India is at war. And the enemy is inside.
The notion of warfare in modern times has changed rapidly. Large scale battles between neighboring countries will happen much less, because these might degenerate into the use of nuclear weapons.
More collateral damage can be inflicted by terrorist attacks, and this can be targeted to specific high-profile locations and personalities. We will continue to see an upswing of these form of attacks.
The defence spending of the country should be changed to suit this reality. We should allocate a lot more portion of our funds to anti-terrorist squads, and they should explicitly be made part of the army.
It is easy to say can root out terrorism and flush out all the terrorists, but it is much more difficult to do that. This is a sensitive issue, and has to be done without any specific community feeling victimized. Increased espionage and a very efficient intelligence mechanism will help. But they are not foolproof.
In this post, I would like to mention a few measures that we need to adopt, to prevent the kind of attacks that we have seen in Mumbai (and in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore).
- The Mumbai coastline was quite vulnerable. There has to be an increase of naval check-points, particularly around our harbors. Each ship / boat should be made to pass through at least two such checkpoints.
- All major road and railways coming to the city should be subjected to such checkpoints.
- Major traffic cross-roads should have automatic alarm systems : these junctions should be sealed off in the case of an emergency. The response latency to alerts should be brought down to the bare minimum possible.
- There should be an increase of numbers in the reserve civilian police, which can react to such situations.
- The water supply system should be subject to severe monitoring and double-checks.
- The public transport infrastructure (particularly commuter trains) should have more intensive checks and inspections.
- Periodic inspections need to be done by dedicated squad members for the detection and disposal of bombs in public markets and crossroads.