[28th June 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: Reasi and the ‘years-old’ issue of cross-border terror 

PYQ Relevance:

Q Analyse the complexity and intensity of terrorism, its causes, linkages and obnoxious nexus. Also suggests measures required to be taken to eradicate the menace of terrorism. (UPSC IAS/2021)

Indian government has recently strengthed the anti-terrorism laws by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA Act. Analyze the changes in the context of the prevailing security environment while discussing the scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organisations. (UPSC IAS/2019)

Mentor comment: Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, to achieve political, ideological, or religious goals. It disrupts societal peace, spreads fear, and causes loss of lives and property. Combating terrorism requires global cooperation, robust intelligence, and addressing underlying issues like poverty, inequality, and political instability to prevent radicalization and promote peace.

Let’s learn!

Why in the News?

  • The Reasi terrorist attack on June 9 coincided with PM Narendra Modi’s third-term swearing-in.
  • This attack is reminiscent of the May 23, 2014, attack on the Consulate General of India (CGI) in Herat, Afghanistan, just before Modi’s first swearing-in.

Terrorism: A Continuing Challenge

  • Potential links to Pakistani terrorist groups: The Reasi attack’s potential links to terrorist groups in Pakistan underscore a 35-year ongoing threat in J&K.
  • Inspiration from Afghan Jihad: Inspired by the Afghan Jihad, Pakistan believed similar tactics could pressure India in Kashmir.
  • Early 1990s developments: The Indian state and its security forces took time to develop effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism strategies in the early 1990s.

Pakistan’s Commitment to the ‘Terror Cause’

  • Support from Pakistan Army and leaders: The Pakistan Army and political leaders like Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto supported J&K separatism through terror.
  • Bhutto’s stance in 1994: Benazir Bhutto refused to engage in talks with India in 1994 unless India addressed J&K on Pakistan’s terms, leading to no dialogue during her tenure.
  • Sharif’s 1997 initiative: Nawaz Sharif, during his second term as Prime Minister in 1997, sought a structured dialogue with India focusing on humanitarian issues and conflict resolution, with J&K as a priority.

India’s Diplomatic Approach

  • Mid-1990s confidence: By the mid-1990s, India combined force with political activity, holding J&K Assembly elections in 1996.
  • Resolution through Simla Agreement: India aimed to resolve the external J&K issue peacefully through the Simla Agreement of 1972.
  • Pakistan’s use of Islamist non-state actors: Pakistan’s use of Islamist non-state actors to promote terrorism nullified the constraints of the Simla Agreement, making terrorism a strategic issue for India.

Composite Dialogue and Pakistan’s Intransigence

  • 1998 bilateral composite dialogue: In 1998, India and Pakistan agreed on a composite dialogue, including ‘terrorism and counter-narcotics’ as key issues.
  • Pakistan’s reluctance: Pakistan’s reluctance to address India’s concerns on terrorism persisted, as it viewed the calibrated use of terrorist groups as part of its security doctrine.
  • Continued use of terrorism: Despite the efforts of Prime Ministers Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh, and Modi, Pakistan continued using terrorism as a tool against India.

Challenges with Diplomatic Solutions

  • Public opinion in India: Public opinion in India often favored military action after major terrorist attacks.
  • Post-2008 Mumbai attack: After the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, Dr. Manmohan Singh opted for global diplomatic support rather than military action.
  • Post-2001 Parliament attack: After the 2001 Parliament attack, the A.B. Vajpayee government mobilized the armed forces but refrained from war due to assurances from Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf.

Pre-emption and Military Action

  • Post-Pulwama attack in 2019: After the Pulwama attack in 2019, India launched the Balakot aerial strike and announced a doctrine of pre-emption.
  • 2016 surgical strikes: Earlier, limited force was used in surgical strikes following the Uri attack in 2016. However, ambiguity remains regarding the threshold for military action.

International Recognition and Diplomatic Efforts

  • Major powers’ recognition: Major powers recognize Pakistan’s use of terrorism against its neighbors.
  • Plausible deniability: Despite plausible deniability, Pakistan’s actions are increasingly unsustainable.
  • Evidence linking attacks to Pakistani groups: India has provided evidence linking Pakistani terrorist groups to various attacks, but Pakistan has failed to act.
  • Post-Reasi attack emphasis: After the Reasi attack, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasized the need to address cross-border terrorism and its escalation risks between nuclear-armed countries.


  • Strengthening Intelligence and Border Security: Enhance coordination among intelligence agencies for early detection of threats, and invest in advanced surveillance technologies. Implement stricter border controls using drones, sensors, and biometric systems to prevent terrorist infiltration and smuggling of weapons.
  • International Cooperation and Counter-Radicalization: Collaborate with global allies to share intelligence and counter-terrorism strategies, while engaging in diplomatic efforts to pressure countries harboring terrorists. Develop community outreach programs to counter extremist ideologies and promote education and awareness campaigns that emphasize tolerance and peace.


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