CHENNAI, India, 21 February 2019
One more terrorist attack has taken place in Kashmir on 14 February 2019. Around 40 Indian soldiers lost their lives and several others were injured. This is one of the biggest and most serious attacks in recent times.
This attack has raised considerable anger and sadness amongst the Indian citizens living in India and abroad. Many Indians wonder how to deal with this situation due to the acts of some extremist groups who seem to be crude and ruthless.
One cannot see any difference in motive and character between recent terrorist attacks in Kashmir and other places in the world, and China’s aggression in Tibet starting six decades back and continuing to the present day.
China’s occupation of Tibet by forced entry, and terrorist attempts to take over Kashmir by militant methods, do not have the approval of the local population. People have been forced to remain silent due to the fear of violence and revenge that would be inflicted on them by the terrorists and aggressor. The elections conducted in Kashmir have shown participation by a large segment of citizens whenever they were assured of safety and security to cast their votes.
Terrorist attacks too frequent now
All over the world, terrorist attacks have become too frequent these days. A handful of terrorists are able to carry out sabotage and murderous attacks. European countries and the US have also become vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Terrorist attacks have become frequent in Canada too.
There is a difference with the terrorist attacks that take place in Kashmir and in Europe and the Americas. The terrorists operating in Europe or Americas do not enjoy any support from any particular government — the terrorists are independent groups.
Government support to terrorists
In the case of Kashmir, it is not secret anymore, in fact it is well-known, that the terrorists operate from their bases in Pakistan. What is particularly shocking is that while Pakistan itself has suffered from several terrorist attacks by extremist Islamic groups, it has no hesitation in providing supporting base for the terrorists to operate from Pakistan soil to launch attacks in Kashmir. On several occasions, the Pakistan government and senior politicians in Pakistan have described the act of terrorism in Kashmir as an independent movement, and Pakistan openly says that it supports such activities in Kashmir.
The terrorist attack on Kashmir and China’s open support to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), “The Army of Muhammad”, a Pakistan-based group active in Kashmir, indicates China’s support to acts of terrorism and its continued implicit stand that its violence on Tibet is justified.
The motive of JeM is to separate Kashmir from India and merge it into Pakistan. It has carried out several attacks primarily in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It also maintained close relations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and continues to be allied with them. China continues to refuse to support India’s efforts to ban the terrorist group JeM all over the world. This refusal clearly shows China’s real face.
In the case of Tibet, the world remained silent when China forcibly entered Tibet and massacred Tibetans, which gave confidence to China and a few terrorism-sponsoring countries that violence would be an appropriate tool to reach their objectives, however despicable they may be.
Dilemma faced by Indian government
Obviously, there is considerable uncertainty in the Government of India as to what extent India should go in defeating the terrorists by using force. There are still a number of human rights activists in India and abroad, and followers of Mahatma Gandhi, who may not approve of the use of force by India to kill the terrorists and mercilessly wipe them out.
While Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi advocated ahimsa and non-violence, they have also clarified on several occasions that non-violence does not mean fear and surrender to violence. During the second world war, Mahatma Gandhi offered support to the British government against Hitler’s Germany, since Hitler represented the evil force.
The problem faced by India in tackling the terrorists in Kashmir is that India has to necessarily attack them who are operating from Pakistani soil or Pakistani-occupied Kashmir soil. It means that it would be an attack on Pakistan itself.
It is very well known that a large section of people in Pakistan are unhappy about the terrorists and think that terrorism should be suppressed at any cost. Attacks by India on Pakistani soil will inevitably mean attacks on Pakistani citizens and not terrorists alone, and India would not like this situation.
Pakistan should give up support to terrorist groups
The Pakistani economy is in distress, and financial conditions are extremely alarming. It is suffering from several socio-economic problems, with no indication of being solved in the immediate future. It has now taken a huge loan from International Monetary Fund to stay afloat. Certainly, Pakistan cannot afford a war with India.
If Pakistan thinks that it can continue to support the terrorists in Kashmir, even risking a war with India with China’s support, it would be a terrible mistake. The Pakistan government should have the wisdom to realize this. Pakistan should also know that in today’s international situation, China cannot afford to come to the aid of Pakistan in case of a war with India, as China has high trade interests in India and currently faces a trade war with the US.
To handle the terrorists in Kashmir, India would wish that Pakistan understand that supporting terrorists in Kashmir would not be in its own best interest. If Pakistan would not realise this, perhaps a bloody confrontation between India and Pakistan would be inevitable. Mature and responsible citizens in both the countries want peace, but it takes two hands to clap.
Tibet remains today as a standing monument to the “success” of aggression and oppression. The world should not ignore this, which would only motivate the resolve of the terrorists like JeM and China in their violent and aggressive pursuits.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.