Pulwama, 14 February 2019 – Terror doesn’t come knocking, A soldier never dies.

Pulwama attack is not just a ‘horrible situation’ as the US president described the other day. It was a tragic act of surrogate war on all counts. Response to an act of war can be war. However, in a responsible world, war is fought only when other means are exhausted. It also depends on the capacity to wage war. Where does India stand on the track of engaging Pakistan? Lost in the muddle of governance?  Incensed by the wicked rivalry among politicians beyond nation? Ambushed by the selective deception of the country by shady and powerful citizens in all walks of life including universities? Ignorance of its people? It’s all of them and more.

India has been ludicrously on edge with Pakistan since the day of partition. The Shimla Accord (1972) called for better relations between the two countries. However, Pakistan shifted gears based on despotic policies of greedy dictators supported by opportune friends. Terror became the grand strategy with attractive collateral reparations to the players in and out of Pakistan. Terror gained momentum in 1989. Soon it became mortal, the perfect scenario for the lucrative and heinous transnational organised crimes to thrive – trafficking in arms, drugs and people (Crimes-3). They offer unimaginable power and wealth to the players and stakeholders to the bottom. They can bend governments and decide on the style of governance. Though different by design and format, they are congruent for a crime trafficker. The money from Crimes-3 turns the Planet red. The socio-political hyenas around and far drink the blood of innocents irrespective of nationality, including their own, almost every day.

In this blood games, Pulwama is not an isolated situation. It is just another painful incident along the line. More will come. The terror chain is already 40-year long in India.

Within the threat matrix cube (Paleri, 2002), terrorism is multidimensional with intensity varying with time. For India, the threat is already formed and developing. The point of hit, or the target, changes. Intelligence holds the key in such a case. It has to be clear that intelligence is not information or grapevine, but the intention of the ‘other side’. The threat of terror hits the target every time intelligence slips. This is also applicable to the threat relative to the target. It can be monitored (not elaborated further). The exactness of the movement of the convoy was intelligence for the suicide SUV in a planned attack.

Threat matrix cube (Paleri, 2008)

Figure 1. Threat matrix cube (For use in the fly box approach for threat perception) (Source: Paleri, P. (2002). Role of the coast guard in the maritime security of India. Delhi: Knowledge world)

The convoy in Pulwama was handed over to the blood-thirsty and unchained Shayatin in a platter by the informer outfit within. This is the case in most of the terror attacks in India. Who says the nation is important and humanity is a family?  Indians do mutter about it without knowing the blood-sucking ticks hiding within enjoying all benefits and more. This applies to every country.  What if the people elect a home minister who may open the gate to terror, or a defence minister who may split the armed forces, tomorrow? Voters are not aware of the ante force and the harm it can cause.

A threat can be deflected either by prevention or preemption, or a combination of both. Mitigation is the only choice once it hits the target. Banzai and blazing rhetoric may get some buzzers in the crowd to stand up and notice. Sometimes they can invigorate the perpetrators more. It is the threat attraction of the target that matters — threat attraction is the prime variable. The higher the threat attraction, the softer the target becomes. The convoy on the highway was a soft target, well anointed by informers intelligently. The counter techniques need to be corrected according to threat attraction. It’s a game of wits and guts. Our forces have both, embered and shimmering in confidence. Otherwise, the country would have strayed the Pakistani way. India has reasons to be proud of its amazing men and women in uniform. They don’t like anybody to cry for them, including their dear ones.

Pakistan, in spite of a gainer in its inhuman and debauched terror policy, is a fast declining entity for the same reason and more. The most worrying situation, the government and the people should be aware of, is that terrorism against India will still remain even if Pakistan is decimated to nothing or limited existence. The terror outfits will outgrow their mentors and cohorts. It will be a horrible situation where the state loses its value and power because of its friends, not adversaries.  Pakistan is almost there. This is a stasis the political scientists have not examined seriously so far. It will be an eye-opener for states that acts as puppets of others—downcast by geostrategic puppetry. It is a kind of compulsive political disorder (CPD) among nations that are weak but pretends to be strong in the company. The ultimate pain of citizenship awaits the people of such countries. It is the law of invariance (Paleri, 2007).

All these lead to the fact that terror in and from Pakistan is not likely to be abated. It is visible in the gradient. India and other countries including China need to be prepared for a long drawn self and joint examination. China knows, but won’t show. India vacillates as governments change. Pakistan is blinded.

One of the reasons China supports Pakistan and treats Masood Azhar as a poor but naughty kid from the gully is the fear that it would be sunk under Islamic terrorism if the pathogen is not diverted elsewhere. China knows it is safe as long as terror from Pak flows into Afghanistan and India. China is not aware that decay in Pakistan can hit them too.  Here lies the Chinese checker that India and the world may attempt to crack for everyone’s benefit, Pakistan and China included. The best way for the three is the win-hold-win game against terror in a three sum game model. However, it is not going to materialise under the present scenario. The Pakistani brew will flow hot into India till then. 

There is a lot India can do. It doesn’t have to learn from anybody. Because it is the best in the game of counter-terrorism. No other country has such an experience. However, it is still learning to tackle terror supported from within by the inhuman breakers of the motherland.  In the meantime, the centripetal forces keep India together.

It is time for the politicians from India to understand that they have to be together in the fight against terrorism.  Well, that is, if they love their country more than their bank accounts. The country is undoubtedly getting weak.  The government should nail and expose the turncoats who support the enemy for individual benefits. Terror, wherever it is, can enter only with insider support. The span of terrorism in India and Pakistan is longer than that of an elected government. This is a serious limitation if political opportunism prevails. It will disrupt policies on zero tolerance to terror. Terror can overlap and ride the governments in the long run. It has already happened in Pakistan.

The government should frame up a zero-terror policy in confidence with the opposition. Internal supports to terror should be blocked and eliminated entirely. The forces should be given operational freedom. They should not be reeling under ghost protocols. The unhinged children of the valley and elsewhere in India should be inversed for constructive activities en masse.

Simultaneously, India should turn around not only China but also Pakistan, the State, against terrorism and jointly sanitise the terrain including Uyghur permanently by socio-politico-military involvements. It will make a winner for all. The help of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may be taken.  Why the Saudis? Because they have a longer span of governance similar to China and are reasonable (as it seems). This is not a glittering wish or fantasy dream but a very practical idea of diplomacy sans deceit in the geostrategic context.

In the meantime, the government and the people should know that there is no magical glue to fix terrorism urgently or temporarily.

The last heard is the hasty decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to isolate India in hosting future sports and Olympic-related events for denying visas to Pakistani shooters to participate in the World Cup event. It is one of the fallouts of Pulwama – an opportunity to squeeze the victim. The victim is questioned, not the perpetrator. This has killed India’s ambition to host the Youth Olympics in 2026, the Asian Games in 2030 and the Summer Olympics for the first time in 2032. The world needs to take notice of such despicable actions. Or, alternatively, hail terrorism with a Nazi salute.

It also shows that the world today is very much conducive for terrorism to thrive. The business is booming. The much hyped ‘war on terror’ is only a call for selling ammo on the war footing. Pak may find many sellers of kinky crimes knocking at their doors, now since they got the money…There is a booming seller’s market in Pakistan, and the gold rush will begin. The Pulwama outcome, therefore, could be terror ignited, not put out.

Where does it take India? The people have to decide. People last longer than governments.

Arms and ammo – the backyard industry in Pakistan

In the ‘70s Mao forced the Chinese to make steel in backyard furnaces. It turned out to be disastrous. Today in Pakistan, people make arms and ammo in the backyard that the hapless government can only watch with a blind eye. A small factory, as big as a motor garage, turns out a thousand guns a day. The pistols are cheaper than a cell phone at the point of origin. They carry ‘Made as China’ marks. Not sure whether it is bad English or clever marketing gimmick with embeded disclaimer. Everything destructive made in Pakistan is surrogated to China. Are Chinese listening? The Italian machines in the backyard garages can even make imitation Kalashnikovs. Where is the market?


  1. Dr n Director General P Paleri has brought several significant factors n configurations about terrorism n counter terrorism directly emanating fm terror sponsoring state Pakistan n hidden role being played by China.

  2. Sir,
    A beautiful analyses and a frankly and aptly worded article written by the highly professional writer and researching author of high repute, thought provoking and a wakeup calls all political leaders of current and future government of Asia , specially Islamic countries around the world.

  3. Dr P Paleri ex Director General lndian Coast Guard has penned down an excellent article of Pulwama attack. A highly competent senior mariner who has written the lst book on lndian Maritime and was awarded doctorate prior to his retirement. A maritime think tank who has in-depth knowledge of lndian Maritime, Customs, lndian/lnternational Maritime Law, l request you to write more of these articles on lndian Security/Maritime matters so as to keep us current on all these subjects. Had a privilege to serve under your command way back in 2000-02 at Mumbai, once again Congratulations on writing such a sensitive subject and putting up all the facts.

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