In the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, terrorism and counterterrorism in India became the focus of international, regional and national attention. Here, in The Politics of Counterterrorism in India, Prem Mahadevan, by using three case studies of Sikh separatist, Kashmiri separatist and pan-Islamist groups, focuses on the efforts of India’s government, decision makers and intelligence agencies to create coherent and effective counterterrorism policies and actions.
Mahadevan distinguishes between ‘failures of intelligence’ where governments adopt policies that are counterproductive to long-term interests, and ‘failures to act on intelligence’, where governments respond inadequately to intelligence warnings. Based on this distinction, he argues that Indian decision makers have Frequently failed to act on long-term warnings from their intelligence agencies, despite their repeated accurate forecasts of terrorist action. Thus, due to a gap between the expectations of decision makers and the capabilities of strategic intelligence agencies, India’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks has been undermined. Furthermore, by questioning why Sikh separatist groups have been effectively contained, and yet pan-Islamists have not, The Politics of Counterterrorism in India draws the conclusion that Sikh separatism was eventually neutralised due to the Indian government mobilising the political will and operational means necessary for a sustained offensive, something which hasn’t yet been developed against the other two case studies.
Given the growing importance of South Asia as a central focus for terrorist and counterterrorist activities in the twenty-first century, Mahadevan provides a vital examination of the limitations of national intelligence agencies in counterterrorist efforts. By combining a theoretical approach with empirical analysis of India’s experience, this book holds valuable information for those examining strategy-making, security and counterterrorism practitioners as well as researchers-in addition to those interested in the politics of India.