Originally Published 2012-08-14 00:00:00 Published on Aug 14, 2012
It's pointless to blame Pakistan for successful terrorist strikes. What about the CCTVs that didn't work? The strategy of the new generation of terrorists is to keep the country forever in the terror warp, and they seem to be winning.
So, goodbye until the next blast
The serial bomb blasts in Pune on the August 1 has reopened a Pandora’s box once again, raising the usual questions about intelligence (failure), surveillance and counter terrorism capabilities of the nation.

Ever since the Mumbai siege of 2008, acts of terrorism are calibrated in such a manner that they do not make international headliners. This was first highlighted by the tactics adopted by the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The ’home-grown’ terrorist group started carrying out low intensity, multiple bombings in congested urban centres. This marked the evolution of terrorism from staging catastrophic mass casualties to incidents reinforcing the fear of terrorism, of course with limited casualties.

On the other hand, if one is to map recent instances of bombings, it would be inevitable to realise that the destination of the explosive materials are not similar to that of the past. The preference for Delhi and Mumbai has diminished significantly. These were once like second home to Pakistan sponsored jihadis of the Kashmir cause, whose style of operation relied on publicity for their audacious and ingenuous acts, in terms of both planning and execution. In addition, the magnitude of their strikes was also terrible. In contrast, the present spate of violence strives only on limited publicity with near similar modus oprandi.

Analyses of terrorist strikes of recent times need to be divorced from the usual suspects of the past. Given their geographic spread, the manner in which they have been executed reflects on the possibility of a decentralised organisation. It is also possible to speculate the role of new/unknown entitles whose existence can come as a surprise to the security agency. Or the possibility of old nemeses repackaging itself in this avatar too can’t be rule out.

The prudence for such a line of thinking is that the targets have been centres that do not have a long history of terrorism. And finally, if these towns are mapped against other security concerns of India, once can notice that they are a gateway to something much bigger. The Varanasi bombing of December 2012 and the two Pune bombings and the several instances of industrial action/violence could also be attributes of terror in new forms.

These attacks involve a great deal of planning, deliberation in the selection of targets and are usually carried out with a set of goals that cannot be clubbed under a single umbrella. In this light, the deliberate effort take by the perpetrators in being blip in the on the radar also needs greater appraisal. In such a situation the activities of these perpetrators when superimposed with others issues like insurgency and insurrection that the challenges the India result in the demarcating the contours of the nation into the haves and the have knots

It is this form of terrorism that becomes a grave threat to national security if it is not a product of theological/ideological mooring when compared to their flamboyant counterparts. But it breeds the worry - Will these tactics germinate into bleeding the nation by a thousand cuts?

However the outcome of the current strategy, if one can call it that, would not be confined to reports and records but a reflection of the overall weakening of the Indian State. Thus the counter measures that need to be undertaken should not merely be the rhetoric of reform, but real improvement of the policing and intelligence gathering ability of the state. One needs to analyse the origins and the motivation of the perpetrators. And whether it is prudent to rationalise the origins of such acts of violence as an expression of aggression, since the randomness of such events are in themselves emulate the failure of the state in its security roles. It is also a product of the state’s inability to delivering basic services.

A fact that get’s highlighted by the regularity of such incidents is not just the inability of the government to stop them, but also its inadequacies in deterring them. This is exemplified by the failure of the CCTV cameras that have been places in key location. Such surveillance systems, as in the case of the recent Pune blasts, did not function and this is not the first time. It is here that the nation stands exposed since the counter measures to some extent turns out to be just a façade and not as an instrument of deterrence.

What is needed is not just a knee -jerk reaction or a call for a proactive response for the government but rather a reorienting approach towards terrorism since the modus oprandi of terrorism which would amplify the purpose of terrorism. And this is the answer to the riddle; "what the Pune blasts all about?"

The question of the hour is not of who did it and how but the purpose. If not identified, the nation would have to bear with not just cross border terrorism but also to many more like the blasts of Varanasi and Zaveri Bazar and the Jama Masjid shootings.

(The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation)

Courtesy: The Pioneer, August 11, 2012
The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.