Lessons from India’s Counter-terrorism Approach

Lessons from India's Counter-terrorism Approach

Lessons from India’s Counter-terrorism Approach


The recent flare-up in the Israel-Hamas conflict has sparked fervent debates across social media platforms, drawing parallels with India’s historical encounters with terrorism. As opinions oscillate between sympathies for Israel and critiques of India’s past responses, it becomes imperative to dissect the intricacies of counter-terrorism strategy.


GS-02- Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, Indian Diaspora, Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests


Israel, Palestine, Middle-East, Arab World, Yom Kippur War, Zionism, Al-Aqsa, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)

Mains Question:

Evaluate the significance of restraint in counter-terrorism strategies, drawing parallels between India’s response post-26/11 attacks and the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. How does the careful crafting of international responses impact the trajectory of geopolitical narratives and economic fortunes? (250 words)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • The Social Media Maelstrom
  • Counter-terrorism as Delicate Diplomacy
  • Leveraging International Circumstances
  • Unraveling Pakistan’s Trajectory
  • The Balakot Air Strikes
  • Nuclear Realities: Punishment Without Invasion

The Social Media Maelstrom:

  • The Israel-Hamas conflict has become a focal point on social media, with diverse opinions reflecting the global sentiment.
  • This discussion gains particular resonance in India, given the haunting memories of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • The fervor intensified with The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman lauding former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s strategic restraint, inviting both praise and condemnation.

Counter-terrorism as Delicate Diplomacy:

  • The essence of counter-terrorism lies in a meticulous and measured response, as exemplified by India’s approach post-26/11.
  • Contrary to impulsive actions, India’s restraint aimed at avoiding a nuclear standoff and preventing a shift in international focus from terrorism to broader geopolitical issues, such as the Kashmir conflict.

Leveraging International Circumstances:

  • India’s decision to align with the ‘war on terror’ resonated with the prevailing global sentiment. The aftermath of 26/11 saw expressions of support from world leaders, propelling India into a position of a “responsible nuclear power.”
  • Opting for strategic alliance over belligerence ensured stability, vital for investor confidence during the global financial crisis.

Unraveling Pakistan’s Trajectory:

  • The repercussions of India’s decision not to engage in immediate military retaliation had profound effects on Pakistan. The nation’s economic downturn, coupled with a diminishing global image, stemmed from its association with the ‘war on terror.’
  • The U.S. legislation and global designations further isolated Pakistan, reshaping its narrative as “America’s most dangerous ally.”

The Balakot Air Strikes: 

  • The Balakot air strikes marked a pivotal moment for India, showcasing calibrated strength in response to terrorism.
  • Timed when India’s defense capabilities were fortified, the strikes sent a clear message to Pakistan that sponsoring terrorism incurred costs.
  • This move, driven by a strong leadership approach, also liberated India from a defensive stance.
  • India’s strength in the global arena, exemplified by the Balakot air strikes, contrasts with the aggressive posturing of certain leaders.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu’s chest-beating approach in Israel serves as a counterpoint, raising questions about the efficacy of such displays in achieving strategic objectives.

Nuclear Realities: Punishment Without Invasion:

  • The nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan dictate the contours of conflict. The article emphasizes the need for punishment without invasion, aligning with India’s historical stance.
  • Calls for mirroring Israel’s decisiveness overlook the unique challenges posed by the nuclear prowess of both nations.

Way Forward:

  • Moving forward necessitates a delicate balance between robust counter-terrorism measures and diplomatic finesse. Embracing a strategy that aligns with global sentiments while safeguarding national interests ensures long-term stability and resilience.
  • India’s success lies in crafting strategic alliances, as witnessed in its alignment with the ‘war on terror.’ The focus should shift from impulsive actions to alliances that enhance international support, fostering economic growth and stability.
  • The way forward involves actively shaping global narratives through deliberate actions and thoughtful responses. A proactive approach, as seen in India’s engagement, ensures that the threat of terrorism is addressed without inadvertently altering global priorities.