New Delhi, Jan 22: President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is all set to visit India and there are plenty of expectations from him. While economic ties and defence deals will form major part of the discussion, there are doubts about the commitment that the US has towards the issue of terrorism.
India is battling terror on many fronts and with the emergence of deadly international organizations trying to make a foot hold on Indian territory, the issue becomes even more important.
Obama's refusal to acknowledge the Charlie Hebdo attack as Islamic terror and his state of the union address yesterday have given India nothing to cheer about at least on the front where fighting terror is concerned. The US media rightly described his address yesterday as a President detached from reality.
To cut a long story short, expect sound bytes for the media to lap up on terrorism, but expect no concrete action leave alone a solution.
Far from reality:
It is a well know issue that the Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula is becoming a menace. The claim made by them in the Charlie Hebdo attack is a serious matter of concern. The AQAP has been spreading fast and wide and its effects are being seen in Africa and also Europe.
Where India needs to be concerned is that all Al-Qaeda groups are inter-connected and spectacular attacks that are carried out by any of these groups tends to breathe life into others. In this context one must mention the Al-Qaeda in the sub-continent which after a failed start is on stand by mode.
In the state of the union address, Obama not once makes a mention of the Al-Qaeda.
It is probably for the first time that no mention of this group has been made by a US president after the 9/11 attacks. The commitment that the US showed last year in fighting the problem at Libya and Yemen was missing in this times address by Obama. This despite both the countries fighting a bloody battle against terror and showing every signs of disintegrating due to the Al-Qaeda.
Sound bytes on the ISIS:
The state of the union address did speak about the US war against the ISIS. The more important question is what exactly has this war against the ISIS achieved. The ISIS has infact grown stronger in might after the so-called war against it by the Americans.
In fact the ISIS has attained a cult status and for radicals has become a way of life. When it comes to an outfit like the ISIS, there is no point in just battling it in Iraq or Syria. The ISIS has become a global phenomenon for many and the US appears to be doing nothing about it and neither did Obama spell out anything clearly in his address yesterday.
Several officials in India say that they would be guarded in committing to the US to fight the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The war appears to be a half baked one and looking at the manner in which it has been fought there appears to be no result at all. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the US, a request by the US to join the war against the ISIS was turned down.
Missing the funding source:
There is a great deal of funding that comes in for groups such as the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS. Finances are always the backbone for any outfit. The sympathetic lot in Saudi Arabia and the money that they pump in for these groups are all subjects left untouched by the United States.
On the Saudi Arabia front, one cannot expect much of the US. The 28 pages on the 9/11 files are yet to be de-classified. There is no expectation that the US may even do it since these pages directly deal with the funding from Saudi Arabia for the deadly attack.
In the Indian context, the Saudi funds too remain a concern. Although there is cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia to fight terror, there is one part of the menace called funding which remains largely untouched.
Groups such as the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda in the sub-continent would rely very heavily on the funds from Saudi Arabia. If big brother is not acting sternly against it, then there is very little that India can do.
Pakistan will be a far cry:
When it comes to war against terrorism, Pakistan has and will always be India's primary concern. The US started off itself on a wrong note when it said that Pakistan should not indulge in cross border terror when President Obama is in India.
This statement was funny and surprising for a lot of reasons as it gives the common perception that it is alright to continue with cross border terror once Obama leaves. India has over the years been ditched badly by the US when it comes to Paksitan. US has sought proof of Pakistan's hand in the Parliament attack, but provided none when it came to the 9/11 incident.
For India there are primary concerns in Pakistan which begin with Hafiz Saeed and end with Dawood Ibrahim. The US has often murmured that Pakistan should hand them over to India. However these are strategic assets of Pakistan and it would require more than a request or a murmur by the US for them to hand over these terrorists.