September 27, 2021

How the world — and India — changed in the 20 years after 9/11

The sight of the burning towers from September 11, 2001, remains seared in public memory, even two decades after the ghastly terrorist attack. The events of 9/11 marked both a culmination of old as well as an inception of new geo-strategic currents.

India had been besieged by a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist insurgency in Kashmir since 1989. The Islamic terror wave, however, simply wasn’t treated with the seriousness it merited internationally. While India wrestled with terrorism, leaders of the Western power bloc such as the US and UK — closely allied as they were with Pakistan, the ultimate perpetrator of cross-border terror — conveniently underplayed the issue.

But 9/11 forced the end to this pretension and laid bare the ideological fanaticism that was the driving force for Islamic terrorist groups. Even then, Pakistan remained an important, if untrustworthy, US ally for the…

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