Thursday, 21 July 2011

Terrorism: Moment of Truth for Manmohan Singh

Terrorists Strike Again-Two sides of the  same coin

Despite the chief minister of Mumbai, Mr Chavan claimed that the city had "much better  security today than we had at the time of 26/11 attack", terrorists have attacked once again, the Bollywood City.  Mr Chavan denied that the state police had prior intelligence warning the Wednesday's serial blasts, which hit three places simultaneously. He hinted to the involvement of Indian MujahideenHeadlines Today, the chief minister said that there were certain "patterns that we are trying to explore".
Although there have been numerous incidents of sectarian violence Mr Chavan take great pride when he says: 

"Maharashtra is a prosperous state, Mumbai is a prosperous city. There are many rich people. There are diamond merchants. They strike where it hurts most. Unfortunately, they target Mumbai for maximum effect."
Chavan addressed the viewers' concerns who put their questions directly to the chief minister. He said it was practically not possible to frisk all human beings across the city. One should command the forthright answer of Mr Chavan when a viewer asked "where does the buck stop" for cases of such terror attacks, his telling reply was: "the buck stops at me".  
I do not believe terrorism is a local problem therefore it can't be a state matter. The Center must have the overall responsibility. In view of repeated attacks on diamond merchants, Mr. Chavan appealed them to move to Bandra Kurla Complex, a "world class facility" created recently. He said the complex was much more secured than the existing market and it boasted of far better facilities.
After a series of fraught meetings, the investigation has now been officially handed over jointly to the ATS and the Mumbai Police's crime Branch. The two agencies will now be 'helped' by the NIA. Meanwhile, the ATS has got some clues as to the construction of the bombs. According to the ATS, the bombs were very sophisticated and compact enough to fit in the palm of one's hand.
The bombs contained ammonium nitrate and oil. Slight traces of RDX have also been found, but the quantity used in the bombs was minimal. Police sources said preliminary investigations indicated that the blasts were carried out after careful planning and a number of recces appear to have been carried out beforehand.  For instance, the Zaveri Bazar bomb was placed near an eatery and among a number of vehicles, in order to cause more casualties, as the eatery's gas cylinders and the fuel in the vehicles could cause more damage.
Similarly, the Dadar bomb, which went off at 7.05 pm, was timed to coincide with the scheduled departure of a large number of students from a nearby school, who normally left for the day around that time. Fortunately, however, since there were heavy rains on Wednesday, the school authorities decided to allow the students to leave earlier than usual so that they could reach home easily. 
For further details please look at: 
Clueless sleuths squabbling with each other in a bid for glory are threatening to derail the investigation into Wednesday's serial blasts
It was 26/11 all over again, when utter chaos prevailed as various agencies groped in the dark after the stunning attack. (Read: Mumbai's spirit taken for granted?).
One of the key lessons from the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack was that the overlapping nature of many of the agencies responsible for security helped the attackers slip in and strike at will. Another was the need for a coordinated effort in investigations, which led to the creation of the National Investigative Agency (NIA).
Three years after 26/11, it is clear that that lesson has clearly been forgotten. (Read: Chaos in hospitals to claim the dead)
Sloppy sleuths?
Home minister P. Chidambaram admitted on Thursday that the intelligence agencies had no clue about the incident. Yet, he refused to acknowledge that it was an intelligence failure. Here's a sneak peek at the world of Indian intelligence agencies.
Intelligence Bureau
The premier agency responsible for collecting Intelligence within India has been transformed since the 26/ 11 attacks, as the Multi- Agency Centre. MAC was refurbished as a nodal centre in IB legally mandated to share intelligence with all other agencies, including those of the states and Union Territories.
What's wrong: IB is struggling improve its human intelligence at the grassroots level, which is imperative to preempt terror strikes. Also, the MAC has no operational capabilities and can't intervene directly to counter terror.
Research and analysis wing
It is responsible for collecting intelligence from abroad. The huge chinks in its armour were exposed in the 26/ 11 attacks. The home ministry has made it mandatory that the RAW chief provide intelligence inputs to the MAC and attend the daily meeting, chaired by the home minister.
What's wrong: As per the existing mandate, RAW reports to the national security advisor ( NSA) and the cabinet secretary and not to the home minister.
Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)
DIA works under the Integrated Headquarters, which was formed after the Kargil War. It is headed by a senior officer from one of the three wings of the armed forces on a rotational basis. Its main job is cyber penetration, signal intelligence and human intelligence.
What's wrong: A chief of defence staff yet to be appointed for the Integrated Headquarters, marring co- ordination between the agency and the armed forces.
National Technical Research Organisation
It was set up after the Kargil War. The NTRO chief is also part of the daily MAC meetings at the North Block.
What's wrong: The NTRO, per its mandate, reports to the NSA and not the home minister. Also, a significant part of the NTRO's job profile ends up overlapping with that of the IB and RAW. Administrative issues are also plaguing the NTRO, preventing it from evolving as a coherent organisation.
PC's pill for all ills
  • The home ministry wants to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). All intelligence agencies, the NTRO and Joint Intelligence Committee will work under the NCTC. 
  • The Aviation Research Centre (ARC), which reports to the NSA and RAW may be repositioned after the setting up of the NCTC.
  • Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIA) representatives to be deputed mandatorily to NCTC.
  • The NCTC will subsume MAC and will also have operational forces like the NSG.
  • The NCTC will be the sole body accountable on all matters related to internal security. Presently there is a multiplicity of authority and no nodal body to coordinate functioning of the intelligence agencies.
    However, all this does not go at the heart of the problem.  In fact, since the inception of liberalisation and globalization in India in 1990s under the Word Bank umbrella there has been a shift in India's foreign policy towards US. India has lost its balancing act between the superpowers by keeping equidistant or what is popularly known as non-aligned foreign policy.  The collapse of Communist parties in Eastern European and then fall of USSR under Gorbachev's Perestroika and Glasnost left every one without imagination. There has been not much choice left for nonaligned countries as the world started appearing uni-polar with US, the only superpower. Certainly, the US was too busy in rejoicing collapse of USSR and it did not need some allies to carry on with well known Reagan-Thatcher doctrine of encouraging Islamic Fundamentalism to combat communism around the world as post WWII fears of taking over by communists was over by late 1980s. Further, US appeared to slowly abandon its military bases and dictatorial regimes in Korea, Panama, Spain, Iraq, Indonesia, Sudan, Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, etc. These developments created economic problems at home and vacuum abroad due to inexperience leadership in so-called newly elected democratic regimes and failure of market economy to deliver goods gave way to rise of religious fundamentalism. The US foreign policy backfired and it ended up engaging into controlling the armed monsters once they created to get rid of other regimes.  
    Prior to Obama's election to Presidency of US, his religious mentor, Reverend Wright said, "If you take terrorism abroad it would come back home".  US being a superpower took terrorism across the world to create its own conceived world order and many of its former allies including Mujaheddin and Al kiada felt betrayed. Unfortunately, India is perceived as US allies and its recognition of Israel and recent vote against Iran in UN has added fuel to the fire.  Therefore, India's problems of terrorism have been aggravated as India has lost its edge with Middle East Countries.  During the recent visit of Hillary Clinton, although every one is trying to talk about convergence of interests I am afraid no one seems to realise that US has been an unreliable ally. Therefore, India should deal with its problems of terrorism on its own before it is sucked into major problem of homegrown terrorists. 
I am disappointed that the Left parties by supporting UPA Govt for 4-1/2 years played a very negative role in all this as it appeared to be a follower rather than a leader and American interests keep rolling into India under Congress regime.  Leftist should have another reading of CIA manual of Nicaragua!

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