Saturday, February 23, 2013

DECLINE IN COUNTER-TERRORISM LEADERSHIP




B.RAMAN

( Written at the request of the Economic Times, New Delhi, and carried by it on February 23,2013)

The two blasts in the Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad on February 21,2013, in which 14 persons are reported to have died, cannot be categorized as mass fatality terrorism. The blasts were directed at soft targets in a crowded area. Details available so far do not indicate what could have been the motive or who might have been the perpetrators. The police as well as the public should refrain from speculation that could mislead and distort the investigation.

2. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) did not have any unique signature. The explosive used does not appear to have been of a sophisticated kind . Fertiliser-based ammonium nitrate, which is easy to procure and which can be lethal when mixed with certain chemicals, is the main suspect for the present. For many years now, terrorists in many countries have been using ammonium nitrate-based IEDs, for their acts of terrorism.

3. Expertise in the fabrication of IEDS using ammonium nitrate as the core material is available in many web sites run by terrorist organisations. No special training is required in the matter. In Western countries, the counter-terrorism agencies have been able to reduce the use of ammonium nitrate by terrorists by imposing strict regulations on their storage and sale to persons who are not genuine farmers. We are yet to impose and enforce similar regulations in India.

4. If it turns out that ammonium nitrate has been used once again for an act of terror, priority should be given to measures for imposing such regulations in India.

5. Our counter-terrorism agencies continue to face the threat of sporadic acts of terrorism carried out by individuals or groups wanting to give vent to their anger against the State or other communities. While our police and intelligence agencies are able to collect intelligence regarding sustained acts of terrorism by groups with known objectives, targets and modus operandi, they face difficulty in monitoring the activities of individuals and groups indulging in sporadic acts of terrorism triggered by anger of the moment due to some reason or the other.

6.While sustained domestic terrorism of the kind witnessed before 2008 is by and large under control, sporadic attacks of the kind witnessed in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad pose a problem for our intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies.

7. The State Police have to play a more active role in preventing sporadic acts of terrorism and they have to be assisted by the central agencies. The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has remained a non-starter due to reservations from some States ruled by non-Congress parties, might have strengthened the joint capability of the Centre and the States for preventing sporadic terrorism. The absence of a political consensus on the NCTC leaves a big gap in our counter-terrorism architecture.

8. We face three kinds of terrorism--- state-sponsored terrorism emanating from Pakistan, domestic terrorism of a sustained nature  and domestic terrorism of a sporadic kind. While the threat of state-sponsored terrorism from Pakistan continues, it has not repeated itself after the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. Domestic terrorism of a sustained nature of the kind that we witnessed in 2007 and 2008 due to the activities of the Indian Mujahideen has been disrupted by the action taken by our central agencies and the State police to identify and disrupt their sleeper cells. Terrorism of the sporadic kind continues as seen in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad

9. Shri P.Chidambaram, who took over as the Home Minister after the 26/11 terrorist strikes, managed to strengthen our capabilities against all the three kinds of terrorism. His drive, though sometimes controversial as in the case of the NCTC, kept our agencies on their toes. The kind of vigorous leadership that he provided to our counter-terrorism efforts, has been missing since Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde took over from him last year. Counter-terrorism leadership is once again in a state of  decline as it was before 26/11.

10. Terrorists---whether the Pakistan State-sponsored or the domestic kind---- are looking for weaknesses in our counter-terrorism architecture which they can exploit to step up their activities. Incidents like those of Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad and our inability to detect them and identify the perpetrators definitively, will enable them as well as Pakistan to take advantage of the weaknesses that seem to be re-emerging in our counter-terrorism capabilities.

11. Without effective and dynamic leadership, even the best of counter-terrorism machinery will fail to deliver. Such leadership and drive have been missing under Shri Shinde’s stewardship of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

12. The Prime Minister, assisted by his National Security Adviser and the National Security Council Secretariat, which is part of the PMO, has to play a more active role for reversing this decline. Otherwise, we may be in for another nasty surprise as we faced on 26/11.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India. )

6 comments:

Pankaj Dwivedi said...

What about our policing sir. Don't you think they are not prepared (mentally and technically) to handle terror threats? Do you see any possibility of police reforms in foreseeable future?

siddzy said...

What about pre emptive strikes . It is impossible to create a security infrastructure to protect each and every corner of the country. So should nt we destroy the root itself

anil said...

sir
you say it is too early to say it is muslim hand.
our gove say it has tip about attack now when it say it is work of Pakistan (because tip is from there)why you are denying it . ihad seen your bio and glimpse of your work . not read all artical because iam small business men no time to go in such details but dont understand your view.
it can be tactical?then fine
another thing many people still try to divert attention particularly in media , try to blame gov and intelle for failure
these same some time create hate campaigne for some leaders police officers who lead anti terror. cbi investigations are going against officers like mr taygi of mumbai police and gujrat police officers .
today dna say fake encounter of innocent ishrat .really she was innocent.... batala house encounter .
we have people in mmbai police have more than 50 encounters all fake but no action is taken fine but why for people who take action against terror. sanjay datt is free but pragha is in jail .you know she was instigated to do this by non other than IB .chotra rajan is free and well come by ib
why no action is taken against these media person when we all know and use media in every war .
idian has use media in kargil war best ever any country in world fine
so why human right are left and why media houses support them

Roy K said...

Raman Sir,
The fact that no organization claimed the responsiblity immediately makes it even more curious. Usually after any such event, organizations claim the responsibility immediately. Call it their ego, publicity craving or what ever. This kind of points to a different fact. The message could be something else.

~R

joydeep ghosh said...

@Raman sir

2 things

firstly that the IM went ahead with the blast even after the recce team was behind bars reveals their resolve and available support base.

secondly some reports said yasin bhatkal was present while planting the bombs, if so it shows that he is moving around with impunity showing the middle finger to security brass

just read a news report that couple of boats were trying to enter HSL facility but were chased off could these be linked to escape route of yasin bhatkal, food for thought

thanks

Joydeep Ghosh

Stephan White said...

we have people in mmbai police have more than 50 encounters all fake but no action is taken fine but why for people who take action against terror. sanjay datt is free but pragha is in jail .


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