It was only after the 9/11 attacks that American understood their once nurtured and then left overs friends in Afghanistan has acquired a giant shape. The terror groups supported by the US as an instrument of their foreign policy during the cold war to counter the Soviets were now the new enemies of Uncle Sam.
When the American President George. W. Bush addressed the joint session of the US Congress on 20 September 2001 he said, “the civilised world is rallying to America’s side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability to legitimate governments”. The war against terror was started and at that time many scholars, activists and individuals asked this question, is it a war for American interest or the world has any role in it. United Nations also passed resolution 1373 and it was decided that every country of the world has a responsibility to cooperate in order to tackle the menace of terrorism. India is amongst the few countries which remained the victim of terrorism when the US even did not able to define what terrorism is. It was only after the 9/11 attacks American understood that their once nurtured and then left overs friends in Afghanistan has acquired a giant shape. The terror groups supported by the US as an instrument of their foreign policy during the cold war to counter the Soviets were now the new enemies of Uncle Sam. When the US was celebrating the disintegration of Soviet Union there was another person who also celebrated it and the name of the person was Osama Bin Laden. The multi-millionaire businessman from Saudi Arabia was brain washed, trained and support by the American establishment and he executed what all was desired by its handlers from Washington.
For America it was the triumph of capitalism over socialism and for Osama Bin Laden it was a triumph of fundamentalism over a secular and just world. American pursued its own policy what is called as Washington Consensus and Bin Laden continued with his own ideology. The clash of Laden with American were evident because the latter had a different game plan for the oil rich west Asia- an ambition of imperialist power to control the most critical resources of the world ie oil and natural gas. This is also a region of Muslim domination and from where Laden had drawn maximum support for his war against “infidel” Soviets. When the American went to attack Iraq during the Gulf War- I, Laden found that new “infidels” were roaming freely in the holy city of Mecca; the only change was the country of origin. So the war began first by targeting some installations of the US like bombing of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, attack on the USS Cole and later on the symbol of American pride – Twin Towers and Pentagon. Whatever American policy circle project they will not be able to win this war on terrorism by their approach because once “Mujhadeen” and now terrorist had also learned the skill of continuing the war with patient and to strike lethally whenever they get a chance. The target is no specific country they can strike anywhere – in Europe, India, West Asia (on American installations), in Africa, Latin America, East Asia and even in American. If the sole Super power has the bases all over the world Al-Qaida also have network in more than eighty countries. The enemy is not that small – Al Qaida has committed cadre base, many of them are western educated, technicians and angry over America way of dealing the world politics. Not making long only one example is enough to prove how unjust is the dealing of the US. Israel, in last forty years has committed thousand war crimes, violated almost every international human rights law, international protocols on war but still the US never uttered a word of strong protest. On the contrary it supports the most fundamentalist regime of the world -Israel. In brief until the US change its foreign policy attitude and its core definition of national interest nothing is going to change. They might come out of Afghanistan and Iraq but the war will continue.
Coming to our country, it is unfortunate that we are not ready to learn an iota of substance from the American experience. In the post liberalisation phase successive governments tried to pursue a very close pro-American foreign policy. India had successfully maintained a distance from Zionist regime of Israel but even that is not the case in present. We are now the biggest defence importers of Israel and getting closer in other strategic and security spheres. There are many analysts who project India as a future super-power but the Parliament of this nation hardly discusses anything beyond Pakistan when it comes to foreign policy. Thanks to the left parties opposition of Indo- US nuclear deal that after a very long period infact, after Nehru – Indira, period a debate on international relations came up in Parliament. The left failed in the no-confidence motion but it compelled every political party to take a side. The bigger issues like imperialism, US foreign policy, Non-Alignment Movements (NAM) were brought in the debate on Indo-US nuclear deal. It was for the first time that a non-confidence motion was brought in the Indian Parliament on a foreign policy issue, and it generated a national debate from the elite circle to the common mass. The political pundits ridiculed the left stand because for them nuclear deal is bit complicated for the common people to understand and withdrawing support on this issue will not going to help a political party. Unfortunately, these political pundits failed to understand that although it is true that nuclear deal was bit complicated issue for a layman to understand but the people of this nation know where Israel is, what America is doing in the World and what our national interest is. There are parties which sided with nuclear deal and faced the music in the Parliamentary elections. In short Indian citizen very well understand what our national interest is but unfortunately sometime we in our world of comforts hesitate to write the facts.
Undoubtedly, India is the victim of terrorism and we suffered immensely from the cross border terrorism. The role of Pakistani army and intelligence is dubious and it always remained anti-India. Thus, what our options are should be the matter of discussion. One we should blame it all on Pakistan and again relax in our comfort zones, the other is to look for some answers as what is to be done. There are two important issues pertaining to our war against terrorism, one is Kashmir and second is our secular fabric. Starting with Kashmir, it is one of the most disturbed areas of the world and this year unprecedented scales of clashes were witnessed for more than three months in the valley. All appeals from the state and centre government to maintain peace was ignored by the people of the valley. The frustration was well understood but once again except for left leader Prakash Karat no national leader visited the valley during the time of turmoil. The government decided to send an All-Party delegation to Kashmir when it finally realised that all its calculated measures to bring normalcy in Kashmir are fallen flat. But what to say, India is liable to commit mistakes and this time when government announced three member team of interlocutors for talking with different groups and organizations in Kashmir, to an utmost surprise there was not a single representation from the Parliament and State Assembly. It is really hard to understand as what make us to decide to formulate committees with no one from people’s side. Let me highlight the example of Lyndogh committee, which was formed to suggest measures to improve student union elections in India. Lyndogh committee members were from different sections but no one was inducted from the Parliament despite having several well-known Parliamentarians who are the product of student politics. So the team of interlocutors for Kashmir are just like the Lyndogh committee and this speaks volumes about our seriousness. India needs to deal Kashmir problem very delicately and it means giving serious consideration to all the genuine demands of the people in the valley.
The second point is of our secular fabric. What makes me a proud Indian is our diversity and secular nature. Just imagine that continuously young, innocent Kashmiris are killed by the bullets of security personnel but not a single incident of violence is reported on the issue from any part of India. People of this nation are very mature and need appreciation. But unfortunately our institutions are yet to match with the maturity level of common Indian. This was reflected when Allahabad High Court announced its verdict on Ayodhya issue. It was beyond imagination that decision was based on the logic of faith ignoring rationality- basis of any progressive society. There was no notice of the fact that in 1992 a Mosque was demolished by hooligans incited by well-known politicians. What about me for whom faith is this nation, its secular fabric, its secular institutions. This judgement should be condemned not only from rational point of view but also from the strategic point of view. The day this country loose its common sense of secularism we will invite immense problems on different fronts. Let hope that if the case comes in the Supreme Court all of us will get the justice.
To conclude we must learn a lesson how America deals with us from the David Headley case. Two wives of Headley informed FBI about his connection with Lashkar-e-Taiba but no action was taken to nip the problem in the bud. Headley is culprit of India and its people but American rejected our repeated appeal of his trail in India. Until, the US change its foreign policy attitude we must not forget that the US has its own War against Terrorism and we have our own War on Terrorism. Our national interest is not subservient to that of the US. Our long term interest lies in our own judgement of issues and to react considering our national interest.