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The South Asian Terror Story

Medha Chaturvedi

Edited by Anand Kumar
Pentagon Press, New Delhi, 2012, pp.148, Rs.695.00


The contributors to this volume including former Indian Army Chief General V.P. Malik, S.D. Muni, Arvind Gupta among others, all belonging to the South Asian region, have provided valuable insights on the issue of terrorism and have also suggested measures to deal with the problem. The underlying tone of the volume concentrates on considering terrorism as a phenomenon that has been harmful to society, economy and polity of the South Asian nations. At the same time, they also point out that there should be no over-emphasis on the use of force. In fact, a calibrated use of force is likely to be more effective. Ultimately, if terrorism is to be comprehensively defeated then ideologies and the root causes that propel it further need to be tackled properly. The authors also suggest that the South Asian nations must overcome their rivalry and cooperate with each other to meet the challenge of terrorism. As long as shelters and sanctuaries are available in neighbouring countries any South Asian nation would find it difficult to deal with the terror threat. In the introduction, the editor seeks to answer four questions: What kind of problem does South Asia face from terrorism? How have individual countries coped with terrorism? What kind of regional cooperation has taken place in South Asia? What is the prospect for regional cooperation? These questions have been answered only in part. The authors have rightly stated that sustained terrorist activities in the region have retarded the social, political and economic growth of the countries involved. Many of the countries in the region are growing at a phenomenal pace, but this pace is hampered by constant terror threats which are not country-specific, but are international in nature. The good part about this volume is that in bringing perspectives from the major players in the region, it has put on table a variety of terror-related problems and the different approaches adopted by different countries. The underlying theme, however, in every chapter is that of limited use of military force in counter terrorism. What has instead been argued is targeting the ideology and root causes of dissent along with calibrated force to weed out the problem completely and effectively. It also argues for the case of regional cooperative mechanisms in counter terrorism, given the international nature of the problem. Regional rivalry has only helped in propelling insurgencies into full-fledged terrorist activities with a ...

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