Fear Over

India Today - - WINNING - by San­deep Un­nithan

The last war be­tween two ar­mies wear­ing uni­forms was in Au­gust 2008 when Rus­sia fought Ge­or­gia for 10 days. Just three months later, 10 heav­ily-armed Pak­istani civil­ians, trained as com­man­dos and mo­ti­vated to fight unto death, landed on the coast of Mum­bai from Pak­istan. They held the city un­der siege for over two days, killing over 160 civil­ians. Could such covert at­tacks and ir­reg­u­lar war­fare be the fu­ture of armed con­flict be­tween na­tion states? More im­por­tantly, what were the lessons that could be learned from the brazen at­tack on Mum­bai that ex­posed In­dia’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties? Three do­main ex­perts an­swer ‘What In­dia needs to fight its war on ter­ror’. THE NA­TURE OFWAR HAS CHANGED HOOMAN MAJD, Ira­nian-Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist and au­thor Ter­ror­ism and asym­met­ri­cal war­fare have ex­isted through­out his­tory. Iran is a per­fect ex­am­ple. It knows that if the US were to in­vade, it would prob­a­bly meet the same fate as Sad­dam Hus­sein be­cause no con­ven­tional force in the world can with­stand the on­slaught of US forces. So they use asym­met­ri­cal war­fare. Iraq has proved that no army can con­trol a coun­try any more. The ‘war on ter­ror’ is a Bushism; it is for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush’s ex­pres­sion. You can­not have a war against a tac­tic. Be­cause it is un­winnable.

The New York Po­lice Depart­ment has prob­a­bly been more suc­cess­ful than the CIA and the mil­i­tary in pro­tect­ing New York from ter­ror at­tacks. Their counter-ter­ror­ism di­vi­sion is the world’s largest. Fight­ing ter­ror­ism is the job of the po­lice. When coun­tries spon­sor ter­ror­ism against other coun­tries, fight so-called proxy wars, that is a prob­lem. IN­DIA IS UN­PRE­PARED, THERE IS NO 26/11 POST­MORTEM ADRIAN LEVY, Co-au­thor of TheSiege, a book on the 26/11 Mum­bai at­tack The first ma­jor fail­ing of the Govern­ment was the fail­ure to ap­point an open, hon­est, wide-rang­ing in­quiry af­ter the 26/11 at­tacks. This in­quiry would pos­si­bly have ex­ca­vated facts about sen­si­tive mil­i­tary and na­tional se­cu­rity ma­te­rial be­ing sold out of In­dia (to

ter­ror­ists). The at­tacks were a com­pli­cated oper­a­tion us­ing fi­day­een on In­dian soil, VoIP net­works and an Amer­i­can agent. Yet, the Govern­ment got a white­wash that was a 64page Prad­han Com­mit­tee re­port. There has been no ad­e­quate post­mortem. The In­dian se­cu­rity ser­vices are not fit for the pur­pose. This is be­cause they have in­her­ited a colo­nial method­ol­ogy which re­volves around plac­ing IPS of­fi­cers at the core rather than a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary force.

LeT does a post­mortem of ev­ery oper­a­tion. It films what it does and de­bates it. It has a depart­ment in Muzaf­farabad which analy­ses the fail­ures of op­er­a­tions. It breaks apart ev­ery as­pect of its oper­a­tion in­clud­ing the psy­chol­ogy of re­cruit­ing fi­day­een. MUM­BAI IS WELL-PRE­PARED FOR ATER­ROR STRIKE HI­MAN­SHU ROY, Chief of Ma­ha­rash­tra Anti-Ter­ror­ism Squad In­dia is geopo­lit­i­cally in a sub-op­ti­mal sit­u­a­tion. We have a neigh­bour that ex­ports ter­ror­ists into In­dia. The fail­ure to an­tic­i­pate the 26/11 was a fail­ure of imag­i­na­tion rather than a fail­ure of in­tel­li­gence. A seaborne fi­day­een-type com­mando at­tack was unique. There was no spe­cific men­tion of a seaborne at­tack on the Taj or the Oberoi. To­day we have the lux­ury of hind­sight, we can look back and piece them to­gether and say that is the pic­ture which should have been formed at that time. What mat­ters is the pre­dic­tive value of in­tel­li­gence in­puts, not post­mortems.

To sug­gest that we have learnt noth­ing af­ter the at­tack is con­trary to facts. Not just us, but coun­tert­er­ror­ist agencies across the world have learnt sev­eral lessons post 26/11. We have a much more struc­tured sys­tem with bet­ter collection, col­la­tion, anal­y­sis, dis­sem­i­na­tion of in­tel­li­gence. bet­ter coastal se­cu­rity, co­or­di­na­tion of ma­rine po­lice with navy and coast­guard, bet­ter Stan­dard Op­er­at­ing Pro­ce­dures to deal with fi­day­een at­tacks, bet­ter tech­nol­ogy, equip­ment and train­ing. Most im­por­tant, bet­ter re­solve. We have hard­ened the tar­get. It won’t be so easy next time.

Pho­to­graphs byROHIT CHAWLA


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