Apropos of your cover story (By the Way, I Dropped It, Aug 30), there is no evidence to suggest that people like Sistala, Dixit or Bedi are spies or are linked to any of India’s enemies, so let us give them the benefit of doubt. But it cannot be denied that they were careless to the extreme. Why can’t all our sensitive posts in organisations like DRDO and NTRO be manned solely by military personnel, not by bureaucrats and civilians? A former soldier or military officer will be much more disciplined and much less likely to leave sensitive laptops lying around. Military training instils certain qualities like alertness, discipline and quick thinking that indolent civilians simply cannot possess. G. Natrajan, Hyderabad
What difference will this make? The Americans already know all that’s happening in our defence establishments, as our government has handed over our entire defence, foreign and economic policies to them on a platter. While I was working for the air force as a civilian in 2004, an American air force delegation was visiting the Eastern Air Command headquarters here in Shillong. These men and women, some of them only sergeants or warrant officers, were allowed unfettered access to areas that were sealed off to iaf personnel, even officers, who did not have special clearance. They were even allowed to photograph what they wanted. Since the Indian government has further surrendered all vestiges of sovereignty in the last six years, I wonder just how much more the Americans need to know. One of them might just as well sit in the defence minister’s office monitoring his correspondence and reading his files! Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong
I’m not sure what Outlook expects to be done. If you lose data like this, the smart thing to do is not to recover it, but to disable such data. There is no point in recovering the laptop, you wouldn’t know who has seen it already. N. Santhanam, Bangalore
Many laptops at the Pentagon and MI5 have gone missing. The situation is not particularly unique to India. Suresh Kamath, Edison
With this level of incompetence, it is only a miracle that is holding our Republic together. Varun Garde, Bangalore
And the ruling elites of the country say the Maoists are our gravest internal security threat! Rajesh, Phoenix, US
Lost laptops? More likely they were handed over to a handler in India/overseas or forced to hand it over because these men were ensnared in a honey trap and blackmailed. Prakash Kumar, New Delhi
This is one of the best examples highlighting the need for the mai-baap culture to survive in this country. In civil life, while even a scavenger may have a godfather to protect his interests, in the armed forces, you are on your own. So, youngsters! Do you have it in you to work like a bonded labour during the best years of your life and be treated like so much filth for the rest of your lives? So that the thugs and scoundrels, for whom you practically sacrifice your lives, can continue to loot this country and its people and live their wayward lives in posh offices/houses at the taxpayer’s cost? Maj P.M. Ravindran (Retd), Palakkad
Of all the incidents you mention, the one about 53 computers being stolen in a single night from two DRDO labs sounds the most fishy, and suggests inside collusion. Maybe it was a joint US-Pak operation. After all, they both need to know the same things. M.K. Saini, New Delhi
One reason our top officials, scientists etc lost their laptops is because they are used to others (usually their lower-ranked subordinates) carrying their stuff. Subash, New Delhi
Is there anything at all that is still safe for the common man? Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
The ISI and CIA no longer need to man our flank: we are scoring self-goals to their credit. Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi
Clarification: It was inadvertently mentioned that K.V.S.S. Prasad Rao served as an OSD to Dr R. Chidambaram. It was Vijay Raghavan, advisor, NTRO, who was OSD to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and was posted to NTRO on a post higher than his entitlement. We regret the error.
I was struck dumb by the news of the laptops and secret data “lost” from the custody of responsible defence officials (By the Way, I Dropped it, Aug 29). If we were in a country like China or Russia, the culprits would have been hanged by now.
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