Tackling terror after Paris
It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the world today is steeped in with extremism. Terrorism and activities surrounding the loss of millions of lives were once regarded as the biggest shock to mankind. However, in modern times, terrorism is more frequent than Christmas and Diwali. New terrorist organisations forming alliances, practicing, training, and killing are the modern methods of the day. All said and done, no matter how used to one may be, the killings and loss of 129 lives at the romantic capital of Paris is still a shock.
With the Paris attack unfolding last Friday, it isn’t difficult to assume that terrorism today is a global alliance. Terrorists across countries beginning from the 9/11 attacks till the recent attacks in Paris have been united in helping one another in executing the attacks. However, counter-terrorism organisations all over the world are far from uniting with one another to face this global terror. The US and Russia are loggerheads with one another and their problems keep everything else secondary. Making things more personal if we look at India, post the 26/11 attacks, there were various attempts and enquiry with treaties between India and Pakistan in order to get to the bottom of things. However, bureaucracy got in their way, promoting the cold war status which has already existed for ages between the two nations. Beyond Pakistan, for the past two decades, India has been trying to push for a United Nations Convention on terrorism with minimal success. Many nations, however, are unable to come to an agreement on how terrorism should be defined. Without a clear definition, it is impossible to come up with global protocols on dealing with terrorism.
The 26/11 Mumbai attacks executed by the LeT have become a blueprint of most attacks executed in the world today. “While a 9/11 was spectacular in planning and execution, it is also far more difficult to do so in today’s age of increased surveillance. But a Mumbai-style 26/11 attack is far easier to plan and execute with equally deadly results. To procure and smuggle in small arms, motivate suicide attackers and then unleash them on vulnerable public spaces is the worst nightmare for security agencies that has now come true,” according to Saikat Datta, former Editor (National Security) at a leading English daily. Our security agencies are faced with impossible odds. Instead, security agencies must sit together and discuss ways to strengthen the resilience of public spaces to such attacks. One of India’s leading disadvantages in dealing with terror incidents has been the inability of various security agencies to work together. In 2014, the then respective chiefs of the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing formulated a proposal, whereby the two intelligence agencies would sit under one roof and work together as a team. Suffice to say, better coordination and flow of information would have helped India a great deal in improving its security environment. Sadly after their retirement, the proposal was buried. And then, of course, there is the internet, which has become a hub of propagandist material targeted at vulnerable and often delusional youth. The Islamic State has mastered the art of using social media and the larger internet to finance and recruit members. The challenges before our security agencies are many. With the recent attacks in Paris, it is high time India gets to act together.