Hollowness Of India's Anti-Terrorism Cooperation Agreements
Mumbai's 9/11 in the last one month has in its wake spawned an intense debate on the failure of the Congress Government to effectively manage India's internal security threats emanating from Pakistan, the failure of intelligence agencies and the utter lack of an effective governmental crisis response mechanism. Indian Government severely deserves the blame and culpability that is attendant on lack of effective counter-terrorism responses. What has not surfaced in public debate is the hollowness of India's anti-terrorism cooperation agreements with major countries and not forgetting the infamous Havana Agreement on a Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism signed in 2006 by India's Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh with General Musharraf of Pakistan.
Readers would be well advised to surf the Google website and discover the number of countries with which India has signed anti-terrorism cooperation agreements over the last couple of years. If these agreements were worth the cost of the papers on which they were written then India should have received at least some iota of an inkling that something like Mumbai's 9/11 was on the cards from Pakistan's ISI sponsored terrorist organizations.
Only two thoughts come to one's mind. The first is that the Indian Government did receive some inputs, maybe not precise, but yet providing some leads, that could have been followed, and that they were not followed to their ultimate culmination due to the recurrent malaise that afflicts our Governmental machinery.
The second thought that then comes to one's mind is that no inputs were received from even a single country out of the innumerable countries with which India has signed anti-terrorism cooperation agreements. If that be so then should the Indian Government not review this entire process where it had become fashionable for the Indian Government to sign such agreements for forms sake after 9/11 for want of something better to agree upon.
The United States has a formidable intelligence presence in Pakistan and more so in areas known to be the hotbeds of Islamist terrorist organizations which operate under the control and directions of Pakistan's ISI. With such an elaborate presence something should have come their way portending Mumbai's 9/11. Some media reports indicated that the United States had passed some inputs on this account two months prior to Mumbai's 9/11. If that be so then why did the Indian Government not follow it up?
If no such reports were received then what steps has the Government taken to take up the matter with the United States? Similarly, it is time that India takes up this aspect with other countries too with which India has signed such agreements.
Finally, it also needs to be examined and questioned as to what impelled our Prime Minister to sign the Havana Agreement with the Pakistani military dictator on a Indo-Pak Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism? Was our honest Dr Manmohan Singh so unaware and na've that he was going to sign a formal Agreement with a Pakistani military regime whose main pre-occupation has been to indulge unceasingly in proxy war and state-sponsored terrorism against India.
Also answerable on this account are the National Security Adviser, the Foreign Secretary and others forming part of India's policy establishment or was their advice ignored for reasons best known to the Prime Minister.
Mumbai's 9/11 should now at the very least prompt the Indian Prime Minister to abrogate this infamous Havana Agreement as a mark of respect to those two hundred innocent lives lost due to the negligence of their Government.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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