Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Assam: Analysis - Blasts Mystery Unsolved

[ Increasingly however, the acknowledgement in the intelligentsia and other so called “informed circles”, as well as amongst the public in general is that there is a likelihood of there being much more than meets the eyes in the indiscriminate murderous attacks.]

Blasts Mystery Unsolved



The serial bomb blasts in Assam and Nagaland early last week is now getting even more intriguing, particularly so in the case of the Dimapur twin blasts as these blasts do not fall into previous patterns of insurgent attacks in this frontier belt. The level of organization and sophistication in both the execution as well as cover up of the crimes seem too cynically professional and efficient for them to have been the unassisted work of any insurgent organization in the region.

Furthermore, nobody has claimed responsibility for the ghastly acts of carnage making the theory of these eruption of violence being just the last and desperate throes of dying insurrections to show they are still alive and forces to reckon with, grossly inadequate. Normally, even in the absence of claims, the intelligence get to unearth clues as to who were behind such violence but this time this does not seem to be the case. Till date, the best answers forwarded are mere hypotheses, many of them too far-fetched and incredulous.

Increasingly however, the acknowledgement in the intelligentsia and other so called “informed circles”, as well as amongst the public in general is that there is a likelihood of there being much more than meets the eyes in the indiscriminate murderous attacks.

The alarmist view is interesting. It places the recent attacks against a possible shift in regional, and even global politics. In this vision, the attempt is once again on by certain regional and global players to surround India with hostile bases, and the blasts seem to fit into this larger pattern. In the north there is the Maoist insurrection in Nepal, a vulnerable spot in India’s hinterland, which can become the playground of international politics and power games. This Maoist corridor extends right into the heart of India, across the Gangetic plains into the central Deccan plateau, almost diagonally dividing the country. In the northwest is arguably India’s biggest wound of Kashmir, already very much the lever for foreign vested interests. In the extreme south, there is Sri Lanka, a neighbour India cannot be comfortable with, after its own disastrous bid to intervene as peacekeeper in the late 80s. Bangladesh in the east, ever since its creation has been, to say the least, hostile to Indian interest.

And now, from this point of view, the blasts in the Northeast, again Dimapur in particular, are seen as a manouvre to complete the encircling. This rather paranoic vision has been fueled by the American eagerness to extend help in investigating the case, although this may be nothing much more than a friendly gesture. As usual, the needle of suspicion hovers around Pakistan, China and in a more remote sense, the USA. Placed against the backdrop of renewed Chinese interest in South East Asia, marked by what is now often referred to as the country’s “Kunming Initiative,” and American interest in Central Asia, the matter cannot but have raised antennas in the concerned quarters in India’s corridors of power.

In the absence of hard proofs however, all these explanations will remain as hypotheses. All the same the vulnerability of our region becoming a conflict theatre for outside powers is not too remote and herein lies the need for caution. This is also one of the reasons why we have always called for caution in the face of the apparent thirst in many quarters to “internationalizing” the region’s problems. We do not have to go too far into history to discover how this can become extremely counterproductive. Kashmir is there right before our eyes as a live demonstration of how matters can go far off the mark, so far so that the original issue of the whole debate gets lost irredeemably. Like it or not, the Kashmir problem is not about Kashmir or Kashmiris anymore. It is more about a bilateral score to be settled between India and Pakistan. It has also become the conflict zone for foreign mercenaries to fight their holy wars. As it stands today, when a “solution” is worked out, while the international power equilibrium may have been resolved, the Kashmiri’s problems may end up buried.

Imphal Free Press 11/10/2004