As the world lavished praise on America’s audacious mission to eliminate al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden from his hideout deep inside Pakistan, security experts in India said New Delhi lacked the political will to take similar action against most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.
“Which political leader in India will sign an executive order directing the killing of a terrorist the way Barack Obama did? We are not even willing to execute a terrorist (Afzal Guru) who has been convicted by the Supreme Court in the Parliament attack case,” said Ajai Sahni, an expert on terrorism and internal security.
Former army chief General VP Malik said even if such an operation was authorised, it would be difficult to execute because of a chronic lack of coordination between the government, intelligence and armed forces. He said that unlike in India, the special forces under which the US Navy SEALS fall come under a single command.
“In India, the armed forces, the foreign service, the intelligence agencies, the national security advisor operate in watertight compartments. One does not consult the other, and they do not know what the other is doing,” said Malik. He added that political leaders in India must make efforts to understand military operations like US presidents do.
‘India lacks political will to tackle terror’
Both Malik and Sahni, however, agreed that there is a marked difference between the US and India. “What Washington can do and get away with, New Delhi will not be able to. But there are ways of acting against terror in the regional context,” they said. “We need not send forces to Rawalpindi or Karachi, but we can certainly attack terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” Malik said.
Sahni believes if India’s external intelligence agency gets the green signal, it will succeed in eliminating India’s most-wanted terrorist, Dawood Ibrahim, who is believed to be in Pakistan. “They will hire hit-men. It would need careful planning, but it will be done,” he said.