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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Edition3: 26/11

Cityblog remembers with salute the martyrs of 26/11. Cityblog also empathises with victims of terror. One whole year has gone by. There has been a lot of analysis, discussions about why and how it happened, culprits etc. It is also time to analyze what can be done to avoid such incidences
We have not learnt the hard lessons. When I say, we that mostly means the administration, but also has sizable contribution from common people like you and me.
While it is primarily the responsibility of the security agencies to thwart any fresh conspiracy by the terrorists, the public will have a useful role to play by sharing with the agencies any information or suspicious activity coming to its notice. The state agencies should create an awareness of the kind of role the public can play and as to how to convey any information or suspicions to the agencies. Successful counter-terrorism depends on effective State-public co-operation.
It is not that fresh conspiracies were not being hatched in Indian and Pakistani territories since 26/11. They were, but these were thwarted by the success of the intelligence agencies and the police in identifying and neutralising the cells which might have played a role in the execution of these conspiracies.India has reasons to be thankful to the US agencies for their alertness and for their co-operation in preventing fresh strikes. Strengthened, active and discreet Indo-US co-operation in counter-terrorism has been a significant post-26/11 feature The US may be still reluctant to act against the government of Pakistan for continuing to use terrorism against India, but it has given indications of its determination to help India in preventing a repeat of 26/11 in whatever way it can. The strong technical capability of the US agencies and the ground capability of the Indian agencies for human intelligence should help in the efforts to prevent a repeat of 26/11.
In counter-terrorism, it is important to avoid over-confidence and self-complacency. Any planning should factor into it the possibility that despite all the precautions and enhanced vigilance by the intelligence agencies, some terrorist conspiracies may still escape detection by the intelligence agencies. Vulnerability perceptions help in denying success to the terrorists even if one doesn't detect in time terrorist conspiracies. Capacity-building, physical security and alertness play an important role in this. The training and re-training of our security agencies and police must enable them to meet the changing mode of operations of the terrorists. While the Indian and US security agencies have a welcome record of increasing successes in detecting and neutralising terrorist cells before they can go into action, they have had little success in detecting and neutralising potential sources of supply of explosive material. This is a weak point in our counter-terrorism capability which needs the individual and joint attention of the Indian and US agencies. Pre-conceived ideas and facile assum-ptions have no place in counter-terrorism such as the following -- the next attack may also come from the sea, the potential targets mentioned by terrorists under interrogation such as the National Defence College reportedly mentioned by the two Chicago suspects may be the real targets etc. Al Qaeda, the LeT and their associates train their recruits and volunteers in ways of misleading the security agencies and the police when caught. These are some of the points needing attention as we strengthen our alertness on the eve of the 26/11 anniversary. It is important for the government to set in place a scenario-anticipation group to evaluate continuously the likely scenarios to improve our preparedness.
And finally, let our security agencies have central repository of intelligence. Let it not complicate the information gathering and rapid action to be impeded by bureaucracy like what resulted in delay of getting commandoes on site. Let investigation agency have no political intervention and act independently. Let we get over corruption and loop holes like those for bullet proof jackets etc. That will all be fitting response on eve of anniversary of tragic and dastardly event which rocked us same time last year.

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