Friday 17 Aug 2018 | 20:58 | SYDNEY
Friday 17 Aug 2018 | 20:58 | SYDNEY

India needs a way out of the target zone

14 September 2011 09:11

Vinod Daniel is a Visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute and CEO of IndHeritage and India Vision Institute.

The bomb that went off in Delhi on 7 September, killing thirteen people and injuring several others, has once again highlighted the cracks in the Indian security apparatus and the failures within the system. A couple of months back, on 13 July, it was the multiple bomb blasts in Mumbai (in Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar West) where over twenty-six people lost their lives and 130 were injured. It was the eighth incident in Mumbai in the last ten years.

A few weeks back, a former state home secretary asked me at a dinner in Hyderabad 'what can one do about terrorism in a country such as India?'. He was echoing the helpless feeling that many Indians are getting resigned to.

Political leaders seem to be squabbling over technicalities. The Home Minister P Chidambaram said the bombing is not an intelligence failure since none of the agencies had information about the blasts (as if not knowing is not an intelligence failure). He also said 'Every city in the country is vulnerable...cities all over the world are vulnerable'. Another senior leader commented how much better off India was compared to Pakistan.

In the countless hours of interviews I watched in the days following both the 13 July and 7 September incidents, I picked up very few convincing arguments that the leaders would soon be in control. In the midst of all the political finger-pointing, condemnations, condolences and compensation, this is still the aspect that worries me most.

Agreed, India is in a difficult neighbourhood and has a porous border with plenty of avenues for unwanted elements to blend in with the general public. I also agree that India does not have as much political clout as the US in garnering international support. However, India can prioritise internal security and fast-track things such as the installation of CCTV ( in both the recent events, the ordering of CCTVs had been in the pipeline for several months). It can also speed up the creation of a highly skilled police force.

India needs to find the political will for its own way of fighting terrorism. Bipartisan support, use of technology and adequate funding need to be critical elements.

Photo by Flickr user _Yugo.