Can't give in at this juncture
Ajit Doval, KC - Former Director, VIF

Let political considera­tions and communal pressures not weaken our resolve to the outrage in Mumbai. And let us not sugarcoat our response lest it sends an ambiguous signal to India's enemies. They have sent a message to us loud and clear in 200 dead and hundreds injured and so should our reply be. If Mumbai is not cleaned now, it will be seen only as our weakness and will work as further provocation for ter­rorists to strike.

Our national security agencies and Mumbai po­lice have some excellent personnel with nerves of steel, high patriotism and professional competence. Very few know their pain and anguish when the sys­tem fetters them and they, become placid onlookers to the degradation of India's security which they are able and willing to stem.

These young people are national assets and even a handful of them can make a difference which many bat­talions cannot. The biggest problem is identifying them and bringing them out of their shells as they surface and sprout only in a partic­ular supportive environ­ment. It is crucial that the leadership has unfailing courage, commitment and competence. Given a task they will accomplish it how­soever daunting it might be, and whatever the risks. The Joint Task Force on Intelli­gence was designed for this role it needs to be activated.

The law of the land to contain terrorists also needs a re-look. Most of the terrorist acts in India have their planning, preparation, funding and equipment in areas which are outside the reach of our investigators. In most cases, the main per­petrators also escape after the event and can­not be brought to book.

What is avail­able at the scene of crime are only charred, mutilated bodies and debris.There are no eye witnesses or fingerprints which could be placed before courts. Conviction of sec­ond-rung operations or over ground supporters becomes difficult even when their association and links with the terrorists are estab­lished in the absence of evi­dence to prove their com­mon intention to cause the terrorist act.

A country which has suf­fered so heavily from terror­ism and continues to be in its vortex deserves much more stringent anti-terrorist laws. It would at least raise the deterrence level for terrorists.

The unending stream of illegal Bangladeshi immi­grants finding homes in the length and breadth of India is another source of serious concern. Bangladesh is fast emerging as a new fortress of Islamic extremism and the wrath of its Jehadis is particularly directed against India. Pakistan's ISI is outsourcing its anti-India action to Bangladesh in a big way.

For few ter­rorists to lose themselves in this human ocean of 20 mil­lion Ban­gladeshis for pursuing their terrorist plans, and then melt­ing away, makes the task of se­curity agencies almost impossible.This demographic invasion has to be stopped on a war footing.

This is why we need to get rid of the moss that accu­mulates in the system that deals with anti-terror re­sponses.

Lesser the attention to im­portant situations, greater the frequency of emergen­cies. There is an interest in banking on peoples short memories. This is what ex­actly has happened in our tackling of terrorism.

The reality is that the number of terrorists oper­ating against India in Pak­istan is estimated to be over 4,000. They are freely mov­ing around with impunity and regularly get their doles from their intelligence han­dlers. Infiltration is contin­uing and so is uninterrupt­ed supply of weapons and explosives. It is time for us to demand from Pakistan that its intentions will be judged by its actions and not its words.

India has the options but they have no deterrent val­ue as they do not appear to the adversaries as credible and real. The externally controlled infrastructure needs to be demolished both of the underworld and Is­lamic fundamentalists linked with terrorists.

Can there be anything more tragic than terrorist strikes of July 11 in Mum­bai and Srinagar leaving over 200 killed and hun­dreds injured? Yes, if it passes off as another inci­dent amongst many and re­membered only till the dust settles.

However, if it spurs the nation to a new resolve to revisit its strategies, update its security doctrines, and build up new operational ca­pabilities we would have probably gained more than what we have lost.

The author is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau.

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