2017 Mock Test 8: GS-IV: Ethics Case Study -4

What are the options available to the government in your opinion?
The following are options available to me:

  1. Since this is a serious threat with huge risk, India should accept the demand of the terrorists with a clear intimation that there is going to be one time exception.
  2. India should somehow buy time by engaging the terrorists in a dialogue and concentrate on other options to counter the terrorism threat.
  3. India should go for a surprise attack on the terrorists without wasting time. Although this is a risky option, it will be the true option in favour of zero tolerance to terrorism. However, it will also entail considerable damage to Indian interest.
  4. India should tell the terrorists that the government of India will not heed to their illegitimate demands, and give a clear warning to the terrorists that the retaliatory damage to their establishment and their organization will be severe enough.
  5. India should take immediate steps to minimize the likely damage from the nuclear fallout by removing the populations from the vicinity, shifting strategic establishments away from the scene of likely nuclear fallout and at the same time engage with the terrorists in a dialogue to tone down their demands, while at the same time prepare the crack commandos trained in counter insurgency to conduct a swift strike against the terrorists.

Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which in your opinion should government adopt, giving reasons. {250 words, 20 Marks}
Since option (i) amounts to complete surrender to terrorist demands, it is clearly out of question. It is important to remember that unless the terrorists get a strong message, they will continue with their tactics. They should get the message that India is not a weak state. Option (ii) explains the strategy only in a part that is incomplete; this option is vague and ambiguous. It is quite likely that the terrorists do not give the government enough time before they strike. It is also not clear from the option what counter insurgency measures the government have or whether they have it at all. So, this option is out of question. Option 3 is quite a daring step involving considerable risk. Also, a clearly thought out strategy is missing from option. So, the option even if good should be rejected because it is risky and no thought has been given on how the damages will be contained or minimized. Option 4 is a better option than the rest, but is not the best. The terrorists have no nation and nothing substantial to lose. The jihadis, by definition are mentally brainwashed to be prepared to lose everything they have and they do not own banks, airports, roads, communication infrastructure. So they do not lose anything anyway but the government has everything to lose. So, most probably this strategy will not deter the terrorists from carrying out their threat.
However, the fifth strategy is the best strategy because it is well planned to minimize the damage on one hand and neutralize the terrorists on the other. This strategy also fulfils the goal of zero tolerance against terrorists. The zero tolerance doesn’t imply maximum or even considerable damage from the terrorists. So, this is the best option in my view.

Question for UPSC Mains:
India proclaims zero tolerance against terrorism. In comparison to other nations against terrorism; the practice of zero tolerance by the Government of India is considerably flexible. India has, in the past, succumbed to the pressure against terrorism related black-mails. Yesterday's news has devastated you and every other Indian. You have learned that a group of terrorists have taken over the Bhabha-Atomic Plant. The terrorists have threatened the government that they will blast the atomic plant unless their demands are fulfilled. The blast to this plant can be considerably expensive not just economically but as a consequence of the nuclear fall-out. The terrorists will also die as a consequence but the damage to the nation will be considerable. Thousands of men, women and children with five to ten kilometres of the reactor will die an instantaneous death, several hundred thousand will be injured and maimed for life, and many more will be indirectly affected. It is feared that the nuclear fallout will continue to affect generations to come. In addition, there will be enormous damage to the building and properties. The demand of the terrorists is that the government should immediately release over a 20 terrorists facing trial in India. Their next demand is to give up its claims on Kashmir. The government is under considerable pressure from press and public to capitulate. The government has only three days to meet the demands of the terrorists. a) What are the options available to the government in your opinion? b) Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which in your opinion should government adopt, giving reasons. {250 words, 20 Marks}

Published: September 22, 2017 | Modified:September 22, 2017