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Tighten internal security

December 18, 2008 19:38 IST
What are India's options after the Mumbai 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?

Please contribute your views (in 400 words or less) to We suggest you list your recommendations; you can expand briefly on each item.

We look forward to a discussion so educative and illuminating that the guardians of our national security can learn from what you readers suggest.

K Manjeshkar says:

1. Protect our Borders: It's very difficult to protect every inch of our border running into thousands of km. But terrorists entering with arms & ammunition right through Gateway of India shows the scale of our carelessness & inefficiency. So protecting our borders across land & water is a must. Need to increase our army strength for this.

2. Quick Judicial Action & Severe Punishment: The main accused terrorist in parliament attack is still living in the jail, which shows the loopholes in our judiciary & lack of urgency to punish them. Further, it provides them an opportunity to free them through routes like hijack or kidnap (Eg: Kandahar hijack). Once caught & interrogated, judicial action should be finished as quickly as possible. And terrorists deserve a much severe and horrifying punishment than mere life imprisonment or hanging till death. Ideally the punishment should be so intimidating that the other terrorists & youth (who are mostly tempted to join these illegal outfits) should be scared to attack us.

3. Proper Weapons & Protective Gear: We've seen police attacking the terrorists with pistols, while they were carrying AK series rifles. And the fact that, in spite of wearing a bullet proof jacket, ATS chief Hemant Karkare died of bullet passing through the jacket is very unfortunate. Our cops should be provided latest arms & protective gear on priority basis.

4. Disaster Management Plan: The NSG guards arrived in Mumbai only 10 hrs after the terrorists struck the heart of the city. If only they reached the place much earlier, the scale of damage (man & material) would have been remarkably less. An important pre-requisite for this is to de-centralise the NSG guards and have them stationed at all strategic positions.

5. Be Tough with Terror-Funding Countries: This includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc which support extremist forces acting against our national security. India is often very nice & forgiving with our neighbours. But if need be, we should pressurise them by taking bold decisions like keeping in hold all the Confidence Building Measures, Trade & Economic Ties until they take appropriate steps. Our goodwill gestures should & must be reciprocated with trust & supportive actions. (Using our international allies to pressurise these countries can be a good tactic).

6. Integrated National Policy on Security: A common national policy should be designed so that incidents of this nature should be dealt by all political parties collectively, rising above their cheap politics. When it comes to national security, investigating agencies should be given total independence & support by the entire political spectrum.

7. Common framework for Security Forces: Barely within hours after the terror attack, we've seen very dirty mud-slinging between the top security & spy agencies of our countries including Navy, RAW, intelligence, police. Some kind of a working model should be developed wherein all these different authorities come together on sharing, planning & acting on critical information.

Readers Options 1: Set up a federal investigation agency

Dr Snehasish Mishra says: One of the best long-term approach will be:

Take patriotic Muslims, give them proper physical and mental training, keep them on payrolls and utilise them as weapons against the terrorists, similar to what a typical soldier is doing on the border.

These people will entice the cross-border terrorists encouraging them to use them as sleeper cells or local-logistics-provider, and accordingly go on informing the intelligence and police about the developments.

Thereafter the police could come to action to book these terrorist once they are trapped in the net, and without the holy nexus being exposed.

Many of these terrorists engage and recruit people for such jobs at random, and hence a proper planning and a better execution will ensure a slow but steady elimination of big heads in the race winning over these headless beasts without much need of bloodshed, international interference, money and resources.

Ravi Ponnuswamy says:

1. Be sincere and honest in every walk of life. Follow rules whenever one exists.

2. Hit back corruption at every stage by being a citizen journalist. Expose corruptors. We need more "tehelka" type journalism.

3. Stop being mechanical and try adding value to whatever you do.

4. Do not accept anything but the best. Instead of complaining try improving processes wherever applicable.

5. Be Alert.

6. Vote.

7. Contribute whatever you can to the society.

9. Educate. Every government school should impart the same quality of education as a private school.

10. Make individuals and government accountable for all activities under them. Instill a mechanism by which funds disbursed by the government is checked at every stage to ensure zero misuse.  

11. Failure to follow any given rule or people charged with corruption should be dealt with very seriously including Punitive damages.

12. Spend appropriately on national Defense. Spend more on R&D.  

13.  Avoid reservations based on caste, creed and religion. If reservations are required, these are to be allowed up to the school level. Higher education and work should purely be based on merit.

14. Set standards for every process. Closely monitor if standards are met and if not identify root causes as to why these are not met.

15. Strengthen internal security. Install close circuit television wherever applicable.  Improve communication among intelligence wings. Have in place something similar to the patriot act.

16. Destroy terrorist camps in POK and other parts of Pakistan.

17. Be a nationalist. Your nation comes before your caste, creed and religion.

Readers Options 2: War is not a solution

S Viswanathan says:

India should take the following security measures in future.

1) All railway stations, airport, bus stand, market areas  should have a master main gate.  All the persons should enter the master gate after being throughly checked.  No person can enter these areas without being scanned.

For example, platform ticket buyer can go without buying the ticket and drop something in the railway premises.

2) All the hotels should have the emergency exit to come out through different confidential exit (ie, under the basement car parking area, only hotel staff's usable area).

3) Police should have the advanced weapons, Advanced information techniques, computerisation of all the police stations, check-posts, fishing department, navy's check/forest check should have a single common communication system.

4) Inter state wise, national communication should be improved in a proper manner.

5) The ATS chief  entered the field without having a bullet proof jacket, armed guards etc. He was casually talking on the mobile phone and got killed. Should be avoided. Hereafter, all the officers should take care of themselves first in the right manner.

6) Communication should be improved with our various security forces, across the nation, state-wise.

7) Common suspected areas should monitored by civil dress police/informers throughout the country.

8) Railway unreserved coach has to be checked at every station the train stops.

9) All inter-state trains should have mobile police with armed guards/NSG commandos.

10) All the railway stations should have the proper in and out gates. At present various exits from the railway station have to be controlled.

11) City bus stand / mobile bus stand / town bus stand have to be monitored.

12) School/college dropouts have to be monitored.

13) All the police vehicles should have the mechanical or electronic access validation to drive the vehicle (smart card). If any person threatens the police driver to drive the vehicle, the alarm should be different, and  CCTV camera has to be on and nearest control room has to round up the vehicle through the vehicle tracking system.

14) All the retired police sub-inspector level and above persons can be used for police assistance team to co-ordinate with the nearest police station.

15) All the residents have to register with the nearest police station with a unique national identification number.  This should have details of driving licence, ration card, passport details, photo identity and will be stored in the computer along with thump imprint.  The card should be verified time to time wherever necessary.  If any person is travelling, or lodging without card, the same can be checked with their name, DoB, city, state, mobile number or with their fingerprint.

16) All the temples should have a scanning system.

17) Autos, call taxis should not allow passenger without having a national identity card.

18) All the vehicle owners' address should be available on the web, at any given time the authorities have to enter the vehicle movement  online, so that any theft vehicle is immediately identified and vehicle movement will be known at any point of time.  These should be tracked all over India.

19) Nationwide NCC & NSS students should be used to assist the vehicle monitoring process.

20) All the universities have to start a new course, National Security Information Engineering & Traffic Control.

21) National Security & Bureau of Investigation Board has to be set up.

A K Goel says:

India must adopt the principles of the late Mrs Indira Gandhi to build an international diplomatic pressure, give a ultimatum to  Pakistan to act as per deadlines set.

The Indian government must not ease the pressure this time like after the Akshardham carnage in 2001 or plane hijacking in 1999 to Kandahar.

If India attacks, capture POK which is the only solution

Readers Options 3: Be united, peaceful and strong

TK says:

1) War against Pakistan in certainly not an option in this bad economic situation.

2) India should tighten its internal security by improving the salary and armour of police force, NSG etc.

3) We need a secret organisation to counter ISI. We should find out the sources, who is funding the jihadis in Pakistan and destroy them.

4) Most importantly, we should be honest in following rules and let others follow the rule without creating an obstacle.

5) Talented youths should join politics to reform. At least they all should vote.

Venkatraman says:

According to my opinion we should to solve the Kashmir problem particularly with Pakistan. The Government of India's policy of 'No re-drawing of border' seems to be the main reason for frequent bomb blasts. India is suffering from terror problem for the past 30 years right from Punjab in the '80s, then Kashmir in the '90s and now all over India. 

We must satisfy ourselves as India is the seventh largest nation in the world. Behind us there are more than 190 countries in terms of size. I think the Government of India should prepare to settle the Line of Control as international border with Pakistan.

On the other hand if Government of India thinks that first we solve the border problem with China and then with Pakistan it is doing a great blunder. The Chinese are tough negotiators. They will keep on arguing Arunachal Pradesh is a part of Tibet. As far as China is concerned there should be more people to people contact, so that both may develop love and affection and later on decide what kind of border we would like to have.

If the GOI officially announces that it is prepared to settle the LoC as International border with Pakistan , than we may get international support as well.

On the other hand if the GOI introduces tough laws like POTA or other laws, then it may give a chance for the police to harass the general public. Also it is impossible to have CCTV/security personnel in every street. Because of over-population it is easy for criminals to do anything any time. I think we would be able to breathe free air only if the Government of India settles LoC as international boarder with Pakistan.

Madhava Rao says:

If diplomatic efforts fails, then there is only one option left for India, i.e. smashing terrorist hideouts and training centres in POK. Our Airforce planes should attack all the hideouts and kill each and every terrorists who are the demons of  modern world. Before attacking, India should warn Pakistan of our plans and even ask Pak to cooperate in this mission. If Pakistan don't extend their cooperation, then India must go ahead since the whole world stands by our action. Our mighty army will finish the job within no time.

However, no civilian or innocent should suffer. Our target is to be only terrorists and their henchmen. Or India can attack along with US and Afghan forces who are already on the job. If we don't take any stringent action now, the Mumbai type terror will repeat often and takes so many innocent lives.

Adnan Y Dhariwala says:

What is being mentioned in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack there are many recommendations, increasing security on coastal region, tightening security setup, police reforms etc.

We are pointing fingers at the political system. But the Indian public in general, what should their contribution be??

On a long term perspective we can consider the following:

After high school 10+2 when the age of the teen will be 18 yrs and above, put the person under military training for two years. Hand to hand combat, operation and use of hardware etc.

This should be made compulsory for male and female both  unless in case of handicaps as an exception.

Unless certification is obtained this person is not to be allowed for higher studies. Since this will be criteria as no one will compromise on higher studies and will be willing to do this training.

Funding can be arranged for 50:50. government and public. Some cess can be introduced.

a sense patriotism will be inculcated into the  young who being the future of the country will grow up into politicians, businessmen, professionals. They also have option to pursue a military career later.

Health benefit will be added advantage.

My points may seem radical but we have expectations from the government of the country throughout our lifetime. Can't we spare a mere two years for our country?

Das Narayan says:

Strengthen the internal and external security in the country to safeguard its tax paying citizens.

Create/implement strict internal laws to deal with terrorism and any support in the name of terrorism.

Control and bring to book the activities of every organisation in the name of religion or charity and periodic review and monitoring of the same by security agencies.

National level identification of every Indian with a biological code and tracking of the same for all legal purposes.

India must build up pressure on terrorist states and gather international support in this regard.

States which are aiding and abetting terrorism should be isolated and exposed under UN charters and declared as terrorist states immediately.

Having learned from all the past lessons, international community and UN should immediately act on terrorist in such lawless states and install new law and new administration in those countries.

Based on a time bound manner if nothing of the above are working out for the good, sovereign nations should be ready to protect its boundaries and citizens and should make use of its forces with a clear cut planning to ensure complete success.

Guriqbal Singh says:

India's best options are to hurt Pakistan economically in what ever way. For example naval blockade in international waters is one option.

Next water diversion at critical times is another, there can always be critical circumstances beyond our control and agreements be damned just as the cooperation on terrorism is. Let them scream, we can always say provide proof just as they do. Water should be too much when they don't need it and too little when they need it.

Military action if mooted should be in the form of precision attacks with surgical skill and then tell white lies by denying them. India should never think of economic cooperation such as the gas pipeline with Pakistan, that would be like nursing a snake which would be bound to strike at us because that is in the nature of its being. The main idea is to weaken that country economically in whatever and which ever way. This needs bipartisan political approach which should be beyond discussion and purview of our stupid media.

Initiate actions to tie up international monetary support to good conduct meaning controlling terrorist activity from its soil. Further let China know economic cooperation and trade will be affected, come down heavily with penalties on all who trade and use illegally imported Chinese goods.

In short India's position and stability in financial and trade matters should be fully exploited. Remember, the erstwhile USSR came to heel because of economic weakness. Pakistan vis a vis India is in a similar situation.

Finally, it is suggested the nuclear bogey should be played down as it shows our helplessness, if at all it needs to be referred to, it should be our second strike capability that we should highlight in case of any misadventure by Pakistan.

Narayanan says:

Indo-Pak war is not an option.

1. India can't afford to go on the offensive just because our rogue neighbour is not an established responsible nuclear state and they don't have a clear nuclear doctrine or declared no-first-use policy unlike India.

2. Threat of China's intrusion in aid of Pakistan in case of an Indian military offensive.

China has always been looking to make inroads and destabilise India, be it politically or geographically or economically. An Indian offensive will only open the backdoors for this creeping tiger to come in and wreak havoc in aid of Pakistan, their long time ally and this will only lead to more confusion.

3. India should go to the UN and draw international attention for suitable action against Pakistan.   

If we really want Pakistan to act this time, then we should draw the attention of UN to apply pressure on Pakistan to take some concrete measures and to show some credibility.

4. Public blame game and rhetoric won't help.

India and Pakistan should stop going public to the media and share intelligence through their respective agencies and act responsibly when it comes to working together to sort this issue out.