TERRORISM---YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW
Dedicated to all victims of terrorism--- whether civilians or members of the security forces and agencies, whether Indians or foreigners.
Terrorism is a continuously evolving threat. From a uni-dimensional threat involving attacks with hand-held weapons, it has evolved into a multi-dimensional threat involving the use of hand-held weapons, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers, landmines, mobile phones as triggers, aircraft hijackings, cyber attacks through the Internet etc. Terrorism of today is different from terrorism of yesterday. Terrorism of tomorrow is likely to be different from terrorism of today.
Terrorists no longer come from under-privileged and economically and socially handicapped families. Many of them have come from affluent and socially well-placed families. They are no longer ill-educated who are manipulated by their leaders. Many of them are highly-educated----doctors, engineers, IT experts etc. They are irrational in their objective of mass casualty attacks, but very precise in planning and executing those attacks. They are technology savvy, but not technology slavish. Their modus operandi keeps changing.
One of the important lessons of 9/11 was the need to anticipate and prepare oneself to prevent other similar unconventional scenarios of a catastrophic potential and, if prevention fails, to have in place a capability for coping with the resulting situation. Amongst such likely scenarios of catastrophic potential increasingly receiving attention since 9/11 are those relating to maritime terrorism, terrorist threats to energy security, terrorism involving the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) material and terrorist threats to critical information infrastructure.
Since the attempt to blow up the New York World Trade Centre in February,1993, one has been talking of old and new terrorism. The old terrorists----who had taken to terrorism for ethnic or ideological reasons or even on religious grounds--- had a Laxman Rekha, a dividing line, which they tried not to cross. They were concerned over the impact of their actions on public opinion.
Since 1993, the world is confronted with a new brand of terrorists----also called the jihadi terrorists--- for whom there is no Laxman Rekha. They believe in mass casualty or catastrophic terrorism. They want not only to kill human beings, but also destroy economic, technological and other capabilities. They talk of their religious right and obligation to acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them, if necessary, to protect their religion and safeguard its interests.
It is important to be aware of their mind-set, thinking, planning and capabilities to have their plans executed. To be aware is to be prepared. How to create an awareness of them and drive home to the people and the policy-makers the importance of dealing with them in an effective manner, without unwittingly contributing to a demonisation of the community from which they have arisen? That is the question facing all of us today.
The purpose of this book is to create such an awareness by focusing on some of the important dimensions of the evolving threat. For this exercise, I have drawn upon some of my past writings on the subject and presentations made before international conferences and appropriately edited and updated them. Some new material has also been included.
I have tried to make each Chapter self-contained so that the readers do not have to keep moving backward and forward in order to refresh their memories. For this purpose, the repetition of some of the points in different Chapters has become necessary.
I am grateful to Capt.Bharat Verma of the Lancer Publishers for coming forward to publish this book too. This is my fourth book being published by them---- the earlier three being “Intelligence---Past,Present & Future”, “A Terrorist State As A Frontline Ally” and “The Kaoboys of R&AW--- Down Memory Lane”. The first two were published in 2001 and the third in 2007. I always feel happy to have my books published by them because of their thorough professionalism, seriousness of purpose and their abiding interest in matters concerning national security. For them, publishing is not just a profession. It is a duty to the nation and its people.
I also think of Shakti Bhatt, a budding publisher, who died after a brief illness on April 1,2007, at the age of 26. She was the daughter of Sheela Bhatt, the Executive Editor of Rediff.com, New Delhi, and Kanti Bhatt, the Gujarati writer. She was the wife of Jeet Thayil, the poet. It was Shakti, a fascinating girl full of ideas, who persuaded me to revive my interest in writing books on national security matters, instead of keeping my writing confined to periodic articles.
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