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How 9/11 harmed India


SUTANU GURU | New Delhi, September 10, 2011 17:54
Tags : 9/11 | Al Qaeda | Pakistan | How 9/11 harmed India |

Most pundits - and there are a lot of them in India - are convinced that 9/11 actually ended up as a blessing in disguise for India. Their logic is simple, though naive: Apparently, India had been crying itself hoarse over the dangers of extreme Islamic terrorism for ages before 9/11 actually happened. But no one really paid any attention to the plaintive and petulant ravings of India.

It was 9/11 that actually woke up the western world to the clear and present danger posed by Islamic terrorism. The whole world realized that the scourge of terrorism was a real threat and India was no longer alone and lonely in this battle to tackle this menace. Then again, 9/11 resulted in the United States actually beginning to forge a strategic partnership with India. For the first time since 1947, it is argued, America was actually favoring India over Pakistan in geo-plotical posturing. The nuclear deal is touted as a shining example of this strategic partnership.

But what really happened post 9/11?

The fact is, the regularity and ferocity of terror attacks on India have actually multiplied since 9/11. Sure, the world sympathises with India every time terrorists strike another blow; lots of pious words about rooting out this menace together are trotted out; the United States offers all help...and then the terrorists strike yet again. Countries as diverse as Spain, Indonesia, Egypt, and England have been victims of terror attacks after 9/11. But no country has been attacked as much and there is no sign of the attacks slowing down, forget about stopping. If you use facts and common sense, it is clear that the United States has succeeded in preventing another attack on its homeland; England too has after the 2005 bombings and Spain was targetted only once. India is not even a member of the alliance that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. And yet, terrorists continue to strike and bleed India at will. I wonder how the so called strategic partnership with America is helping... In fact, just look at how America treated India in the David Coleman Headley ( the man who worked with LeT and ISI to plan the 26/11 carnage) saga and you will realise our pundits are living in fantasy land. The fact is: India continues to fight a lonely battle against terrorism.

The second way in which 9/11 has harmed India has to do with the dilemma faced by the generals of Pakistan after 9/11. Once the then President George Bush declared his 'with us or against us' doctrine, Pakistan had no choice but to reluctantly become an ally of America in its War on Terror. It had to abandon the Taliban, a group it had created, nurtured and sustained for its so called aim of 'strategic depth'. It was inevitable that Pakistan would face a blow-back as the generals started killing or handing over 'terrorists' to Pakistan. The Jihadis the generals had spawned were not amused. So the generals offered India on a platter to the Jihadis to quench their thirst for infidel blood and worse. Of course, Pakistan is itself in a struggle to death between Jihadi forces and moderates (even moderates in Pakistan have to spew anti-India venom). But that is of no use to India. In fact, the worse the situation in Pakistan, the more desperate will the generals be to divert Jihadi attention towards India. Either ways, India will continue to suffer from a thousand bleeding cuts.

The third and most important way in which 9/11 harmed India was the opportunity it provided China to quietly and confidently emerge as the leading power of Asia. As America remained obsessed with Al Qaeda for most of the first decade of this century, China gradually emerged as a major player on the global stage-both economically and strategically. So spectacular has been the success of the Chinese strategy that it has emerged as a strategic counterweight to America even before you could blink. It has literally surrounded India with its 'string of pearls' strategy and it is a matter of time before it emerges as a behemoth even in the Indian Ocean. The much vaunted strategic partnership with America is not going to help India even here. And remember, China doesn't have to opt for a military solution to  ensure that its potential rival in Asia remains crippled by terrorism, uncertainty and lack of access to energy. Pakistan will always be there to take care of the terrorism angle; and China has already raced so far off India in securing energy supplies that the race has been lost.

Wake up call for our pundits. But will they ever wake up?


(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily represent the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian.)

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017