Missing Taliban, a worry for us: Brajesh Mishra
MUNICH, FEB. 2. India today said the disappearance of the Taliban and Al-Qeada leaders and activists after the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan was ``a matter of immediate security concern'' and made it clear that New Delhi would de-escalate only after seeing ``concrete evidence'' of decreasing terrorism from across its borders.
``Where are the thousands of foreign fighters and advisers of the Taliban who were trapped in Kunduz in the final phase of the military campaign, but found a providential and mysterious aerial escape route?'' the National Security Adviser, Brajesh Mishra, asked addressing the 38th Munich Conference on Security Policy.
Stating that those were questions of long-term relevance to the international campaign against terrorism, Mr. Mishra said ``anyone who looks on the map of the region would understand why for India, this is a matter of immediate security concern. This is also why India would like to see concrete evidence of a diminution of terrorism from across its borders before it acts on military de-escalation.''
Though he did not name Pakistan, it was obvious he was referring to reports that Pakistan airlifted its nationals fighting alongside the Taliban. Mr. Mishra, who arrived here last evening, held bilateral meetings with the Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Ivanov, and the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, this morning. He also held discussions with the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, in Frankfurt on Friday during a brief halt en route to Munich.
In a reference to Pakistan's oft-repeated statement that it was only supporting the ``freedom struggle'' in Kashmir, Mr. Mishra said: ``Distinctions are sometimes drawn between different acts of terrorism. In some cases, we are told, it is not really terrorism, but a freedom struggle. It is also said that the battle against terrorism is really a battle for the hearts and minds of the population which harbours the terrorists.''
``These facile arguments defy logic. They assert that Osama Bin Laden's associates are `freedom fighters' when they act in one country and `terrorists' when they act elsewhere. They imply that freedom fighters can indiscriminately massacre civilians among the population they are seeking to liberate, without losing their popular support.''
``They ignore the fact that it is not popular support, but a fear psychosis created by violence that suppresses the silent majority in these societies. We in India saw this graphically in the case of Punjab, where terrorist separatist forces struck in the eighties, with generous support in the form of refuge, finances, arms and training from a neighbouring country. Sustained tough action by our security forces dealt with this and fully restored the democratic processes in Punjab.'' He noted that ``significantly, none of these so-called popular groups ventured to test their public support by participating in elections, though it was open to them to do so. Equally significantly, the movement for Khalistan _ as the separatists called for desired state _ today exists only outside India, and quite unsurprisingly, many of its ringleaders reside in the same neighbouring country which sponsored their terrorist activities. We have been confronted with the same menace in Jammu and Kashmir for a decade and more.''
Referring to the conference theme ``terrorism and democratic societies'', Mr. Mishra noted that India has experienced this reality for the past many years. But it took September 11 to dramatically bring the global reach of terrorism into the collective consciousness of the world.
``The world now accepts that terrorism can be tackled effectively only with a global and comprehensive approach. The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373 shows the right direction. However, the world's democracies have to co-operate effectively in its implementation and ensure compliance of other countries.''
``This requires collective political will, undiluted by short-term political or economic calculations. Whatever our political predilections or strategic calculations, we cannot condone terrorism somewhere, while condemning it elsewhere, because this lenience will boomerang on all of us,'' he said.
``We have to systematically choke off the three crucial lifelines of terrorist groups: refuge, finances and arms.'' It is a self-evident truth that democratically multicultural societies are the prime targets of terrorism and are also the most vulnerable to its attacks. _ PTI
Send this article to Friends by