“Explosions are still a viable tool of war, but implosions are the new defeat mechanisms," General Raheel Sharif, former chief of Pakistan army in a seminar in Karachi, as reported in the Dawn of 5 December 2014. He was actually elucidating the emerging concept of 'War by Other Means' (WOM), which aims at exploiting the internal vulnerabilities of your opponent.
India has been facing “implosions” since the 1950s when the Nagaland insurgency had erupted. Thereafter almost the entire Northeast was engulfed. In the 1980s, Punjab went into flames along with J&K. Of course it was Pakistan sponsored terrorism and the Indian army has been battling it effectively.
J&K, being a bordering state with Pakistan, has been facing a ‘blow hot, blow cold’ kind of terrorism for over 30 years. Recently there has been a spurt in terrorist activities in J&K. In a changed strategy, militants have been targeting Non-Kashmiri and Non-Muslims in the Kashmir valley. Undoubtedly, it is left to the Indian army to put an end to this narrative and checkmate the terrorists.
The Indian Army, therefore, has been conducting anti-terrorist operations in the Poonch region of J&K for the last 17-18 days. Use of armed helicopters and drones, along with special forces have been made. It is not immediately known what are the real dividends of such a massive exercise. Some arrests have been made of suspects. Does that resolve the problem?
Anti-terrorist operations seldom succeed by eliminating the perpetrators of violence and terror. Success comes from the neutralisation of ‘White Collar Terrorists’, who are the real culprits. They swarm the Kashmir valley under political patronage. These ‘White Collar Terrorists’ thrive on the false notions of democracy, liberty and secularism.
Open-ended legal and judicial provisions, in the laws of the land, provide them sanctity and survivability. And ‘White Collar Terrorists’ remain afloat on account of these flaws in the legal system of a democracy, which almost nullify the hard-earned success of security forces, with a mere stroke of a pen.
Terrorism is not the end but a methodology to achieve an objective of an anti-humanist mindset. It is the ‘colonisation of human’ minds through ‘regimentation and fear’. White-Collar terrorists, who roam freely in a democratic set-up, exploit the lacunae of liberal and a democratic society to achieve their personal agendas through these monsters they create.
They not only exploit legal lacunae but also poverty, illiteracy, religious affiliations, regional concerns and lack of modern amenities. What is worse is that they deliberately keep their captive audience impoverished and free of modernisation.
White-collar terrorists do not roam with guns in hand. They terrorise their opponents with their thoughts and motivate their followers with the same thoughts. They do not hide but stay above ground.
Their main weapons are the vulnerabilities of the legal and judicial systems of a democracy like India. In so doing more often they get monetary, moral and materialistic support from outside, like in J&K and North East India or even Maoist insurgents.
Modern terrorism cum militancy is an IDEA that needs to be tackled through a holistic approach. The killing of a terrorist or its leadership is only a ‘first aid treatment’ towards the battle against the ‘idea’, which perpetrates it. It is not the actual cure; it is a suppressive treatment. The holistic approach demands that white-collar terrorists be dealt with first.
All the same, I do believe that the killing of a terrorist facilitates only favourable conditions to defeat the idea but it does not defeat the same in its entirety. The need is to focus on the idea, in whose womb, modern terrorism takes birth. It is the idea that creates a sense of religious superiority amongst its followers and rejects others as imbecile inferiors, who need to be eliminated or coerced to be converted. Terrorism is the implementing arm of its core philosophy.
To defeat terrorism, a campaign has to be waged against the causes that generate such an idea. The campaign has to aim at sensitisation of human minds against desensitisation through the regimentation of human minds (RHM).
Religious RHM is the biggest source of terrorism. It is not only applicable to one religion but all religions, the world over. Alvin Toffler in his book ‘Power Shift’ defines them as one of the three Gladiators the world will face in the 21st Century.
It is obvious that religion, all-inclusive, is the mother of modern global terrorism. It is the queen bee of the honey comb of terrorism. The best way to defeat this religious upsurge is to ban all religious seminaries, institutes, schools, madrassas, etc of all religions all over the world. At the same time there was a need to educate human minds to free them of prejudices created through misinformation.
Open display of religious sentiments be made punishable. Religious celebrations publicly ought to be discouraged. Religion is the mother of modern terrorism — Hinduphobia, Islamophobia , Christianphobia are it’s latest products to augment modern terrorism .
What happened in New Zealand in March 2019 and then in Colombo in April 2019, clearly indicates the spread of Islamophobia and Christianophobia. Hinduphobia is also catching up in Hindustan. These phobias have to be dealt with seriously .
Thomas Harris superbly describes these things in his book “I’ m OK; You’re OK”. All religions, as of today, suffer from the second state of Parent, Adult and Child: I AM OK; YOU ARE NOT OK. All religions preach the absolute truth of their superiority. This mindset is the mother of modern terrorism.
All religions publicly claim that they were peaceful but their practitioners indulge in killing and abduction. Moralities of these so-called peaceful religions have gone into the background because they have surrendered to people who run their own selfish agenda for political ambitions — whether it is suba or an elam or a caliphate or even a Rashtra.
The FOUR point formula to tackle this menace is summed up in an acronym I.e. PILE, meaning, Prevent, Isolate, Limit and Execute'. Prevention, as the first step, demands certain measures to be adopted which seeks restrictions on citizenry and the media.
Terrorists always have the initiative. The aim of Prevention is to seize this initiative from the terrorists. It is, therefore, utmost desirable that we identify targets picked up by terrorists. These are basically of two kinds, namely, ‘soft’ and ‘Hard or Strategic’.
The aim of striking the soft targets is to create general scare and panic amongst people. The strike on 'Strategic or Hard' targets is carried out to demoralize the security forces engaged in Counter and Anti-Terrorist (CAT) operations. The soft targets could be important political personalities, crowded markets and even certain places of public interest, such as pubs, restaurants, cinema halls, political or religious congregations etc.
The Hard targets are generally national assets of significance, which might affect social and a religious cohesion or retard economic growth. These could vary from security forces installations to religious places, railway stations and even nuclear sites. The list is big but we ought to assess the impact of damage caused to each one.
Prevention does not mean , a nation must become a security state with a fortress kind of defensive system. Prevention means to make the perpetrators of terror haunted. Make them run for their lives. Strike them before they strike you. To do so, one needs to create an intelligence system to gauge each and every future move of the terrorist organizations.
If need be ‘moles’ be created within terrorist organizations. Intelligence systems are so created that flow of information must not only be smooth but also timely. There is, therefore, a need for an anti-terror intelligence grid, region wise and zone wise. One fact must be understood is to amalgamate all intelligence organisations into one big whole, otherwise they work at cross purposes.
To isolate terrorism, world has to identify the breeding ground and hotspot of terrorism. It is undoubtedly apparent that Pakistan was the mother in whose womb it was born and the adult is now ruling roost in Iraq-Syria. It must be contained there, while other hotspots are kept subdued with more aggressive and active action by the respective governments. Time, energy and resources employed after the terrorist acts are more expensive than the preventive actions.
The maxim is prevention is better than cure. It has to be so because after the disease catches you, there could be many side effects, which will otherwise affect your health. So is true of terrorism, too. Prevention is often a better weapon in counter insurgency and its first casualty is the unbridled freedom allowed in the name of democracy.
It implies that citizens have to cope up with certain restrictions on their freedom, which might cause inconvenience. They have to learn to live with it because such are the times and such is the threat world over. There is no point crying hoarse after the incident and making noise that stringent measures were being taken to punish the culprits.
The underlying principle of Counter Terrorism is to make the terrorists as haunted and seize initiative from them. Let them go on the run. Meet them with their rules of the game. Do not forget that diamond cuts diamond. This is what the free world has to do to ISIS, Taliban and Al Qaeda, otherwise the monster would continue to devour mankind. Everyone has to realise that Islamic fundamentalism is the biggest enemy of humanity. It has to be mercilessly put down if humanity has to survive.
People must stop talking in masked terms such as “terrorists were stateless actors” or “terrorists have no religion”. Islam is very much a religion and 90% terrorists come from this religion. In fact to save Muslims of the world, Islamic fundamentalism must go, otherwise Paris 1/7 and 13/12; Mumbai 26/11; Peshawar 16/12 and New York 9/11 would recur with regular periodicity.
Finally, socio-economic gaps ought to be bridged. Economic deprivation and educational deficiency allow space for religious upsurge. Poverty and lack of education push people to find solace in religion. Emphasis must be on killing the mother of terrorism (idea) than the agents of terrorism. Therein lies a true solution to this menace of global gladiator.
About The Author
Col. Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into 3 Bihar. He is a battle-hardened veteran who served in ’71 War & has operated extensively in various insurgency environs across the country. He is a renowned author, and a highly respected defence & national security expert writing for several reputed publications such as ‘Defence and Security Alert’ (DSA), the ‘Indian Defence Review’ (IDR) among others. You can reach him on Twitter: @RajeeKushwaha, Email ID: [email protected]
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')