Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 ways to fight corruption

Corruption of various forms, be it IPL, 2G or land, mining scams seem to have taken a permanent headlines slot in our country today. Not a single day passes without a scam breaking out or some corruption related issue making the top headlines today.
The question that is being asked today is whether corruption has become a way of life and is there nothing that can be done to eradicate this social evil or menace. Justice N Santhosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court who is presently the Lokayukta or Ombudsman of Karnataka lists out ten solutions that may help solve this problem. There cannot be an instant remedy but if these are followed properly over a period of time there could be a solution, Justice Hegde who has been probing the multi crore mining scam in Karnataka has to say.

1.Reduce governance- This is a huge problem that we face today. Let me quote an example in which a person has to buy land. There are at least 20 channels through which he needs to run before he can get his deal struck or land registered. Each one of the government officials dealing with this is aware of their importance and tend to demand bribe and the person ends up paying each one of these persons. The lesser the procedural hassles the lesser the corruption and hence a very important factor in controlling corruption is to reduce governance. It is more like the government which rules the least rules best.

2.Detection: No case of corruption can ever be fought unless detected. The mechanisms to detect corruption should be put in place in our country. A lot of cases go undetected and this helps the corrupt go about their job with ease. Criminologists should put in place a solid and effective mechanism which would help detect such cases very easily. Only if this is in place can the fight against corruption begin. This particular aspect is completely lacking and there is a need to act soon on this.

3.Disposal: The courts have a big role to play when it comes to curbing corruption. A speedy disposal mechanism ought to be in place. We notice that corruption cases drag on for years. In many cases persons facing corruption charges have even retired from services and a verdict at such a time make no difference to them. I think from the date of filing a chargesheet and the case reaching the court, the matter should be disposed off within six months time. A verdict ought to come out when the accused is in service so that it affects his service or career. If cases are going to drag on for eternity then there is no logic in even fighting such a case.

4.Change in procedural laws: The existing laws are not sufficient at all. There are way too many loop holes for an accused to get away with the existing set up. We need laws on the likes of POTA to deal with corruption.

5.The benefit of doubt: This is one factor that should be eradicated in corruption laws. When an accused faces trial, he ought not to have the benefit of doubt. Accused normally tend to get away due to benefit of doubt. If this factor is eradicated then the accused is on the back-foot and will find it very difficult to get away. I am however not suggesting that he or she should not be entitled to a fair trial. All I am saying is that he should not have a huge advantage of the benefit or doubt in the early stages itself.

6.Change in social attitude: I witness something very shocking amongst the general public at least most of them today. Many have started to think that greed is need. In fact there is a lack of social stigma today. Instead of thinking that greed is a need, I would want people to think that greed is a disease. The social attitude has to change at any cost.

7.More institutions and powers: There is clearly a lack in the number of institutions that are present in our country to fight corruption. There is a need to have more institutions and one Lokayukta for every state is just not enough. Such institutions should be set up, given more powers and should be manned by persons who have a desire to fight corruption.

8.Public participation:
The public cannot just stand and look at things happening. There is no point in sitting behind closed walls and cribbing about corruption. Come out in the open and expose people who are corrupt. No point in being scared or even offering bribes to get your work done. I think there should be more participation from the NGOs as well.

9.Moral science: There should moral science and also civic sense. I remember in school I had a moral science class and I don’t know why that is not part of the syllabus today. In addition to this civic sense should also be taught at schools. Early understanding of these things will help to a certain extent in fighting and understanding the evils of corruption.

10.Bar forever: Once convicted in a case of corruption, persons should be barred from any sort of public office of life. While there is a rule barring government officials from coming back to office once convicted, the same rule should apply to politicians as well. If there is a pending corruption case or conviction they should not be allowed to contest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jamiat Ulama files appeal in SC against Ayodhya verdict

The first of the many appeals in the Ayodhya case has been filed before the Supreme Court of India. The first appeal as filed by the Jamiat Ulama I Hind who was the second plaintiff in the case moved the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

The Sunni Waqf Board which was the main party in the case has however decided to wait another 15 days before it files its appeal. The Supreme Court may however wait another month before it hears the case finally. As per the rules all the parties still have another month’s time to file the appeal against the verdict of the High Court.

The JuH in its appeal has stated that the High Court has focused more on the circumstances and the extraneous material. Moreover it also states that the permission to perform prayers cannot change the undisputed character of the structure which finds a mention as a Mosque as per official records.

7/11 accused appeals for re-probe by NIA

The 7/11 train bombings in Mumbai which had hit the common man has taken another twist with one of its accused quoting David Headley and seeking a re-probe by the National Investigation Agency. Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui one of the accused in the case says that there is a new dimension to the case ever since Headley revealed that this attack was planned in Karachi and had Pakistani players attached to it. Moreover since this case has a Headley association to it which is being probed by the NIA and hence the case needs to be re-examined Siddiqui says in a three page letter to the Home Minister.

The NIA says it is probing the Headley angle into this case and so far what they have found is that he was aware of the plot, but at the moment they do not see that he has played any major role in it when compared to 26/11. He has named the conspirators who incidentally happen to be similar to those who took part in the 26/11 attacks. It is an established fact that the 7/11 train bombings were the handiwork of the Lashkar and we will need to see what additional details come up in respect to the Headley angle. The fact that the names of the conspirators in the 7/11 chargesheet are different from the ones that have been mentioned by Headley is something that needs to be looked into.

The ATS chargesheet terms Azam Cheema as the chief conspirator in the 7/11 attack, but according to Headley takes the name of Muzzamil Bhat to be one of the Chief conspirators in the attack.

Although the trial has commenced, there is no bar in going ahead with the investigation into newer aspects of the case, but will need to wait for a go ahead from the Home Ministry on this, sources in the NIA added.

The ATS which has been probing the 7/11 case however adds that the claim by the accused that they are innocent is baseless. Let the courts decide and let them place their case before the judge who will take a final call on it. If there is a Headley angle which has cropped up then the NIA could probe it and this would only add strength to the existing case.

Letter by Siddiqui:

I am an innocent person, falsely implicated in 11th July 2006 Mumbai Train Blast case All the evidences were falsely fabricated by investigation team lead by ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi and the evidence of our innocence were destroyed or hide by investigation agency.Currently, the trial of 7/11 blast case is started before MCOCA Special Court in Mumbai. This is the injustice with me and my co-accused that we are put on the trial of 7/11 blast case on false and fabricated evidences.

Recently in June 2010, National Investigation Agency interrogated David Colemen Headley, arrested by American Agency in Chicago, in respect of 26/11 attack. In the said interrogation David Colemen Headley revealed that the plan of 7/11 blast was made in Karachi, Paskistan and he also mentioned the name of the conspirators. The name of conspirators according to David Headley are different to the name mentioned in the charge sheet of 7/11 blast case filed y Anti-Terrorism Squad Mumbai.

That the charge sheet contained many loopholes and if any one perused the charge sheet, easily understood that the story of the Anti-Terrorism Squad is false, fabricated and the all arrested accused are innocent.

Hence it is kindly requested that please direct the National Investigation Agency (NIA) U/S 6(3) of National Investigation Agency Act 2008 for thorough investigation of 7/11 blast case.

'2G Spectrum scam is a white caller crime'

Raja, Telecom Minister finally yielded to all the pressure and stepped down from his chair. However the big question is whether this enough to draw the curtains on one of biggest scams India has witnessed so far.

Back in 2007, member of Parliament, Rajeev Chandrasekharraised the issue and questioned the Government’s decision to allot 2G Spectrum without calling for tenders. Chandrashekhar had warned the Prime Minister about the non transparent methods of Telecom Minister A Raja and the scam that was brewing. He also wrote to all political parties to create a consensus on the issue.

In this interview with he says that his early warning signals of a scam in the making were ignored by the Prime Minister.

You had written to the Prime Minister about this scam two years back. What was his response at that point of time?

I have been raising this issue of irregularities in Telecom sector as an MP from mid 2007 onwards and have raised the issues in several letters and Parliamentary interventions. Earlier as an entrepreneur I fought the WLL scam in 2001. In my letter to the Prime Minister on November 14th 2007, I reiterated that spectrum allocation process must pass the twin tests of public interest and transparency and questioned why the license award or Spectrum award process were not following a tender process – a route adopted to all previous licenses as well FM licenses. The Prime Minister responded with a letter saying he will examine the issue.

Since writing the letter and till date, do you feel that the Prime Minister has acted on this issue?

While I do know that Prime Minister took cognisance of my letter and the issues I raised, I can't answer that question because it’s not clear to the country if he did. The reality is that the Telecom Minister, A Raja, his meek bureaucrats and the silent Independent Regulator together - went ahead with allocation of spectrum throwing all norms to the wind and caused enormous loss country’s exchequer and people of India.

What do you feel about the overall handling of this issue by the Government?

The fact is that this is a swindle - a white collar crime. There are clear and obvious beneficiaries of this crime/swindle. As with any crime, the government must determine the persons involved - big and small- and prosecute and punish them under law. So far there's no tangible sign that government will do so for this swindle.

You pointed out that some corporates may get away? Has this happened?

The reality is that in scams/swindles like this for every minister and bureaucrat there is a group of corporates/businessmen involved in such crimes. Any Government that values its duty towards its people , is duty bound to recover swindled money from the beneficiary corporates by way of additional licenses feed and levies. However, the track record of governments to take action - against corporates that have broken law - is very poor in India. In telecom alone there are many cases of blatant legal violations that remain unprosecuted and violators walk away scot free.

Could you name the corporates who flouted norms in this scam?

I need not name them - almost all existing telecom operators - old and new have benefitted from spectrum without auctions and therefore have participated in the fraud on the Indian people.

First the Maharashtra Chief Minister then Suresh Kalmadi and then Raja. Do you feel this is India’s most corrupt government till date?

Unfortunately there isn't any ranking of corruption or index. But there is general perception and understanding that crony capitalism has grown at an unprecedented rate in our country. As Raghuram Rajan, IMF chief economist and University of Chicago Professor said recently - most of India’s Billionaires have acquired their wealth due to proximity to politics or politicians. Our current economic model has two curses - large govt spending budgets and wide discretionary powers with ministers - both these are designed to foster corruption and indeed they do. The people of India are getting a raw deal because of Government corruption - both in central and state governments.

How did you get know about the making of this scam?

The telecom sector has always been notorious for its scams - with ministers like Sukhram, Pramod Mahajan and now Raja – it’s been a sector where dubious decisions and brazen corruption have always ruled. One of the primary reasons I joined politics was my experiences of over a decade as a telecom entrepreneur and most recently in 2001-2003 with minister Pramod Mahajan and regulator Pradeep Baijal and the WLL and the international call scams. Which I why I wrote to the Prime Minister way back in 2007 warning the Telecom Minister’s decision is totally flawed and needs to be changed. Given the seriousness of the implications of Minister’s decision on the resources that belong to people our country, I wrote to all political parties to create a consensus on the issue. However, my early warning signals of brewing scam were ignored by the Prime Minister and the Governement. The results are there for everybody to see.

Did you know that it was to this extent in terms of the money involved in it?

It was always clear that loss to people of India were high as I outlined in my recent letter to PM in May 2010 after the 3G auctions. But I am proud of Vinod Rai, our CAG and his team who have fearlessly laid out the exact loss - and people of India should stand up and understand that this is all their money that's been handed over to some businessmen.

Was the government worried about losing its coalition partner and hence went soft on Raja?

Governments are custodians of public trust and interest. For those in politics who have a genuine interest in doing good by the people they serve - the priority should be to serve the peoples interest and not cling shamelessly to power. The Nation and people are first - way above selfish and narrow political interests.

Is punishing a Raja sufficient? What according to you should the government do to address this humongous scam?

Everybody is presumed to be innocent till a process of law finds them guilty. A crime of this magnitude - leading to the loss Rs. 1,70,000 Crores to the exchequer – cannot take place without the collusion between bureaucrats, independent regulators and corporates acting as partners to the crime. Therefore, if the Government is serious about taking action , they must launch an independent investigation to identify all the culprits, make the investigation report public and take exemplary action the guilty. Also, action must be initiated to recover the swindled money from the beneficiaries of the swindle.

What role should the courts play in this issue and should the government press for the prosecution of all those involved and move the court instead of taking matters on its head?

Courts will have a role to play only after the Government launches an investigation, nails the culprits and bring them to justice. What can Courts do if the Government is refusing to take cognisance of the crime much less taking action against the guilty ?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kashmiri's Ghazb-e-Hind

A report from the United States of America has termed Ilyas Kashmiri as the next Osama Bin Laden. Although the US has expressed concerns over this man since quite sometime, Indian agencies say that he is a bigger headache for India.

Kashmiri who was a commander with the Pakistan army had been specifically moved to the rogue outfits. Everything was hunky dory before he was asked to join the JeM which he was opposed to. The ISI and he fell out for a brief while and Kashmiri who had joined the Al-Qaeda’a 313 brigade decided to fight the NATO troupes in Afghanistan. Over a period of time he patched up with the ISI and he even trained the gunmen who carried out the 26/11 attack. However later Kashmiri claimed that it was originally a plan of the Al-Qaeda which was hijacked by the Lashkar.

Today Kashmiri works in tandem with both the Al-Qaeda and also the Bangladesh based Harkat-ul-Jihadi. The problem for the Indian agencies is not his association with the Al-Qaeda or its 313 brigade. Kashmiri was always seen as a headache for the US. However now what Indian agencies notice is his sudden interest in India and it appears that he will continue to focus on that angle.

After the 26/11 attack, Kashmiri felt a bit let down and in many places he had mentioned that his idea was hijacked. However this did not deter him and he continued to show keen interest in India. Today according to Indian intelligence agencies, Kashmiri is planning an attack on India on a very large scale. In fact he had kept in touch with David Headley for a long time when the 26/11 operations were on. It is said that Kashmiri had been given a lot of information regarding targets in Delhi and Pune by Headley when had visited the country once after the 26/11 attack. Kashmiri has been collecting all this data and in addition to this roping in several cadres from Kerala to carry out his operation which he has termed as Ghazb-e-Hind which means war on India.

IB sources tell that Kashmiri has roped in nearly 150 cadres from different parts of India and they continue to train with him for this massive operation. Sources in the NIA who interrogated Headley also pointed out that during the questioning in the US, the man too had spoken in length about Kashmiri and how he was planning to wage a full fledged battle on India. We have collected a lot of information on the Kashmiri angle and have tipped off both the IB and the police officials of the respective states to remain on alert against the designs of this man.

The IB says that he first wanted to carry out an attack during the Common Wealth Games and had even trained his cadres by the Mangla dam near Islamabad the same place where he carried out the training of the 26/11 terrorists. However this plan was scrapped due to enhanced security during the games.

Armed with the combating skills of the 313 brigade and the logistic and intelligence support of the HuJI, Kashmiri is turning out to be more dangerous to India than a Lakhvi or a Sayeed, the IB says. He has survived the onslaught by the US in Afghanistan and he has returned with a greater resolve and this makes him a man to watch out for for Indian security agencies, intelligence bureau sources say.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Natgrid will help tackle terrorism better

Security experts have observed that the primary reason we have botched up investigations where cases of terrorism are concerned is due to the lack of inter state coordination and information sharing between the police officials. Take for instance the case of Abdul Sammad Bhatkal who was picked up in Mangalore and then taken to Mumbai on the charge that he was allegedly involved in the Pune blasts. The police of both states (Karnataka and Maharashtra) had no clue as to what each other were doing and both did not share information with each other before this arrest was made.

The Home Ministry of India has full realization of the fact that the biggest threat this country faces is of home grown terrorism. There have been many instances when persons have been picked up in one particular state and it has taken almost a month before they could get information about the man from his home state as a result of which the investigations have been delayed. Taking all this into account, India has decided to set up Natgrid (National Intelligence Grid) from May 2011. This particular unit would ensure that police officers feed information about individuals into a data base and any other officer from other states would be able to pick up this information which would in turn help him in his interrogation.

Both police officials and the Intelligence Bureau have welcomed this proposal and say that interrogators could be right on the job. The biggest problem that one faces now is that in order to get information about a person from another state, a police official has to go through numerous bureaucratic channels before the information is actually shared. While this is time consuming, some police officials in the past have noted that they are faced with huge ego clashes when it comes to asking another state police official for information. In the bargain the process is delayed and several cases have been rejected by the courts as time barred.

While Natgrid would comprise information about every individual in the country, it will be more helpful in cases of crime since there would be additional data available on the server regarding suspicious individuals. Natgrid would have information about an individual pertaining to bank accounts, finger prints, the property he or she owns etc. It however does not end here. Once this system is in place all police officials will have to pull up their socks and feed information regarding missing persons, their last known address. In addition to this they will also need to coordinate with the intelligence agencies in order to put up more information regarding a person. Take for example Indias most wanted man, Riyaz Bhatkal who has been missing from his home town since the past ten years. In the case of such a person the police will have to feed in every possible update regarding him and also his past criminal details and also the details that have emerged regarding him including investigation reports.

Police officials who will need information on a person will need to type the name of the person and all details regarding him would come out. Senior police officials say that the biggest drawback when investigations take place is the lack of coordination. We are in a lot of hurry to complete investigations since there is immense pressure from the courts. In such cases we try and wind up the case with whatever information we have on us. This is a problem that has been faced most by the Hyderabad police who claim that they have had not much support from neighbouring states when it came to investigating cases of terrorism. Natgrid will ensure that we don’t have to keep tapping the doors of another state for constant information. It is very essential that the first bit of the information comes out soon so that we can proceed with the investigation and under the current scenario it takes us almost a month to get that first bit of information, the officer also said. In addition to this there is a lot of information which is present with the police officials of the other states and the problem is that it remains with them as they don’t put it up anywhere.

R Shrikumar who was part of CBI team which investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination cases says the more tools the investigation agencies have the better it is for them. There is an absolute need to share as much information with like minded people. However when it comes to dealing with terrorism I would say that it is enough to share information and gather the same with local police officials. We have to collect and prepare a data base from the international community too. Terrorists come into the country from outside too and we need to have a data base on them too and hence at the central level information needs to be collected internationally and the same be fed in too. Such an exercise proposed by the Home Ministry would be successful and effective if more and more police officials realize their responsibility in sharing information fully.

According to the Intelligence Bureau such an exercise will help put an end to the ego war between the agencies. Like how the IB and Raw have ego clashes when it comes to information sharing, the same is existent in all other agencies too. Further it is also pointed out that there should be no bureaucratic hassles when it comes to feeding in information. Even sub inspectors should be allowed to feed in such data as it happens, the IB points out.

However there is a need to train all officials before such a programme is launched. Although the Home Ministry has indicated that the launch would take place by May 2011, the training of the personnel is yet to begin. Police officials have indicated that the training will commence soon and the personnel will trained not only on how to feed in data but also what data to feed. It is extremely necessary that the right data is fed into the system so that it does not lead to confusion. Although India has aped the US model where this programme is concerned, there are certain key factors that India will need to take care of. If incomplete data bases are fed in then wrong names can pop up. India would not want incidents like what happened with Sharukh Khan at the US when had gone there last year to promote his film My Name is Khan. There will be utmost care taken to ensure that there is no misuse of such data.

The Intelligence Bureau however points out that Natgrid would not act as a substitute to the already existing mechanism. There will be a lot of reliance still on manual intelligence and basic interrogation by the police agencies. Natgrid will only help get initial information on the finger tips and speed up the initial process of investigation.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Post LeT it's Punjabi Taliban worrying India

A recent report from Pakistan suggested that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had broken off and a part of its operatives had joined the deadly Punjabi Taliban. At first this was thought to be a strategic move by the Lashkar and the ISI to create an impression that all was not well with the primary terrorist organization in Pakistan. However now with intercepts and information flowing in, Intelligence agencies say that there is a cause for concern since the Punjabi Taliban is expected to emerge stronger with several of the Lashkar operatives breaking away from their primary outfit.

Indian intelligence agencies tell that the Lashkar has always had a connection with the Punjabi Taliban. The association between the two outfits starts at the training stage and all militants of the Lashkar have been trained by the Punjabi Taliban.

The Punjab Taliban first came into existence to battle US forces in the Afghanistan areas. Over a period of time they started to battle Pakistan forces too who on the directive of the US had started to crack down on these forces. A large number of the Punjab Taliban cadres are from the Punjab area of Pakistan which incidentally houses the army bases of the Pakistan areas. During the earlier days these persons were trained by the Pakistani army and this helped them get access to sophisticated training. During this period a lot of persons from the Pakistan army too joined hands with this Taliban since they felt sympathetically towards the cause they were espousing.

Worry for India: Although this outfit will focus largely on operations against the United States in Afghanistan, India has plenty to worry about. India will not forget that the Punjabi Taliban was first instituted by the Pakistanis to fight in Kashmir. Although the ISI controls the manner in which the Kashmir battle is fought the cadres of this outfit have now decided to go on its own and agencies are pretty sure that they will continue their battle in Kashmir all by themselves too. In addition to this, the outfit has many of its support bases along the Indian border and there is every chance of them infiltrating into the country.

There has been a paradigm shift in the manner in which this outfit has been thinking off late. They have started joining hands with the Taliban and a section of the Al-Qaeda as they feel that they have a common enemy. The ISI has deliberately gone slow and has been telling its creations to go slow when it comes to battling the US, a fact that has not gone down too well with these outfits.

The bigger worry is that India’s chief enemy, Ilyas Kashmiri happens to be part of this Taliban. Kashmiri’s love affair with the ISI has come to an end for a second time and he too has decided to go against them. Kashmiri who had close links with Lashkar operative David Headley during the planning of the 26/11 attack has now chosen to stay away from the Lashkar since he feels that going alongside this outfit which is ISI driven would mean not taking on the US directly.

In the days to come there will be further splits in the Lashkar since there is growing dissidence within the outfit. The top leadership of the Lashkar has however decided to stay away from the Punjabi Taliban since it is no mood to defy the ISI at the moment. The ISI too is trying its best to keep these outfits together and may think of a new strategy to achieve the same. The biggest worry is the India battle and the ISI would not want any of these outfits to decide on its own. The ISI also worries about the fact that with this split the Lashkar operatives will not have access to training by the Punjabi Taliban which is a big blow for the outfit. It was the likes of Kashmiri who belong to the same outfit which helped the Lashkar militants train for the 26/11 attack.

The Indian IB says that these are passing problems for the ISI and it would reach some kind of a compromise in the near future. The worry is if these outfits come together since they will be a much stronger force to reckon with.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

US says no to Headley's extradition

Ahead of the Barack Obama India had raised the pitch on the David Headley extradition issue and as expected during an meeting of the CIA with the Indian intelligence agencies, this issue did crop up.

The meeting between the American and Indian intelligence agencies discussed a host of issues on the problems pertaining to terrorism that emanated out of Pakistan and as expected David Headley was top on the priority chart. Sources who took part in this meeting told that their American counterparts were clear about this aspect and said that an extradition will not be possible due to the legal tangles. Moreover the Americans also told India that the information that the National Investigating Agency had managed to extract from Headley was the maximum extent of the information even the Americans had. Moreover there would be nothing new emerging even if he were to questioned after being extradited to India.

The Indians did push the point to the Americans that Headley is more important to India than to America since his primary objective was to facilitate the 26/11 attack which he ended up doing with a lot of success. However the Americans were not ready to accept that argument of an extradition and made it clear that his plea bargain deal prevents an extradition. The Americans tried convincing the Indians that Headley during his interrogation with the NIA had given out all information regarding the 26/11 attack and also what he had been planning in the future. This is the exact same information that he has given the Americans too and there is nothing more on us.

The Indians are however taking solace out of the fact that the information which they have at the moment is enough to nail the Pakistanis who according to Headley were the masterminds of the attack. The information on Zaki-ur-Rehma Lakhvi and Zarar Shah is very crucial and Headley has spoken in length about their role in the attack. Moreover he has also given ample proof about how the Pakistan establishment was involved in the attack and these are good enough for the moment to nail the Pakistan lie.

The Indians however feel that bringing Headley down here and convicting him as per our laws would have sent a stronger message. Moreover they also feel that during the last interrogation by the NIA, he could have concealed some information and they may have been able to do better had he been questioned on Indian soil. However the Americans during the meeting have assured that they would provide information without fail in case something more crops up from him. The Indians feel that Headley should not be a closed chapter as yet since they believe he was no ordinary operative and the more one interrogates him the more regarding the establishment being involved in terrorism against India would come up.

There was also the discussion with regard to the information that the US claims that it had shared on Headley a couple of years prior to the attack. The Indians had pointed out that the warnings were never specific in nature. However the Americans clarified that the information available with them was not specific too and they shared whatever was available with them. Prior to the Obama visit, Home Secretary G K Pillai had also pointed out that the Americans could have informed us about Headley after the attack at least when he came down again to conduct more surveys of targets in the country. This point was also raised at the meeting, but the Americans continued to say that they had given whatever they had on them.

Indian security experts have pointed out that normally information in such cases are vague by nature and it is the duty of the country getting the information to dig and gather more details on it. Some security experts feel that it was a let up at the immigration which helped Headley thrive.

We need to fend for ourselves

As the media goes bersek on what US President Barack Obama should or should not have done in India, Air Chief Marshal (retd), Fali S Major who was in charge of operations during the time of the 26/11 attack tells that it is silly to tell a visiting President what he should or should not be doing.

The retired Chief of the Air Staff says I think it is time India starts to fend for itself. Are we by any chance expecting Obama to say that he hates Pakistan? The world hates that country and it is not required for us to wait for Obama to state the obvious.

Going by all the reports appearing, I think it is a little too early for us to judge the visit of Barack Obama. He has just come in and we are already expecting a lot from him. Let us wait for him to reach New Delhi where the real issues will be discussed. Regarding the security scenario, there is nothing that has been discussed as yet. What the future regarding security would be depends on what happens at New Delhi when he meets with Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. There are one on one meetings that have been scheduled at the National Capital and these meetings will be crucial and one can judge him only after that is completed. At the moment it is a bit immature for all of us to pass remarks and come to conclusions.

Regarding the defence deals there are ongoing deals with the United States of America. There are issues on certain conditionalities and that would become clear only once the final press conference is done in New Delhi. We need to wait for the exact text of that statement before we can make any statement since these issues are extremely critical and matters not to be taken lightly by speculating.

With regard to Pakistan, I think it is high time we start to fend for ourselves. Why do you want an Obama to say something about Pakistan? Do you want him to say that he hates Pakistan? The world has been saying that and there will be nothing new in him saying the same. Let us start to take care of ourselves and not expect someone to come and make statements for us. The more important thing with regard to Pakistan is that we should know what we are doing. Let us bear in mind that we cannot tell a visiting President what he should or should not be saying.