Sans the trouble of terror, India would have made far greater economic strides.

Sudhansu R. Das

India is inherently a peace-loving nation, as the pursuit of peace has been the goal of all Prime Ministers, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr Manmohan Singh. Despite the continuous provocations from Pakistan, India has never retaliated

The terror attacks in the country are clearly attempts to weaken India's growing economic might. Though more than 40,000 innocent Indians, including two former Prime Ministers, have fallen to terror, India cannot afford to act like the US President, Mr George Bush, who counters terror with missiles, advanced war technology and with the fearsome Home Land Security Law.

On September 15, 2001, Mr Bush vowed: "US troops will hunt down terrorists and smoke them out of their holes... " to punish the perpetrators of the World Trade Centre carnage.

Like the US, India must realise that no nation will come to its aid unless the country shows a genuine resolve to destroy the sources of terrorism both within and across the border. The benefit of an impressive GDP growth will never percolate down to millions of common men in India when terrorism affects one State after another. The relentless unrest across the country robs the vibrancy of various sectors. For instance, the forestry sector, which gets affected by the presence of extremist elements such as Naxalites. This sector has the potential to generate sustainable employment for thousands of tribals. There is an urgent need to provide good governance in the districts so that the unrest does not spread.

But good governance demands quality human material. There is indeed no alternative to creating morally strong human material to handle complex problems of governance. With its potential in tourism, horticulture and handicrafts, Kashmir could have been among the prosperous States had terrorism been nipped in the bud with good governance. People in every region must feel safe to increase their productivity to reap the benefit of economic growth.

The President, Mr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, has announced a National Campaign to Eradicate Terrorism with Citizen Support. The safety of the republic should be of paramount importance and is above any religion or faith. Mahatma Gandhi while advocating non-violence said any force is bound to generate a far more brutal response. It is time the leaders of all religious communities and political ideologies armed themselves with Gandhiji's most potent weapon non-violence for the growth of India.

(The author is a Pune-based freelance writer.)

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 22, 2006)
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