KUBER MANAGED to sail because the India’s counter terrorism policy is clearly only on paper. Says CD Sahay, former director, RAW, “There appears to have been enough intelligence to avoid Mumbai. You can’t expect the Lashkar patron, Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed, to pick up the sat phone and give precise information with names of those who were being sent.” According to him, “The tendency is to only push intelligence reports like babus push papers. Why have only political heads rolled? Why are the officials being protected? The culture will not change until key officials are held accountable.”
The Girish C Saxena committee, while reviewing the state of intelligence Agencies, recommended the setting up of a multi agency centre. Funds for it were released only seven years later, after the blasts inDelhiin September 2008
The threat, as Mumbai and the blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad have shown, is grave but how prepared are our security managers? Ask Ajai Sahni, and he says, “We are not in for big trouble, we are already in big trouble. The only way to prevent terrorism is through policing and intelligence but the system is so rotten, it will take five years to refurbish.” Ask him then of the possibility of being hit again, of another Mumbai and he says, “For the next decade, yes. Even if you start the responses today, it is going to take you four to five years to get to steam.” Ask CD Sahay, and he says, “If the government keeps trying to cover up, yes. It is time for accountability and for case officers being put on intelligence inputs so they are analysed up to the last detail.” Ask Vikram Sood, also a former director, RAW, “Our greatest responsibility is the lack of a response mechanism. Security does not just consist of deploying armed guards outside the doors of our politicians.”
Former home secretary NN Vohra crafted a report on internal security. His recommendations are still on paper. He had indicted the home Ministry saying, “it has lost the capability to respond to any internal security challenge.”
Mumbai 1993 to Mumbai 2008 is proof of India’s vulnerability and its inability to learn even from hindsight. On November 23, three days before the mayhem in Mumbai, the Prime Minister, while addressing the Director Generals of Police had said, “We cannot afford to be hit again.” It is time to implement the reports authored by some of the best security experts because even then it will take at least five years before a Prime Minister can again promise that we will not be hit again.