Sunday, September 6, 2009

Right kind of strategy can defeat the Maoists

Right kind of strategy can defeat the Maoists
by Ajit Doval
July 18, 2009
Mail Today

WHEN the government proclaims Left Wing Extremism as the most serious security threat faced by the country, the obvious question that arises is: What exactly determines the seriousness of a security threat in comparable terms? It is determined by the viciousness of the enemy’s intentions and its capability of causing damage and destruction to achieve its objectives. In this context, intentions include political and ideological objectives that can undermine the established politicoconstitutional order.
Capabilities encompass a wide range of factors — weapons holdings, skills and motivation levels, financial strength, collaborative linkages, quality of leadership, organisation etc.
This, however, is only half the truth. A security threat also depends on the comprehensive power of the state and its ability and will to exercise it, the strength of its institutions to convert state objectives to ground realities, and the capacity of its leadership to optimise its gains from available resources. Often threats assume a seriousness disproportionate to their intrinsic strength not because they are per- se formidable but because the response is deficient. Left Wing Extremism is a case in point.
Left extremists enjoy many advantages like vast and inaccessible terrain which is difficult to dominate or sanitise no matter what force levels are pumped in. Remember how long and what all it took to neutralise one Veerappan in a relatively much smaller area? Further, they have to their advantage not only a huge alienated population that has suffered decades of social and economic neglect, but a setting where the extremists enjoy reach and credibility that no other state or non state actor, including political parties, do. Their other strength is availability of an ideology easy for the extremists to package and sell in the backdrop of the poor credibility of “ democratic” political parties and their leaders.
The extremists are able to project the existing political order as being responsible for their suffering and offering their brand of communism as the sure and only answer. With no counterview projected, they are able to exploit caste conflicts in Bihar, resentment against landlords in Andhra, sentiment against forest laws and practices in tribal areas, unemployment among youth or radicalism among sections of Muslims simultaneously, putting Maoism before all of them as a panacea. Their other strength lies in large scale rural unemployment — increasing every year with a rising youth population. With availability of money to pay as regular salaries, they have more people willing to join their People’s Army than they are capable of training and handling.
However, the story does not end here — they have some high vulnerabilities as well. Like most ideology driven movements, the Left Wing Extremists are controlled by less than a dozen top kingpins and nearly 30 commanders of its armed cadre. They determine the political line, control the resources and design their strategy. The majority of the 13,000 odd armed cadres and the many more supporters are gullible tribals and poor people misled by vicious propaganda, frightened by the gun or lured by the money. For the leaders — who themselves live in conditions of safety and comfort — they are easily replaceable commodities.
Neutralisation of top leaders and activists in the four decades long history of Left Extremism has invariably led to ideological dilution, dissensions, demoralisation, giving a blow to their image of invincibility, and creating doubts about the political viability of the movement and achievability of victory through violence. At the tactical level, it has led to a struggle for leadership, a disruption in sources of funding and weapons and the abandonment of plans in the pipeline.
Further, the questioning of top leaders has often provided strategic and tactical inputs, which, when pursued imaginatively, have substantially weakened the movement. Inherent in intelligent interrogation of top functionaries lie answers to questions that can lead to degradation of the movement.
At times, they become part of the government’s counter terrorist effort and whenever that happens their contribution is substantial. Targeted operations against them are also much more cost effective than frittering away the forces too thinly on the ground and exposing them to dangers with little corresponding gains.
The other vulnerability of Left extremism is its discredited ideology, which has not only been discarded all around the world, but goes against the Indian ethos and civilisational mindset.
Devoid of its ideological plank the movement stands reduced to a problem of organised crime. The leadership fears nothing more than losing its revolutionary halo, though a good number of them lead a life of comfort and, amongst many, even ideological conviction is not as strong as generally believed.
The demolition of this contrived self image is their high vulnerability. A credible, focused and sustained psywar offensive to expose the movement as anti- people will be hard for them to counter. The people should be made to realise that the movement is nothing but a pipe- dream of a few to acquire power through violence.
Contradictions in their ideologies and stories of the ordinary people’s suffering under totalitarian regimes, too, need to be highlighted. There are also many aspects of their collaboration with the rich and powerful to collect funds, instances of moral turpitude, the use of high handed methods to deal with dissent, which need to be given wide publicity. They may not produce instant results but credibly structured, imaginatively packaged and widely disseminated, they can produce spectacular results over a period of time.
It is noteworthy that people are attracted to Left extremism not so much by its ideology as on account of their high personal alienation. The political parties have an antidote to outdo the Left extremists in this game by accessing the people, mobilising them against extremist ideology, redressing their grievances and allaying their fears — real or imaginary — by democratically acceptable means.
Unfortunately, the divisive politics of the country, thriving on the faultlines of caste, religion, language, ethnicity etc are more a cause than cure of the problem. Further, quite often the political parties arrive at a secret political understanding with the extremists for electoral gains. At times, they buy peace by surrendering to their unreasonable demands like allowing them to raise funds or transferring upright and honest officers.
Political parties which for the last six decades have mobilised people under all conceivable faultlines of caste, ethnicity, language, religion etc. should, shift their focus now and use all their equations and influence to defend democracy and national interests.
The money factor is another important element helping Left extremists to expand and intensify their activities.
It enables them to raise their cadre strength by recruiting unemployed youth on regular salaries. A fresh recruit is paid Rs 2,000 to 2,500 per month, which in a poverty stricken backward area is a big attraction. Similarly, with accretion in financial resources, they are able to procure more sophisticated and greater quantities of weapons, adding to their firepower and lethality.
It is estimated that the extremists are able to collect nearly Rs 1200 crore a year, which is big money, for carrying out a subversive warfare in tribal and backward areas. It is able to raise these funds through corrupt government officials, protection money collected from rich landlords and businessmen, by intimidating contractors, transporters etc. and the imposition of levies on forest and coal produce etc.
Paradoxically, the increase in government outlays for development activities in affected areas also strengthen them financially because these enhanced outlays are not backed up by an effective and accountable administrative machinery.
Naxal violence is different from other conventional terrorist models in its tactics which provide much larger space for security and intelligence agencies to operate. Unlike terrorists who work through small conspiratorial groups, maintaining utmost secrecy, Naxal violence is carried out through mobilisation of large bodies of men running into several hundreds. Intelligence penetration in such situations is much easier and can open up various possibilities to counter their actions.
The doctrine of using time tested methods of pumping in more paramilitary forces without a definite plan, enhancing modernisation grants without monitoring how they are being used, and building ever new platforms for better coordination may be correct, but they are not adequate to tackle the problem. A strategic shift is necessary to turn the tide in our favour.
The writer is former chief of the Intelligence Bureau

Will the national terror outfit become just another agency?

Will the national terror outfit become just another agency?Times of India
Ajit Doval
12 January 2009, 04:43am IST

Establishing a national counter terrorism agency is a positive idea whose time had come quite some time back but got registered only when it came riding on the tragedy of Mumbai. It was heartening that the law makers seized the opportunity to constitute a national agency to counter terrorism. However, the way in which it is being conceived and designed, it may belie the high expectations.

Demand for an effective National Counter Terrorism Agency emanated from national dismay that when reasonably good intelligence was available, when the country had instrumentalities to counter the terrorists, when there was a coordination mechanism in place, why did Mumbai happen? And when it did, why was the response so flat-footed?

It required no great genius to discover that the fault lay in the system itself where multiplicity of agencies prevented any one agency to have the total picture; disabling any single agency or individual to be in total command to act decisively and leaving coordination to degenerate into a bureaucratic ritual. It was a case where every agency or individual had all the material to defend itself, but collectively little to defend the nation. The system was designed to fail as those with knowledge had no legal empowerment or fire power, while those with fire power were not in the knowledge loop and those with legal empowerment were tactically deficient and resource constrained.

On top of this, there was multiplicity of agencies even in each category without standardized operating procedures, governing rules and doctrines, training and equipment, and commonly shared objectives and priorities. This had to be corrected divergence substituted by convergence, turf wars replaced by synergy and concerted action taking over confusion. And, for this, they thought a unified national agency was the answer.

However, the envisaged NIA does not bring us anywhere closer to this objective. On the contrary, it adds one more standalone platform with no structural integration or operational unification. As a post-event investigation agency, at its best, it might marginally increase conviction rates or get enhanced punishment to few jihadis who, working at suicidal level of motivation, may only find it amusing.

Had this agency existed before Mumbai carnage, none of the shortcomings that came to light would have been minimized. It would not have ensured improved intelligence integration or action oriented dissemination, better pre-emptive or preventive response, etc. Rather than ending the turf war there would have been one more player playing it. They might be interrogating Ajmal Kasab little better but the real masterminds would have still remained beyond their reach and jurisdiction. Legal actions are important but, at the end of the day, war against terrorism would neither be won nor lost in the courts of law.

What India needed was a counter terrorism outfit that converges all-source intelligence collection and its dissemination, real time and decisive physical response to meet the threat both in defensive and offensive-defense modes and efficient investigations to punish the wrong doers. And, all this under a common umbrella with unambiguous responsibility, authority and accountability.

While the intelligence function should have aimed at collection, integration of all-source inputs and their refinement to operational grade intelligence, the physical action component should have focused on terrorist specific tactics, field craft, equipment and skills for speed, surprise and dominance.

Investigators as part of the composite Team, should have been selected for their special skills and attitude including knowledge of terrorist groups, modus operandi, collaborative linkages, channels of procuring funds and weapons, etc. Most importantly, highly knowledgeable and skilled interrogation teams should have been constituted.

To be effective, the new outfit should develop a secure E-network connecting the apex agency to all district headquarters and police stations. It should be linked to the agency's data mining centre where terrorist information from police station to the highest in the agency is inputed according to availability and retrieved according to needs; with appropriate security measures, firewalls and filters. The agency should have state of the art, technical infrastructure to collect technical and cyber intelligence, break the codes, analyze terrorist documents, carry out technical surveillance and jam terrorist communications during physical engagements.

Specialized counter terrorist force, like the NSG, should be brought under the control of the agency for undertaking intelligence driven operations and remaining in readiness with constantly rehearsed exercises for physical actions. They should be constantly updated of emerging trends, techniques, weapons, modus operandi targets etc. Commandos are not robots and their mental tuning is necessary for optimal results. The personnel carrying out intelligence, physical and investigation functions should carry out joint exercises and train themselves together to achieve total synergy.

The ideal arrangement would be to have a director general, counter terrorism who is ex-officio special director of the Intelligence Bureau with all counter-terrorist work, multi agency centre and joint task force on intelligence centralized under his control.

Being part of IB, the outfit will overnight acquire communication linkage, intelligence reach, logistic and technical support, connectivity with local police and administration not only in every district but remotest border areas. This will bring the whole country under a unified counter terrorist grid with no extra cost or time involved. No comprehensive counter terrorist data centre can be built to the exclusion of intelligence inputs and due to various sensitivities involved, no intelligence agency can transfer its entire data to a non-intelligence agency.

If the director general of Counter Terrorism is made part of IB, he can have total access to the intelligence data, will also be able to leverage vast technical capabilities of national intelligence agencies both for intelligence and to keep the counter terrorist force at its technical best. The director general of the new agency should, however, enjoy total autonomy and should be the only person empowered under laws to undertake counter terrorist actions.

To enable him to control, train, equip and motivate men for special counter terrorist actions, the NSG should be brought under his command. This will enable the NSG to be associated on a day-to-day basis with all the developments on the terrorist front and help upgrade their tactics and field craft in tune with the emerging demands. The DG should also be empowered to maintain liaison with friendly security and counter terrorist agencies, as when handled by those who know little about terrorism, the loss in content and time is unaffordable. They are also not able to seek right amplifications, raise the level of dialogue from generic to specific and fine tune the action plans by distinguishing between immediate and important.

This will also help the DG to keep abreast of latest techniques, technologies, equipment and weapons that have proved effective against the terrorists and take initiatives to keep his armed wing best trained and equipped. Fourth generation warfare needs people who can change fast, think fast and act fast in this battle, it's not the bravest but the smartest that takes the trophy.

None of the measures suggested above encroach on powers of the states any more than the NIA Act does. It also does not require any amendments to existing laws and can be achieved within executive powers of the union government. With what is happening in Pakistan, Afghanistan and within our own country we may be in for much greater shocks than Mumbai and we are not prepared for it. We think the latest was the last but the worst is probably yet to come. Today there is mood for change in the nation but it may have a short shelf life. The consensus on response to terrorism is an opportunity to be seized.

(The author is former head of IB)

Abject surrender at Sharm-el-Sheikh

Abject surrender at Sharm-el-Sheikh

Ajit Doval
First Published : 01 Sep 2009 11:09:00 PM IST
The New Indian Express

Whatever the mode of engagement — war or diplomacy — nations interact to maximise their national interest. In adverse conditions, like defeat in war, they work to minimise their losses. The icing of ideology, morality, justice, global and human interest is often just trappings added to lend legitimacy and acceptability to what they mostly lack. The degree of success in furthering one’s national interests is determined by a nation’s comprehensive state power and the will and vision of its leadership to exercise it.
Notwithstanding its decisive edge in terms of state power, India has failed to further its interests vis-à-vis Pakistan. Without any legal or political locus standi it has allowed Pakistan to become a stakeholder in Kashmir. Despite being guilty of violating norms of international behaviour Pakistan has gone unpunished though its sponsorship of terrorism has led to thousands of deaths. Worse, it has constricted India’s options and forced it to the negotiating table in a position of weakness. Sharm-el-Sheikh is where Pakistan got away unscathed after the Mumbai carnage and inveigled India to the negotiating table.
On April 15, talking to the Editors’ Guild, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pronounced that, “There won’t be any resumption of bilateral talks till Islamabad stops allowing terrorists to use its territory against India”. On July 16, he signed a joint statement with his Pakistani counterpart at Sharm-el-Sheikh agreeing that “India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues” (read Kashmir) and lowering the focus on terrorism by stating that the “real challenge is development and poverty” (and not terrorism?). Only two inferences can be drawn from these apparently contradictory positions. First, Pakistan did something momentous between April 15 and July 16 that convinced India that Pakistani territory was no more being used for terrorism and that anti-India activities and consequently terrorism had ceased to be the central issue.
Drawing the right lessons
The Prime Minister’s assertion during the Chief Ministers conference on August 17 that, “Cross-border terrorism remains the most pervasive threat and there is credible information of ongoing plans of terrorist groups in Pakistan to carry out fresh attacks”, makes it obvious that this is far from correct. The other inference would be uncharitable, impinging upon his credibility and consistency. Prime ministers have, understandably, to work in the best interests of their countries even if that is at the cost of their personal image. The question, therefore, is not whether the Prime Minister has been credible and consistent, but whether he has been able to pursue the country’s Pakistan policy in its best interests. It is also important to examine whether we, as a nation, have drawn the right lessons and internalised them in formulating our national security and strategic doctrines. Countries that fail are destined to be punished by history.
The following are a few of the negatives of the Sharm-el-Sheikh communiqué in the context of India’s national interests:
The first point is that it put a lid over India’s pronouncements following 26/11 that, ‘all options were open’. In the wake of the groundswell of global condemnation Pakistan was seriously unnerved by India’s assertions. Apprehensions soared high. It was at this time that they took steps against Lashkar-e-Toiba leaders while making desperate pleas for restarting the stalled dialogue.
But the pressure was terminated at Sharm el-Sheikh. The joint statement mentioned that, “Both Prime Ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward”. The formulation that the prime ministers “considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to chartering the way forward in India-Pakistan relations” and agreed that the foreign secretaries “should meet as often as necessary and report to the two foreign ministers” who would meet on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly, meant the stalled talks were restarted without any of India’s concerns being addressed. It is intriguing that on June 16, the Prime Minister told President Asif Ali Zardari in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg of his “limited mandate”, only to discuss how Islamabad can rein in terror. His later clarifications carried little conviction against the written words of the communiqué, particularly in the wake of statements that subsequently emanated from Pakistan. It sent the message that no matter how hard it was hit, today or tomorrow, India had no options but to talk and the brave words were meant only for a domestic constituency.
Respectable once again
Secondly, Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were let off the hook. The Prime Minister, addressing the Chief Ministers conference on Jan 6, had said that, “On the basis of investigations, there is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan.” On July 17, the Prime Minister made a U-turn, saying India does not accuse the current regime of “active involvement” in terror. In reply to a question, he asserted that, “There is a history to it. But it is certainly true that I am not accusing the present Pakistani government of active involvement”. Pakistan thus could once again demand to be treated as a respectable and responsible state. Its argument that even if some Pakistani nationals belonging to a terrorist outfit were involved, as a country it could not be held accountable, gained credence. The fact that Lashkar-e-Toiba is a creation and protégé of Pakistani intelligence got lost in the din.
Again, by bringing the two on a common pedestal on the terrorist front India has lost its diplomatic edge. By stating that “Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries” and affirming, “Their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end,” Manmohan Singh allowed India to be equated with Pakistan. The reality is that while India for over two decades has been a victim of terrorism exported by Pakistan, leading to over 80,000 deaths, Pakistan is the victim of a self-inflicted injury caused by a jihadi agenda as an instrument of state policy to deal with India.
Fourthly, the formulation that Pakistan would “do everything in its powers” to “bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice” was the minimalist position with which India was surprisingly satisfied. There was no call to dismantle the infrastructure of terror, stop infiltration, return Indian nationals wanted in serious crimes from sanctuaries in Pakistan, large-scale smuggling of weapons, explosives, counterfeit currency from Pakistan, etc. There is no indication that India even raised these concerns. The formulation that “Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its powers in this regard (Mumbai attacks)” sounds like a reluctant ritualistic formality rather than a commitment to action that India should have extracted or refused to have a joint statement at all.
One blunder after another
In the overall context of the bilateral relationship and the fact that the meeting was on the sidelines of an international conference, a joint statement was hardly needed. It must be on Pakistan’s insistence that, to deflect the focus from terrorism, “Both leaders agreed that the real challenge is development and the elimination of poverty”. It was advantage Pakistan as it wanted to marginalise terrorism.
Then, the reference to violence in “Balochistan” and “Other areas” in the context of terrorism is a historic blunder. It lends legitimacy to Pakistan’s unfounded accusations of India sponsoring terrorism in a neighbouring country. The reference to “other areas” gives Pakistan space to blame India for any terrorist action in its territory. India’s acceptance of a discourse substantially weakens its position. In future, whenever Pakistan is confronted with evidence of its terrorist activities, sabotage and subversion in Kashmir, it will counter with fabricated evidence on Balochistan. It will also use it to denigrate India through a malicious propaganda war internationally. The instrument will further be used to pressure India in Afghanistan and enlist Western support by extending the argument of Pakistan’s security as a precondition to fight the ‘West’s War’ against al-Qaeda and Taliban. That Pakistan is going to use this newfound weapon was obvious when in his first press conference after Sharm-el-Sheikh Prime Minister Gilani said that “The joint statement signed by me and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlines our concerns over India’s interference in Balochistan and other areas.” Manmohan Singh’s rejoinder that “If you have any evidence, we are willing to look at it because we are an open book; we are doing nothing. Therefore we are not afraid of discussing these issues”, has little meaning in this context. This is what Pakistan also can turn around and say probably with greater vigour, rejecting all evidence, to claim innocence.
National interest overlooked
Acceptance of the position that “Terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed”, militates against India’s interests. It implies that while Pakistan may continue to bleed India, India should continue with the talks and refrain from counter measures;
Non-mention of Kashmir to be acclaimed as an achievement is misleading. As Satish Chandra, former deputy National Security Advisor aptly puts it, “It is puerile to contend, as some have, that the ‘K’ word does not figure in the statement, as the phrase “outstanding issues” is shorthand for the same and forms part of the composite dialogue process”.
Why does Pakistan so desperately want to talk? It is aware that there are very few areas where the two countries could really have any meaningful partnership. It is Kashmir, which is central in Pakistan’s strategic and security calculus, that it wants to tackle through a two-pronged policy of use of covert action on one hand and dialogue on the other.
On Kashmir, India is a status quoist state. It has, wrongly, stopped pressing its claim over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Having illegally occupied one-third of the state, Pakistan estimates that through terrorism, subversion in Kashmir, international machinations and now nuclear blackmail, it can extract concessions on Kashmir. Talks keep the issue open bilaterally, reinforce its character as an unresolved international dispute, retard India’s progress — which threatens to widen the gap between the state powers of the two countries — and commits Indian troops, enabling Pakistan to maintain effective parity in force levels at minimal cost. As a weaker power it cannot achieve these objectives militarily, so it resorts to low-cost covert action, ie, terrorism, sabotage, subversion. However reprehensible, Pakistan’s policy objectives and strategy are clear and it cannot be accused of being muddle headed.
But why does it want to hold talks? It is to minimise the attendant cost of hitting a powerful adversary and using instrumentalities which in today’s world invite international reprobation. It needs to be emphasised that covert action comes with a price tag, albeit with a difference — act now pay later. The cost is determined by the aggrieved party’s capacity and will to punish the delinquent and create international pressure that is unaffordable for the delinquent. Pakistan has perfected the art of synchronising and calibrating both aspects of covert action, leveraging variables on both fronts to its advantage. In the first, it recruits, trains, motivates, arms and uses terrorist groups to inflict maximum losses through acts of depredation. In the second, it manages the fallout by disclaiming its role, making loud pronouncements to its commitment to fight terror, projecting itself as a prime victim, highlighting the dangers of conflict between two nuclear states and using the dependence of its Western allies in the fight against terror to restrain India and demand resumption of dialogue. More importantly, it projects Kashmir as the core factor in the birth and proliferation of Islamic terror in Pakistan that now threatens the world. It wants the matter tackled in a way that de-emotionalises potential terrorists in the interest of global peace and safety. Talks are considered a means, for which it wants the support of the international community — which in effect implies pressuring India.
To India, through terrorist depredations it conveys the hard message of the cost of retaining Kashmir. It follows the principle that force against the adversary must be decisive to generate desired results but when it comes to the costs, it advances the principle that all contentious issues can only be resolved through peaceful methods and force provides no answer. So talks and preparations for the next attack go on concurrently. Musharraf’s assertion in his autography that “I would like to state emphatically that whatever movement has taken place so far in the direction of finding a solution to Kashmir is due considerably to the Kargil conflict” is indicative of this mindset. Despite military failure, Pakistani strategists saw Kargil not as a debacle but a success story vis-à-vis its policy objective.
Pakistan’s dangerous doctrine
Pakistan also feels that its nuclear possessions hedge it against the world allowing it to fall apart, whatever its follies. Both subtly and blatantly it works on a dangerous doctrine that the consequences of a failed nuclear Pakistan with an army of Islamic radicals would be unaffordable to the world as a whole. It estimates that it can exploit its unique setting to force the world not only to keep it going politically and economically but even provide it with strategic space vis-à-vis India and Afghanistan. Even the terrorists are concurrently seen as both liability and asset. Pakistan works on the premise that success in short time-frames is what is important. It’s the immediate that matters. Even the long-term framework is only the cumulative total of short-term actions and responses.
The West’s fear forces it to focus on the short term, foregoing the long-term strategic sites. It remains content with what little Pakistan delivers, at whatever cost. Even undermining India’s legitimate security concerns is an affordable cost as the personal ‘stakes are high’. This suits Pakistan but singles out and isolates India. It underlines the need for India to evolve an independent strategy to protect its sovereign interests.
Thus, there is a pattern and design in Pakistan’s strategy of strike-talk-strike. But when India allows itself to be sucked into this vicious spiral it defies reasoning. Following Kargil, Musharraf was asked by Gulf News, on June 15, 2003, if it could happen again. His reply: “We don’t trust India… Bilateral talks started only because of Kargil. Another Kargil would depend on how the peace talks proceed.”
When Pakistan struck Mumbai on July 11, 2006, killing more than 200 persons and injuring nearly 800 in seven serial blasts, an anguished Prime Minister asserted that “We are certain the terror modules are instigated, inspired and supported by elements across the border.” And what did Pakistan achieve? Within two months, at Havana India certified that Pakistan was not a terrorist-sponsoring state but a victim state. A “composite dialogue” was initiated, and ISI given a clean chit by asserting that “We must draw distinction between terrorist elements in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan”. No wonder it was hailed as a major success by Pakistan’s establishment, the dividend of July 11, 2006. Some day, Sharm-el-Sheikh will be acclaimed as a trophy of 26/11 by Pakistan.
Assumptions confirmed
If it had been serious about the peace process Pakistan would have unilaterally rolled back its terrorist infrastructure, handed over the Indian criminals provided sanctuary in Pakistan and stopped trans-border infiltration. Till that happens talks and diplomatic engagements will have to follow differently calibrated and nuanced formulations to change Pakistan’s India view. General Aziz Khan, former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressing an army function in Rawalkot on June 24, 2003 had said “Pakistan not only knows how to tackle India but has leaders with the guts.” Sharm-el-Sheikh reinforces their belief in such assumptions.
The writer is a former director of the IB.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ajit Doval, ex-IB chief on intelligence failure

Interview with Shri Ajit Doval on IBN channel on Sept. 15, 2008- in Evening at 6 PM

Ajit Doval, ex-IB chief on intelligence failure
Sept. 15, 2008, IBN channel

Anand: Good Evening Mr. Ajit! The Delhi blasts have once again proved beyond doubt that terrorists are miles ahead of the IB when it comes to planning and execution. What’s also becoming clear is that increasingly they are getting the erudite & tech savvy lot to join their bastions to disrupt the peace in this country by choosing locations at will and with an intention to cause maximum harm. These are ominous signs that we need to nip the evil in the bud or be prepared to witness bloodshed in front of our eyes. No doubt, society at large has a role to play. The simple tenet 'Know thy neighbor' needs to be practised to be aware of one's surroundings. As someone who has been part of the counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence operations, where do you think the lacunae lie and how can we prevent such mindless acts of terror from becoming a routine affair?
Ajit Doval: Firstly, let me assure you that India's intelligence capabilities are not as low as rated by you. Of course, any major blast is a failure and accountability must be fixed. But more important is the intelligence agencies initiating pre-emptive actions to degrade the capabilities of subversive and terrorist organisations. In a large country with democratic freedom 24 x 7 security cannot be ensured and some desperate persons, if they have got the training equipment and motivation to cause explosions, they can't always be prevented. But what is more important is that they are neutralised before they acquire and position these capabilities to bleed the nation. I think covert offensive operations duly empowered and legalised by the state will help a lot provided the nation can muster political will for that.
Shridhar:After major blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur; Now in Delhi. It is really a shame on Indian intelligence. Are you still waiting for the same to happen in all other Indian cities? Better to implement POTA, to nab terrorism. What do you say about this, sir....!
Ajit Doval: I think in today's conditions even POTA is not sufficient. We need to go for laws tougher than that with the provision that any misuse will also be a punishable offence within the Act.
Chandan Sharma: Does India need to become more aggressive when dealing with issues related to Pakistan and do we need an organization like CIA which are not only meant for intelligence gathering but which can eliminate prospective threats within and outside the country through unofficial means.
Ajit Doval: I think we need to bring all central intelligence agencies under one umbrella to ensure seamless integration in their operations, assessments and response. We also need to take a re-look about how to deal with Pakistan from an intelligence perspective. Indian intelligence overall needs to show greater aggressiveness in its approach towards safeguarding vital national interests.
Chenna Padmati: Dear Ajit Doval Sir, though we are seeing the bomb blasts occurring in USA, UK and India, but the frequency at which these are occurring in India is very high. After the London blasts the UK police have thwarted all other attempts by terrorists. What are the reasons in India for having so many Blasts? I would like to know how Indian intelligence differs from US and UK. Please give your answer in detail.
Ajit Doval: I think the first difference is the mere size of the problem that is faced by them and by us. They do not have 15,000 kms of land border of which nearly 9,000 is with Pakistan and Bangladesh which account for infiltration of terrorists, smuggling of arms and explosives and the terrorists finding easy sanctuaries across the borders. Pakistan has been waging a proxy war against India and hence the terrorist and subversive groups have received major support from Pakistan to bleed India which is not the case with the UK. Unfortunately, in India the fight against terror has been politicised and there is no national political consensus on the issue which exists in most of the Western countries. India has also not been able to bring in tough anti-terror laws like the UK and other Western countries despite the fact that it has been the world's largest victim of terrorism.
Rohit Kundra: Hello Mr Doval, You obviously have a very healthy and wise experience in Regards to Intelligence, can you tell the Failures of RAW,IB can be attributed to Red Tape , bureaucracy which I am very sure is one of the causes of our failure to prevent any incident. Look at Israel, probably 1/10 size of India, and 100 times better Intelligence Operations compared to our own, better than the US I would assume, Do we need Government Interference at all, since Govt. is anyways hopeless and hapless in most cases.
Ajit Doval: Red tape is definitely a big stumbling block in a country's performance in various areas of governance. Security and intelligence are no exceptions. I think there is an urgent need for de-bureaucratising India's intelligence agencies both form outside and within.
SRIRAM: Does it demotivate you, as a person fighting terror that SIMI was once banned only to be allowed to function once the Govt. changed and so did the affiliations and vote bank?
Ajit Doval: I think the overall approach towards radical extremist groups including SIMI has been rather soft. The Govt. should have been more firm in dealing with SIMI.
Abhishek: As a common citizen, how can we contribute to improve the situation?
Ajit Doval: Maintaining a high degree of alert and informing the police if anything suspicious comes to your notice.
Nagarajan: Don't you think it's impossible for the intelligence agencies to locate the various spots in a particular city where the terrorist group are planning to strike unless the network is smashed beforehand. It's therefore important to strengthen ground level policing at crowded who become police informer for intelligence agencies.
Ajit Doval: It is not impossible for the intelligence agencies to strike at their hideouts but they can do it only with the full involvement of police authorities. Intelligence operatives do not have powers of the law to strike on their own, arrest, seize, or raid terrorist premises. These powers are only with the police.
Malay Ray: Why can't we have tougher laws to punish all close relatives of terrorists? It is understandable that some innocent people will suffer; but aren't the people suffering from these explosions innocent too? That's one way to build social and emotional pressure on terrorists.
Ajit Doval: The basic jurisprudence of our criminal law is opposed to the idea of sharing responsibility for criminal actions by those who are not co-conspirators or part of a criminal act. Unless we can prove that the family members had connived, no action can be taken against them. I don't think that in today's world, it will be possible to make laws holding innocent persons, even if they are family members, accountable for the acts of a particular terrorist.
Aditya Sanghi:Hi, When we got to know about operation BAD, the next target was to be Delhi, isn’t it a total failure of our intelligence that even after getting the code word, we were not able to avoid these blasts? It brings up a big question mark on the competence level of the intelligence if they are at all keeping pace with technology. Such attacks can never be avoided by police, it needs to be owned by the intelligence. Thanks, Aditya Sanghi Informatica Business Solutions
Ajit Doval: Intelligence working is not confined only to intelligence agencies. The local police has to know their area, the movement and activities of people operating there and ground level sources of information at police station level. Once the intelligence about likely terrorist strikes in Delhi were known, the organisation which is likely to strike, identity of some of its operators etc had been obtained particularly after detailed interrogations of arrested SIMI activists. The police apparatus should have been more vigilant and pro-active.
RK: Sir, I don't blame the Intelligence Agencies. Don't do feel that without strong anti-terror laws, its too much to ask from Intelligence Agencies?
Ajit Doval: I totally agree that intelligence by itself is not the complete answer to terrorist threat. Even if one knows many things but is unable to take any action for want of suitable laws and other empowerments, the problem can't be tackled. India needs very strong anti-terror laws to make use of the knowledge available about the terrorists and their over ground support base.
Nitin Mjh: Hello Sir...I wish to know how was terrorism countered and curbed in Punjab and can't we adopt similar kind of strategies and policies to curb this Islamic terror as well?? Thanks Nitin.
Ajit Doval: I think there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from Punjab as also successes in north-eastern states like Mizoram. At the same time, it is important to understand that all conflicts have their own special characteristics and one model cannot be automatically supplanted in another theatre. Actually, we can learn more from our Kashmir experience in dealing with radical Islamist extremist threat.
ANIL SHETTY: After 9/11 - attack on USA. There is no attack on USA more than 7 years. If they can maintain their security, Why we cannot maintain at least 50% of them.
Ajit Doval: All security systems operate in a certain environment and setting. Our internal and external environment as also availability of resources are quite different than what is obtaining in the US. They have taken a doctrinal decision to take the war from where terror threat emanates. That is in their defensive-offence mode. So the theatre of conflict is say in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or other countries. For various reasons, we are operating in a defensive mode. There is a need to have a re-look at overall strategy to tackle terrorism.
Armoredfish: What do the intelligence agencies normally do? That has to be told to the public now. It is time. It is mostly political intelligence for the ruling party. We do not have any covert agency like the MI6 or the U.K or elsewhere. What is your take on this?
Ajit Doval: Intelligence agencies provide knowledge component at policy formulation, policy execution and operational levels. We do have an elaborate intelligence network covering all the areas of internal and external intelligence. The Indian intelligence agencies are as covert but at the same time accountable to the government as MI-5 & MI-6. However, their activities can't be disclosed to the public and large number of misgivings about their poor performance are because of ignorance about their role and activities. There are large number of successes to their creidt of intelligence agencies which unfortunately can't be shared with teh public. Nevertheless, there is need for considerable improvement.
Vivek: Good Evening Mr. Doval, Is our security apparatus so weak that these attacks just can't be stopped or it merely shows the lack of political will on the part of current government to deal with it.
Ajit Doval: Security apparatus is not weak but obviously in recent years has not been able to cope with the challenges faced by it. There is an urgent need to strengthen and reorgnaise it. Political will is of course the most important component of response mechanism. It detremines the response, capability, in various other allied areas, including efficiency of police forces. Of late, we find poor political will in fighting terrorism.
Aditya Sanghi: Hi, Me as a lay man gets a feeling that there isn’t any coordination between states which is one of the major reasons for the failure of intelligence. What one state says seems to be ignored by the other state or centre. How true is this? Is there a scope for improvement and if yes then what are the top three things that come to your mind to improve this? Thanks and regards, Aditya Sanghi Informatica Business Solutions
Ajit Doval: It is not true that there is no coordination amongst the states though there is nothing so good which cannot be improved. The problem lies at times in legal; formalities which have to be completed before action or info provided by one state to the other is complied with. For example, Gujarat Police could not arrest Abu Basheer from Azamgarh though they had info about his activities. UP Police also could not hand over Basheer after arresting him till he was produced in the court of law and orders obtained. In this interim, lots of useful clues were lost and many conspirators got alerted and fled. In some of the states there is no sensitivity to terrorism and their police forces do not take follow-up action as fast as possible. However, gradually more and more states are coming forward to extend their cooperation.
aathrey:Do you think there is a need for special central Intelligence agency with quick hassle free communication from the top to bottom and vice-versa and from one corner to the other with no politician poking their nose.
Ajit Doval: As far as intelligence agencies are concerned they do have fast and dependable channels of communication. However, what is needed is a nationwide security communication grid which can integrate communication between intelligence agencies, police forces, paramilitarty organsiations and defence forces where they are involved in internal security duties. Such a grid should also be connected to national data bank on terrorists so that any information regarding the terrorists, their plans, movements which are known in one part of the country are automatically transmitted and accessed by other agencies.
Vinay: Our intelligence seems to lag in terms of technology and I.T. Also some hidden traffic cameras would have been helpful. Does our intelligence department spend enough money to upgrade itself from time to time?
Ajit Doval: Technology is an important component of modern day intelligence. All Indian agencies do have high tech capabilities besides having a separate organization known as National Technical Facilities organization which is dedicated to development of new tech and integration. Some highly eminent scientists are involved in tech development for intelligence services. As far as hidden cameras are concerned, it is a good preventive and detective measure that can be used for policing purposes. It is being used in some areas. However, it does not come within the domain of intelligence technical gadgetry.

‘Indian Mujahideen is Pak’s local outsourcing of terror’

‘Indian Mujahideen is Pak’s local outsourcing of terror’
Date: Sept 21, 2008
Mail Today spoke to the country’s three most renowned security experts – former BSF director-general Prakash singh, former IB director Ajit Doval and retired D-G of the NSG and former Delhi Police Commissioner Ved Marwah – to get a closer insight into what Indian Mujahideen is all about:

Is IM an email ID or is it really the new name for terror in India?
AJIT DOVAL: IM is a case of local outsourcing of terror done by Pakistan. In SIMI, Pakistan’s terror outfits found a perfect ally in terms of ideology, age-group and reach across the country.
VED MARWAH: Don’t discount the Pakistan hand in IM. Make no mistake – IM could be a radical local outfit but it is a part of a global jehadi network.
PRAKASH SINGH: IM seems for real, but it can’t be mistaken for a completely indigenous outfit as it wanted everyone to believe through its emails.

But all 13 names of IM cadre given out by the Delhi Police today belong to Azamgarh in UP and are all educated youth…
AJIT DOVAL: It is a cleverly thought-out strategy to militarise some young Indian Muslims and polarize the Indian Muslim population.
VED MARWAH: These are local networks which have been raised by groups like LeT and ISI in Pakistan. The local cells are activated when a terror strike is executed in India.
PRAKASH SINGH: The ‘mastermind’ is using the expanding SIMI network in India to rope in the new generation of educated. IM has apparently sourced its educated and tech-savvy cadre from its parent body, the SIMI.

So then, who is the ‘mastermind’? Abu Bashar or Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, the Osama of India?
AJIT DOVAL: In such a terror act, the actual mastermind may very well be a person who is not actually executing the terror strike or is not even making the bombs. He could be a person doing the main planning and strategizing.
VED MARWAH: We can say only about the mastermind of a certain serial blast. There can be links between various blasts but the real planner could be sitting far away in Karachi, Dubai or Kabul.
PRAKASH SINGH: It is not proper on part of the police to quickly say that they have killed the mastermind of Indian Mujahideen as Delhi Police did just hours after the encounter. The police made two arrests and these persons should be first interrogated properly to know the complete contours of the crime.

But what has prompted this local element-driven terror in India? Are Gujarat riots, which finds mention in each email sent by the IM, to blame for it?
AJIT DOVAL: I would say that SIMI started organizing itself in a big way and its underground cadre became active after POTA was lifted in December 2004. Regarding Gujarat, I would say that such riot-hit areas could have been targeted by the SIMI as a catchments’ area for new recruits.
VED MARWAH: What we need to nip this terrorism in its bud is to stop the unfortunate policy of going soft on terror where even cabinet ministers are backing SIMI. Centre-state co-operation on terror has broken down in the tenure of this government.
PRAKASH SINGH: The Gujarat riots did lead to a new evolution of terrorism in the country. But these terrorists cannot use that as a pretext to kill innocents.
(As told to Aman Sharma)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bleeding from within

Bleeding from within
*Ajit Doval
25 Aug 2009
Source: New Indian Express

The country’s internal security environment, which suffered steady deterioration during UPA’s earlier five-year rule, continues to remain a cause of serious concern. Now that the government is no more fettered by pulls and pressures of coalition partners, which its apologists claimed prevented it from decisive actions in the past, it is regrettable that the situation is showing no signs of abatement. I would like to point out some of the disturbing trends which indicate callous apathy of the government to attend to this vital aspect of governance thereby not only endangering the safety and security of the aam aadmi but also seriously undermining the national interests. These are illustrative and not an exhaustive list of serious acts of commission and omission by the government.

Left Wing Extremism
* Fast spatial growth of the problem. When the UPA government took over there were estimated 76 districts in nine states (MHA Annual Report 2004-05) of the country affected by LWE. Today, as per a study carried out by Centre for Land and Air Warfare Studies, corroborated by many other experts on the subject the number ranges from 203 to 252 districts in 18 states. Practically 35 districts are getting sucked into the vortex of LWE every year despite the prime minister proclaiming on November 4, 2004 that naxalism constitutes the biggest threat facing the country. The pathetic response to a security threat that at the highest level is assessed as the biggest national threat raises serious doubts, both of the capabilities and intentions of the government.

* As per the figures released by the database of International Institute of Strategic Studies giving details of each incident of Left Wing Extremism, the total fatalities for the five-year period from 1999 to 2003 stood at 1,550. As against this the figures for the five-year period from 2004 to 2008 stand at 3,177, depicting an alarming increase of 100 per cent. The current year gives no signs of comfort. In seven months of the current year 475 people including 255 civilians have lost their lives. (Figures given by Mail Today — July 13, 2009). Similarly, the number of Naxalite incidents is also consistently showing an upward trend. In seven months of the current year 1,130 incidents have been reported as against 1,591 in entire 2008. (Figures given by Mail Today — July 13, 2009).

* Other cause of serious concern is the high rate of killing of police personnel. From 2004 to 2008, 877 brave policemen were martyred. While last year 231 police personnel were killed, in seven months of this year the number had touched the figure of 230. The police personnel need better protection against land mines and IED’s as also frequent ambushes. They need better body protection equipment, weapons, communication and transport facilities.

* The strength of armed guerrillas has swelled from less than 7,000 in early 2004 to somewhere around 13,500. Left extremists, today, have many more and much sophisticated weapons; some of them suspected to be from external sources. They raise funds nearly to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore a year and accretion in their financial strength is directly in proportion to funds released for development of Naxal affected areas. One lesson of insurgencies world over is that pumping funds without required infrastructure, accountability and administrative apparatus to ensure its fruitful absorption only enriches the insurgents. The extremists have acquired tactical skills, terrain knowledge and intelligence capabilities, that too in inaccessible rural and forest hinterland, that the security agencies are finding it difficult to cope with.


The recent reports indicating large-scale infiltration of terrorists and weapons from Pakistan is a matter of serious concern. The army on April 25, 2009, paraded before the media, a Pakistani terrorist named Syed Moinullah Shah, who disclosed that he was member of a group of 120 people, who entered Kashmir earlier that month. The display of weapons recovered on his disclosures was mind boggling, both in quantity and their lethality. In the last few months there have been every day reports of fierce and long encounters between the security forces and the militants indicating presence of a new genre of terrorists — better armed, trained and networked. This exposes persistent claims of the government of sharp improvement in security situation in J&K. Even the army chief has indicated backing to these terrorists of the Pakistanis, and recently told the NDTV that ‘The camps, which were there on the other side, are still existing. There is definite support for infiltration from the other side. The kind of equipment with which these militants have been caught — whether in terms of weapons or communication equipment — indicate the tremendous supports given to them by the other side’. Quoting official sources Asian Age (April 24, 2009), reported that, ‘Available inputs confirm that 1,000 terrorists will be sent from 26 different terror camps located in several areas of Pakistan’. The report quoting an official further added, ‘Lashkar has at least 30 terror camps located in Muzaffarabad and Kotli. There are confirmed reports that at least 550 Lashkar militants are being prepared by their handlers for carrying out terror activities in India. They will also be sent to India by June end’. All these developments are indicative of a fast deteriorating security scenario with grave threats to India’s sovereignty and integrity.

It is surprising that the joint communiqué signed by the PM with his Pakistani counterpart makes no mention of continuing support to terrorists by Pakistan, the presence of camps there, continuous infiltration of terrorists from across the border but instead Pakistan’s concern on Balochistan has been added.


Terrorism continues to be the most serious threat confronting the nation; most of it. While it has a profound external component, efforts have also been made within the country to subvert some misguided youth. The government instead of dealing with the problem firmly and by building national capacities to contain and counter them is pursuing illusive diplomacy to deal with it.

In September 2006, the government claimed a major break-through in Havana when it declared that Pakistan was a terrorist victim and not a terrorist sponsoring state. In a statement the government said; ‘The fact is, terrorism is a threat to Pakistan and it has been a threat to India. We need to have a collective mechanism to deal with it’. Surprisingly, it came just after Mumbai blasts of July 11, 2006 in which 201 persons were killed and 714 injured in seven serial blasts. After the blasts the prime minister had said, “We are certain that the terror modules responsible for the Mumbai blasts are instigated, inspired and supported by the elements across the border”. And what was the consequence of this capitulation. From that date till Mumbai carnage of November 26, 2008, 18 major incidents of terrorist attacks took place in the country.

Pakistan let loose reign of terror in which 602 persons were killed and 1,649 were injured in a span of two years. And, what is the lesson we have learnt from this? We tamely signed a joint communiqué with Pakistan resuming the dialogue process in which instead of articulating our concerns as an aggrieved party we agreed that comprehensive dialogue would be de-linked from terrorism. Pakistan’s policy is very clear to coerce India into submission through bleeding it continuously, this was best articulated by Musharraf who during the SAARC summit in Nepal in January 2002 said that the Kashmir issue ‘was linked to Indian terrorism and cannot be separated’.

Despite repeated assurances by the government and claims of major diplomatic victory, Pakistan has taken no tangible and verifiable steps to stop its terrorist offensive against India and bring to book the culprits of 26/11 Mumbai blasts. It is not only that the appeal for detention of Hafiz Saeed has been withdrawn but no accomplices and associates of the 10 Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai have been arrested or proceeded against. As the investigations have revealed the planning and preparations of Mumbai attacks took over one year in which Kasab and his associates were recruited, imparted training, provided weapon, communication lines were established, intelligence was collected, safe houses in Pakistan were established, their journey to Mumbai through sea was planned and various logistic arrangements were tied up. Most of it happened on Pakistani soil. It is not only the senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Toiba like Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah who were involved but also tens of others were active accomplices in this plan. Pakistan has taken no action against them. It is only hoodwinking the international opinion by pertaining to be keen to take action. But, what is most regrettable is that India lends credence and legitimacy to Pakistani claim by not only resuming talks but also agreeing to have intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

We would like the government to take immediate steps if it wants to make its electoral promise of zero-level tolerance to terrorism a reality rather than a mere electioneering slogan:

* Strengthen its intelligence apparatus, particularly at the operational level to pre-empt, prevent and punish the terrorists

* Accord early approval to various long pending state legislations against organised crimes

* Strengthen border security with higher technological support to control terrorist infiltration

* To restore the confidence of the people in the rule of law, execute the punishment accorded to Afzal Guru, the convict in Parliament attack case

* Establish special courts for speedy disposal of terrorism cases

* To strengthen counter-terrorist laws including bringing about changes in the evidence and criminal procedure laws to effectively deal with terrorist and their supporters

* Pursuing a two-pronged strategy in dealing with the neighbouring countries — generally promote good and friendly bilateral relations with all neighbours for mutual benefit and adopt a firm and unambiguous policy towards those meddling with India’s internal security and take effective measures to neutralise infrastructure/capability located therein, which is currently utilised by terrorists to unleash terror attacks in India.

* Set up national data bank of terrorist organisations and terrorists with nationwide e-connectivity

* Launch a major programme to assist state governments in the modernisation, up-gradation and restructuring of state police forces


On April 17, 2000 the Government of India appointed a Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by the home minister with defence minister, external affairs minister and finance minister as its members to review the entire gamut of national security and recommend ways and means to revamp it in an integrated manner. The GoM submitted its report in February 2001, which was later accepted in its entirety by the Government of India in April 2001.

In its report, acknowledging that ‘illegal migration has assumed serious proportions’ the GoM recommended ‘there should be compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens living in India. All citizens should be issued multi purpose identity cards and non-citizens should be issued identity cards of different colour and design. This should be introduced initially in the border districts and then extended to the hinterland progressively’.

The Government of India accepted the recommendation. Accordingly, the Citizenship Act 1955 was amended in December, 2003 to provide for compulsory registration of all citizens and issuance of national identity cards. A detailed system after series of inter-departmental deliberations and consultations were worked out for linking of the full details and entries from the national to state, district and sub-district levels. After soliciting the help of some IT experts a highly sophisticated software programme was designed. Through an elaborate and near automated system it was designed to provide unique national identity number to each Indian citizen above the age of sixteen and link it to birth and death records, passport details, record of property holdings, driving licence, income tax return, foreign travel records through emigration bureau, criminal records, educational institutions attended etc. It also envisaged biometric recognition details besides fingerprints. Responsibilities were delineated and the state governments approached for their role and support in making the plan a success.

When the change of government took place in April 2004 the scheme was at the takeoff stage. The funds had been allocated and a detailed action plan had been operationalised. Pilot projects had been launched in some border areas and necessary improvements brought about on the basis of experience gained.

It is quite confusing now the government has come with the new idea of unique identity cards trying to reinvent the wheel. While there was an allocation of Rs 44 crore for the MNIC in 2008-09, it has been slashed to Rs 10 lakh in 2009. On the other hand the government has allocated Rs 120 crore for unique identity cards. It is also intriguing why the subject has been shifted from the ministry of home affairs to Planning Commission. I would like to emphasis that issuing of this card was not so much a developmental need as the security need. It is meant to differentiate bona fide Indian citizens from illegal immigrants and foreign terrorists. The government needs to clarify whether the basic purpose for which national identity cards are to be issued has undergone a conceptual change. It also needs to be clarified what is the status of the earlier scheme which the government for the last five years has been claiming was being assiduously pursued.


The participation of citizens is essential for maintenance of internal security for a country as vast and diverse as ours. There are a large number of highly nationalists and contentious citizens who would like to extend their support in not only maintaining peace and order in the civil society but also play a supportive role in combating terrorism, insurgencies, extremism and other forms of threats to the nation. The government should initiate steps to leverage the civil society in maintenance of internal security. It needs to devise innovative methods of involving the community in exercising vigil for the security of neighbourhood on self-help basis and for constructive inter-action with Thana police. Plans for consultation with the community — for instilling a general sense of security and improving the public perception of the police force also needs to be introduced.

Ajit Doval

* The author is a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau