Bungling and NOT Bad Luck
The entire Nation mourns the martyrdom of seven valiant soldiers who died fighting with utmost courage and fortitude. They ended up paying with their lives, NOT BECAUSE OF “THEIR BAD LUCK,” but for lapses and self-serving egotism right up the hierarchy. The HM-NSA duo, driven by hubris and turf considerations, (mis)applied distantly-located NSG, rather than utilizing battle-hardened troops right next door, which as per extant SOPs are always earmarked and undertake frequent rehearsals.
Will those responsible for this national embarrassment be held accountable? Oh No! In the prevailing culture of scant public morality that is too much to ask. It’s true, heads did roll in the aftermath of 26/11, but they did not leave on their own volition; they were forced out kicking and screaming. Will that happen this time? Not likely.
Were it not for the tragic loss of valuable lives, one could have dubbed the overall response at the top echelons, bumbling and comical. The irony of Rajnath Singh and even the FM, Jaitley waxing eloquent on the airbase attack, with Parrikkar and Sushma Swaraj almost silent, despite the military and diplomatic implications being their domain, is not lost to observers at home and abroad. There are several troubling questions and signs, which have been extensively highlighted. The nefarious politician-smuggler-police nexus in Punjab has rendered the border porous. ISI is exploiting the growing disaffection among veterans and serving soldiers on a host of issues such as pay, pensions, working conditions, and the plight of Veer Naris and disabled soldiers. Soldiers are being increasingly deployed for sundry tasks (now reportedly for cleaning up the Ganges) for which the Civil Administration is well-equipped. This is at the expense of their training and well-earned respite after field area deployments.
Everyone knows where the problems lie, and what the solutions are. There is no dearth of expert committee reports. For instance, the Subrahmanyam and the Naresh Chandra committees among others had made very sound recommendations on the National Security apparatus, and the entire gamut of issues relating to multiagency coordination of intelligence and operations. But again the bureaucracy succeeded in stalling them, and let their parochial interests triumph over National Security. What’s the point of wasting so much time, effort and expense on such committees if they are ultimately to be consigned to cold storage.
It is time for the Nation to say, “Enough is enough.” Let this terror strike be a wake-up call. It is high time the PM shows firmness and resolve to bring some tangible coherence in policies and actions at the top. He has expended a lot of political capital on his overture to Nawaz Sharif, which this terror attack has eroded substantially. He can retrieve it somewhat by being visibly decisive and strong in putting the house in order, and not appear to be dithering as his predecessor.