In spite of the two most devastating World Wars in the last century, and determined efforts not to have the scourge of wars and destruction, we continue to witness repeated incidents of terrorism or insurgency or state sponsored terrorism, even today. There is hardly any continent or country which is free from this nuisance. Any expectation, therefore, that we can witness a world, which is peaceful and free from these incidents, is living in utopia. However, even though, we may not be able to eliminate these, does not mean, that we should give up our efforts. The option of not doing anything is not available, because, it is our responsibility to contain such happenings, examine the reasons for such divergent views and strive towards all possible measures to reduce the sorrows.
Definition of Terrorism
It is difficult to have any agreement on the definition of the term terrorism. Depending on perception, while some people call the violence as terrorist activity, the others would call it as an act of freedom fighting. It depends upon the background of the person who is making this definition. But when any act that focuses on civilians, who are considered soft targets as they have no means of defending themselves, this act can be called as terrorist activity. The terrorist group indulges in this violence for achieving some political purpose. The victims are usually innocent persons unaware of these designs. The purpose of such terrorist act would be to gain publicity for their cause. They also aim to prove vulnerability of their opponents and to demonstrate that the terrorists can strike at free will. Their underlying objective is to create a feeling of anarchy so that people at large would lose faith in the established system.
As per one definition, “ terrorism is the unlawful use of, or threatened use of, force or violence against individuals or property to coerce and intimidate the governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.”According to the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (d):“The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. The term “noncombatant” is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty. The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country. The term “terrorist group” means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.”
According to a definition, Insurgency may be defined as,” Grab your rifle, join your teammates, & enter the fight. Take to the modern battlefield and engage in intense, realistic battles. Choose your side between a highly organized conventional army or the partisan insurgents.” According to Merriam- Webster dictionary, insurgencies fall into the category of “irregular warfare,” since an insurgency normally lacks the organization of a revolution, even though it has the same objective. In the Indian context, Naga movement, trouble in various parts of the north east or Maoist efforts to ‘liberate’ various parts from Pashupati to Tirupati may qualify for the term insurgency.
State Sponsored Terrorism
State – sponsored terrorism is government support of violent non-state actors engaged in terrorism. Because of the pejorative nature of the word, the identification of particular examples is usually subject to political dispute. The characteristics of this activity are deep rooted in self determination movement which is a legacy of the imperial and colonial era. Several parts of the world particularly in Asia and Africa which were governed by colonial masters were forced to be parts of new states. The new states have failed to accommodate their aspirations or not adjusted them in new power sharing models of governance. Kurds in Iraq and Iran, Baloch community in Pakistan or a section of Kashmiris from Pak-occupied Kashmir may fall in this category. Depending upon the location and loyalty that one may have, these activities may be termed as freedom movements or instigations by politically opponent states to create disharmony and chaos in other states. Evidence available from interrogations of involved persons caught alive, or various things including radio sets, maps, clothes, labels from medicines, weapons, ammunition, currency notes recovered from persons killed in action or their conversations recorded when they were in action in hostile countries is enough proof to determine the states that are sponsoring these terrorist activities.
India, Afghanistan, United Kingdom, United States & United Nations have repeatedly pointed out involvement of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), in aiding and abetting the terrorists in deadly actions killing several innocent persons in their countries. According to Wikipedia, “The Inter- Services Intelligence has often been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks across the world including the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States,  terrorism in Kashmir,    Mumbai Train Bombings,  Indian Parliament Attack,  Varanasi bombings,  Hyderabad bombings   and Mumbai terror attacks.   The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces  and recruiting and training mujahideen  to fight in Afghanistan   and Kashmir.  Based on communication intercepts US intelligence agencies concluded Pakistan’s ISI was behind the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008, a charge that the governments of India and Afghanistan had laid previously.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has constantly reiterated allegations that militants operating training camps in Pakistan have used it as a launch platform to attack targets in Afghanistan, urged western military allies to target extremist hideouts in neighboring Pakistan. When the United States, during the Clinton administration, targeted Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan with cruise missiles, it was reported that two officers of the ISI were killed. 
Pakistan is accused of sheltering and training the Taliban as strategic asset in operations “which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban’s virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition & fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support,” as reported by Human Rights Watch.
Pakistan was also responsible for the evacuation of about 5,000 of the top leadership of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who were encircled by NATO forces in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. This event known as the Kunduz airlift, which is also popularly called the “Airlift of Evil,” involved several Pakistani Air Force transport planes flying multiple sorties over a number of days.
On May 1, 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, he was living in a safe house less than a mile away from, what is called the West Point of Pakistan, the Pakistan Military Academy. This has given rise to numerous allegations of an extensive support system for Osama Bin Laden which was in place by the Government and Military of Pakistan.  ”
Nature of Threat
Irrespective of the name, whether it is an act of terrorism, insurgency or state sponsored terrorism; there are certain common denominators of all these activities. Terrorists have no rules and know no boundaries. Osama Bin Laden and his clan professed their tactics in the name of Islam but they do not respect any religious tenets as witnessed from the life style of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, described as a mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, and who was arrested in Pakistan on Mar 01, 2004. They have no hesitation in committing any heinous crimes. People may think that terrorists would indulge in killing only persons not belonging to their religion. But there have been several incidents to prove that the Muslim terrorists have killed persons believing in Islam by calling them as infidels. . They have attacked army and police officers while on duty indicating that they closely monitor their targets. The intention of the terrorists is to create anarchy. More sensational the attack, more the publicity is achieved by them.
In several incidents in Kashmir after 1989, it has been repeatedly observed that many Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs were mercilessly killed by the terrorists. In Maharashtra, many Muslims praying near mosques or travelling in trains have been killed or injured in bomb blasts. On a number of occasions, it is believed that these Muslims were killed because they did not owe faith in extreme sect of Islam called Wahabis as practiced in Saudi Arabia.
The threat from terrorism is universal. Many a times, it is difficult to comprehend about the demands of the terrorists. They may ask for release of some persons detained or demand huge amount as ransom as witnessed in several incidents. They may kill diplomats as seen in the assassination of Indian diplomat in London in eighties or the chief of USAID in Jordan in Oct 2002, or thousands of civilians in one event as witnessed in 9/11 in New York. They have no hesitation in attacking women and children as well.
The terrorists have been repeatedly capturing young boys and girls and forcing them to work as child soldiers. This has been repeatedly seen in many parts of Africa, Syria, as well as in various parts of India where Maoists are active & in Sri Lanka where LTTE was active till a few years ago. Many a times, these children are forced to kill their near and dear ones ruthlessly so that they have no option of returning to their families. Most of the girls are sexually exploited and forced to satisfy the lust of these men and compelled to undergo repeated abortions.
Most of the terrorist groups have a tendency to emerge as fast as mushrooms and change their nomenclatures when under fire from the security agencies to avoid detection. By the time the experts study about one group, its members, their affiliations, their source of financing; another group is formed either by split of the earlier group or by joining of some new persons. It is a highly dynamic activity. Availability of modern methods of communication such as internet, social media, videoconferencing, satellite telephones and large funds have eliminated the distance or remoteness for these terrorist group members. They are well trained, and well- versed in using the modern technology. As witnessed in 9/11 attack, they have received training in advanced technologies in USA, Australia and Britain in bio-terrorism, computer technology, chemical weapons, aviation engineering, forgery of travel documents, counterfeiting of currency as revealed from the encyclopedia prepared by Al Qaeda. Seven of the Sept. 11 hijackers– including four Saudis studied in U.S. flight schools. Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi’, a Jordanian of Palestinian ancestry had a specialty in chemical weapons. Interrogation of detained Qaeda members disclosed that he was planning major terrorist attacks in Europe. Mohammad, the master-mind behind 9/11 attacks and arrested from Rawalpindi in Pakistan had obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina in US seventeen years ago. Mohammed did not reveal much but some of the valuable information was recovered from a computer, CDs and notebook recovered from him. From the details it was apparent that Al- Qaeda operated through a complex e-mail system of cut and paste to prevent leakage of information.1
Measures to Combat Terrorism
The fight against global terrorism will need to be fought as a long term measure. In view of its complications and inter-linkages with several other parts of the world, it also has to be fought by taking help from all democratic countries. The strategy could be divided in short term, midterm and long term measures. The measures to counter terrorism particularly the one created by Islamic state have to be multi fold. “In the short term they would include ‘strangling of terrorist finances, tighter control over the manufacturing and supply of weapons, exchange of personnel; sharing of expertise; building common terrorist databases. As opposed to highly visible actions, such as bombings, which often generate negative reactions, invisible “black operations” such as assassination of terrorist leaders and directing figures should be given priority. In spite of high risks, top priority should be given to recruiting both agent handlers and agents from migrant communities, as well as sharing the intelligence generated with the wider decision and policy – making community. In the mid – term, the key to strategically weakening the terrorist group is to erode its fledgling support base- to wean away its supporters and potential supporters.
There must be a concerted plan by the international community to redress the perceived and actual grievances of moderate Muslims or affected groups and frustrate the current wave of open and clandestine support for their agendas To defeat Al Qaeda and Islamic state activists or Maoists and to prove that they are not God’s men but power–hungry politicians, co-ethnic policing, co-religious security co-operation must be developed where religious elders set the standards and ensure that religion or ideology is not abused or distorted by those with ulterior or political agenda. In the long term, wider support from locals as well as Muslim societies is imperative, if the fight against Maoists and its brand of Islamist terrorism is to be won. Without public support, battles may be won but not the war.
The efforts against terrorism also need to be multi-lateral in nature. It is certain that these efforts cannot be successful if they remain confined only to government agents. The fight against terrorism will have to be fought in a united manner. The emphasis should be on enlisting the help of the people at large. People should be educated against the ill designs of some power–hungry persons and be vigilant. They should be encouraged to be inquisitive about their surroundings and work as extensions of security personnel. In Maharashtra, for example, we have launched a scheme called Police Mitra. The Maharashtra Police Mitra mobile app can be freely downloaded from app gallery. That would nip the terrorist tactics in the bud. Military measures against terrorism may succeed in the short term but are also likely to be counterproductive and sustain the terrorists for longer duration. Efforts should be made to encourage moderate elements to join hands with the government attempts against the aberrations in any religion including Islam in the form of terrorists.
Terrorism mostly thrives on alienation of local people. When the government of the day does not have people’s mandate, or lacks in legitimacy, people start drifting towards those who advocate violent methods. Absence of good government for a prolonged period is the fundamental reason for local people providing support to the militants in their adventures. By and large, the ordinary person would still not prefer to be with those who indulge in violent activities. Most of them are forced to side with the militants under threat or gun-culture. Hence it should be the endeavor of every agency to win confidence of the people and encourage participation of people in decision making. If we only focus on military methods, the solution to the problem of terrorism would continue to evade us. While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Laureate underlined that if we ignore other pressing problems including poverty, disease, environmental degradation, and if we focus all our energies on the struggle against terrorism, we would be giving the terrorists a kind of victory. (Nov.11.2001).