A Strategic Analysis Of Terrorism
Today the internal security situation in India is worse than at any time since Independence. In this background, the book serves as a well-searched and comprehensive document, which deeply reflects account of the internal security challenges facing India, their history and the possibilities for dealing with them. In today’s world, when the line dividing external and internal security is getting thinner and thinner, it is no longer possible to dismiss internal security issues as local “law and order” problems. Hence, the importance of these challenges—Naxalism, Kashmir, terrorism—cannot be overestimated. Since the writer has had an exemplary record in the police service and has served as governor in what are amongst the most challenging states from the point of view of internal security; he brings a deep scholarly interest to the subject as well.
The book provides an insight into many contentious issues. It provides an accessible, clearly written introduction to the subject. More deeply, it provides an analytical frame for thinking about how things came to such a pass. By dealing with a range of internal security challenges simultaneously, the writer is able to shed deeper light on the character of the Indian State, and the ways in which its failings are repeated across different domains. It also provides a nuanced account of the relationship between structural factors that underlie any crisis and the political choices made in addressing them. In dealing with many of these challenges, we often get trapped in a meaningless debate between those who think only root causes need to be addressed and those who think mere state action is sufficient. The book deals with the latter set of issues more, primarily because of writer’s proximity to them, his deep sense of understanding of history and politics allow him to give an account that is nuanced. The book is also unique because it gives a sense of the complexity, the hesitations, the uncertainties, the veniality, the occasional act of political courage and sagacity, the complex political economy that mark these crisis.
It may possible that different readers draw different lessons from this book. But there is no getting around the central message of this book that so many of the challenges that face us, are needlessly perpetuated by the political choices our leaders make for us. So much of the suffering that these crises inflict upon the people in the form of violence, intimidation and deprivation is avoidable. The book makes an eloquent case for the fact that if the state does not act early in a crisis, it ends up getting trapped in a vicious circle of its own making. So there can be no disagreement over the fact that dealing with these crisis will require a combination of clarity, decisiveness and nuance. And one hopes the reading of this book will help cultivate some of those virtues.