February 18, 2020
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Intelligence Quotient

Intelligence Quotient
India’s forte is crisis management. The response of the nation to the dastardly attack on Parliament on December 13 was a testimony to this. Those backing the terrorists should have realised that India is no pushover. The bravery of those who lost their lives was exceptional. Life is replete with ifs and buts. It is to state the obvious that had the terrorists succeeded in getting inside Parliament, then the tragedy would have been truly mind-boggling. Perhaps the time has come to create one security authority for Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Blocks and Parliament House. Available now is very sophisticated equipment which should be put to use in all these buildings.

Hundreds from various agencies are currently posted in this most important area. Perhaps the numbers could be reduced and the latest security gadgets installed. The watch and ward staff cannot obviously carry arms; they should at least be provided with bullet-proof jackets. The number of vehicles that can enter the Parliament complex must be curtailed. The VIP (reinterpreted as Very Insignificant Person) Syndrome has to be re-examined. Security cannot be jeopardised because some junior flunkey has worked his way around the current procedures to obtain an entry pass and red light on his vehicle roof. It is worth considering drastic changes. Just as MPs get to Parliament in buses, ministers too should be ferried into Parliament. And the number of those using red lights should be reduced ruthlessly.

The security of the nation, its citizens and institutions is the responsibility of the Union government. Asking questions about the security lapse on December 13 cannot be labelled anti-national. Patriotism is not the monopoly of any one party. No lessons seem to have been learnt in the aftermath of Kargil which too was a result of intelligence failure.

We all want good neighbourly relations with Pakistan. A stable Pakistan is in the interest of the entire SAARC region. But India’s patience should not be taken as a sign of weakness. Even when incontrovertible evidence has been produced, Pakistan goes on repeating that it is not promoting cross-border terrorism. Who else? China, Russia or Uzbekistan?

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