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My response for Seattle newspaper article about India November 6, 2008

Posted by mindscout in 1.

Dear Editor and Ms Sonora Jha:

Re: “India’s horror is magnified post 9/11” in Focus Section C which appeared on Sunday July 16th

I beg to differ that the recent 7/11 bomb blasts in Mumbai, India are likely to setback India’s economic growth. India has been facing such terrorist acts in Kashmir and elsewhere for past decade or so. It has still managed to offer a growing economy in light of such terrorist acts.

Yes, there might have been some losses to businesses but it is hardly going put a dent in India’s economic growth. Mumbai might be India’s financial capital but is not India’s sole business center. India does business and lots of it from its other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and it continued to do that on 7/11. A farmer in a remote village continued to work on his farms and a worker in a garment factory continued to work on export-class garments.

The actual loss was to innocent civilians in Mumbai and to the national pride. The people who were killed were just returning from work, a seemingly routine activity when they met with fatal blow. The local trains in Mumbai are a necessity for many a people. Though terrorists chose a very vulnerable target for their attack, not many people in Mumbai are going to shun traveling in local trains after being “terrorized.” It was evident the very next day when the local trains were overflowing with people.

The “successful peace talks” with Pakistan are again proven as a sham put on by politicians in both the countries to please Uncle SAM and the international community.  After all, as a result of this “peace drama” , India did win some concessions from USA like nuclear assistance and Pakistan is getting some big money as usual and a bunch of F-16s.

Pakistan, ISI and the radical Islamic groups it supports like LeT in Kashmir are still serious about their intent on harming India. Peace Process or not, the terror attacks on Indian soil will continue.  Indian government also shares the blame for such attacks because of its gutless response to not only this attack but all past attacks. India has proven time and again to be a soft timid state and lacks initiative to tackle the menace herself. After each attack all India does is put more cops on the street and then complains to International Community.

Terrorism is not “a game” as has been suggested in the article. Ask people in Kashmir or Mumbai or Haifa. A simple trip to grocery store or a short ride on local train can turn out to be a devastating experience on any day.  There is no guarantee for a worker in Mumbai or Kashmir to return home safely from his or her work. It is a real deal for these people and not an amusing game.  It is not a game even to the terrorists and it is not a game to the victims of the terrorism. The terrorists have a purpose and the dedication to that purpose. They are seriously motivated and are well-equipped.

Whether or not India is ready to play in this “game” is not a question at all. It is not a choice but a necessity. India does not have to play this “game” to win some political concessions but to protect its own interests.

Agreed that USA has a fresher perspective on terrorism after the experience of 9/11 but terrorism has been same over the years- deadly, devastating and life-changing for some. But why should India care about USA’s perspective on terrorism and the media attention to the terrorist acts on its soil? If India is the victim of terrorist acts and need to protect her own people then she has every right to take a decisive action to do so. Israel has been doing it for years.

The outcry in Indian media is not promoted by “powerful elite lobby” as the article suggests. The reaction in Indian media mirrors the nation’s pulse. It is people’s voice. Why does it need to be an elitist opinion? Innocent people are dying for no reason. Elite in Mumbai do not use local trains to go to work.

Everyone knows who did it and why. But the politicians in New Delhi still hope for the so called bus diplomacy and a soft attitude to work. Every time there is a bomb blast, someone in New Delhi pleads to the international community to complain against Pakistan and asks help for convincing Pakistan to stop this menace. At the same time, someone(an ISI general may be?) in Islamabad is enjoying the mutton biryani and enjoying this pathetic show of helplessness.  So much for the image of India as the big brother and a regional power.  So much for billions of dollars spent on sophisticated weapons.  

Terrorism is one type of war. The attackers only understand the language of war. Responding to it with inaction only encourages attackers and gives them more time to plan more attacks. Indian needs to demonstrate proactive efforts and act its own size.

Let us not use India’s poor as an excuse for India’s unwillingness to protect its citizens from wanton acts of terrorism. Terrorism kills poor people most often anyways. For years, the governments in India have been using India’s poverty as an excuse for not doing anything against this madness. And look what it has yielded. More terrorism, more people dead, at more places in India.  Why don’t they think of India’s poor before spending millions of dollars on building satellites or rockets or golf-courses instead of spending some of that amount in health care for poor?

A nation has to balance its priorities. It has to do business and create sound economy. It has to build defense systems to be able to defend it. It has to create social welfare systems to take care of its people. It has to create infrastructure to facilitate commerce and trade. And it has to protect its citizens by all means.

India should definitely believe in what is being written about it in media, about its economic potential, about its emergence as a global player and about its importance on global stage. It has to start asserting its influence as a high-growth economy in a democratic stable setting. There is nothing wrong about it.  To protect itself from terrorism, it does not have to ignore the harsher reality at home about poverty and illiteracy. India has a growing middle-class and it will grow faster as more opportunities are created by the government. The onus of tackling the poverty is upon the Indian government. India has enough resources to help her poor but there is no honest effort about it. The government needs to fix its inefficiency and corruption to eradicate the poverty to some extent.

India might not be a superpower yet but it has bearings of becoming one if it plays its cards smartly. Countries like Russia and USA are already recognizing it. Russia has even called for inclusion of India in the G-8 group. 

India must deal with terrorism herself instead of waiting for someone to help her. India has to learn that from Israel and USA. If India wants to save her citizens from these senseless violent acts then she must take firm action to control this chaos. International community will understand or can be convinced. After all, Israel does take positive hard actions outside its borders, doesn’t it?

Even current US administration has stated that “every country has a right to defend her against terrorism.” What more does India need? She has tacit support of USA to go ahead and fight terrorism. Positive action is required now and inaction is not a choice any more. India has demonstrated a very faint heart in taking actions against the terrorist groups like LeT over the years. Mr. Manmohan Singh’s government need to fight the terrorism with all its might now, otherwise it will be reduced to a spectator to more terrorist attacks across India.

– A concerned Indian in USA  



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