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We have thwarted many attacks: NSA

Please be aware that we have been able to deflect many terror attacks and these have not been brought to the public attention because we do not want to alarm people, says MK Narayanan in an interview to HT.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2007 03:45 IST
Lalita Panicker

There are only a few countries which are tackling terrorism in a democratic way and India is one of them. We are a democracy and therefore there are many issues that we face. There are incidents that have taken place and which we have not been able to thwart. But please be aware that we have been able to deflect many more and these have not been brought to the public attention because we do not want to alarm people.

In the US, they have been able to prevent and thwart any incident after 9/11 because they have employed very stringent measures. The kind of searches and arrests that have gone on there cannot be replicated here. Make no mistake, our intelligence and analysis have averted many difficult situations. We have very good indicative intelligence, but it may not always be effective in preventing an incident. We cannot always tell the time and place when it may happen.

I don’t know how clear I have made myself, but we have thwarted several incidents. I know that things like Hyderabad have happened, but these must be seen in a broader time frame. We have not done as well as we would have liked to but we have really done as well as we could have given the circumstances.

We are not in a very good neighbourbood. It is dangerous, it is a far more complex situation than say what the UK or the US face. Organisations like the Al Qaeda are a mindset. We need to contend with organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

We know that Al Qaeda exists across many countries in different continents. The Pakistan-Afghanistan border is well recognised today as the epicenter of terror.

The Pakistan connection enables terror outfits to carry out these attacks but let us not forget that there is sometimes local complicity in terms of logistics. It has little to do with religion but possibly some people feel alienated and we need to tackle this. The critical thing is that we need to stop the spread of terrorism.

Be assured that we are actively engaged in intelligence sharing with other countries, especially the UK and the US. I myself am in touch with the concerned people in these countries. The suicide bombings and the different tactics that terrorists have adopted have made life a lot more difficult and outfits like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have become more dangerous and sophisticated. Experts talk about intelligence failure but terror today is really global. It is not something that is confined to a single country. For instance, people living in foreign countries were involved in the Mumbai blast of July 2006. People across continents are involved. So what we need is a much closer relationship with others. We are in an entirely different situation. I feel intelligence-sharing is a critical factor. No country is insulated from terror today.

People always talk about intelligence failure. If intelligence were so fool-proof, there would be no need for a security apparatus. Our intelligence is pretty good , but be sure that India is not a soft state. Measures like POTA have not been renewed but that does not mean that that we will not fight terror effectively. And make no mistake, we have full coordination among all law enforcement agencies. My point is simple, we need public support. We need to reduce disaffection and alienation.

(As told to Lalita Panicker)