South Asia: The Spectre of Terrorism

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Yet, the statement is substantively false. In turn, these outfits actively assist the ISI. Therefore, even if there was no official contact between the government and LeT specifically on the Mumbai attacks, the army and ISI bear responsibility in an essential way. Western observers frequently mention this. Taken literally, the statement is true. But its unstated implication that terrorist attacks in India are usually followed by retaliatory attacks and riots is entirely false.

In recent years, India has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks, originating both externally and internally.

South Asia : The Spectre of Terrorism

But in no case has there been a retaliatory attack by either Hindus or Muslims. Indeed, in the aftermath of the May bomb explosions in my own hometown, Jaipur, both Hindus and Muslims lined up at hospitals to donate blood for surviving victims. In a similar vein, following the recent Mumbai attacks, the government has been unable to find a single Muslim group willing to accept the bodies of nine Pakistani terrorists for burial in its graveyard. Those who raise the spectre of retaliatory actions following terrorist attacks confuse them with communal riots.

While communal riots by definition divide Hindus and Muslims, terrorist attacks usually bring them together. The falsehood of this statement is made obvious by the facts that a Tamil terrorist assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sikh guards, guided by Khalistani militants, shot Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. White supremacist groups have had their share of terrorist acts in the US.

Nor is modern day transnational terrorism in Africa Muslim in character.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, commentators in the Western media disproportionately focused on domestic ills as the principal source of terrorism facing India. Though strong signals of Pakistani involvement had begun to emerge within 24 hours of the attacks, some among these observers continued to cling to the idea that discrimination at home had led local Muslims to carry out the attacks. Others naively believed that outfits such as the LeT would not send terrorists if India did not discriminate against Muslims.

But these observers largely rest their case on association: If discrimination against Muslims exists — and there is plenty of it — it must be responsible for Muslim terrorism. But this is wholly insufficient reasoning.

Cut them, cut them — cut them so much that they kneel before you and ask for mercy. Likewise, those connecting domestic terrorism to discrimination must answer why despite its existence for decades, we have witnessed systematic bomb explosions by a Muslim terrorist group only over the last year? Why is it that.

If the Europeans did have one thing on their side, however, it was timing: the empires of the classical age had become stretched and brittle. The Dutch aggressively sought trade monopolies and their efforts embroiled them in Indonesian politics; eventually the Dutch would win control over Java and then, by the early 19th century, all of Indonesia which was called the Dutch East Indies. The industrial revolution raised the stakes, increasing European demand for the raw materials such as rubber, petroleum and tin and commodities like coffee, sugar, and tobacco that Southeast Asia could supply.

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In the 19th century, the British fought their way to power on the Malay Peninsula and across Myanmar; the French, using gunboat diplomacy, took over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos collectively called French Indochina. The Spanish, meanwhile, had set their sights on the Philippines, then a diverse collection of islands with little political or cultural connection to each other. When they arrived in the 16th century they were able to impose rule — and Catholicism — in quick succession.

Although its sphere of influence was diminished, Thailand was the only Southeast Asian nation to remain independent.

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Credit is often given to the Thai kings who remodeled their country in the western image and played competing European powers against each other. During the war, the Japanese Imperial Army swept briskly through the region. While some locals may have been initially optimistic about the ousting of the European imperialists, the Japanese proved to be brutal rulers; millions were conscripted into harsh labour. In an attempt to win local cooperation, the Japanese fanned the flames of resentment to the west; as an unintended consequence, at the war's end, when the Japanese withdrew and the Europeans returned, nationalist sentiment was not only high but also organised.


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One by one, the former colonies won or were granted independence, only to face new challenges: civilian rioters, minority insurgents and communist guerrillas — often acting at the instigation of the Cold War powers, China, the Soviet Union and the USA — frequently undermined stability. Vietnam, following liberation from the French, was initially partitioned in two, with the North going to resistance leader and Marxist Ho Chi Minh and the south going to anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem.

The USA feared a communist Vietnam and stepped in — first surreptitiously and then in all-out war — to thwart the North's efforts to unite the country under communist rule.

Pakistan should act to stop terrorist acts in India

The North won, but only after catastrophic loses on both sides. Meanwhile a shadow war was taking place in Cambodia and Laos as American bombers tried to root out Vietnamese communist guerrillas using passage through Vietnam's neighbours. Cambodia dissolved into civil war and the Khmer Rouge seized power.

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The new regime, under Pol Pot, aspired to an ethnically Khmer, agrarian communist society. Large numbers of the population — an estimated 1. Anti-communist purges in Indonesia in the s resulted in hundreds of thousands dead and the three-decades long dictatorship of Suharto. A coup ushered in a half-century of mostly unbroken military rule in Myanmar. Thailand has had a dozen military coups since Malaysia and especially Singapore are hailed as the region's postwar success stories, though order has often been kept at the expense of civil liberties, through anti-sedition laws and restrictions on press freedoms.

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On the whole, things were looking up for the region by the s. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of the 'Asian Tigers' — Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea — whose economies had soared in recent decades. On the back of market-minded reforms, the formerly closed countries of Vietnam and Cambodia were beginning to open up. The upward trend was derailed, however, in when the collapse of the Thai baht sparked a financial crisis throughout Asia.

The value of the Indonesian rupiah plummeted, destablising Indonesia to the point that long-time dictator Sukarno stepped down. More than two decades later, following intervention from the international finance community, the region is in a better place than before the crisis — though corruption, inefficiencies and political tensions continue to throw wrenches.

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