2 years after 26/11
Even after getting a global mandate, Pakistan is yet to nail the culprits behind the attacks
Shiv Kumar & Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service
Mumbai/New Delhi, Nov 26
While saluting the ‘courage, unity and resolve’ of Mumbaikars, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to redouble efforts to bring the perpetrators of the crime against humanity to justice. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who is in Sri Lanka, again called upon Pakistan to dismantle the terror machinery and mete out speedy justice to those behind the mayhem, in which 166 people were killed.
But the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram made the tacit admission in Mumbai that not much headway has been made. He said that despite making a number of assurances on punishing the seven Pakistanis behind the attack, whose names and evidence against them were furnished by India, the neighbouring country “ has not even handed over the voice samples of the handlers”.
India has so far given nearly a dozen dossiers to Pakistan and also provided evidence of the links of two Pakistan Army officials with the terror strike. But every dossier from India has been met with a fresh set of of inquiries from Pakistan, which, ironically, has handed as many as 14 dossiers to India on the same subject. The last dossier was handed over on the eve of President Obama’s visit to India.
The trial of the seven people arrested in Pakistan for their role in Mumbai attacks has been proceeding at a painfully slow pace, raising suspicion about Pakistan’s seriousness in dealing with the case. India has shared with Pakistan evidence about the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba ( LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and other Pakistan-based terrorists in the Mumbai attack.
“ I sincerely hope that Pakistan will realise its responsibility as a nation, as a government and fulfil its promises to bring to justice those who perpetrated the attack,” said Chidambaram after laying a wreath at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana to honour the memory of those killed in the attack.
A parade through Marine Drive by the Anti-Terror Squad ( ATS) of Mumbai Police and the Quick Response Teams ( QRT) constituted after 26/11 to deal with future attacks was the highlight of the official function at Mumbai. Ordinary Mumbaikars held candle-light prayer vigils and took out peace marches.
We salute the courage, unity and resolve of ordinary Mumbaikars.... We pledge to redouble our efforts to bring the perpetrators of this crime against humanity to justice — Manmohan Singh
Measures taken to make India safe from Mumbai-like attacksdealing with pakistan
l Enough evidence given about attackers
l Chill in ties as dialogue remains suspendedinternal security
l Quick Response Teams formed
l More NSG hubs created
l Pune bakery blast only terror incident in 2 yrs
l To shed dependance on US for inputs
l To ramp up own intelligence network
l Major recruitment underway in the field
l Old hands being retained, re-employed
l 4 Joint Op Centres of Coast Guards set up
l Toll-free No. 1093 set up by Coast Guards
l Guidebook of 3,331 coastal villages made
l Biometric I-cards issued to 25 lakh fishermen
l A special ‘Sagar Prahari Bal’ established
l Automatic Identification System on boats
Coastal India still vulnerable
New Delhi, November 26
There has been progress, but it is not enough, said top sources, while explaining that the focus of the multitude of ministries working in coastal areas was not always on security. They have their own pace and priority of work, a senior functionary said, who did not wish to be quoted.
One of the most startling issues is the absence of transponders that will pick out and identify all vessels at sea near the Indian coastline. Called the automated identification system (AIS), a specific code is allotted to the equipment fitted onto each boat, which then responds with the shore-based transponder making it easy to pick out intruders. The Navy wants that all boats up to 20 metre in length have the AIS. In two years, the authorities could not decide what type of AIS was best suited and the issue of cost and providing power to the system on the boat could not be worked out. It will take another 18 months to complete, said officials.
The government had grandly announced that the entire 7,500-km coastline would be under radar surveillance. In the first phase, 45 radars were to be installed. So far, and not one is in place. In fact, the order for radars was placed just three days ago with a Swedish firm. Completion of the first phase alone will take about two years. The second phase proposes 52 more such radars.
Days after the attack on Mumbai, the government had announced that the 20 lakh fishermen living along the coast line will be issued biometric identity cards. This would allow the Navy and Coast Guard to identify them - whether at sea or on shore — by reading the card using a hand-held card reader. Till now, only 70 per cent data about fishermen has been collected and collated. No identify cards have been issued.
Another point of focus was of registration of all merchant ships and fishing vessels. The Ministry of Shipping was to carry out the exercise but it focuses more on commercial activity like merchant vessels and the Ministry of Agriculture looks after fisheries. Subsequently, the registration process is incomplete.
“Security agencies still do not know who owns which boat and lives where,” said an official. At a high-level coastal review met held on November 23, these issues were flagged and ministries were told to speed up matters. The attack also revealed serious gaps in air defence. Large areas had no defensive radar coverage to detect unidentified flying objects. IAF sources say the gaps still exist. More coverage will reduce chances of an enemy jamming the radar frequency to send in a small paraglider for a Fidayeen attack. The IAF is at present installing Rohini radars and also Aerostats. It is also looking at the very latest X-band radars that can pick out airborne objects from a 4,000 km distance.
The biggest positive has been removal of ambiguity and appointment of a single security agency as in charge of coastal security. In March 2009, the government announced that the Navy would be the overall in charge of coastal security. The Home Ministry has also set up a 24x7 control room at Delhi, which collects and disseminates information from across the country to each sub-centre in state capitals.