India must covertly target terrorists like Hafiz Saeed: Book

May 18th, 2012 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) If India wants to destroy terrorism, then it must target terrorist leaders in India and abroad, including the Pakistan-based Hafiz Saeed, a new book says.

“In order to achieve a lasting impact and ensure that the actual perpetrators of terrorism are targeted, while avoiding collateral damage, it is necessary to employ covert operations,” says security affairs expert N. Manoharan in his book “Security Deficit: Comprehensive Internal Security Strategy for India” (Pentagon Press).

But this should be restricted to “eliminating terror leadership and bases abroad and within India”.

Manoharan says clandestine operations can be methodically planned and stealthily executed at an opportune moment, using, if needed, locals who harbour grudges against the targeted groups.

“Targets should include leaders of fundamentalist terrorist organisations who are known to sponsor terrorist strikes in India, their handlers and fugitives from Indian justice like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed.

“In sub-conventional warfare, it is important to take the battle into the enemy’s camp,” the author says.

Pakistan denies the presence on its soil of Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian underworld don who oversaw the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Saeed has been blamed for the 2008 Mumbai savagery.

Manoharan, senior Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation here, was with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies when he began working on the book.

The author says for a country of India’s size and stature, an institutionalised strategic thinking mechanism within and outside the government was woefully inadequate.

Saying “bureaucracies of the 19th and 20th centuries” should come to terms with contemporary crisis management, the book says there is “an urgent need to create new and responsive structures of administration that are geared to the time-frames imposed by modern technologies”.

“It took the US just 46 days to overhaul its internal security system post 9/11. Why can’t India?”

Manoharan, considered an authority on Sri Lanka including the now vanquished Tamil Tigers, offers many recommendations to overhaul India’s flawed security structure.

These include:

– India needs a ‘Security Commission’ a la Planning Commission, Election Commission, Minorities Commission et al.

– Each state can form a ‘State Security Commission’ to work out a long-term plan for its own security.

– As home ministry is overburdened, a separate ministry of ‘internal security’ can be created.

– The ministry of external affairs (with fewer than 800 professional diplomats) needs to expand to keep pace with India’s new found stature and responsibilities.

– Every Indian city should have a modern police control room. Linking all 14,000-odd police stations in the country is a must.

– Indian police forces have to expand rapidly. India has just about 140 police personnel per lakh population as against the UN norm of 220.

– National Security Guard (NSG) should be divested of VIP security duties. Every state should have a NSG-type commando force.

– Government should encourage independent think-tanks that offer bold ideas going against conventional thinking.

– Indians must organise themselves into neighbourhood watch committees through community consensus mechanism.

– Those with criminal antecedents must be barred from contesting elections.

– Parliamentary Committee on Internal Security must have a permanent research committed or consultancy attached to it.

– Bringing internal security under wider parliamentary scrutiny would help to gain broad political consensus.

Manoharan says that despite the existence of various threats, India has not adequately understood the true nature and character of these issues.

“This vagueness has an immense bearing on India’s response… India has given more emphasis to military options rather than political and developmental approaches…

“Since India’s responses to internal security threats have been passive and reactive, a perception has developed among threat bearers and their sponsors that the Indian state is soft and indolent.”

The book warns: “Threats to the internal security of India are multifarious. Few other countries in the world face the full spectrum of threats as India does.”

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