WE,the people of India,are guilty of having let Pakistan go scot free after the dastardly 26/11 attack . From a position of weakness in 2008 , we accepted an uneasy truce . We were humbled,yet chose not to hit back. Like the defeat in 1962 War against China,this day should be commemorated as our worst defeat in the 21st century,our hour of national impotence.
Ten Islamic terrorists,trained by the ISI,invaded India from from the seaside and unleashed their jihadi instincts for 60 long hours. Long enough for 166 corpse to pile up in streets of the metropolis .Long enough for the perpetrators to attack a hospital,two luxury hotels,Shivaji Bus Terminus,Jewish Centre,a cinema hall,Leopold Café and breathe fire and terror on the streets. Long enough for the whole world to witness our national shame,courtesy an irresponsible media and a clueless government. The verdict at the end of the seize was unanimous- India lay humbled,Pakistan had terrorised us into virtual capitulation.
A day after the seize ended,we opened our schools,colleges and offices,and celebrated our resilience.The spirit of the Maximum City was lauded.As if a battered wife has any choice but to gather herself up and cook for her family.As if a helpless farmer has an alternative to selling his crops to middlemen at manipulated prices. Some kind of retaliation would have saved our faces,but we chose to bear this blow.
The then government ,comprising of economists,lawyers and sycophants,buried itself in preparing dossiers so as to avoid taking direct action . We presented ourselves as a victim,which have been doing since the late 1980s. The world must have grown weary of our perpetual whining by now. Not just our foes,but also the bystanders must have predicted ,that we wont retaliate,and hence to chose to look the other way. Even an Islamic apologist of a country like France launched air strikes against the IS after November 2015 terror attacks.Let us introspect as to why we didn’t act then ? Some vested interests belittle the September 2016 Surgical Strikes.Why we did not exercise the option in 2008 ?
It is also to be noted that all the ten terrorists carried IDs made in Hindu names.The plan was for all the attackers to attain martyrdom so that all cross border culpability could be denied by their controllers sitting in Pakistan .Such a scenario would have lent weight to the charges of Hindu terror.At best,it wud have been blamed on the homegrown,disaffected Muslim insurgents,and somehow linked to Kashmir. It was sheer luck that Kasab could be nabbed alive .India managed to present this as a face saver of sorts. International Jihad could not be denied.
We did not even bother to move troops to the border areas to put some pressure on Pakistan and global community.Rather it was Pakistan who ended up taking initiative in this regard against supposed Indian warmongering.
Indian government had been so numbed into statis that they could not even think of any counter-measures like troop movement,closing of High Commissions or resorting to surgical strikes.
Fifteen police officers including the then ATS Chief and an Additional Commissioner ,as well as 2 NSG commandos were shot dead by the attackers.Our law enforcement was taken by surprise.We were not at all prepared . Most of the slain officers were not even wearing bullet proof vests,and were not carrying smaller-sized weapons . There was complete breakdown of coordination amongst them. We had an inkling that something like this was being planned by ISI since late 2006,yet we failed to put in place any measures to counter it. It was a massive failure in terms of anticipation,intel,planning and ground coordination.
Ten years later,we hold candlelight marches,parade our customary victimhood and make usual ,weary noises against cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan,even as a senior minister in a border state is singing paens in praise of their PM .
We have improved neither our ground intelligence gatering,nor safeguarded our sea routes,nor synergised the functioning of various agencies active in bolstering our defence or formulated a standard response strategy as yet.A new National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) was proposed to be set up by the then-Home Minister P. Chidambaram as an office to collect, collate, summarise, integrate, analyse, co-ordinate and report all information and inputs received from various intelligence agencies, state police departments, and other ministries and their departments. NCTC has been a non-starter of an idea since the day it was conceived.
Hafiz Sayeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi remain free in Pakistan,and continue to spew venom against India.
This is the day when we should resort to voluntary power blackouts,and keep our flags at half mast to remind us of how we were humiliated . Shame lies not as much in being attacked,as in the proof of our total surrender.We came out of 26/11 without any saving grace.Only by accepting our poor national judgement in that fateful November,a decade ago,can we become ready to strike back in the future.