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What’s good for tackling Somali piracy should be good for targeting terror hideouts. Mumbai has shown that you can’t partition the war on terror: you have to act against all sources of terrorism. Amit Baruah writes.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2008 23:23 IST
Amit Baruah
Amit Baruah
Hindustan Times

If you can do it in failing Somalia, can’t you do it in Pakistan? Fed up with rising acts of piracy, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has authorised States to use force against Somali pirates on land and by air.

Countries can now “undertake all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace, for the purpose of interdicting those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea”. Big guns, including the Foreign Ministers of the US, Russia and Britain, helped push through Wednesday’s Security Council resolution, which signals a new international resolve to tackle piracy.

In recent weeks, the world has advised India to be patient and not launch any punitive strikes on terrorist camps after the Mumbai terror attacks. Sensible counsel. No one wants a war, but what is to be done with the terrorists and their handlers that continue to exist in Pakistan?

Days after Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his government would await the “outcome” of what the international community would do about terror sanctuaries in Pakistan.

For long, India has known that Pakistan’s permanent establishment had kept the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) in reserve to be used against India. Post-9/11, nothing happened to the LeT; it just kept a low profile as US drones targeted al-Qaeda/Taliban terrorists in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. The time has come for the US and its allies to deliver. Mumbai has shown that you can’t partition the war on terror: you have to act against all sources of terrorism simultaneously.

The UNSC acted quickly to outlaw the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an LeT front, and sanction four top functionaries. But the Pakistani implementation of the Jamaat ban appears reluctant and half-hearted. If terrorists continue to stream out of Pakistan, what will the UNSC do? Use the Somalia model to empower states to deal with large swathes of lawlessness in Pakistan? India’s policy of restraint should be predicated on the UNSC taking robust steps against terror emanating from Pakistan.