The projection of the politically correct mindset on events is such that even more than twenty-four hours after the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, the ‘security’ analysts are chary of making the first obvious connection – it was a response to the mosque shooting that took place in New Zealand. This is the reason for the ambiguity created by no specific group having taken responsibility. (On the other hand, in almost no time at all, social media hacks and even mainstream journalists were quick to use the incident to comment on Modi and the BJP’s alleged patronage of ‘divisive’ politics and terror.) This is because they are hesitant to admit that the much lauded ‘response’ of the Jacinda Ardern Government to the tragedy, with the wearing of the hijab and all the symbolism of inclusiveness, was entirely ineffective in deflecting the expected vengeance. It would be an admission of the fact that they have no solutions to offer without, at first, acknowledging the nature of the problem.
It is known who some of suicide bombers were. Even so, people are reluctant to look in the direction of jihadi terrorism – all other options are being explored first – ‘could it be a hangover of LTTE ideology?’; ‘had majority Buddhist animosity towards minorities gone this far?’, etc. They are also seeking to ‘localise’ the event by focusing on a Sri Lankan terror group – the National Towheeth Jama’at – thereby confining the issue to the country. With this they can look away, till it is their turn.
Unfortunately, even if the NTJ is directly responsible, there should be little doubt that it is part of a larger global and highly effective network that plans attacks from a long-term perspective. The jihadis do not see the world divided by national boundaries but between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. In their hard-core belief system, many Muslim sects as well as ‘compromised’ and secular members of the community are just as much the enemy. As such, those who wish to combat the malaise have to initiate counter-measures globally. The present restriction is that governments can only act within their national boundaries, with many countries lacking the ability to target terrorists enjoying sanctuaries across the borders. This is one of the constraints that was symbolically shattered by the Balakote strike. So, anti-Indian terrorists take shelter in Pakistan, anti-Pakistan ones in Afghanistan, anti-Afghan ones in Iran and so on. This is why India has appealed for a globally accepted definition of terrorism and a united effort to combat them. Too often the big powers back rival militias in strife-torn countries, giving legitimacy and strength to the religiously inspired ones. The Islamic State may be dead, but its ideology lives on.
In the matter of combating Jihadism of this particular kind, it may be alright to hope for the best, but wise to prepare for the worst.