There can be no drug addiction without supply of drugs. Similarly, there can be no terrorism without the supply of weapons to the terrorists. One of the great mysteries of the world is how weapons reach even those who are universally condemned as terrorists, such as the ISIS, Taliban, the Maoists, etc. Even though the United States, for instance, has worked desperately to deny nuclear technology to the likes of Iran and North Korea, it has not worked as hard to promote a global compact on preventing the supply of AK-47s, rocket launchers and such like weaponry. On the contrary, it plays a major role in providing rebels in various parts of the world such lethal weapons, regardless of what their intentions and ideology are, the focus being only on who these are used against. Unfortunately, it has not learned its lesson from the many times these very weapons are turned against its own forces, citizens and allies. Russia and China, too, have been similar proliferators.
Terrorists have developed expertise in manufacturing home-made bombs, IEDs, etc., which was also initially taught by the dirty tricks departments of the Cold War antagonists to sundry non-state actors, but these are of little use without the rifles and sub-machines guns of various makes. Terrorist groups would not be able to subjugate the populations they hide within without the means to kill being available to them. Normally, villagers and tribes do not like to be dominated by anybody, least of all outsiders with strange notions and ideologies. It is only the threat of targeted killing that intimidates them, just as has been done in J&K by frightening innocent civilians.
The Naxalites claim that they obtain their weapons from attacks on the security forces, but these do not account for the actual number available with them. However, there is no doubt a network has traditionally existed, courtesy the ISI and the Chinese, which routes weapons from the North-East, Nepal and Bangladesh. It is not yet so well established, which says much for the patriotism of even India’s criminals, but requires to be urgently dealt with by the intelligence forces. Politicians of all hues have to be alert to these issues and must apply pressure in the assemblies and parliament for action. The laws must also become stricter on those found dealing in such weapons, or in possession of them.
India needs also to become far more active at the international level on applying pressure on those making and selling these weapons by leveraging United Nations’ sanctions against suppliers and traffickers. Often, vice and drug networks are utilised for this purpose, just as Pakistan has used liquor smugglers of Punjab to create problems in the state. Weapons recovered from terrorists should be traced back up the route to the original manufacturers. If these have been diverted from the original buyer, or directly sold to terrorists through front organisations, then action should be sought against the companies, as well as nations that fail to discipline them. The excuse that workers would be thrown out of jobs in Georgia, Ukraine or Kazhakstan should not be a reason to cause the brutal deaths of hundreds of thousands people around the world.
The effort is worth it, because the modern technology of war has fallen into the hands of those who are otherwise incapable of manufacturing even a needle. Hordes of AK-47 toting men with little regard for life – their own or that of others – are exacting too heavy a price from the civilised world.