Mumbai attacks and ISI

Daily: The Nation
Date: 03.12.08

Hamish McRae, a famous British journalist and writer, writes in his book, The World in 2020,
published in 1994: “the forces that threaten global stability can probably be contained for at
least one more generation” (page 276).

What McRae meant by ‘generation’ – either sixty or eighty years of human life – is yet
unclear; one thing, however, is obvious that from the year 2000 onward, by symptoms, a
virtual conflict between the state and the non-state actors began which is still continue
unabated, here and there, bringing under siege national securities of various countries
including the USA, the UK, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia, to say the

Mumbai of India became the latest battleground of one such conflict a few days ago. The
collateral damage in terms of human life was grave to condemn the gruesome incident. The
adverse brunt on economic prosperity of the port city, Mumbai, was also enormous to be
weighed. Nevertheless, the blame game has begun by India. The top spy agency of
Pakistan, the ISI, has again been made the scapegoat. In the wake of terrorism in Mumbai,
more pressure is bound to come on the ISI. Both Afghanistan and India are now openly
alleging the ISI to mask their own failure in tackling their indigenous problems. The
forthcoming is a tough time for the ISI from both regional and international directions.

With the end of the Cold War in 1991, several western intellectuals predicted ‘ideology’ as a
force to menace global stability. A detail study indicates economy as a factor as well playing
its role globally; with that comes the importance of oil as a resource and energy as its
product. Further, with the end of the Cold War, the world awakened to the economic
realities which contributed to the downfall of the former Soviet Union. One may argue that
expenditures outnumbering earnings could make any system collapse and any country
disintegrated. Subsequently, enhancing earnings became a new economic strategy
amongst those western countries which felt jubilant at winning the Cold War. Other capitalist
countries of the world followed the trend. Thus, on the one hand, the states were focusing
on mounting their capacity to engender more financial yields; on the other hand, the non-
state actors were grouping together to defend the ideological and financial boundaries they
deemed rightful.

The way the conflict between the state and the non-state actors is gripping the world, it
seems that though the intellectuals of the world might have foreseen the imminent
emergence of the non-state actors on the globe, the sage failed to suggest ways to resolve
the conflict. Even in the analysis of McRae lies pessimism that, perhaps, there will be the
forces – the rogue elements or the non-state actors – functioning out of the bounds of
global discipline; those forces will be threatening global stability; and those forces will be
averse to global peace. Some still argue that McRae was not a pessimist but an alarmist
who was making the world cautious of the impending menaces on the top of which would be
the forces refuting the concept of global oneness.

The war in Afghanistan is considered a sequel to the clash of ‘ideologies,’ which are open
to interpretation in political and religious terms. Along with that the conspiracy theories are
abound like all the fuss is about capturing the oil wealth of the Middle East and the Central
Asia. To what extent these rumours hold ground will be tested by the time itself.

The post-9/11 (2001) era has been witnessing physical suppression of the non-state
actors, besides categorizing some as the non-state actors, as a solution to resolve the
conflict. Perhaps, it was thought that the muscles of the state were enough to overwhelm
the non-state actors thereby brining victory to the muscle-holder. After seven years, in
2008, the status-quo of the conflict is still palpable indicating thereby the relentless
existence of the non-state actors who are incessantly changing strategy to keep alive the
element of surprise, whenever they fall heavy on any state. The resilience, both physical
and mental, on the part of the non-state actors and the failure of the thinkers of the world to
identify the causes motivating the non-state actors to keep themselves committed to the
conflict indicate that the conflict has potential to linger on in one form or another. Further, it
appears that the non-state actors are becoming successful in rendering the global
economic muscle hamstrung. In due course, as it is obvious so far, the inability of the states
to curb the non-state actors will continue, the blame game will stay, and the collateral
damage will exist to devour the lives and properties of the innocent.

Back to columns in 2008