National Security Adviser MK Narayanan must give up some of his responsibilities to devote more time to issues related directly to security, suggests former Punjab Police chief Julio Ribeiro.
Claiming to know Narayanan well, Ribeiro says that he "bit off more than he could chew" and quotes an unnamed politician from New Delhi as saying that Narayanan spent as many as 250 days abroad in 2008.
Ribeiro's remarks form part of a book, "26/11 Mumbai Attacked" (Roli), a collection of articles and first-hand accounts of the terrorist assault on Mumbai that killed over 170 people during Nov 26-29 last year.
According to Ribeiro, with his involvement in matters such as the India-US nuclear deal and the India-China border dispute, Narayanan "did not have enough time to devote to internal security issues which were actually his area of expertise...
"It is obvious that he slipped up on this one particular occasion (Mumbai attacks) because he had too much on his plate. He is not young any more and should divert some of his powers and responsibilities to young people who need to be groomed."
There is also an urgent need to bring about sweeping police reforms in India so that police are able to better face threats from terrorists, says Ribeiro, a former police commissioner of Mumbai.
He says the people of the country, particularly the vocal middle class, should actively start demanding police reforms from the government.
The National Police Commission had in 1981 stressed the need for operational independence to the police forces and the freedom to transfer, punish and reward their men without political intervention.
Sadly, this has not happened, points out Ribeiro.
"Today, we have politicized forces in every city and state of the country," the respected officer says. "Sadly, many police officers and policemen owe their allegiance to different politicians and do their bidding rather than look up to their own superiors for guidance."
Ribeiro says that the imperative need was good police officers at cutting edge positions.
"Nobody suspected of corruption or inability to take decisions or inability to communicate should be allowed to go up the ladder and propelled to a position where he is forced to be considered for the top slots."
The key aspects of police reforms should be: no interference of politicians in transfers and postings of subordinates as well as in the investigation of crime.
"A professional police force needs good police leaders, men whose integrity and competence are established," he says. "Police reforms will start with the selection of good police leaders, and that should be the main demand of the public."
Ribeiro also says that despite technological surveillance, human intelligence would continue to play a key role in combating both crime and terror.
"Nothing can substitute human intelligence, which is obtained either through informers, men planted in terror cells or from ordinary citizens living in slums and bastis...
"If relations between the people and the police are healthy and based on mutual trust and respect, it is possible to get better human intelligence which could obviate a terror attack."