In a frenetic search for novelty, India’s media has discovered a “new sophistication” in the fact that the blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad occurred on successive days and the Delhi Blasts yesterday. They also discovered the usual ‘prior warnings’ and ‘intelligence and police failures’.
As this is the par for the course. the reality is that there is absolutely nothing new in the serial blasts, other than elements of tactical detail. The claim that the Ahmedabad and Delhi explosions reveal greater “sophistication’ is baloney. The real genius of the serial blasts over the past years has been the extraordinary simplicity of operations – relying on widely dispersed cadres, and on locally procured explosives and materials.
There was a glimmer of light in the fact that in the wake of the Ahmedabad blasts, India’s Minister for Home Affairs, Shivraj Patil, for the first time in such context assured a ‘comprehensive plan’ to cope with the issue (but surprisingly, did not spell why the union government took five years to come up with it). He even demonstrated awareness of the fact that the country had meagre police and intelligence cover to deal with the challenge of terrorism. And now we have the Serial blasts in Delhi, just 45 days after this assurance of a ‘comprehensive plan’.
The reality is that India’s entire justice system appears to be in a state of terminal sickness, antiquated laws incapable of imposing themselves, or of reacting to the rising challenges of violence and disorder in a time frame that is relevant to counter-terroris. This is the critical issue confronting the country. For a brief period during the BJP led NDA reign, new laws to prevent terror were introduced, but all this was undone by the present Congress led regime.
India’s police and intelligence forces – with a tiny exception- remain overwhelmingly undermanned, under-resourced and primitive in their day-to-day functioning, India’s political leaders strut about proclaiming that India is a ‘World Power’, but the reality is that the country has a crumbling political and administrative system. The most imperative question that India must ask itself today is : How will a country with such administrative competence, evolve the capabilities to confront and neutralize one of the most insidious ideologies and complex movements of political violence in global history?
The gravest threat to India’s security is not Pakistan, not that country’s Inter-Services Intelligence, not terrorism, but the limitless acts of omission, the venality and the ineptitude of the political and administrative executive, and the complete absence of accountability in the top echelons of the Indian Government. The terrorists will continue to operate with impunity across the length and breadth of India, unless these endemic and structural infirmities are addressed. In this sense India’s greatest enemy is within.