Vir Sanghvi has discussed about ways to fight terrorism here.He has written about 4 options of fighting terrorism. Quoting from his article (line breaks and bullet-numbering are mine):
- The first is that you guard every likely target. This is nearly impossible to do and no matter how many men you deploy, terrorists will slip through the cracks.
- The second is that you use intelligence to discover terrorist plots and then foil them. This too, is hardly a fool-proof strategy.
- The third is that after terrorist attacks are committed you spare no effort in going after the perpetrators so that you deter would-be terrorists. The Israelis travelled the world in the aftermath of the Munich attacks in 1972 and killed every one of the terrorist masterminds.
- And the fourth is covert action: you take the battle into the enemy’s camp. You infiltrate terrorist organisations, you kill terrorists before they can strike, and you dabble in the internal affairs of your opponents, financing and arming those groups that are likely to create trouble for your enemies.
The article claims (and I agree), that India tries for option1 and option2. The thrust of the article is to find whether India should look into option3 and option4? I am not so sure about option3/4. My discomfort with option3/4 is not on any moral/ethical ground. I fully support the way option3 and option4 kills your enemy. My doubt is what option3 and option4 does to me. Pakistan is a prime example of what happens to a state when it takes too much of option4. The pakistani-powers which conducted their proxy war in India, refused to stay under the their own government's thumb. They are now striking within Pakistan. Option3 is a lesser degree of option4. Consequently, it may also harm the way option4 does, albeit to lesser degree. I believe Manmohan Singh wanted to say exactly the above when he said "the manner in which it would brutalise the Indian State" in Vir Sanghvi's article.
However, what is happening in India now cannot continue. A solution has to be found and I do not know how. May be some option5 is required, may be getting better and better in option1/2.
PS:While writing the above post a few thoughts flitted through my mind which should ideally be discussed in different posts.
- The sheer size of India makes it a different problem than Israel. Israel has been cast into a convenient stereotype of heartless, brilliant, no-compromise nation. I disagree. Israel bleeds, Israel cries, Israel's plans go wrong, Israel compromises. It is very interesting to note that the fabricated stereotype is useful for both Israel-basher and Israel-worshipper.
- I do not consider the soft-spoken Manmohan Singh a soft/weak prime-minister.