Archive for November, 2008

Opinion anyone?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2008 by pensivelawyer

Nothing like having an opinion to wake one up, outta the restful and blog-less slumber that i found myself in. Yeah, life was peaceful, running along fine like a sweetly humming motor, until these 10 idiots decided to invade Mumbai and make everyone’s life a miserable hell, giving me an opportunity to realize just how close i was to cheating death (Trust me, i got late, i got lucky!). 

I’m not gonna go into the gall, audacity or other aspects of the attack. I too (like most people i know) am sick of the constant conversation on this topic. What i sought to venture an opinion on was the manner in which the government reacted, and the action by our armed forces.

There can be no doubt that given the infrastructure they had, our armed forces did a fantabulous job. There was absolutely no hesitation in jumping in the jaws of death and the bravery was evident in each moment of the 48 (or so) hours the NSG took to cleanse and sanitize the 3 locations once they brought in. We understand that in order to minimize hostage losses, there was the need to go slow etc etc.

My question is slightly different.

We all have seen movies like “The Rock” and the like where these tracers are shown. These show a command post where a particular soldier is and enable radio communication to the said soldier through a wireless headset in the soldier’s ear. Similarly, there are things like “night-vision goggles“, “infra-red cameras” to transmit the picture to the command post, where the officers are able to identify, account for and locate each terrorist in order to clinically neutralize them. These gadgets are in pretty much any action movie we see nowadays!

These gadgets enable each commando team to sneak in, use technology to know the exact location of all terrorists, and then ensure that the team is able to pick them off, one-by-one, or collectively, using the appropriate weaponry (bomb, pistol, sniper, etc.). Such equipment is standard issue in commando services across the world. (The Israeli, US and UK commandos are known to rely heavily on these).

Why were these gadgets not used?

If used, they would enable our commandos to avoid an expensive (we lost 2 commandos) game of cat and mouse, avoid significant conseqeuntial expenditure and minimize the risk of hostage losses. Moreso, something like this would have taken the team like a few hours in each of the locations, and thereby reduced the time taken.      

The answer is obvious.

Our commandos are expected to work without these gadgets. Whilst this only shows how brave and courageous these individuals are, and speaks wonders of their ability to work without the ‘usual‘ infrastructure, a terror attack of this kind speaks of our inability to clinically execute plans to neutralize small numbers of terrorists.

Given these gadgets, chances are that our men would have been able to finish off the Oberoi, Taj and Nariman House with far less consequential damage and possibly, less human loss (of hostages and commandos).      

Which brings me to the conclusion, given the fact that our Government insists on paying the police and the armed forces a pittance (this fact is well known) and refuses to give them life saving equipment (which is actually standard issue the world over), it can be said that the Government has no qualms about letting our protectors risk their lives for no good reason. Its a fact that the risks involved for our soldiers in each of these operations (whether Taj, Oberoi, Nariman House or otherwise) can be brought down significantly…and yet, such equipment is denied to them.

The politics behind this decision is probably, “the procurement of such equipment isn’t profitable enough to warrant procurement“.

Tell THAT to the families of Unni and other heroes.