Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Recalling the tragedy


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Tragedy struck Mumbai on November 26, 2008, exposing many chinks in India’s security armour. The question is: has the Indian government made any significant progress to rectify the flaws in the national security machinery? There has obviously been little progress. Two landmark initiatives mooted after the 26/11 attack are far from realisation. The proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre and the National Intelligence Grid meant to coordinate and analyse data relating to terrorism have run aground. Bureaucracy has faltered and ministries have got embroiled in squabbles. State police across the country remain extremely unprepared. The recent coup of shooting down Maoist leader Kishenji does not alter the picture. The police lack equipment, physical infrastructure and access to networked intelligence. Police reform has been proposed, but not implemented.

The main problem is the lack of a political will. Privacy concerns are swept under the carpet. The same old scenario of the administration, struggling from one crisis to another, repeats itself. Essential security concerns are often thrown out of the window. All this dovetails with the national system of security reviews. There have been only five such exercises since 1947 and they are conducted just after a crisis erupts and swept aside soon thereafter. There is need for perception of geo-centric changes. It throws up shifting challenges. India has not moved along to cope with the situation as the security system in the country remains in a stagnant pool. The National Task Force report to be out at the end of the year holds out some hope. But will our politicians fulfill expectations?

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