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Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Terror impact
Frequency of security forces personnel getting killed in militant attacks in the state was both "tragic and worrying. At a time when terrorist attacks and thwarted plots regularly dominate the news headlines, when long queues at airport security checks have become all-too-common, and when once innocuous items (drinks, shoes, backpacks) can become the means of deadly attacks, it is clear that the threat of terrorism hangs over us as never before. Terrorism is currently at the top of the national security agenda in India and in many other countries around the world. Indeed, terrorism is widely considered to be the greatest security challenge of our time. Many societies around the world are now faced with the prospect of endemic terrorism on their own soil. It is sometimes argued that the effects of terrorism are quite minimal, and that the current concern with terrorism is well out of proportion to the threat that terrorism actually poses. Counting the number of terrorist fatalities and comparing this to the number of fatalities in conventional wars, or even traffic accidents, leads some to claim that the threat of terrorism is wildly exaggerated. But counting fatalities from terrorist attacks is the crudest and most simplistic way to measure the impact of terrorism. The consequences of terrorist attacks often go far beyond the deaths and destruction they cause. The effects of terrorism are not limited to its actual victims. They can be wide-ranging and far-reaching. They include the direct and indirect economic costs of terrorist attacks, the psychological effects of terrorism upon the population, and the social and political impact of terrorist attacks. Most discussions of terrorism today are concerned with counter-terrorism and the objectives and tactics of terrorist groups, whereas less attention is generally paid to thinking about the impact of terrorist attacks on targeted societies. The focus on counter-terrorism is understandable given the emphasis placed by politicians and the general public on preventing terrorist attacks. It is, therefore, essential that we devote more attention to considering the effects of terrorism, so that we may be better prepared to deal and cope with these effects. In so far as the effects of terrorism can be minimized, the overall effectiveness of terrorism can be reduced. Thus, studying the severity and longevity of the effects of terrorism is crucial to assessing its effectiveness. The first and most immediate effects of terrorism are psychological. Terrorist campaigns can be expected to psychologically affect a sizeable portion of the population of a targeted society, either directly, by harming a person or their family, or indirectly, through the extensive media coverage of terrorist attacks. The greater the number of attacks and the more lethal those attacks are, the more people that will be psychologically affected by them. Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare against a society. It is designed to strike fear into the heart of the targeted society, and it generally succeeds in doing so. Suicide terrorism can be particularly effective in terrifying people because it projects an aura of fanaticism, which makes the threat of future attacks seem more likely. Peoples' fear of terrorism is rational and irrational; rational in that there is an ever-present threat of a terrorist attack being repeated, but irrational in the probability assigned to that potential event. Since people tend to overestimate their chances of being a victim to terrorism, the fear of terrorism is widespread in a society. It does not, however, affect everyone to an equal degree. The economic effects of terrorism can be broken down into its direct costs, associated with the destruction caused by an act of terrorism, and its indirect costs, which affect nearly every aspect of a targeted state's economy. The most direct economic effect of a terrorist attack is the damage caused to life and property at the site of the attack. The social effects of terrorism can be pronounced and far-reaching, influencing many different aspects of a society. The starting point for the impact of terrorism on a society is the affect that terrorist attacks have upon people's beliefs and attitudes. Major events influence people's beliefs and attitudes. Thus, since terrorist attacks are events of a highly negative nature, they can lead to changes in people's beliefs and attitudes. Most terror attacks in India are characterized by three critical missteps: ignored intelligence inputs, inconsistent security response, and heavy casualties. Though India's wars with neighboring countries have played the most important role in impacting its security posture, terrorism has, in fact, been the biggest threat faced by the country on almost all major counts - the number of soldiers killed, duration of engagement with armed movements or the spread of the menace. However, terrorism hasn't had a commensurate impact on reshaping India's security posture and tactics, as well as political strategies. India, and its security forces, can't any more trust the wisdom of a few wise men to tackle terror threats, secure our assets and safeguard national interests. The first step is to write down what the rulers of the day should do when a terror threat occurs.... More
 
 
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