Improvements in security arrangements in India after 26/11 (Mumbai Terror Attacks)
This post is in response to some comments I received on the post I wrote on the Mumbai Terror Attacks yesterday. The comments seemed to express a thought that there is no hope, that India is India, that India will never improve, that nothing will never improve. I don’t go by this. And I just want to jot down a few changes that have taken place in the past year which I hope will help India become more secure. Sure a lot of things have not improved, but here I am listing the things which have.
1) We have a new Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram, and he has brought in a lot of changes and new initiatives. As this news article says:
Fully utilizing the free hand, Chidambaram has helped in creating a feeling of urgency among various security agencies, intelligence agencies, state police and paramilitary forces, besides resorting to certain legislative actions like strengthening the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act and creation of the National Investigative Agency.
I believe this because I have been following Chidambaram’s moves, and he is far better than his predecessor Patil.
A lot of initiatives of his have been listed in the article, like acquiring of weapons, improvements in the law and order situation in Kashmir, increased efficacy of the intelligence agencies. There is more cooperation between US Intelligence, the FBI and India.
2) Force One, Maharashtra’s “elite security force designed on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG)” has been commissioned a few days ago.
3) Arms purchase has increased in India. Not just in Maharashtra but by the central government, and the Army too.
4) The Navy is also beefing up on infrastructure to protect India from the sea. From aircraft to boats, to the numerical strength of personnel is all being increased.
5) Vacancies in the Maharashtra police, which were at 230,567 on January 1, 2008 are now down to less than 150,000. The central government has ordered that this deficit be brought down further, and infact brought down to zero by March 2010.
6) A 20 per cent increase in the budget for Coast Guard vessels. Manpower is also being increased.
7) The Maharashtra government has set aside Rs 150 Crore to buy speed boats this last June.
8] The government has opened four NSG hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai, each having a strength of 241 personnel.
9) NSG will now be better mobilized:
That time lag of Nov 26, 2008 when the National Security Guards (NSG) took about five hours to take up position to combat India’s worst terror attack will never be repeated, promises chief of the elite commando force N.P.S. Aulakh. “We lost time during the Mumbai serial attacks. But things have changed and now we can take up any challenge within just 30 minutes of notice and that too anywhere,’ NSG Director General N.P.S. Aulakh told IANS in an exhaustive interview.
For more details you can check the link.
10) I also think that our media could have learnt a few lessons, although I am not sure about it.
This is not an exhaustive list. Just a few points which tell us that our government is doing something. Its not as if nothing has happened after 26/11/2008. Things have happened, some things have been planned, and more will be done. Things cannot change overnight that is for sure but I think there has been an improvement, as the facts show. One hopes that there is better preparedness next time.