fourth in the series of bomb-explosions, 38 lives were lost. The extremists have been striking at soft targets. According to the intelligence reports. The terrorist groups have again become active and typing to create communal disturbances.
Again, terrorist in Jammu and Kashmir has been Pakistan-sponsored. A number of terrorist outfits have been active there supported, trained, armed and sneaked into the State by Pakistan. The extremists have given a communal color to the violence and militancy and thousands of Kashmir Hindus and Pandits have fled the State. The seeds of communal violence and extremism were really sown during the partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan. The terrorists groups in Kashmir mainly consist of some politically frustrated groups, religious fundamentalists and mislead youth of the society, Poverty, unemployment, deprivation and illiteracy have made the region a good breeding ground for militancy. The terrorists indulge in all sorts of anti-social and anti-government activities to achieve their narrow, sectarian, political and unholy aims but they are unlikely to succeed in spite of massive financial and other support from Pakistan.
The rise of terrorism and extremism in our north-eastern States of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur etc. is part of our colonial legacy. The long British rule never attempted to bring the tribal’s of these states into the main stream of the nation. Rather a feeling of separation, hatred, alienation and disharmony was created. Unfortunately even after 50 years of independence, our leaders and governments have failed to change the equation for better. Consequently, misled by a false sense of losing their ethnic identity and independence, they have taken to arms and extremism, besides social-political and economic aspects there are also involved such other aspects as psychological, emotional and religious. As a result there has been no participation of the people of these States in the process of democracy and independence. They have been haunted by insecurity, neglect and alienation and want separate and independent states. To achieve their ends they commit heinous crimes like burning, looting and destroying of the homes and houses of other ethnic groups, killing government security personnel and soldiers. They explode Bombs at public and market places and kill innocent people. They also resort to abduction and kidnappings.
The people War Group (PWG) has been quite active for a long time in Andhra Pradesh and now exercises control on a big part of the Telengana region. The povery and unemployment coupled with illiteracy and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable sections of the socirty have made these parts of the State fertile ground for insurrection and terrorism. No effective steps were taken to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people and they were demoralized. In sheer desperation and misery they saw a ray of hope in the PWG movement and if the information is to be believe the militants have been delivering goods. The militant Naxalite outfits have been successful in winning the sympathy, favour and patronage of the down-trodden and long exploited masses who have always at a receiving and at the hands of the corrupt government officials for many generations. Large parts of Telengana are now under effective control and administration of the PWG. Simply banning an extremist group is not enough, the genuine grievances of the public need to be redressed at the same time. They need a healing touch besides social and economical developments and empowerment. Devaluation and decentralization of powers and economic resources at the grassroots levels to the panchayat raj institutions is the need of the hour Militancy and terrorism can be checked and eradicated only with the support and active participation of the people of the area.
The menace of terrorism needs to be tackled on many fronts. The cause of militancy and terrorism should be clearly and precisely identified and remedial steps taken. There should be clear under-standing and cooperation between neighbouring countries on the matter to check terrorism. Moreover, national security and intelligence need be kept quite fit and updated. In the ultimate analysis terrorism achieves nothing, solves nothing, it is sheer madness to take to arms when there are many other democratic and constitutional means available to roves problems in a democratic and constitutional means available to solve problems in a Democratic country like India. Pakistan should also understand that its militant activities and terrorism in India will not succeed. They have already started boomeranging and Pakistan itself is in the worst conflagration of communal violence, frenzy, terrorism and bloodshed. Terrorism and its sponsors commit a crime against humanity at large and must be dealt with accordingly. It is a global danger and can be eliminated only by close cooperation between various communities and nations of the world.
All terrorist groups are criminals including even those who start will good intentions and objectives because sooner or later they degenerate into corrupt, criminal and anti-social groups. They become so blind in their over-ambition and misguided enthusiasm that they soon lose sense of balance and discrimination between good and evil. Most of the militant outfits have their origin in evil and sin. They are ruthless, rapacious and greedy and do not spare even children, women, old and weak people. They do not hesitate even to abduct and kill foreign tourists and visitors. It created an endless vicious circle. Terrorists become indiscriminate in their killings. Shootings and violence. They have no religion, ethics, fellow-feelings and code of conduct. Terrorism drains a country of its valuable resources and enormous funds are spent in facing and checking it. It is aid not in vain that prevention is better than cure. Our political leaders are mainly responsible for the origin and growth of terrorism in India in most of the cases. There is still time that they realize that national interest is above everything else and that unity and integrity of the nation is the hallmark of patriotism. Only patriotic feelings coupled with efforts in reduction of poverty, illiteracy, regional imbalances, and inequality among people can successfully face and fight the menace of terrorism.