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Terrorism in the Modern World

R Jayaraman

Author: R Jayaraman

Date: Mon, 2016-08-22 15:02

Armed terrorism causing destruction to life and property has been in vogue for some time now in parts of the world. The only saving grace is that the expression “parts of the world” can still be used. This is because the area of terror is just now confined to the favourite places - Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, USA. Some other places like UK, Myanmar, Philippines,Thailand, Ireland keep moving in and out of the terror map – fortunately for them. France is the latest addition, and the severity may reach the proportions seen in Iraq if not tackled in time and in an appropriate manner. Current efforts seem to indicate that the French lack the expertise to deal with this monster which is encircling the nation. Belgium is also in the same boat. They could learn from the Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand which seem to have put a temporary stop to all locally engendered terrorism.

The “Islamic State” is only a new entrant in the continuum of agencies and movements which have been entering the arena of terrorism. There have been others – the IRA, the Spanish, the Shining Path and other guerrillas in South America, the al Qaeda, the JEM/JUD and other movements in Pakistan. Each one of these agencies has an agenda to oppose some cause and establish its own cause by non-peaceful means. This very methodology clearly indicates that civil society does not accept their viewpoints. This is the cause of the friction, which often leads to conflict, bloodshed and violence. These groups appear to have never heard of Mahatma Gandhi, the Frontier Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. It appears that Sri Sri made an attempt to speak with IS and al Qaeda and was immediately rebuffed so severely that he had to beat a hasty retreat.

Given this background what is the way forward to deal with the mayhem and killings that are bound to happen in the near future? One, do not panic. Looking at the media reportage one might get an impression that the terrorists have gained the upper hand and occupied a lot of territory. Far from it. Even as of now terrorism remains a small scale activity which can be handled by the police and in extreme cases, the military.

However what is disheartening is that hardly any effort is being made to engage with the terrorists in a non-violent manner. All terrorists, in the long run, are amenable to reason and logic. There is no historical parallel that any new country has been created through terrorism. Unless the mass of people support the new movement – which then becomes a revolution, initiative for change etc. the terrorists will find themselves isolated, sooner or later.

In the present case, one must find the forces for peace. They are there – Saudi Arabia, Iran,Turkey, Egypt – which all must pool in to control and over the long term, arrive at some tolerable level of equilibrium. In the case of India and Pakistan, India has been doing a good job of containing the terrorist forces, while taking some casualties. The news yesterday mentioned a figure of 709 such casualties over the entire period, which is not bad considering the carnage in Iraq and the 9 /11. One should accept some casualties as the price to be paid in the short term – and short term has to be defined flexibly - to deal with misguided and violent forces who espouse the bullet over the pallet of the entire spectrum of life in its splendid variety. 

In all cases where the containment has been done the local countries involved themselves took the lead and finally overcame the terrorists and got them to lay down their arms. In the current case, the IS should be contained by Iran, Iraq and the other countries named before, with the support of some nearby countries who have the political systems to deal with negotiations. Another thought is to form a Coalition for Peace which will deal with the specific issues of terrorism only. This body must be entitled to negotiate with those who sponsor terrorism and get them around. With all the developments that have taken place in honing the human mind, this should not be a big problem. Let’s do it.

 

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The blog posted by our distinguished professor R. Jayaraman and the stand that he has taken while dealing with the sensitive topic of Terrorism in the Modern World needs to be appreciated and lauded. At the outset, I would like to say that it is not an easy topic to garner even a few lines about leave aside explaining the intricacies so beautifully and conveying the message yet so powerfully. I agree with professor Jayaraman wherein he says that Terrorism is still isolated only to a few parts of the world but is alarmingly spreading its wings with the advent of social media and all it takes is the internet to radicalize anyone even in the remotest part of the world, case in point: what the IS have been doing. Yes, it is not fair to label a particular community/country for the misdeeds of a select few but I do strongly agree that it is the prerogative of the home country to reign in these terror groups. For instance, the Punjab insurgency of the late 1970s had to be contained by the Indian forces and had that not happened at the right time we never know it might just have spread to the neighboring parts of India disturbing the peace of the region. Nations like the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia for that matter need to stop politicizing the atmosphere any further and act like responsible parties to help bring an end to this carnage. There is absolutely nothing that can’t be solved by way of a dialogue, it’s just that the protagonists sitting across a table need to have the will to do so and understand what it is that the other party seeks with an open mind and work towards a resolution for the same. However, I would like to add that the UN in particular has been an absolute disappointment and an utter failure when it comes to dealing with the subject of Terrorism and probably a body should be formed that has more teeth, courage and can take decisions for the betterment of the society and our collective future.

Sir, at the outset let me thank you for this brilliant article on your perspectives regarding the modern day terrorism, which has marred our world. Terrorism has been around for far too long and has constantly evolved over the years. The various anti-terrorist lobbies in its capacity have also come a long way in its effort to crush such anti-social elements. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in 2015 published the top 15 spenders on military expenditure and the number is a staggering USD 1.25 trillion. All efforts put in place towards world peace have not managed to curb or eradicate the terrorist activities; in fact terrorism has only been on the rise. The humongous cost of modern day military is justified or not is an altogether different debate. Interestingly, the one thing that is constant in this evolution of both the terrorist and the anti-terrorist fronts is the use of technology. While the new age military has intelligence & law enforcement agencies, satellites, drones, laser guided missiles and a host of other equipment’s in its arsenal, the terrorists of today with easy access to the internet have their sophisticated network of cyber criminals and media savvy ways to spread their ideologies. For a terrorist, it is better to kill one person in front of a camera than to kill a hundred in a secret location. The terrorist of today needs an audience. Access to instant communication, mobility, and destructive technology mean that terrorism will continue to plague the world. Thus, the solution lies in using development as a tool to counter terrorism. The world has seen ample examples of such transformations, like the emergence of Germany and Japan as superpowers from the brink of adversity. In 1945 Japan’s industrial cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were destroyed by the use of atom bombs. After the holocaust, Japan abandoned violence and adopted a peaceful course on the lines of development. As a result, within forty years, Japan rapidly became a great economic power of the world.

The recent terror attack on British Parliament has brought to fore what is modern terrorism. Is it use of communication lines to direct the operation or use sophisticated weapons to cause mass damage? It seems that after, security forces world over, has tighten their grip on internet, communication line, weapon procurement, terrorist organization has taken a step back and has gone back to its old methodology. Recent attacks in Berlin, Fien and London were carried by individuals who have converted day to day uses items into potential weapon. London and Berlin attackers have turned vehicle into killing tool while Fien attacker used kitchen knife. These individuals have no connection with any parent organization, they were not guided on real-time about their operation. They were just negatively motivated men who have been mind washed by several radicalization videos released by terrorist organization. These so called “lone wolves” has posed new kind of challenged to security forces world over. It is difficult to trace them as they don’t communicate and remains as sleeping cell which can be activated when the time requires. The only sustainable way out is to integrate the Muslim community as much as possible. Cornering them or discriminating against innocent ones will create a blow back in long term. This will provide a conducive environment in which they would be easy prey for terrorist organization. Educated and far sighted Muslims also need to play a critical role in this. It is their responsibility to educate, give wider horizons and provide right perspective to fellow members of their community. “Not on the name of Islam” movement after the Paris attack is a good example, which provides a alternate platform to fellow members who feel the other way.

Today most of the countries are victims of terrorism. We are all suffering as we are not following core values. The long-term solution to terrorism is self awareness and seeking purpose of Life. We are all trying to find out the solution outside our country and blaming each others. India is blaming Pakistan and Pakistan blaming India. We don’t carry anything to our next birth except our self awareness, that is spiritual values (SQ), neither we can carry assets like house, car, properties, country, nationality nor our children, parents, wife, relatives and friends. Even we don’t carry our beliefs and faith. If you are born in a Hindu family you will develop beliefs and faith in Hinduism and if you are born in an Islam family or other you will develop beliefs and faith in rites and rituals of that community. There is every possibility that your next birth can be in different community than what you have been born in this life. If you are accumulating wealth for your children and if you have not imparted right values, there is every possibility that your children will use the wealth for wrong deeds. In short we don’t carry anything when we die except our deeds. Countries like USA are talking about peace and trading in arms & ammunition for financial gain. When you are selling arms and ammunition, you are selling violence and one day the same people to whom you are selling ammunition will take the path of violence against you, if anything goes against their own interest. Most prominent terrorist Organizations like ISIS, Al Qaida are examples of this. Terrorism in Indian sub-continent started due to some people who wanted to rule us in the name of religions. India was one big family, but some leaders agreed to divided India; like two brothers were separated from mother India in the name of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (Pakistan). So many innocent lives were lost. They took emotional decision to rule us and today all of us are paying the price, The separation plan was done by British to reduce our strength and some political leaders supported that to gain power and Ministership. British always followed divide and rule policy; in vengeance they left India after partitioning it between the Muslims and Hindu. Today also most of our politicians are following the same formula. They are dividing us in the name of religion, caste, creed, community, language and regions. Most of the people who are involved in terrorist activities are misguided youths. They are selling their life for small amount of money due to poverty. Most of us are in reactive mode. Most of us are taking an emotional decision. Emotional decision can never give a long term solution; in emotional decision you try to support someone whom you are emotionally attached and deprive the other. If you want to take a better decision, you must be observant than reactive. Everyone is right according his/her perception. You do whatever you feel right according to your awareness. Fighting is not the solution and fighting can never be the long-term solution to terrorism. The long-term solution is to have awareness and create awareness in every individual to achieve the long-term solution. Let’s know the root cause and let’s root-out terrorism from the root's level. Otherwise if we will prune branches, the terrorism tree will grow with different branches.

At the onset I would like to thank our distinguished Prof. R. Jayaraman for sharing his thoughts in his blog “Terrorism in the Modern World” , which is very well researched and thoughtfully written. Sir mentions in the blog that it is disheartening to see that hardly any effort is being made to engage with terrorists in non-violent manner. All terrorist , in long run , are amenable to reason and logic. Sir suggests that countries should come together and form groups to contain terrorist. Unfortunately I have a different view on this. May be it is a bit of negative perspective. But I feel the terrorist or extremist or radical ideologies are supported and nurtured by many developed countries to maintain their world supremacy and make other developed or developing countries weak. We saw a developed nation supporting a radical organisation to fight Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the same radical organization hit back at the supportive developed nation so badly the it shook its values to its core making the people of the particular developed nation discriminate any person with a beard , turban , a particular name or colour of skin. Developed countries secretly create and nurture terrorist organisations thinking that they can be used strategically against others. They feel that they can supply arms and do business with them. Many developed countries feel it is easy to deal with or do business with a dictator or a ruler than a democratic country due to which they support and create radical or extremist organisations to benefit them in short run completely ignoring the long run disaster they are creating for the world. I feel the world needs to accept and live with different view points and try to educate children about being able to understand others and be tolerant rather than aggressive or power hungry. A book written by Rajiv Chandrasekaran , “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” gives us a perfect background of how Islamic State was created and how knowingly or unknowingly United States was responsible for it. As long as the developed nations have the strategy of creating and funding extremist organisations to fight each other or to maintain world supremacy I don’t think we as world citizens would be free from the menace of terrorism.

ISIS and other terrorist organizations are no doubt a threat to our world, however, I believe in our own nation we have a threat from another type of terrorism that is drawing its strength from political bodies. A new form of terrorism is "Bhagwakaran" or Hindu terrorism. We all comment and see on the things what so called terrorist organizations do claim their misdeeds by name of Jihad but we forget the kind of burden these saffron pro organizations are putting on common man of our nation. When a couple is beaten on Valentine's day in a park by a Bajrang dal or Shiv Sena member can we justify it wrong or right as per Hindu culture and accept this assault as a sign of healthy environment. How can we forget when a person from Shivsena slap a woman cop when asked for the license as he was talking on mobile phone and driving his car. Is it not a heinous crime against our Constitution? Can we forgive a Shivsena Minister throwing his slipper on an airline employee because the minister had to travel on economy class despite carrying a business class ticket? Is it that bad to travel with common man that this humiliation of employee can be justified? To what extent can we justify when Durga Vahini start criticizing an actress who thinks different from the society? Is it not a form of Hindu terrorism? Hinduism in itself is a culture of adaptability, compassion and humanity. We need to rethink our social values in terms of these organizations as well. We need to re-engineer their structures as well, because India as a whole is not Hinduism however, Hinduism is a backbone of our nation and few individuals for their own benefit cannot misuse their power to destroy this beautiful garland of people and feelings in our country.

At the outset, let me thank our esteemed professor Mr. R. Jayaraman for such an impressive and well-thought out article on a sensitive issue as terrorism in the modern world. I agree with sir when he says that terrorism is still not rampant worldwide but is isolated to only parts of the world. But, that situation might not hold true for long. Terrorism has always drawn strength from causing damage to life and property, killing millions in its wake and showing no mercy at all. The Islamic State alone has been responsible for billions of deaths in Syria and other parts of the world. With increasing advancement in technology, today, technology is being misused by various terror outfits. Now, a terrorist organization is not limited to only its area of operation but, it is able to reach out to hundreds of naive youngsters via social media and brainwash them into joining the organization. Take the case of IS itself. It has not been hidden that numerous Indians have left the country or tried to, in order to join the IS. Looking closely into the investigation, it has been realized that the IS have made various groups on popular social media platforms like Facebook to influence these young minds. This alone shows how powerful these terror outfits have become in the advent of technology with them having newest technological equipments with which they execute their intricately planned attacks. Now, what we need to do is to be step forward than them so that we are able to stop more loss of lives. I would support Prof. Jayaraman’s view that we need to conquer these terrorists by way of non-violent means. Thinking of the long-term consequences of violence, it would prove fruitful to hold peaceful negotiations with them so that they understand the fact that we mean no harm to them as long as they are ready to give up their violent ministrations. Until then, we have to fight them in every possible way we can.

To further add to the point, religion, which plausibly evolved as a psychological adaptation, became a powerful mechanism driven by spirituality, beliefs, rituals, symbolism and many other dimensions. As religious diversity increased, it created a vacuum, which was later occupied by manipulative censorship. The prophetic teachings, which were cast in stone, were decrypted with a variety of perceptions; some of them becoming extremely powerful, and at times even septic. A few influential minds became the carriers to these toxicities, and the aftereffect of the exposure was nothing but fatal. Keeping in view the trend and tenacity of the terror attacks in the last two decades, urgency has been observed to uncover the root cause of discomposure. The executors of the outbreaks in Mumbai, London, Glasgow, New York, Bali and several other nations have all asserted motivation from their religion. Quran was Osama bin Laden’s defense weapon in a responsive justification to the 9/11 attacks. The late twentieth century has been a witness to religiously motivated suicide bombings and politically planned attacks. The twenty first century has been embedded with Al Qaeda’s international (or global) Jihadism to facilitate multiple attacks in Europe & U.S. Islamism, with its accentuated extremism and political drive, has forced violent terrorist groups to take center stage. Although representing the views of an extremist religious minority, Islamic terrorism (accredited to rise from Islamism) poses a real threat to the rest of the world. These groups have painted their international canvas with several masterpieces; red hues of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack in 2001, textured shackles of the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and a showdown in Syria. These artists are orchestrated to succumb to their religious vows and surrender to an apparent theological calling. This painful conflict, which started out as an organized chaos, partially inflicted by religion and maneuvered by largest nations’ foreign policy, has proven to be the most disastrous humanitarian catastrophe of its time.

Sir your thoughts on the aforesaid topic clearly elucidates the depth of your understanding of such an intricate problem. I understand that you are vouching for a more pragmatic approach to deal with a violent force. I want to add to what has already been described. The issue of terrorism is multi-layered and can’t be seen from the prism of just one country. Most people in developed countries see the problem as black and white. I must emphasize here that it is not so. One’s terrorist may be someone else’s hero. While I’m not trying to justify this in anyway, it is important to point out that it is a grim reality. I’m not trying to take sides here but I just want to draw your attention to the fact that things have gone beyond reason and logic. The first step to finding the solution is to first find and understand our own fault lines. The big sources of news which include likes of CNN and BBC have many a times tried to show just one side of the picture. There is another side which either we have missed to see or chose to ignore out of ignorance. What can we tell to people of Palestine who have been struggling with life and death since the inception of Israel. No doubt, there have been terrorist activities from Palestinians. But what is being overlooked here is the suffering of people of Palestine at the hands of foreign occupiers. The USA had no evidence of WMDs in Iraq and yet Iraq was attacked and brought down to ashes. The media did everything it could to garner support for the war. But whose war was being fought. Definitely the people of Iraq didn’t want hell to be brought on them. Was Syria ever a battle ground for terrorism? Isn’t it too easy for champions of democracy to attack a place at their own whims and fancies and yet be labelled as saviour of mankind?

The justification offered to validate terrorism as a means by which the weak but resolute can overcome the tyranny of a much stronger opponent is the stem of this malignant problem affecting contemporary civilization. Terror groups justify their gruesome acts by alluding to the perceived social, economic and political oppression their community faces, this coupled with their mutilated religious or political rhetoric lures hundreds into their fold every day. This is what forms the premise to any radical outfit be it IS or the Maoists. The current perception of the society to terrorist is one of a hateful and disillusioned lunatic. Terror attacks are seen as blips in law enforcement, terrorists running about planting bombs and the law enforcement trying to foil their attempts: a cat and mouse game that was meant to be. The right wing media puts no light on the kind of oppression and disenfranchisement which breeds a horde of people who could be incentivised into committing such heinous acts and destroying the lives and livelihoods of everyone they’re associated with. Its about time we realize that every time someone forays into radical ideology, it is our loss as a society, for we could not show him the right path. As the war on terror rages across through the world, governments should try and figure out the causes which lead to this vicious cycle of disenchantment and disillusionment. Steps should then be implemented to empower the vulnerable and integrate them into the mainstream. We know that its easier said than done but pacification has to be a part of the broader long term solution in this never ending conflict.

At the outset, let me thank Professor R Jayaraman for sharing with us his perspective regarding the modern day terrorism and the way it can be dealt with through this article. Terrorism has evolved over the years and it is a bigger threat more than ever. Developing countries have been the victim of terrorism for long. However, events in the recent past shows that even the first world is no longer immune to terrorism. Cities such as Paris and London which were expected to be one of the safest cities in the world too have suffered in the hands of terrorism. No wonder, most of the countries spend substantially on homeland defense and security. Sir has mentioned that all terrorists, in the long run, are amenable to reason and logic. I do agree with Sir. Terrorists thrive best when there is chaos and instability. The use of Drones by US had become the best tool for the extremists for recruiting. Accordingly, use of such drones and military strikes should be avoided to make way for peaceful talks to take place. There is a greater need to integrate certain communities who are often neglected. I believe every problem can be solved through dialogues. We are required to understand their point of view with an open mind and should look forward to address the problems which required them to choose violence over peaceful dialogue in the first place. Providing basic facilities such as proper food, shelter and education to them would certainly help to deter people to join such groups. Also, as Sir has mentioned, there have been examples in the past where we were able to contain terrorism mainly due to the determined participation and effort on the part of the country or the region through which such groups were operating. India have been able to do that and it is required for other countries to contain terrorism. If not, rest of the world should come together and should pressurize such countries, through diplomatic or other means, to eradicate and have zero tolerance towards terrorism. Since UN have been a toothless tiger all along, a new organization can be formed to address this global issue. However, not all terrorists group look forward for peaceful reconciliation. Apparently, Sri Sri tried to initiate peace talks with ISIS but in return they sent him a photograph of a beheaded body of a person. In such conditions peace talks wouldn’t really work but stringent military action is required, at least in the very short run.

A terrific article, sir. “Terrorism is one word that has much of the world engulfed with fear. The historical events interspersed in time have left a deep wound. Repetition of the events in recent times has not done any good either. Yet what is more endearing is the suffering of those related to the victims. This provoked me to think as to what possibly could be the reason for this. Post reading numerous articles I felt that the roots of it lies not in present but somewhat originates back in time to the industrial revolution. Since then, the world has witnessed rapid change. This change has transformed the way the world used to be in the nineteenth century. The one thing that has remained constant over the years is change, be it the shift from the horse-carriage to railways, or be it the shift from hand stitched clothes to a mechanised output of clothing. However, despite the change do we as humans really embrace change all the time or is there an innate sense to hold ground firmly without wavering to the rapid change? We live in a world which is delicately balanced on certain support systems. If we radically change one of the pillar, we have to ensure that the other pillars are balanced to absorb the change. If technology changes rapidly, the shift is to a new untested area. The insecurity of the humans prevents them from quickly adapting to it. The tendency is to stick to something that remains stable despite such volatility and the easiest option appears to be religion or nationalism. This is one field that has remained the same over time or even if it has changed, the deviation has not been at par with the change in world preferences. According to me, the religious extremism is a manifestation of this inability to accept rapid change in one’s life. Terrorism in a way is an attempt to validate one’s life in the global context and make ones presence felt. Whenever an attack is conducted in any part of the world there is some terror group that claims responsibility for it. It often appears to be a gimmick where one organisation just wants to claim responsibility. If that is not the case, we people go ahead and associate isolated incidents to terrorism irrespective of whether it was the case or not. This is what I have felt and may not necessarily be true. I believe that since terrorism is more rooted as a psychological aspect, the redressal of the issue should be in a similar fashion. As mentioned by sir, it is disheartening that hardly any effort is being made to engage with terrorists in a non-violent manner. All terrorists, in the long run, are amenable to reason and logic. It is much more complex than what it appears to be as it involves dealing with the psychological aspect. The people have to come up with novel ways to deal with terrorists. Hatred cannot kill hatred. The world has to unite if a solution is to be arrived at in order to deal with terrorism.

A solution is only viable if the problem has been understood in the right manner. Terrorism is the problem and the world leaders seem to pose all possible solutions but lack the understanding of the problem. Barack Obama, the leader of the free world till January 2016, had a fair bit of understanding about terrorism. The new leader of the free world, blames it on a single religion. Modern day terrorism is a result of mismanagement of the world. Its birth is out of the man-made inequalities, discrimination and all sorts of problems that are only addressed on paper and not in the real world. I would disagree with the author saying “One should accept some casualties as the price to be paid in the short term”. To me we have no cost to pay for these heinous crimes, not even in the short run. The misinterpretation of ‘Jihad’ is one of the core problems. The other is illiteracy and poverty. Take the example of Ajmal Kasab who was the center of the 26/11 massacre. The ‘Daesh’ or the infamous ISIS is nothing but a creation of problem from an existing problem. Our solutions are not creating peace but are backfiring big time. It is not about a single country protecting itself from the map of terrorism. It is a need for collective effort. A series of events greater than the Berlin Wall collapse, an event bringing the world together is the need of the hour. The stabilization in the Middle East is not the job of a single western country. Terrorism has become a systematic weapon that knows no borders or seldom has a face. It is responsibility of the whole nations. To avoid the Apocalypse from the hands of insane killers, the countries need to keep aside their prejudices. Russia cannot afford to back Bashar al-Assad just to gain oil and oppose USA. It is time for a gigantic effort from the United Nations to ensure the problem of terrorism is addressed with an effective effort. Someone needs to take the onus of explaining the true meaning of the misinterpreted texts and the others need to curb the inequalities of this society. The million dollar question is, is this the solution to erase terrorism? I would say no, it is not the Elixir. But it is something that would enable a peaceful environment. How well we sustain this environment of peace is up to the country men and cannot be anticipated. Probably the resolution comes out before the people in the most terrorized nations, like Syria and Iraq, start to conform to associations like Daesh. The technology can both aid and harm in this battle. It is at the discretion of the problem solver how well it is utilized. Accepting those affected the most, refugees from Syria and Iraq, is a step towards developing the force of peace. I would like to leave you with the thought that every person is human at heart. Religion is only a matter of faith!

Sir, I read all of your blog posts on this website. All of them are thought provoking and some have changed my dimensions of thinking. I am intrigued by this blog post on terrorism in the modern times. I feel it is important to understand why people resort to terrorism in this modern world. By history and statistics, we live in the most peaceful era. The number of wars have been reduced globally. In the past, groups of people have fought war for resources and wellbeing of their own groups. After two world wars and advent of globalization, people have realized that it is more beneficial to keep people alive than to kill them. More the people bigger the market. Also towards the end of 20th century, a number of countries were formed with some on geopolitical basis like Sri Lanka, some on religion basis like Pakistan, some on political ideological basis like North and South Korea. In the 20th century, it became norm that national governments all over the world have moral authority over the people. In some of the nations, due to various reasons, minority groups with different ethos, pathos and logos are left in conflict with the majority ruled nation. If there are good democratic or other political systems that addresses the need of such minority groups, such groups would be satisfied of the system and take part in the national building process. If they do not see any prospects in the integration and pushed to desperation, fringe elements within these groups might indulge in violence aggravating the conflict. I agree that terrorism activity is reduced in recent years even though the newspaper reports may seem otherwise. It can be attributed to the learnings from previous terrorism incidents. National government especially the developed nations have invested heavily in surveillance and intelligence programs that enabled to effectively to thwart any potential terrorist incidents. In this context, I like to share an interesting debate going in the US – gun laws. US faces incidents of mass shooting due to liberal gun laws that allows relatively easy private ownership of guns. US in the recent years has witnessed more deaths due to mass shootings then the terrorist activity. Why does the US doesn’t term the mass shootings as terrorism? It is because the intent in the later is against the government. In most part of the world violence caused to affect the policy of the government is considered as terrorism. So a person killing a hundreds of people without mentioning a intent can get way not being termed as terrorist. I feel it is important to address the root cause of the social and geopolitical issues when dealing with terrorism. I happy that you shared thought on this topic. Thank you for one more thought provoking post.

I am pleased to have come across this blog which touches upon a very important issue in today’s world. The author talks about growth of terrorism and the challenges that come along with it. He also, at the same time, has a very positive outlook towards the whole issue. While I agree with sir in parts, there are quite a few thoughts or ideas that I do not quite agree on. The article talks about how terrorism hasn’t grown too big yet and can still be kept in check by the police or military. I believe, the matter of fact is that this menace has been allowed to grow a lot more than it ideally should have. Today, countries in all parts of the world are facing the brunt of terrorism. Day after day we’re losing so many lives – both military and civilian – to terrorism. Can the countries afford such casualties? Can the world afford to take on the burden of terrorism? Repercussions of this menace come not only in the form of violence, but also as economic volatility and instability. Terrorism has crippled nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan to a huge extent. I know these claims can be argued against, but we must look at the bigger picture and acknowledge the fact that it’s a bigger deal than we’re making it to be. India has itself been a major victim of some dastardly acts of terrorism. Incidents like 26/11 in Mumbai are the ones that get highlighted due to a large number of civilian casualties. However, what we don’t seem to realise is the number of lives we’re losing at the border everyday due to terrorist infiltration. I don’t think the country can afford another Uri or Pathankot. The military has had its fair share of casualties and cannot afford to lose more and more men to anti-terrorist activities. Looking at terrorism from a business perspective, we must also acknowledge the fact that it has some major repercussions on the economy of a country. The stock market responds to every ceasefire violation, every infiltration attempt and the smallest of activities that take place on the line of control. Looking at it from a global perspective, we have more and more countries suffering in business on account of terrorism. While dealing with terrorism to protect its people may be a country’s primary objective, it must also do this to protect its economy. Thus, I believe that the sooner we begin to acknowledge the magnanimity of this global phenomenon and act on it, the better it would be for the world. The only way forward is to unite against this menace and fight with unity. For that we need to first acknowledge the fact that terrorism is growing, spreading and changing the dynamics of this world. If the countries of the world come together, with the noble intention of erasing terrorism from the face of this planet, then no organisation, no matter how big or influential it may be, would be able to stop us.

There was a point in time when the news of a terrorist attack surprised everyone, however today, as rightly highlighted by Mr. Jayaraman, even Europe isn’t immune to extremist violence. I agree with the author’s views on combating terror, primarily the idea of having a two-pronged approach i.e. military containment by affected nations, and the negotiation approach led by a coalition of peace. However, I feel that containment and extermination may not be a viable long-term option. As history has shown us, killing extremists has never bogged down the emergence of future generations of extremists, but rather augmented the supply of young, brain-washed men and women ready to kill and be killed. Almost analogous to the mythological creature hydra. Terrorism appears to be a symptom of a larger problem, the problem that has always led to clashes among the masses i.e. the endless dispute between the haves and the have-nots. This dispute in today’s world, marked by a complex combination of conditions such as the high disparity between the rich and poor, advanced technology combined with globalization has evolved and taken the form of religious extremism. Poverty and a poor quality of life would surely make people more susceptible to giving into extremist ways. More often than not, young boys and girls are either lured or forced into such ways and eventually get brainwashed into becoming zombies that commit extreme acts such as suicide bombings. These individuals, however, are mere foot soldiers and are hence only the final link in the chain of the entire problem. Hence their extermination is like taking a painkiller for a much larger illness i.e. a short-term/temporary fix for the underlying issue. This would not be effective in solving the issue of the viral propagation of the extremist ideology. The expendable gun-wielding terrorists would be merely replaced with new recruits. The long-term solution for terrorism should thus revolve around preventing people from falling trap to the temptation into giving into the temptations to move onto the dark side. Again, this would require joint support from countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It is only by alleviation from conditions that help propagate extremism that such goals can be achieved. Of course, this would also need to be complemented by engaging extremist militia. Their extermination would allow the constructive process of rehabilitation of people susceptible to falling prey to the extremist masterminds. Thus, a sort of two ended constriction of terrorism by efforts to eliminate both the propagation of extremist ideology and violent militia can help put in motion the process of exterminating extremism itself. In conclusion, to truly cripple the advances of extremism, a multi-dimensional approach would probably be more effective.

The blog summaries the whole picture very well. Face of terrorism is everchanging. Technology has transformed modern society. It has made our life easy for us as well as terrorists. Modern Terrorism is very different from the past, it is not restricted within borders. Almost all of us have at least once seen propaganda video or image of ISIS beheading a journalist. It has created threat for society on global scale. It has become unpredictable. It is used to hit a target but at the same time, it affects wide audience. Internet is an environment which has no physical boundaries. It doesn’t ask for your physical presence to influence anyone. If you have just a smart phone you can launch an attack on anyone anywhere on the globe. Terrorists plan these attacks carefully to grab maximum media attention. Internet is widely available, easy to use, unrestricted and anonymous, this makes it a privileged place. According to Ministry of Home affairs, India there are more than 40 active terrorist organisations. Almost all of these maintain a website, many of them have multiple websites in more than 1 language. According to a report of CQPress, there are more than 7000 websites under the control of terror groups. With an increase in anti-terrorist operations, terrorist organisations may be losing ground, but they have one effective weapon: Social media. Social media is a very powerful platform. According to statista.com, 2.46 billion users use social media. Terrorists are using this platform to communicate propaganda and to raise funds. In 1997, LTTE stole email Id and password of faculties from Britain's Sheffield University and used it to send out mails asking for donations. Internet is allowing terrorists to interact with targets made it easy for them to recruit new sympathizers. More than 30000 foreigners have gone to join Islamic State, this is the evidence of its success. ISIS has also mastered the art of creating lone wolfs. They are using social media to remotely radicalize youth to create lone wolves. These lone wolves don’t need to ever meet a ISIS extremist or understand the real motive behind the attacks. Internet has huge piles of information and technology in freely accessible mode. This is making the terrorist more modern. If we think that sophisticated nuclear weapons are with only the developed nations, then we are fooling ourselves. Uranium is freely available on darkweb, one just has to pay the right price. Internet is also being used for training of new recruits. In 2003, al Qaeda released a series of 19 video training lessons, covering topics like physical training, bomb making, explosives handling. Vast nature of internet makes it very tough to keep track on terrorist activities. Data encryption business is booming and it has made internet activities very hard to track. Terrorists are using encoded images and crypted text to coordinate attacks. Internet was supposed to be the biggest boon to the millennials and taking an optimistic view, it still is. Good triumphs over evil is an age-old adage and it still stands for a reason. It is heartening to see that the world still sees the internet as a positive means of connecting people worldwide despite cold hearted attacks being executed through the internet.

The blog rightly captures the new face terrorism has acquired in the modern day world. As mentioned by you sir, there was a time when terrorism was limited to only certain parts of the world. India’s frequent protest in the international arena about terrorism emanating from our northern neighbour was never taken seriously. The western world and the media dismissed it as a law and order problem. The world woke up to the reality only after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and started taking India’s concern seriously. You rightly mention about how European nations, once alien to such attacks have recently seen a spurt with frequent attacks being carried out in France, Belgium, etc. India given its experience is in a unique position to help these countries in counter terrorism activities. Already, India trains a lot of western defence personals in its Army Jungle Warfare School and Mountain Warfare School. As mentioned by you, the new terrorist organisations like ISIS, Boko Haram, etc in the 21st century are a threat to humanity. I feel all these new terrorist organisations are a new face of the same old problem and are no different from old terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda, TTP, etc. I agree with your view that the modern day military and police are well equipped to deal with the terrorists. But I think, violence in return of violence and targeted elimination of terrorists is the not the solution. History has shown that greatest super powers of the world have failed to eliminate targeted terrorist organisation by force. USA has lost thousands of its personals and billions of dollars in its war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Middle East and yet filed. It faces an embarrassed failed withdrawal much like it did from Vietnam. You correctly point out that no effort is being made to engage with terrorist and bring them to the negotiating table. Your example about Sri Sri’s attempt to open a channel with these terrorist organisations and its hasty withdrawal because of the severe backlash he faced is the sad reality in today’s time. To quote from above “All terrorists, in the long run, are amenable to reason and logic”. The need of the hour is to open communication channels with the terrorist organisations and make them give arms by choice and not by force. India’s limited success against Naxals occurred because of considerate and humane surrender schemes and not brutal force.This is needed because more often than not the actual sufferers between the state and the terrorist organisation is the common civilian. Fair meditators can be chosen who can go about with their job with complete impartiality and fairness. You have correctly pointed out about using the good offices of countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc. for the same. Lastly, it talks about India’s response to the recent spurt in terrorist activities and appreciates the effort put by our security forces to contain the same. It mentions that 709 casualties have occurred in India because of terrorist activities in 2017. Although this number is historically low, every life is important and therefore India needs to step up its preparedness even more. This can be achieved by talks and not by force. Just like the government has managed to bring Naxals and militants in North East to negotiating table, it should try to do the same with other terrorist bodies.

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