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       Wednesday, July 12, 2006

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Mumbai Bombings - Indian Prime Minister in Denial

The day after the serial bomb blasts in commuter trains in Mumbai, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the nation on the state owned public broadcaster Doordarshan. Dr. Manmohan Singh talked about trauma of terrorism, called the incidents an hour of grief, and paid tribute to all those who showed courage and humanism. He praised the resilience and resolve of the people and called the terrorists merchants of death and destruction. Dr. Singh's address had more rhetoric on how India stands tall and how the terrorists will not win. Lasting a little less than 3 minutes, the address goes to highlight once again the abject state of denial in which the Manmohan Singh Government finds itself in.

To begin with in his entire address Dr. Singh makes no mention, none whatsoever about what is the nature of the terrorism India is now facing. Dr. Singh displays his mental state of denial by not even acknwoledging what is the problem of terrorism India is facing. Dr. Singh is in complete denial about this new brand of terrorism that has started to show its face over the last six months beginning with the New Delhi bomb blasts, followed by the Varnasi Bomb blasts and the terrorist attacks on RSS in Nagpur and IISC in Bangalore. Dr. Singh neither showed the courage nor the intellectual clarity in his address to the nation, to call out this new form of terror for what it is and. That it is no longer about Kashmir, it is no longer about Maoist revolution but a new brand of Islamic Terrorism with no apparent political objectives but with the clear anarchist aim of destabilizing our democracy and striking at the way of life. This is the state of denial mindset with which the chief executive of the nation is operating.

Secondly nothing in the entire address gives the people of India the confidence that there will not be another 7-11. For that matter nothing in Dr. Singh's address explaining why tomorrow would be any different. The resilience and resolve of the people of India notwithstanding, Dr. Singh offers nothing by way of explaining how or why the evil designs of the terrorists will be defeated. This resilience and resolve did not deter them from executing 7-11 nor did this resilience and resolve did not defeat the Delhi blasts on the eve of Diwali. Dr. Singh talks about the terrorists not understanding Indians, maybe not, but they have quite well understood the lax attitude of the Indian State to acting on terrorism. Indians stood United when Akshardham happened, Indians stood United when Ayodhya was attacked, Indians stood united when Varnasi was attacked, but despite that Dr. Singh the Terrorists won on 7-11, when with no fear of consequence, they struck with impunity at the heart of Indian prosperity. Dr. Singh is in complete denial in recognizing that all that is good and great about the Indian People is no guarantee of victory against this brand of terrorism.

Thirdly Dr. Singh is in complete denial about the role of the Indian State in dealing with terrorism. He has words of praise for the police and security forces in responding to the tragedy. But Dr. Singh has nothing to say about how his Government intends to pre-empt terrorism. Dr. Singh's state of denial on how to respond to terror is amplified when he waxes eloquently on how India cannot be cowed down by terrorism and that the Indian state will win the war on terrorism, but stops short offering a new bold path to confront this brand of terror. He talks about doing what it takes to deal with this challenge but stops short of either acknwoledging the nature of the challenge or how he intends to deal with the challenge.

Here is what Offstumped expects an Indian Prime Minister to have said in the aftermath of an incident of this nature. The Indian Prime Minister should have first demonstrated the integrity and the courage to look the Indian People in the Eye and honestly squared with them on the nature of the challenge. The Indian Prime Minister should then have emphasized the seriousness with which his Government veiws the challenge. The Indian Prime Minister should have made the case for why the people of India should view this challenge with the same degree of seriousness. The Indian Prime Minister should have reminded the Indian People why there should be no room for complacency or false comfort, and that Islamic Terrorism is a real and serious threat, and why neither the Indian State nor the Indian People must not lower their guard and must be vigilant. Then the Indian Prime Minister should have laid out the moral guiding philosophy with which he intends to confront this brand of terrorism. The Indian Prime Minister should have used this philosophy to make clear what Zero Tolerance to this brand of terrorism means and what he really means by "whatever it takes". The Indian Prime Minister should have made it explicit that there will be no qualifications, no safe havens and no politics in how his Government intends to confront terrorism. The Indian Prime Minister should have then made clear the concrete steps his Government intends to take at the International, Federal and Local Levels to secure the nation, hunt down the terrorists and their sponsors. He should have instilled the fear of god in those who dream of wreaking havoc by explaining the force with which his Government intends to take to advance the frontlines in this battle against Terrorism to the doorstep of the Terrorists , wherever they maybe. Finally, The Prime Minister should have made absolutely clear in no uncertain terms to those who sponsor terror and provide safe havens to terrorists that a line had been crossed and there will be consequences to pay and that the Indian State would not rest till the sponsors and the safe havens have been eliminated.

By not bringing this boldness, this moral and intellectual clarity and force of intentions,by not laying down the line and not staking either his personal or his Government's future to the success on this war on terrorism, Dr. Singh has given those who perpetrated the terror and those who sponsored it, ample reason to be satisified with not just the mayhem in Mumbai but the confidence that there will be no adverse consequences to their actions. Dr. Singh has given them the confidence that India can be pushed around for no Indian Prime Minister will ever have the moral courage to shy away from Political Correctness and stake his credibility in taking this brand of Terrorism head on and not resting until the job is done.

This was to be expected from the Congress lead UPA Government with its dependence on the Prakash Karat led CPI-M for survival. However the response of the Indian Right the BJP, RSS has been pathetic. Rather than elevate the political debate on how the Indian State should respond to Terrorism, all we hear are cheap political points. If the BJP is to be taken seriously as the natural party of the Right it should have come out with a philosophical position and a policy prescription that goes beyond an anti-terrorism legislation and explained what it would have done different to prevent another 7-11 from occuring. If the boldest and brightest anti-terrorism idea to emerge from the Indian Right is just a new Law, then it is no wonder that the Terrorist and their Sponsors feel so emboldened. The people expect much more from the principal opposition, they deserve much more.

Offstumped Bottomline: This new brand of Islamic Terrorism in India is a serious problem. The Government of the day must in its words and actions acknowledge its seriousness and demonstrate its seriousness in pre-empting it. The Indian Prime Minister and his Government are in a state of denial. By not setting out clear goals and the end-game in this fight against terror, they have only emboldened the terrorists. If the only insurance the Indian Government can offer against futute terror attacks is the resilience and Unity of the Indian People, then there is a serious doubt as to the future security of the Indian State.

OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion through Blogs and Podcasts.


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posted by Yossarin at 4:42 PM  


goethean said...

Singh is no fool, unlike George W. Bush.

11:12 AM  

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