Saturday, November 8, 2008

Move to the offensive mode: Doval

Move to the offensive mode: Doval
Sept 27, 2008
An Interview by Harinder Baweja
Source: Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 38,

Whoever thinks faster will win, former IB chief AK Doval tells HARINDER BAWEJA

As the former director of the Intelligence Bureau, what do you think the state needs to do to counter terror?

The state does not have the political will by which it can convert its intrinsic state power into real power. That can happen if the politicians are prepared to take the right decisions in the national interest, unmindful of the political consequences to their own self and their party. When there is a conflict between the interest of a party or an individual and the interest of the state, the latter should prevail.

Is there a failure in collecting cutting edge intelligence?

We require pro-active intelligence to degrade their [terrorists’] capability and degrade their resources. We are chasing them, but they are ahead of us. You require a paradigm shift in the intelligence approach. We have to get from the defensive mode to the offensive mode. Every hour, new ideas need to be generated. It is essentially a game of outsmarting and outwitting. Whoever can think faster and do the unexpected will win the game.

From past experience we know that POTA and TADA did not succeed.

It is totally incorrect. Neither TADA failed, nor POTA failed. First we must know what is the purpose of legislation. Legislation is the demonstration of national will through politically elected representatives on a particular issue. Through POTA you conveyed to the terrorists groups and their mentors that India will respond to acts of terror with all the force at its command.
It also works as a deterrant not only to the terrorists but their overground supporters. Legislation is not about how many people have been sent to jail. It also works as a motivator for the law enforcing agencies.

Conviction under TADA was 1 percent.

Anti-terrorist laws are not for conviction only. When POTA was in force, only onetwentieth of the number died as compared to when POTA was removed. Within six months of removal of POTA, SIMI struck on July 5, 2005 at Ayodhya. The trail of their terrorist depravations from that day has remained unabated.

But SIMI activists are being acquitted by the courts for lack of evidence.

Convictions and acquittals depend on the evidence that is produced in the court and not on the guilt of the individual. The courts are not there to find the truth but to examine the evidence . In terrorist cases, the evidence is difficult to find, particularly if the yardstick of common crimes is applied to them.

But there is something called the criminal justice system.

Yes, a criminal justice system is important. However, the Mallimath Committee that examined the criminal administration system of India unequivocally felt that the country’s criminal justice system was totally inadequate for meeting terrorist threats.
They recommended far reaching changes which, unfortunately, the government has shelved. Terrorism is a form of war, and its jurispudence has to be different from those applicable with respect to ordinary crime.

How can this serious threat be met?

The solution lies in various concentric circles — at the levels of policy formulation, implementation, technical, operational and legal. We also need policies that will minimise the sense of alienation among various sections of society. We also need to minimise collateral damages. There is a need for bringing convergence in intelligence activity and at least bringing all central intelligence agencies under one umbrella, as has been done in the US.



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