Wednesday 24th of July 2024

Paris Blood Bath: Reminding India of the Terror Attack on Mumbai (26/11)
Anu Sharma
Region : Asia, SouthAsia, India,
Issue : Security, Terrorism,
On November 13, 2015 Paris witnessed gruesome massacre in the history of France where ISIS claimed attacks killed more than 120 people forcing the French President Francis Hollande to denounce this as an “act of war”. The six attacks in Paris were one of the worst and France’s deadliest attacks since the Second World War and Europe’s worst after the Madrid Train bombings in 2004. It seems that the year 2015 had a regularity which will be raucous in the French history. This year began with a terrorist attacks on the Parisian satirical newspaper –Charlie Hebdo—when for the three days Paris was gripped with fear. On 13/11, the deadliest of the attacks was at the Bataclan Theatre—a few meters away from the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Wherein at one point these attacks had left France reeling in fury, anxiety and horror, at the same time it had stirred a rather international debate on the freedom of expression and the state of Islam in French state. The recent attacks on the civilians in Paris clearly demonstrate the topic that has divided France like few others and seems certain to intensify now.
The question dominating everyone’s mind is—why France? There is the presence of the sizeable Muslim population in France, U.K. and Germany. France has the largest number of Muslim population—both in numbers and percentage of the overall population (which is close to 7.5%). It seems that over the last few decades, many of the first generation Muslim immigrants have lived in France—though somewhat uneasily—under the cliché of French assimilation. But at the same time they have been expected to leave behind their distinctive religious, ethnic and linguistic identities to be a part of the mainstream French socio-political environment. This in turn acts as a breeding ground for the Islamist terror groups which had led to the increased discontentment among the French Muslim population. Many scholars of terrorism and security studies would agree to the fact that such attacks are the repercussions of the French involvement in Syria and France being the target of the terrorist attacks is partly due to the reason and the ways with which France deals with the secular issues in their own country. Many feel that this is just the starting of the ramped up attacks on more European nations—namely Britain, Germany etc., with an increase in the number of frequency.
Terrorism—spectacular mass casualty attacks on civilians are designed by the perpetrators to build their notoriety –is suddenly back in the forefront. And this can be termed as a shift in the practice in which ISIS has operated in the recent years for the media attention. The types of attack in the French capital by the ISIS operatives have clearly eclipsed the workings of al-Qaeda both in practice and in the minds of the western security officers/organizations. Organized mass casualty attacks on the civilians are designed for the purpose of not only to instill fear in the enemy population and advance the political posturing of the perpetrators but also to attract new recruits and funding.
The brutality of the 13/11 attack in Paris will bring the French voices in unison to speak against the carnage. France has requested the U.S. and Russia to set aside policy ideologies related to Syria and “fight this terrorist army in a single coalition.” Whereas at the same time the executors of these attacks are betting that their gratuitous cruelty acts will inspire more radicalized youth in the west and Europe to join their band. They will also hope to generate the polarization in France that in turn will produce further disaffection to bloat their positions.
Many scholars believe that with a steady flow of radicalized foreign fighters travelling to places such as Syria and then returning the militant Islamic organization is finding it easier to support and encourage these kinds of attacks. This is in addition to the fact that there is a considerable increase in number to the home grown ISIS sympathizers in many European countries including France, Germany and Great Britain. Furthermore, recent influx of refugees into Europe from places such as Syria highlights the risk that jihadist groups could have placed some of their members among the large refugee inflow in order to conduct attacks in Europe.
These attacks are going to have political consequences too. France has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since last September. At the same time, France has been keeping a low profile in an attempt to stem the inflow of migrants. This unfortunate event will strengthen the arguments of those groups that have been raising voices to halt the entry of the migrants and closing of borders in countries such as Germany, Sweden and many nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Escalating action against the Islamic state of Iraq will have its own risks as similar to the ones being faced by France. At the same time ISIS has warned that it would step up strikes against all of those countries that would have joined the American led coalition fighting the group in Iraq and Syria. At the same time Paris attacks will inevitably raise the question of whether to escalate the American and western military operations in Syria and Iraq. In reality the Syrian Civil war handed the ISIS a chance to master the act of terrorism in every aspect on a silver platter. In fact ISIS has grabbed this opportunity with “bloodstained hands.”
Terror attacks in any part of the world are targeting innocent civilians and there is a strong need to unequivocally slam these acts of the terror/islamist organizations. At the same time, such an act is a sad eye-opener of the diminishing ‘global security index’ and the increasing degree of mass disparagement by a determined group of terrorists to cause international outrage and anguish. For the sake of humanity it is necessary to start questioning the increasing number of wars on terror in retaliation to the intervention wars of the western nations. Islamist terror organizations pose a threat to India too. Despite facing the terror attack of 26/11, Indian agencies are still ill-equipped in facing such kind of terror attacks. India needs to have a concrete plan of action to prevent anymore Mumbai like 26/11 terror attacks. India needs to strengthen its position it has so long held that there can be no selective approach to terrorism and certainly no distinguishing between the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ terrorism. India should therefore ensure actions for all kinds of extremism—whether related to terrorism based on religion or otherwise. Speaking at the G-20 summit in Turkey, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need of an international legal framework and emphasized on the need to have a ‘comprehensive convention on international terrorism.’ According to him cooperation on intelligence and counter-terrorism between nations should also increase. It should be kept in mind that India is a nation that has been constantly facing the terrorist threats from its border sharing neighbors and far-off partners too. It is very necessary for India to play a proactive role in making a counter-terrorism strategy both at the ministerial and the bureaucratic level. At the same time, it is necessary for India to confine our activities (preferably military involvement) to our own shores and at the same time continue its actions related to intelligence sharing with the western countries to counter and resolve the terrorism acts emanating from Pakistan. India’s foreign policy motives should not include playing an active role in Syria or any other nation with troubled socio-political environment.
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Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FORE INDIA.

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