Wednesday, July 26, 2006

India and Israel

India and Israel
Both countries have lot in common but tread very different paths when it comes to tackling terrorism.

While Israel abides by no negotiation principle, India has succumbed to terrorists demands at various times. Israel refused to negotiate in 1972 leading Munich massacre and in 1976 it launched a daring rescue operation called Operation Entebbe to rescue Israelis held in Uganda. On the other hand, India surrendered to terrorists in Kandahar(1999) and Srinagar (1989 - Rubia Sayeed kidnap case).

Fast Forward to 2006
Both Israel and India have been victims of terrorism for a long time and have responded differently. Currently, both countries are under attack.

Israel is currently fighting in two fronts because its soldiers were kidnapped. They have moved back in to Gaza after Hamas dug a tunnel in to Israel and kidnapped a soldier. Israel moved in to Southern Lebanon after Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers. There have been cries from several quarters (including India) that Israel is retaliating with excessive force.

India witnessed simultaneous bombings in Srinagar and Mumbai with fatalities running in to several hundreds. Initially, India pointed finger across the border as the instigator but hasn't done much else.

While I understand, India is no Israel and Pakistan is no Lebanon, what I fail to understand is the lack of comprehensive review and action by India. These Mumbai and Srinagar blasts are not the first ones and will not be the last ones either. India Today states that over 26,000 civilians have lost their life to terrorism since 1993 in India. What is the straw that is going to break the camel's back?

I do not agree with several policies of Israelis but I do admire their steely resolve to survive and hit back.

In 1999, India lost several hundred soldiers in Kargil, after it decided not cross the line of control to reclaim the land occupied by Pakistan. Again in Dec 2001, after the parliament attack India mobilized for a war with Pakistan but eventually backed out. In that process, India lost several hundred soldiers just preparing for a war that never happened.

I do understand the ground realities in Middle East and South Asia are totally different. But guess what, no two situations will ever be alike and there will always be differences one can hide behind. One thing is similar though.. Both India and Israel were provoked in the last 30 days and this where the similarity ends. While Israel acted, India talked..

My question to Indian political leadership is simply.. When is it enough? At some point, India should stand up and say ENOUGH.


  1. What to do Ram... Our bloggers can't tolerate not seeing their blog for 2 days and start slamming the Govt. Imagine what would happen if we do a hot pursuit and Pak fires some missiles ??? Do you think we will welcome those like the israelis ? I doubt it.

  2. Ram,
    India's growth is much dependent on other countries. a war now will set India back by 20yrs both economically and in terms of growth ratio there of. and a war with Pakistan will not result in Victory. as they may go nuclear.
    Israel on the other hand knows U.S is their strong ally and will come to their rescue anytime.

  3. Ram,
    Don't take me wrong but why would an US Citizen like you worry about what India does or doesn't do ? I mean c'mon if India and Pakistan come to blows are u going sit and fight for India or will u take the next USAF escorted flight back home. I find it quite odd that there are a number of US Citizens who come back to India and start lamenting. My best advice to them is if you are really patriotic about ur former homeland go back to US and lobby your congressmen and senators.

    There are things you can achieve and there are things that are beyond ur control. Stop posting about those beyond ur control and take steps on those where u can make a difference. My .02c

    -Anonymous coward

  4. Annoymous
    I don't see the connection between blog block and having the resolve to standing up for your people..

    I agree with you that it would be a major economic hit for India just as it would be for Pakistan as well. But, India is now engaged in a 'undeclared war' now.. Soldiers and civillians are dying every day in the hands of terrorists. As I mentioned in my earlier mail, there are few options between inactivity and a full scale war.. and India should not shy away from using them.

    Annoymous Coward
    I could engage in a wordy duel with you on this.. but I won't.
    Thanks for your comment anyway..

  5. Ram,

    India is trying with patience and that has been the history. Of course, going for a war will bring it down economically. Atleast if they could find out the reasons for the incidents and the cause then it should be fine. Our setup is totally complexed. India is so different from Israel in many other things. We have multi religion and are boasting about unity in diversity. We have plenty of other internal problems mushrooming everyday. Probably the Government should try to handle terrorism in a different way. Again there are so many others who are behaving in a terrorist way within the country without declaring themselves as terrorist. They are worst than terrorists. Let us identify and expose them. Totally the post was thought provoking.

  6. Ram,
    Frankly what options do u think India has ? If u have any thoughts on them that might be worthwhile to discuss.

  7. Balaji
    Yes.. India and Israel are two different countries operating in two different environments.. but the symptoms & cause seems to be the same.. My anguish is about loss of life and the inability to respond in a comprehensive manner..
    We are not talkig about isolated incidents.. Mumbai blasts were a continuance of what has been plaguing the country for a while several decades now..

    Please refer to my earlier post on this.. "When is it enough".. I have listed some options.. and I am sure an 'expert' in this area could come up with tons more...

    India's invisible enemy has declared a war and is bleeding India in a slow and deliberate manner.. Terrorism menace is here to stay... so the onus is on affected countries like India to devise methods to protect its citizens and assets from the faceless enemy.

  8. If it is Kashmiri militants who are actually behind it, I think even Pakistan does not have much control over them now. The militants are not going to listen to any advice for peace from Musharraf either. History of all nations that try to aid and abet terrorism. The best way for india now is to restart negotiations and resole the kashmiri issue once and for all.

  9. Usha

    You are right.. India needs to find a political resolution to the Kashmir issue. But with the known positions of India & Pakistan looks like a far cry.

    I do believe, Pakistan has some leverage over these militant elements and can TRY to control them to certain extent, which India accuses them of NOT doing it in right earnest.

  10. Interesting post, Ram. I am a pacifist by nature and so I don't believe taking arms is the solution to anything. However, it is the responsibility of the Indian Government to provide security to its citizens' lives. When the citizens' lives are in jeopardy, the government should take action. I think we all agree on that but the question is how. Simple. We need to find the culprits and bring them to justice. And when we know for sure (with evidence) who the instigators and indirectly responsible parties are, India should retaliate where it hurts. If it is through commerce, India should stop doing business with that group or country. There are several ways to take action without resorting to violence.

  11. Nithya

    I also like 'Peace Now and Peace for all' but that seems to utopia in the world where we live.. Again, if you look at the history.. Mankind has always fought since time immemorial.. over Land / resources, belief or women..

    India says they have definite proof of Pak involvement in Mumbai blasts.. and they have said the same thing many times before.. What I don't understand is the inaction on the part of the leadership.. At what stage does one say ENOUGH ? and where is that 'lakshman rekha'? Indians have a right to know that from their leaders..