The attacks on Indians and Indian establishments in Afghanistan are rising in the last few years. The Indian and Afghan government have blamed Pakistan for the deadly attacks. Pakistan, on the other hand, blames India for training Baloch and Sindhi insurgents from their bases in Afghanistan. The truth is that after the defeat of the Taliban (who captured power with the help of Pakistan), Afghanistan has become a new battleground for the India-Pakistan rivalry. Both the countries are trying their best to increase their influence in the country.
Vice President Hamid Ansari has pushed for a parliamentary oversight committee to monitor the activities of the intelligence agencies, something which previous Canary Trap posts have strongly advocated for. While delivering the late R N Kao memorial lecture on January 19, Vice President Ansari highlighted the case of "faulty intelligence" on weapons of mass destruction before the Iraqi invasion in 2003 and asked "How shall a democracy insure its secret intelligence apparatus becomes neither a vehicle for conspiracy nor a suppressor of the traditional liberties of democratic self-government?"
The findings of the internal inquiry of RAW into the Rabinder Singh episode will never be known even to the Indian Parliament or a parliamentary committee. How then can we be sure of their effectiveness in gathering information and protecting the country. The Home Minister has to ensure that an oversight mechanism be created to ensure that such vital issues (Rabinder Singh episode) affecting national security are not swept under the carpet and appropriate lessons are drawn from it.
When Mrs Indira Gandhi again became Prime Minister in 1980, she recalled Kao from his retirement and appointed him as her senior advisor on internal and external developments. She used to consult him on political and intelligence matters. His professional guidance was of general nature. In one major development, when Mrs Gandhi wanted to go USA she was not getting her choice of appointment date with the US President through External Affairs Ministry channels. Kao through his friend George Bush Senior – who was then US Ambassador in China – arranged her meeting with the US President.
The issue is not of empowering the police. It is of having a police which looks up to the laws of the land and the Constitution of the country in the discharge of its functions. The harsh truth is that the police today is more concerned with carrying out the diktat of the executive, right or wrong, legal or illegal rather than protecting the life and property of the common man. There are a number of other administrative measures which would need to be taken to give greater muscle to the police. We are heavily under-policed.
India, hit by yet another terror attack in Mumbai, should take Richelieu's words seriously and act now. I am not suggesting that we should go and bomb Pakistan. We have concrete evidence of the involvement of Pakistan-based terror organisations and the rogue Inter-Services Intelligence. This gives us to right to take actions necessary to safeguard our nation and our way of life. We know the terror organisations (LeT, JeM) waging a war against our country, the people who are supporting them (Dawood and his gang) and their locations. The first thing our government has to do is to immediately revive the covert action unit of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which was closed down by then Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral in 1997.
More than 70 blasts in last six months and scores of people dead. The latest in the series of unending violence against India is the bold and daring attack that took place in Mumbai. The latest attack was totally different from previous bomb blasts and took everybody by surprise. Around 11 (according to media reports) terrorists walk into our country by a sea route and create the kind of mayhem that we witnessed in last few days. This is unprecedented.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was readying for a trip to China in January this year when he asked the chief of the external intelligence agency (RAW) for a briefing about his assessment on the current Chinese leadership. The RAW chief prepared a report which talked about Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. Interestingly both these leaders, former president and the premier of China respectively, retired in 2003.
India's external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has been hit by another crisis. A senior female officer, working as a Director in the training branch of the agency at Gurgaon, attempted suicide on August 19 by consuming rat poison outside the Prime Minister's Office. Nisha Priya Bhatia took the extreme step after being denied entry to register a complaint regarding her allegations of sexual harassment by some colleagues in the agency.