Often wisdom is better than misplaced-valor

Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was killed while leading from the front in the battle against the terrorists that attacked India’s financial capital, Bombay. It was shocking to see the former joint commissioner of police so ill equipped and ready put to his life on line without a chain of command in place. Nobody would question the valor of late Chief Karkare but the wisdom of such rash judgment. Look at the bullet-proof jacket Hemant Karkare was wearing. Do you think it was adequate to face the fire from a AK-47 assault rifle? He was carrying a small gun totally outdated to embark on a sensitive operation. Who was responsible for such a state of our security agencies? ‘We the people’ would never know!

The Bombay Police has a workforce of 40,000 people and a budget of Rs 490 crore ($98 million) to protect the real-estate of probably $1 trillion! In contrast NYPD (New York Police Department) has a budget of Rs 20,000 crore ($3.9 billion) to protect fewer people. Bombay Police spent more than 85 per cent (Rs 415 crore) of the budget to pay the salaries of its force. Only Rs 75 crore was left for modernization and intelligence gathering. According to Prafulla Marpakwar of TNN, “Records show that the government has spent Rs 940 crore on “modernization” in the last eight years. But most of the money has been used for construction of new police stations, administrative buildings and buying luxury sedans for senior IPS officers. “We had adequate funds but never upgraded our firepower to tackle terror attacks. That was why we were helpless when terrorists attacked Mumbai on Wednesday,” a senior IPS officer said, adding that 60% of the Rs 940 crore was spent on buildings and cars and very little on improving mobility or upgrading weapons and ammunition.”

Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte leading the charge

The people of Pakistan are victims too!

Ordinary people in Pakistan are as helpless as the free citizens of India. We can not get rid of our corrupt politicians similarly Pakistanis can not get rid of their obsessive military dictators. The armed forces of Pakistan have ruled their country ever since the partition of India. The military generals of Pakistan have done a fantastic job of their public relations with the United States, China and a large section of the Muslim world. With the rise of India as a regional economic power, many Pakistanis have started to understand their own dilemma. Middle-class Pakistanis want good relations with India but not at the cost of their nationalistic pride. Can you really blame them? The military junta in Pakistan is acutely aware of this ambivalence in Pakistani people and has exploited this for their own survival. The dumb Indian politician has helped these brutal dictators by playing into their hands. Just THINK about it!

Given the ‘catch-22′ situation, who is in a position to change the dynamics? The simple answer is ‘Corporate India’. This time the Lashkar-e-Toiba has made a fatal error of judgment. By literally invading Taj Mahal hotel, they have hurt India Inc, the only viable entity in India to force a change. The Indian industry is bound to push ‘Corporate America’ to work on their politicians for a decisive action. Despite the lofty pronouncements of the incoming American administration, USIBC (United States India Business Council) would lobby hard to punish the terrorists inside Pakistan. Only the United States of America has the means to strike inside Pakistan and take out Lashkar-e-Toiba and Dawood Ibrahim. This would mean direct conflict with the Pakistani Military and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) in the short run but peace and progress in the long run. Do you think President-elect Obama has the stomach for that? This is going to be the new ‘Iraq’ for the Obama administration!

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