Terrorism has been the menace that is haunting the contemporary world for a couple of decades. It is aimed at arousing invisible terror to secure the ulterior ends. Similar objectives were the driving force behind the execution of a plan aiming attack on the Indian parliament that produced serious repercussions for the bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan that nosedived when a terrorist group attacked on December 13, 2001. It spelt disaster for the region as the clouds of war started hovering over the region once again.
On 13 December 2001, on Thursday, the central hall of the parliament was busy with daily scheduled work. At that time of the day more than 250 members of the parliament and some ministers were also present inside the parliament building but nobody was aware what was going outside. There were five armed militants who entered the parliament premises in new Delhi and started firing. Three men were killed at the spot. In course of combat, though all the terrorist lost their lives but one of them who was a suicide bomber exploded himself. At least 12 peoples were killed and 22 others injured. Luckily all the members of the parliament and ministers remained safe. After that police arrested four persons on the charges of abetting the attackers. The World leaders and the leaders of Pakistan as well condemned the attack on the Parliament.
The attack appeared fortunate enough for the foreign policy India as the subsequent events suggest. Two aspects deserve mention. First, the Taliban regime was most wanted for U.S. government. It provided an element of exploitation for Indians as Pakistan had close association with the regime. India made full use of the situation by availing unexpected opportunity to exploit Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban by projecting her as a supporter of terrorism. Secondly, Indian government wanted to utilize the windfall fruit to be used against struggle for liberation in Kashmir by accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorism there. Pakistan had emerged as a frontline and indispensable U.S ally in the global war on terror by supporting attack on Afghanistan. They were in a dire need not only to change the global criticism for terrorism on Pakistan but also wanted Kashmiri militant and liberation movement and organizations to be claimed internationally as terrorist outfits rather than striving for the right of self- determination. It was for the first time in three decades that she asked its high commissioner in Pakistan to leave the county. It also thwarted all communication between the two countries especially bus and train service. pakistan was forbidden to use Indian air space.
However, the crux was to come later when both countries started mobilizing their troops within a week of the incident. Both India and Pakistan made their forces ready to confront in a bloodiest war. At diplomatic level, Indian diplomacy yield fruitful results taking international community on her side. On 25 December, the U.S gave her response by declaring two of the Kashmiri militant outfits designating them as terrorist organizations. The U.S branding of the organization provided India’s much aspired stance that support given to the Kashmiri militant struggle and organization illegitimate and unlawful. From there onward the term “cross border terrorism” began to be used. After the attack, it became an inseparable element of the Indian diplomatic assertion relating to the Kashmir dispute. It was the case before and Indians had never labeled the Kashmiri liberation struggle as terrorism. The Lahore declaration that was signed by Indian Premier Vajpayee with his Pakistani counterpart bear ample evidence to the very fact. However, following the 9\11 attacks the global scenario changed. The divide between freedom struggle and terrorism vanished that helped India to project herself as a victim of the menace of terrorism rather than an oppressor of the innocent Kashmiri people.
Immediately after the attack on Indian parliament, she started a reign of terror in Kashmir to quell the resistance. She imported numerous Taliban prisoners from afghan jails by virtue of their alliance with the warlords of the Northern Alliance, Killed them in fake encounters alleging to have been apprehended in Kashmir during conduction terrorist operations. The same culture of fake encounters has become a household word in Kashmir with the hope of a promising career for the soldiers. India blamed Pakistan for the insurgency in Kashmir and treated. Indian Parliament assaults was the main reason for bring the subcontinent to the brink of war. However, there was no conclusive proof for any such allegation. In fact the Indians Supreme Court declared in 2005 that the charges of a Pakistani connection were baseless. Thus judgment refers to five unidentified armed men attacking Indian Parliament were nothing to do with Pakistan.
Hence, the terrorist attack proved quite disastrous for the bilateral relationship of India and Pakistan. Pakistan was pushed on the back foot as its foreign policy had to face some serious problems. She was to be left isolated in the comity of nations by maligning her image as someone fully supporting the cross border terrorism. The clouds of war seem to be hovering on the horizon but that was luckily averted. In the end it seems reasonable to say that the nature of relationship between the two neighbours is very fragile that can lead them to war as easily as happened after the attacks on the parliament.