Time for a firewall
With China trying to explore and exploit the limits of Indian cyber security in government offices, particularly on Raisina Hill and other secure installations, the Intelligence Bureau has decided to focus on the area so that Indian networks and government websites are made as hacker-proof as possible. Special director Asif Ibrahim, who has just returned from a London assignment, has been given charge of cyber security and the mandate to fight hackers from China and its all-weather friend Pakistan. It's not that New Delhi doesn't have the capability or capacity to make its cyber nets secure, it's just that Indian babus are casual and indiscreet. Quite clearly, they can't hack it.
With a view to review
A battle royale is in the offing between J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and the Indian Army, as the latter will be present in full force at the November 9, 2011, Unified Command meeting in Jammu, which has the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Protection Act (Afspa) on the agenda. With the Centre promising only a review of Afspa without any commitment on withdrawal of the central act from select places in the militancy-affected state, Abdullah will have to deal with Northern Army Commander KT Parnaik, who will be attending the meeting as special invitee, and 14, 15 and 16 Corps Comm-anders. Gen Parnaik's brief is clear, he won't accept the withdrawal of Afspa. His argument is that if Afspa hasn't been lifted in Assam and other North-eastern states since 1958, there is no reason for it to be lifted from J&K. The Twitter-friendly Abdullah should be well primed for the meeting, as the Army is fully prepared for the task. Not quite the uplifting experience that he needs at the moment.
Time to join the dots
For the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the September 7, 2011, Delhi High Court blast case is as good as solved even though the agency has named a conglomerate of terrorist groups rather than a single one for the strike in the Capital. Home minister P Chidambaram went out of his way to help the NIA, including getting help from Bangladesh, to nab the alleged masterminds. However, Chidambaram is no longer convinced about the case as all the clues, apart from the three Kishtwar boys involved in sending the HuJI mail, have amounted to nothing, including the Bangladesh angle. Last week, Chidambaram summoned the director general of the NIA, SC Sinha, and reviewed the case. He told Sinha that the investigations needed to join all the dots before going public. PC doesn't want a repeat of the Malegoan blasts when the police incarcerated the wrong people and called them terror masterminds. Once bitten, many times shy, it would seem.
An unplanned lecture here
One can always trust Mani Shankar Aiyar to rip apart the guest speaker even after cordially inviting him to deliver his father's (V Shankar Aiyar) memorial lecture. Last month, Aiyar got his favourite punching bag, Planning Commission deputy chairperson Mon-tek Singh Ahluwalia, to speak on 'India's growth and reforms' for the lecture. Before Ahluwalia spoke, Aiyar gave a short speech where he slammed Ahluwalia's faulty appro-ach and narrated how the plan panel totally ignored his suggestions and undermined the panchayati raj. Finally, Aiyar handed over the microphone to Ahluwalia, saying, "Now I give my enemy the opportunity to defend himself." With friends like this…
The highway or his way
At a time when the government is trying to reign in the fiscal deficit, the road transport and highways ministry is taking over a dozen members of Parliament and bureaucrats from the ministry to the cooler climes of Udaipur on November 15. The occasion is the ninth consultative committee meeting to discuss the operation and maintenance of national highways across the country. The meeting is supposed to chalk out the action plan for the highways. What better way to discuss such important issues than away from the Capital's cacophony and in the scenic lake city of Udaipur, which also happens to be the home of road transport minister CP Joshi. Getting it picture perfect, it would seem.