What are India's options after the terror attacks?
What must India do, strategically and procedurally, to ensure that the nation does not ever again endure a brutality like the terrorism Mumbai encountered last fortnight?
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We look forward to a discussion so educative and illuminating that the guardians of our national security can learn from what you readers suggest.
Mohammed believes the change of home minister or a change of government is not a solution to defeating terrorism. I bet such activities will take place with the best of our efforts if not implemented properly. We should immediately implement the following:
Within 10 days, set up a federal agency, which would be responsible for terrorism.
Set up different response groups like a medical contingency plan, public information system, installation of monitoring equipment at strategic locations and keeping watch at central headquarters.
Rapid action force (NSG commandos) to reach an attack site within 30 minutes minimum to a maximum 60 minutes.
Install locators on every vessels plying in Indian waters. The vessels should be controlled like the ATC (air traffic control). In the absence of non response the air wing should shoot the vessel if there is no communication through the locator.
Our security forces should be provided tranquilisers to shoot militants so that they are caught live and interrogated. Then they (the militants) should be kept alive and made to die on a daily basis.
We should have a National ID card and secured identification tag on the body of every Indian which can be scanned and located through software and GPRS (it should be foolproof).
We should tell Pakistan clearly that any such repeat offence will not be tolerated. Pakistan should immediately destroy such infrastructure or else India has a right to strike at such locations.
All anti-national elements should be put to death.
Politicians should not interfere in the federal anti-terrorism agency's actions. The agency needs to work in the interest of India without any bias or favour.
Military training should be part of the college curriculum. The best students should be provided arms access cards so that in the event of their being present at the vicinity of terror they can get arms from the arms division set up at the nearest location.
First, India should convince the United Nations to stop the $7 billion loan to Pakistan.
It should then give Pakistan a deadline for the complete closure of all terrorist camps on its territory.
If that does not happen, India should team up with the US military to surgically attack the terrorist camps without notice so that the Pakistan army cannot alert these camps.
It should warn Pakistan that any future terrorist attack with a Pakistan link will lead India to attack Pakistan without India providing any evidence to Pakistan.
China should be warned about meddling in India-Pakistan affairs. India should not support China in any field for centuries to come should it support Pakistan.
India to take hot pursuit action across the terrorist camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. By not attacking these camps India's weakness will also be evident to China which is funding militants in the northeast.
India must stop approaching America first, and not discuss the details with them.
Secondly, the politicians as well as people must stand united despite colour, caste, religion, state, district by which discrimination is going on currently.
Thirdly, we must give Pakistan a deadline to act against the terrorists, otherwise, we should attack the terrorist areas in PoK. We must show them what we can do, otherwise, we will be like the 'Barking dog that never bites'.
The best way to react in the short term is to tighten security and close all loopholes.
On the proactive side, it is also important for Indian espionage to retort in kind. Covert assassinations should take place for all the people in Pakistan and Bangladesh involved in terrorism. It is like the message from Sholay: 'Tum ek maroge to hum char marenge'. But we have to hit only the terrorists, not innocents.
In the long term, we should look at a more open political system.
Prashant feels it is time to walk the talk:
Apply diplomatic pressure on Pakistan with the help of the US and convince Pakistan to launch a joint attack on the terror camps in Pakistan.
Execute the mastermind behind several terror blasts in Gujarat and other cities. This will send strong signals to terrorists that they will not be spared.
Organise various events (including cricket) to show the world that we are unfazed by these terrorist activities.
Boycott Pakistan on all fronts with the help of diplomacy.
Spruce up India's police system and recruit hardcore youngsters who are capable of defending India.
Complete political reform and bring about a leadership change in India.
Educate every citizen about their country's safety and security. It is the duty of every citizen to know about their country's security and speak up in case of any injustice.
The first important step is recruit local youth or aged volunteers as parallel policemen. They would have the basic powers to conduct search, investigate and initiate proceedings. It should be a voluntary service. They should be trained to keep eye open only for national security matters, else it will lose direction.
Let there be a central command comprising of retired army, RAW, IB, paramilitary personnel. Let this committee take decisions and convey them to the home ministry. During an emergency situation the committee shall have supreme powers under the prime minister.
Vijay says if I were the PM of this country, without any hesitation, I would have immediately proceeded ahead with the following lines of action instead of declaring all out war:
Cut off entirely diplomatic and trade relations with Pakistan. The Indian ambassador needs to be recalled immediately. The Pakistan ambassador to be expelled thereafter and our embassy in Pakistan closed down in the least possible time. Pakistan told similarly to close theirs.Severe in totality any bilateral trade with Pakistan, irrespective of the impact on our business and industry.
No cultural relations and immediate stoppage of rail, air and road links between the two nations.
Launch a worldwide effective and high decibel campaign against Pakistan using renowned PRO and lobbying firms. Attempt to isolate Pak in every possible international forum and interaction platforms.
Hammer the Karachi stock exchange by spending a few billions and bring their stock prices to the lowest possible levels. The complete know how of such a manipulative operation is available with our seasoned operators at the BSE/NSE and FIIs too. The money lost in the bargain can be accounted as a small pie from the domain of the defence budget.
Catch hold of separatists and disgruntled elements within Pak, use the expertise of RAW and Mossad built up over the years to carry out another partition of Pak. Give them a dose of their own sweet medicine and ensure that there's total anarchy and chaos within Pak.
Refuse them permission to fly over Indian territory or use Indian territorial waters. Compared to physical war, financial war is much more effective in the long run. Ensure that Pak bleeds continuously and confined with a begging bowl for the next few decades.
The BSF and army to be empowered to carry out immediate execution of any infiltrators. No mercy to be shown.
Step up the tempo in Kashmir.
Confine to the wastepaper basket any pressure tactics and attempts made to interfere by the US or any other powers to restore our relations with Pak. This can be thought about only when there are clear cut, sustained and visible signs that the rogue state has changed its course and approach towards our country. The above steps, synchronised and implemented effectively with precision and professionally, are bound to be much more successful than an all out war.
Subba Rao recommends:
Reduce the lapses among security agencies, intelligence agencies and the government.
Install NSG centres in all state capitals.
Impose stringent visa policies against Bangladesh, Pakistan nationals.
Eliminate all terrorist camps in PoK and ban all such outfits.
Do not politicise the Indian security system.
Bring back TADA/POTA laws.
Remove ties with Pakistan on economic, import/export, trade.
Remove infiltration from borders especially the LoC.
Secure our Indian skies and waters by guarding them 24x7.
Put CCTV at all crowded places in all major cities.
Eradicate all local modules who support the terrorist outfits.
Improve our technology to trace any kind of electronic devices.
Immediate counter measures need to be taken on our sea border security. Modern vigilance equipment need to be deployed to ensure our coastal security.
We should have a central dedicated investigation agency on terror and emphasis should be on building proper communication channels between all investigative, intelligence and security forces working within our country.
Vineet recommends the following:
The Pakistan army needs to be controlled and governed by stakeholders from the US, UN and SAARC nations. This will ensure that their army functions according to the economic package that the world is providing Pakistan. The Pakistan army can play the role of disarming terrorists more effectively if it wants to. Once the Pakistan army understands that its budget is now controlled by the world there will be lot more accountability and action on the ground.
Pakistan should be given small targets in each quarter to achieve so that the world can give it money to remain stable. I do not think that they will agree to Indian forces coming into their country. The international terrorist task force will have people from other countries. This kind of policy-based enforcement will give confidence to the people on both sides.
Governance of our defence and orchestration of threat responses need to improve at all levels. The IT folks could help. We have to understand that such a system is possible today. There could be a more open terrorism tax that Indian citizens could pay so that the immediate shortfall could be improved.
Disband the madrassas in Pakistan, invest in those children's education using modern techniques. The entire world has to fund this. The long term programming of Pakistan's children has to be done using scientific methods.
Systemic modern technology adoption and with better instrumented governance and control needs to be developed by India. It is possible today to develop such systems. Indian IT has enough knowledge to develop those mechanisms.
Privatisation of the supply contracts to defence to encourage innovation. We need to emulate a lot that Israel has been able to do. It will not only create jobs, but create a new security industry where we will be able to manufacture our own security solutions and even sell to the world.
Just like the National Cadet Corps has only physical troops, I would recommend that the NCC has a technology wing, using which the IT sector could contribute heavily towards creation of technology that will help the national community and will ensure grass-root participation.
Ashish notes: It is a stated fact that India is one of the most emotional countries. We produce heroes and also those who try pulling down our integrity. We go through an economic meltdown but also manage scraping through it every time. Economic and social issues are not the only issues which govern the well administered State. It is the stability brought in by politics which help striking a balance between the 'good' and the 'bad' in society.
In my opinion, the current government has done a decent enough job which has given us a chance to move out of the Third World category. We've started being noticed all across the globe. In fact, that is the reason why 'jealousy' targeted us this time as well. That clearly shows us that we are successful and there is honestly nothing to moan about. This aspect clarifies that we are still good economically. What needs to be looked at then? With no dubious facts 'The social issues'
Social issues go hand in hand with political issues. Today we need leaders who lead us, A leader who leads us into a well moulded future and not get us into a lethal mode. Our elders generally say that our young generation are the pillars of tomorrow. But, let me not beat around the bush. Our Constitution and the political arrangement is too complex for anyone to understand. Why is it that every kid on the block understands how Obama was voted and why is it that we don't understand how are voting system even works.
I believe that if someone is blamed and cursed all the time it does no good. Hence, we can bring in some amendments or additions to our current arrangement. I think we need to untangle the web here. We need to streamline our entire hierarchy and compliment it with some seriousness. We have been contemplating whether we need the experienced or the young running our nation. If we have the younger generation then they could probably deal with issues in an immature way and if we have the experienced alone then we face the current situation which has a very laidback approach to it.
What if we have both acting together, just like the father and son in the family. Probably come up with a Y GENERATION PARTY in each state which is constituted by the young and enthusiastic people. They look at smaller issues like the mid level management in a company and then report it to the current ruling party. At least we would not have a laidback approach in dealing with our issues.
When the stock market was bullish, who even thought of the bad, but when the bad struck we started pointing our fingers. Personally, I do not think our approach should be like that. Make a change soon! And this change can only be brought about by us.
Set-up a central/federal agency with its presence in each big city in charge of matters related to terrorism. This must be made free from politicians. Make good use of IT for terror tracking and share information using this with other countries affected by terrorism.
Come-up with a universal id system for use IT, voting and passport, property dealings. Have this IT enabled. This will give a good profile of individuals.
Identify all local help being provided to terrorist activities and isolate them.
Identify the sources of funds and stop them.
Publish a list of wanted terrorists and get them handed to the International Court of Justice by any country they might be in.
Offer to help Pakistan in its fight with terror.
Call an international convention on terrorism.
Every time India gives its list of most wanted to Pakistan, Pakistan in return gives a totally irrelevant list of its most wanted to India. This makes clear that Pakistan wants to save those who are disturbing the peace initiatives of both countries. Please explain to Zardari that the wanted list given to Pakistan is to save Pakistan.
If a poor country like Pakistan can have such good intelligence that it can keep India on its toes then India can also counter it quite efficiently. But corruption has spilt into our blood. At this rate we can't track militant activities.
Going to war with Pakistan is not a feasible option for India ,as the current recession in the economy is somehow associated to the wars fought by America which involved a lot of money going waste with no results. India is a growing economy and fighting war at this juncture would mean shuffling funds from core development areas to the war region which would affect its economy very hard. Looking at the current recession this would be an insane decision.
On a priority basis strike the terrorist targets in Pakistan and PoK with air/missile strikes similar to the shock and awe strategy adopted by the US in Iraq. This will be the biggest deterrent for Pakistan as well as the world to prove that India means business.
Show the captured terrorist before the media and let the world watch his statements so that we can never forget or forgive the terrorist attack on Mumbai.