Terrorism as a Policy Tool

India’s Prime Minister has characterized Pakistan’s actions as using terrorism as a tool of state policy:

India’s prime minister accused Pakistan of using terrorism as a policy tool and said the Mumbai attackers must have had the support of some official Pakistani agencies, allegations that appeared to dim any prospect of cooperation between the two countries in probing the attacks.

A statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the nation “emphatically rejects the unfortunate allegations.” Pakistani officials warned that Mr. Singh’s remarks could affect Islamabad’s offer of cooperation into the attacks. “Scoring points like this will only move us further away from focusing on the very real and present danger of regional and global terrorism,” said information minister Sherry Rehman.

The attacks in late November left more than 170 dead. India claims the attackers came from Pakistan and provided a dossier of evidence to substantiate its claims to Pakistan Monday. The latest verbal sparring comes amid heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations, though both sides have said they want to avoid war.

The usually soft-spoken and reticent Mr. Singh made his remarks at a conference in New Delhi to review India’s internal security. India has announced the overhaul of its security system since the Mumbai attacks, which culminated a year of terrorist strikes around the country including in New Delhi, Jaipur and the northeast.

Mr. Singh made a distinction, however, between threats emanating from inside the nation, such as the separatist movement in the northeastern state of Assam and a Maoist rebellion in central and southeastern states, and terrorist threats from abroad.

To an outsider like me it looked as though things were cooling down in the situation between India and Pakistan after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November. Apparently, not so.

The transcript of Mr. Singh’s comments is here. Here’s the portion alluded to above:

Unfortunately, we cannot choose our neighbours, and some countries like Pakistan have in the past encouraged and given sanctuary to terrorists and other forces who are antagonistic to India. We have tried to minimize the impact of such hostility by erecting certain defences. We have fenced our border along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, from where the vast majority of the infiltrations into India tended to take place. We are currently fencing our border with Bangladesh, from where also a number of infiltrations have been reported.

Consequent upon this, those in charge of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan have resorted to other stratagems to infiltrate terrorists into India. Infiltration is occurring via Nepal and from Bangladesh, though it has not totally ceased via the Line of Control in J&K. We are aware that the sea route is another option that is now being exercised. A few interceptions have taken place, though we failed to intercept the 10 Pakistani terrorists who came by sea from Karachi on November 26.

The terrorist attack in Mumbai in November last year was clearly carried out by a Pakistan-based outfit, the Lashkar-e-Taiba. On the basis of the investigations carried out, including the agencies of some foreign countries whose nationals were killed in the attack, there is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan.

He continues with an interesting and sophisticated discussion of the terrorist threats that India faces and the tools necessary for facing them. Indeed, his remarks reflect a deeper and more complex understanding of the situation than anything I’ve heard from an American politician.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. DC Loser says:

    The Indians don’t have to talk in the abstract when the topic of Pakistani governmental involvement in terrorist acts against India and Indian interests is discussed. The attacks in Delhi a few years ago, last years bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, and the Mumbai attacks all have the hallmark of ISI support written on them. It’s terrifying to think of a nuclear armed state (Pakistan) descending into anarchy. That, and the possibility of another shooting war between two nuclear states.

  2. Brett says:

    It’s pretty much been an open secret for years that Pakistan’s ISI was sponsoring terrorist groups against India (both in India proper and in the Kashmir region) as a way of “equalizing” the situation due to their disparity of forces. Hats off to India for doing what they can to eliminate that threat, up to the point of actually fencing off infiltration points.