Battleground India but Delhi clueless?

November 27, 2008

An attack of the scale and sophistication unleashed on Mumbai would not be possible without months of planning, and yet it completely went below India’s intelligence radar.

Indeed, so unaware were the security agencies that even when the attacks began, the first reaction was these were probably gangland shootings that India’s financial capital is known for.   So if the agencies have been so clueless about an attack so mammoth in its sweep, the question experts are beginning to ask is how safe are India’s vital assets?

The nuclear facilities for instance ? A chilling thought but one that must be answered, says B. Raman, a former top officer at India’s Research and Analysis Wing. “I shiver and sweat at the thought of what is waiting to happen tomorrow and where. The mind boggles as one tries to think and figure out how the terrorists could have planned and carried out terrorist strikes of such magnitude, territorial spread and ferocity without our intelligence and police having been able to get scent of it,” Raman, one of India’s foremost intelligence experts, wrote. “I could not sleep the whole of last night. One question, which kept bothering me again and again was : how safe are our nuclear establishments and material?”

Of course nuclear installations are far more heavily guarded than a public place such as a hotel, hospital or a railway station and Raman probably means to rouse what he thinks is an establishment gone into deep slumber. But after the attacks on Mumbai, no longer can Indian experts be be going around saying Pakistan is unique in not having a grip on the militant threat. After repeated attacks beginning in Varanasi last year to Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi twice this year and finally Mumbai, and still no wiser as to who is behind them,  New Delhi looks as much at sea as its counterpart in Islamabad.


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