Syed Abdul Karim, alias ‘Tunda’, misses the typical image of a terrorist by a long shot. If you were to attach a face to a ‘dreaded terrorist’, his would be the last mug to pop up in your imagination. Over 70, bespectacled with a flowing hennaed beard in white salwar suit, Tunda looks more like a small businessman or shopkeeper from Old Delhi. But according to the Delhi Police, who nabbed him on August 16 from the India-Nepal border, Tunda was a commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, one of its experienced bomb-makers and a valued recruiter. He is thought to be the mastermind behind several bombing incidents in various Indian cities, including a failed attempt in New Delhi during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
If media reports attributed to Delhi police sources are to be believed, Tunda has been singing like a canary for the past few days. He has named almost all those who figure in India’s ‘most wanted list’, admitting his close association not only with them but also with key officials of Pakistan’s ISI, including its former chief Hamid Gul. Touted as a breakthrough in India’s long fight against terrorism, Tunda’s arrest has enthused investigators and raised hopes for similar successes. The upbeat mood in the security establishment is understandable—early this month it also arrested Abdul Sattar, a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative, from the United Arab Emirates.
What goes unnoticed in all this is the fact that Tunda’s arrest would not have been possible but for the UAE’s help. Besides, in recent years the Indian security establishment has also been getting consistent support from the other big player in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia. Last year it sent back Syed Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal, another LeT operative who had helped the 10 Pakistani terrorists in the 26/11 attack with their Hindi.
But while India has not been too shy about acknowledging Gulf countries’ help in nabbing these terrorists, questions naturally arise about why the UAE and Saudi Arabia—commonly perceived to be close to Pakistan—have suddenly started cooperating with Delhi in its fight against terrorism. “The cooperation we are getting from the Gulf countries now is much better than what it was in the past,” acknowledges former home secretary G.K. Pillai.
Indian diplomats who have served in the Gulf recall how difficult it was in the past to convince rulers to make the distinction between a terrorist act and a freedom fighter’s struggle, especially in the context of Kashmir. Though attitudes started changing after 9/11—in which most of the terrorists involved were either Saudi or UAE nationals—the attempt was mostly to shore up the image of these countries in the West by adopting an overt hand in the fight against global terrorism. Attitudes towards India changed only after 26/11. The fact that sea-borne terrorists from Pakistan could easily slip into Mumbai and carry out such an audacious attack brought home the realisation of their own vulnerability to these Gulf countries, many of whom also have long sea coasts.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Saudi Arabia visit in 2011 also brought significant change. The Riyadh Declaration, which spelt out a roadmap of cooperation, elevated it to a strategic partnership—an improvement from the 2006 Delhi Declaration (focusing on strategic energy cooperation) during King Abdullah’s New Delhi visit.
While no country today would like to be seen as condoning terrorism, another important factor in the shift in the Gulf countries’ attitude has been their rising stake in the Indian economy. It is pointed out that though countries like the UAE had handed over several Indian terrorists between 2003 and 2005, their ardour cooled when their investment in some important infrastructure projects in India ran into bureaucratic delays. Today the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is India’s largest trading partner. Not is it the main source for India’s energy requirements, but over six million Indians work there too. Besides, there is a feelgood atmosphere, with the successful completion of agreements like the Jet-Etihad deal and India’s decision to encourage more investments from the GCC.
Sceptics in India refuse to accept that the framework of cooperation against terror between India and GCC members is a viable, long-term trend. They also argue that barring a “few big ones” like Tunda, most of those handed over are valueless “low-hanging fruit”, and many prominent members in India’s most-wanted list are yet to be nabbed though they visit these countries. But establishment realists take heart from these encouraging signs and remain hopeful that the Gulf would no longer be a safe haven for terrorists targeting India. “If their stakes in good relations with India continue to rise, one day we may start getting many more high-profile terrorists,” says an Indian official. That might be described as a reasonable expectation, but getting back someone like Dawood Ibrahim can only be described as a million-dollar dream for now.
Hard to Get: Absentee Ganglords
All wanted in serious terror attacks, these men remain at large
Terror Roll-Call: Already In The Clinker
These are some of the terrorists India nabbed with help from Gulf states
Given Saudi Arabia's importance to Pakistan, it could also be a valuable interlocutor for peace on the sub continent.
The issue is, that Pakistan calls the society that represents the nation, a peaceful civilized society. If reports of certain actions emanating out of that nation, with armed forces and national presidential sanction was made known, would people in Pakistan have wanted national heads of state, to be indulging in such activity, with army chiefs? Reports of what was alleged, were being published in Pakistan newspapers, and journals, after the President Zia ul Haq was dead. Zia ul Haq declared national emergency, against civilian govt. interests that had led to the India Pakistan war, which led to the formation of Bangladesh. It was the civilian govt., that made the electoral process illegal, null and void, when the leader of Bangladesh was not made the Prime Minister, of Pakistan. The civilian population didn't rise in mass protest, or revolt, when Zulfikar Bhutto was imprisoned, and then assassinated, by the Pakistan Army.
The people of Pakistan, weren't enthused by the 'coup' enacted by the army, for long, and it seems, that people among the citizenry, were made spokespeople to the govt.. The fact of the matter is, that there were bomb blasts and other happenings in Pakistan, when Indians didn't know what was happening there. It seems, the Indian press were not aware of killings and bomb blasts in Pakistan, and unrest in the latter part of Zia ul Haq's regime, as this was not a matter of any interest to Indian's who perused news media.
People feel, that the political situation within Pakistan, was the cause of the matter of differences with India and her relations with Pakistan, today.
Will you clap your hands if the UPA govt generates IB notes against the opposition/RSS/sangh parivar and liquidates them in fake encounters.''
Sorabudin,Ishrat,Two Pakistani crack shooters sent by ISI to kill Hindus and other Indians and create mayhem in India and kill Indians were no fakes .They were the Killer squads of ISI_ Lashkar to kill us
Today you may grieve and take high moral grounds but not when some one of your own will be victim in future .
Mine friends perished including two Muslims in train blasts and I see how their families cry,weep and suffer .They curse the supporters of those perpetrators too who supported terror killings in India.
Likes of Sorabudin supplies the necessary weapons for our killings to Tundas,Bhatkals ,Batla Housewalas and thousands others.
There are supporters,PROs,Shelterers,Harbourers of Islamic Terrorists in India .
Now Bhatkal says 30 to 40 Lshkari terrorists well trained by ISI are roaming free in India .On eof their Plans is to repeat 9/11 in India .
They are well trained for the job.
Friends like you are welcome to stick to Kauserbai or Ishrat ,Sorabudin etc
BUT FOR WHOM YOU SHED COPIOUS TEARS HAVE MOVED FAR FAR AHEAD OF 2002 TO DO MORE HARM TO INDIA AND DESTROY US and INDIA !!
Be happy in Rudali Brigade but it hardly matters to India there are so many countless a few more will not matter.
Can you tell who is more dangerous the Terrorists or their Supporters in a Country ???
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