National counter to terror

Bipartisan security policy is of paramount importance

The Indian government’s seasoned response to the horrific killing of students in Pakistan has been commendable; it’s not the time to score points or point fingers. Expressing deeply-felt sorrow over an unspeakable tragedy next door was the need of the hour. Pakistan will do what it has to for dealing with the terror knots it has tied itself in. Realism now calls for New Delhi having a serious look within. The Peshawar attack, coming a day after the Sydney cafe siege, is a grim reminder of the dangers that lurk at just an arm’s length. A national bipartisan security policy thus should become a priority of utmost importance and urgency. A knee-jerk undocumented reaction to any activity that threatens security just won’t do anymore.

Reaching out to the states and making them partners in countering terrorism for firming up internal security can no longer be ignored by the Centre. If the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre needs changes, deal with it and get it running. An all-India institution like this is imperative for the national security management system. The country’s security apparatus planning and working in one voice and direction and not at cross purposes is no more a fancy idea; unitary, with all in it together, is the only approach that can work.

The United States of America may falter in how it gets on with the world, but the way it handles security on its own soil is a lesson for all. Just hours after the Taliban attack, President Barack Obama convened a meeting with his National Security Council to review potential threats to the US homeland personnel and those overseas ahead of the busy travel season and public gatherings expected during the holidays. Such is the planning that goes into making America secure. Given the vast economic and social challenges that India faces, a national security doctrine is the essential step forward, its contours shaped by a holistic construct of strengthening the country.

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