The day it was known that US President Barack Obama would visit India on Republic Day as guest of honour, it was clear that Pakistan and its “good” terrorists (aka the ones that kill innocent Indians) would get their minds working overtime to figure out ways to create attacks in India. It’s the standard play-book for some of the folks across the border.
And so it was that a few days after the country’s security and intelligence establishments were all on alert - following the IED attack in Bangalore which claimed a life and cross border shelling and shooting in J&K - that the Coast Guard detected a suspicious vessel in the waters off our coast. They did what they had to do with their intelligence inputs - track and chase the target vessel which proceeded to blow itself up. This was the result of a coordinated intelligence and Coast Guard operation that at least seemed to bury the intelligence and cooperation failures of 26/11.
In any other country, this would have been accompanied by congratulations and a sigh of relief at another attack thwarted by Pakistan based terrorists. Lives saved and country protected. Mission accomplished for that day.
But this is India and there will always be some Delhi politician willing to embarrass themselves. And embarrass the country and its people along with it. And of course, scores of nameless, faceless uninformed men/women who serve the nation putting their lives on the line. And true to its time-tested script, the Congress took it upon to embarrass itself completely with an inexplicable politicisation of this anti-terror operation by the Coast Guard. The fig leaf for this new round of petty politics was that they were seeking explanations, it seems. To me, it seemed liked the same old petty politics that have played out many times before, including in Batla House, where the family of a brave police officer had to endure the ignominy of Congress leaders branding them fake encounters.
I accept that everyone in the country is entitled to ask explanations of their government. That the Congress is positioning itself as the ”asker” is of course very ironic and could be source for a whole new set of social media jokes considering they have yet to provide explanations for numerous questions that range from land, Coal, 2G, 26/11 etc - but that’s for another blog!
Fighting terrorism and defeating it is a national priority. Let’s be clear that there will be many more attempts by the elements that are determined to stop the country’s rise, to destabilise and terrorise. This incident won’t be the last. And the line of defence we have is our armed and paramilitary forces. There are real men and women serving on this line of defence that need our support and recognition. Politicians, especially from amongst those who are finding it difficult to reconcile to their recent status of being thrown out, must recognise that. If a national political leader and/or party is keen to seek explanations from the forces or the government, there are discreet and right ways to do so. Else it will be exposed for what it is, putting petty politics above national interest. It’s not something that the people of India like or find forgiveable.
This article appeared in DailyO on Jan 6, 2015.