As we thought we had enough shocks for 2009, another one strikes, though not quite out of the blue.
The Doomsday Scenario is playing out - today, Amritsar is geographically closer to the Taliban than Delhi. Yes, its true, the Taliban are inching closer to the Indian frontier, by taking control of Pakistani territory, inch by inch. And sooner than we expect, we would have to deal with the Taliban. And soon, we will have a new neighbour to deal with, to add to our list of painful neighbours - Talibanistan!
Our options are limited as a country. We are being pushed into a corner - the way Israel has existed for the last 60-odd years.
What do we do? Talk to the Pakistanis? Will it help? No, not at all. When Zardari said he expects Taliban to take control of the country any time soon, it is evident, he controls nothing but his presidential palace. There is no point in talking to him.
What about the Americans? Obama has spoken about eliminating Al-Qaeda, focusing on Af-Pak, etc. etc. But given the economic situation prevailing in the US, it might be tempting for Obama to cut spends by moving forces out of Af-Pak. We can't bank on the US to be on our side, given the poor economics of their presence in Af-Pak.
Our options are limited - we have to deal with this menace ourselves. After taking over Pakistan, the Taliban will turn their eyes on India for sure. And that's real bad. That really would the first real threat that India would face since its independence for the Taliban threatens the Indian way of life, our free speech, our economic independence. And we can't let it happen.
We need to boost our defences all along the Western borders - that is obvious. But more importantly, we have to break the enemy from within. For that, our intelligence has to break in to the Taliban to understand their plans better. Then we would need to deflect their attention from our borders. We should attempt to build resistance within Pakistan against the Taliban. The Baluchis and the Sindhis are certainly are not pleased with the Punjabi-Pashtun nexus and are likely to play ball against the Taliban.
All along I had my reservations on the way successive governments in Delhi had handled Pakistan. But Manmohan Singh's A-team of Chidambaram and Pranab has proven that they have the will not only to talk tough but also act. I hope they have the threat that Talibanistan poses to India in their minds and they act on it.