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Responses and Strategies

B. Raman

Edited by Imtiaz Ahmad
Manohar Publications, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 418, Rs. 900.00

Edited by S.D. Muni
Manohar Publishers, Delhi, 2006, pp. 542, Rs. 1095.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 10 October 2006

Under a Ford Foundation grant, the Regional Centre of Strategic Studies of Colombo has brought out a two-volume study on Ter- rorism in South Asia consisting of papers contributed by eminent scholars from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.   Professor S.D.Muni, formerly of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, who is now associated with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) of New Delhi has been the over-all coordinator of the study as well as the editor of the second volume. The first volume has been edited by Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka, and Executive Director of the Centre For Alternatives. In his Preface to the second volume, Muni explains the scope of the study as follows: “The study is divided into two sections. In the first section, the way in which each of the South Asian States has responded to terrorism has been studied carefully. In the second section, some of the comparative aspects of the regional perspective such as the role of civil societies, consequences of the strategies pursued, role of the third parties, and political economy of terrorism and responding strategies have been taken up for discussion and analysis.”   The Overview contributed by Muni on the basis of the conclusions emerging from all the papers provides a lucidly-expressed holistic perspective to the problem of terrorism of different hues and mutations confronting South Asia. It tries to rise above being merely a scholar’s ex-parte judgement on those responsible for dealing with terrorism. In addition to Muni’s Overview, two other papers stand out by their sheer excellence. The first is the one titled ‘The State and the Limits of Counter-Terrorism—the Experience of Pakistan and Sri Lanka’ in the first volume written by Rubina Saigol, Country Director, Action Aid, Pakistan.   The second is the one titled ‘Responding to Terrorism—the Pakistani Response’ in the second volume by Samina Ahmed, Senior Researcher, International Crisis Group (ICG). Both of them, despite being based in Pakistan, have shown tremendous moral courage and intellectual honesty in analysing the origin and consequences of terrorism in Pakistani territory, its impact on Pakistan’s own stability and on its relations with the other countries of the region. In an exquisite paragraph, Saigol points out that the war against terrorism in Pakistan has partly to be a war waged by the state against itself because many of the terrorist organizations were initially ...

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