NSA Doval at an academic session on counter-terrorism: Sorry, it is a wrong signal

In April 2014 when the Lok Sabha election was still on, Narendra Modi, the then prime ministerial candidate of the BJP had strongly criticised the then Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for revealing talks related to bringing back Dawood Ibrahim from Pakistan before the media.

Modi was upset with Shinde for trivialising the Dawood issue in public

Modi had said that such things were not meant to be uttered in public domain. He said the Americans had never called a press conference to speak on the details of their plan to nail Osama bin Laden.


Now, the BJP has no problem with the NSA attending some academic event on a sensitive issue like terrorism

Almost a year has passed since then. Modi is now the prime minister of India and nobody knows where Shinde is nowadays. But what left many surprised is that after coming to power, Modi's own party has also been indulging in something similar, i.e., allowing an event at Jaipur to work on a comprehensive policy on counter-terrorism.

The meet has organised by the government in Rajasthan in association with India Foundation and Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur.

What's Doval doing at a session where basic lessons on terror are being uttered?

The three-day conference on counter-terrorism, was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and was attended by several ministers, bureaucrats, politicians and even National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his son Shaurya Doval, who is on the board of India Foundation. Security experts, politicians, journalists and columnists from other countries have been invited to the event.

What purpose do these events serve apart from occupying some news slots?

At the event, various addresses were made on the issue of terrorism and how it should be dealt with. A lot of theoretical talks (like the world has to unite in the fight against terror or that the ISIS is intolerant of a liberal and secular order) were being held but the question is: What purpose do these events serve ultimately?

Why should the country's NSA attend an academic event on terrorism? Is there a shortage of serious issues in hand?

If Modi had objected to Shinde's way of functioning when it came to the subtle aspects of statecraft, then why is the NSA of his own government is making points on ways to counter terrorism in an open conference?

If the think-tanks and experts have a point to make, let them do it secretly with the top officials: Why make an unnecessary noise in the media?

It is right that think-tanks often hold conferences where the best of minds interact to find a way for the future in any given discipline but is it okay for an NSA to stress smaller aspects on fighting the menace like "indigenous and independent mechanism to curb terrorism" or "biggest success has been the capacity for homeland security" at a conference which is not exclusive for those concerned with the national security?

Academic talks on crucial issues like terrorism never make any impact outside the four walls. Theories and thesis papers are not saleable when it comes to the practical domain of strategy-building. So what is the NSA doing with a chief minister or a newspaper editor from Pakistan or a columnist at a session on countering terrorism?

The NSA is far too a serious post that deals with the practicalities and sensitivities of the issue of national security that also features the threat called terrorism.

Everybody knows that terror needs a definition or that it should be fought together: Does the NSA have the luxury to propagate these trivial lessons in an academic session?

Then why is NSA Doval wasting some crucial time making some basic points like terrorism has no definition before a hall full of people on an occasion that is purely academic?

Is there any need for this exercise to feature Doval? If the national and international think-tanks indeed come up with potent ways to counter terrorism, then the NSA can be included in secret sessions to iron out the means and procedures for executing the new found ideas.

Instead, the government is allowing some conference with God knows what potential to break new grounds in the fight against terrorism to take place in full view of the media.

Mr NSA, you have far too serious tasks in hand and executing them doesn't really need the media's company

Dear Mr NSA, the country has a firm faith in your capacity as a strategic and security mastermind. We request you to live up to your reputation by cracking puzzles that pose threat to India's security behind the camera and allow the public to just witness the good impact of those moves. The noisy conferences and all the idle talks don't really matter apart from their hollow display.

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