ISIS and the Indian crisis

The geneses of the Islamic State also called the caliphate are hazy, but some bare facts do stand out. There has been a civil war in Syria and  Iraq underwent a lot of turmoil. It required a disturbed region, sectarian cause, and an American withdrawal to give birth to the caliphate. All three elements are boiling and reaching the tipping point in India’s neighborhood. The Afghan-Pak region is disturbed, the region is Sunni majority, and the Americans are ready to draw down from this region.

The caliphate is Sunni specific so is India’s volatile border, both Pakistan and Afghanistan are Sunni majority geographical areas. The Americans are on their way out and this region which has been the epicenter of terrorism and the non-state as well as state actors are waiting patiently for the draw down. All this does not augur well for India.  The region too is going to face turmoil, in Pakistan the very roots of democracy are being challenged, Afghanistan has a troubled presidential elections where again rigging is the cause, it seems the Muslim world is erupting on similar causes.  

The state of Pakistan has mastered the art of denial and employing non state actors. With a lot of our youth fighting there estimates range from eighteen to eighty, alongside other foreign fighters, the tinder box is being readied. These youth trained on return make hard core sleeper cells cadres, who can go any distance for either caliphate, or ISI. In fact now the ISI has another proxy to do its dirty work, and an easy denial route in the form of the caliphate.

The Americans have described the caliphate, as a threat that the world has never seen before, being extremely barbaric and apocalyptic in nature. The trouble with Frankenstein monsters is it is easy to create them but difficult to manage them, thus Saudi Arabia, Kuwait on whom the needle of suspicion points are helpless, against ten thousand fighters. Creating is easy for who funds them and also ensures that vast funds are available to fight wars, which is expensive when each and every war like store is imported is extremely costly. Does this have any lessons for Afghanistan which the Americans too are abandoning after 2014 keeping a residual force in place?

The status of India today is that of a front line state in a troubled region. The jihadi explosion that is taking place cannot progress towards the North, as there is a stable regime of Turkey and close by there is Iran, which is another stable Shia country. To the west is Saudi Arabia with its vast oil and a regime that is not easily going to give power away. The only expansion is to the East, Afghanistan where the Americans are cutting their losses and Pakistan, which is in turmoil, making India a front line state against the Jihadi culture. To think to tomorrow is to act today, said Ayn Rand, its time India looked at the threat as not too distant but something which has arrived at the door step through the net and may well physically arrive tomorrow.  There are already stories of our youth who have wandered off in search of adventure and life calling for a perceived call, India needs to cut its losses. In such a surcharged atmosphere to have communal overtones is playing with fire.

The international response to the caliphate has been guarded; it is at best a case of all talk and no action. The West which started the global war on terrorism is tired their citizens unable to take body bags, its industry having found shale gas a ready answer to oil. With  no economic gains available in the near horizon, abandoning the region is the best option. The answer is air power and drones. Air power inflicts damages which can be made up thus the Americans using air strikes is the best option for a tired nation which globally is on a withdrawal mode. Such a force needs to be strangled economically; where they are getting the funds from? Weapon wise, super powers need to ensure that the weapons they give are not misused. The area also needs to be dominated by effective fire and once squeezed there is a need to send boots on the ground.

The super powers that do immediately get affected hope to restrict this by realignment of Iraq and firming in of the Kurds. On the other hand there is also a need to limit the poison that they spread. Arming of the jihadist is an ongoing process. If the US and Russia do not arm their allies they will lose to the Islamic state on the other hand once they arm them the Islamic state captures arms from these weak allies. It is at best a catch 22 situation created by super powers for their vested interests, for which others have to pay, needless to say a whole lot of gun running must be going on in this region, and who profits and pockets the money is any ones guess.

India needs a comprehensible policy to ensure its young men are not enamored by the call of such elements. The breeding grounds for such elements are insecurity social, political, and economical. There needs to be job opportunities and a sense of inclusion and not exclusion into the main stream of the nation. India also needs to ensure it is strong and powerful to physically keep such forces at bay at least two nations away, it should not be looking at its own boundary, but the shape, direction and initiation   of the threat.  India must have a robust proactive internal policy to detect any such elements which come across due to the cyber connect.
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