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Issue No.: 572 | February 2015

National Security Vs Politics

Ashok Karnik
The interception of a fishing vessel near the Gujarat coast...We should not blindly accept whatever our security agencies say ...

The interception of a fishing vessel near the Gujarat coast and its sinking brought back memories of the 26/11 Mumbai attack. This time though, Intelligence was matched by prompt and effective action by the Coast Guard (CG). The fishing vessel from Karachi was detected by Coast Guard planes. The boat refused to surrender and set itself ablaze with perhaps four persons on board. Nothing concrete could be captured from the boat and all that was available was the sat-phone talk intercepted by our Intelligence: it showed that the men on board were in touch with Pakistan establishments and had cargo transferred from another boat mid-sea. This directed the needle of suspicion towards a possible terror attack. It was a probability and not concrete proof. That gave an opportunity to some media experts and regrettably to the Congress to stop BJP from claiming credit for averting a terror strike. They went out on a limb to question the veracity of the Government claim and insisted that they had the right to know the truth. The skeptics wondered if the boat was only a fishing vessel and the CG over-reacted to sink it. In effect they accused the CG of lying and provided arguments to Pakistan to protest its innocence. All this without knowing what really happened!

We should not blindly accept whatever our security agencies say but we should put up a united front against terrorism and sort out our differences later. It is a shame that a party that ruled the country for decades forgot the simple protocol: trust our own agencies and shelve our doubts till incontrovertible evidence of untruth is found. There was no explanation why a fishing boat would try to evade the CG and its occupants be driven to suicide. Suicide is the signature of the jihadi, not of smugglers. Let us for once congratulate our Intelligence and CG for a good job done instead of finding fault with them because of all the unexplained factors. All loose ends never get tied up in real life, some things never get explained. Even if it was a smuggling attempt, should the CG not be congratulated for stopping it? Hope truth will come out sooner than later. Compare this reaction with the Paris attack (January 7) when a known target was hit in broad daylight by known terrorists in a business district bustling with policemen and still the terrorists got away in a hijacked car. They continued to thwart the police for 3 days. In India, the Government would have been hauled over the coals immediately, forgetting that the terrorists’ aim is to cause this kind of rift among their adversaries.
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