Mounting Challenges for India
STORIES, ANALYSES, EXPERT VIEWS
Fifteen years after the 26/11 attacks rocked Mumbai, Pakistan’s terror designs remain firmly in place. The Northern Army Commander’s recent assertion that retired Pakistani soldiers form part of terrorist ranks in Jammu and Kashmir indicates the opening of a new front. He has also pointed to attempts being made to push in highly trained foreign terrorists because local recruitment is not happening. At least 20-25 terrorists are active in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, according to Army estimates.
“The challenges are mounting and there is no scope for any let-up in the state of alertness,” writes The Tribune. “The Hamas attack against Israel has shown the perils of exhibiting even a hint of complacency or a sense of invulnerability. A bigger lesson was to not overly depend on global support. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is not a problem that can be outsourced for a resolution. India has to use all its resources to tackle it.”
Post 26/11, India still un-prepared
In this context, Maroof Raza (Strategic Affairs Analyst) writes even fifteen years after the 26/11 attacks by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), “India has failed to bring Pakistan’s establishment to book despite US efforts and UN resolution 1267 that backed sanctions against terrorist acts. And the support to Pakistan at various UN forums gives it cover from prosecution as the West stands by helplessly.
“The use of ‘terrorist attacks’ as an extension of its foreign policy is an article of faith that Pakistan’s establishment will not abandon. It has yielded results and continues to keep India on edge, despite the surgical strikes after the Uri and Pulwama attacks.”
Recent attacks from across the Line of Control “indicate that the threat has not ceased. These repeated terrorist assaults carry an ominous message for India.
Stating that India is far from prepared, Raza cites the latest reports highlighting Maharashtra’s Home and Police departments’ unprofessional approach to coastal security. Reportedly, in the past three years, the Mumbai police purchased 46 boats to safeguard Mumbai’s coastal areas; currently, only eight of these are operational. “One reason Pakistan chose Mumbai as a target was the pathetic state of preparedness across the city…..”
More importantly, “while technology is being effectively used worldwide to counter terror, our city surveillance systems remain rudimentary, if not non-existent, even in our metros. Like the case of the amphibious boats gathering dust in Mumbai, police departments all over India keep getting their clueless political masters to sanction more new equipment, until they too rot. What little that exists barely functions…..”
There are budgetary limitations too. State police budgets, points out Raza “are abysmally inadequate and can barely cover establishment costs……Another problem is that we are seeking to impose solutions top-down by augmenting Central counter-terror capacities, whereas the constitutional and legal framework makes policing and public order a ‘state’ responsibility. Thus, the state police force is the primary mechanism for the prevention, detection, pre-emption and investigation of all offences, including terrorist attacks.”