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.