The statement made by the DIG of the Indian Coast Guards opened up a pandora's box on the incident relating to the Pakistan Boat which was intercepted on December 31 2014.
While many had questioned the authenticity of the operation, the DIG Loshali went a step ahead and claimed that it was he who ordered blowing up of the boat, a statement that has been termed as loose cannon by several officers in the Indian security establishment.
What one needs to bear in mind is that the DIG at no point tried to refer that the boat which came in from Paksitan was entering the Indian waters on a good will mission. He clearly stated that he wanted the boat to be blown off because he did not want India to serve the Pakistanis anymore biriyani.
Prevention is better than cure
The 26/11 attacks left a horrible memory in the minds of all. The ones who were most bogged down were the security forces. Terrorists entered into the city of Mumbai and kept the Indian forces on tenter hooks for nearly 3 days.
It was only when the National Security Guards entered into the picture that the sitution was brought under control. The red tape was seen clear in this incident as the NSG had to wait for nearly a day before they could fly into the city.
The reason quoted was that there was no plane on standby.
The lack of coordination between the Maharashtra police and the Intelligence Bureau led to terrorists walking into the city and carrying out one of the most horrific attacks on Indian soil. The coast guards were badly criticized as they failed to intercept the boat on which the terrorists came on.
India's approach to terror has changed a lot since the 26/11 attack. The approach is prevention is better than cure.
It was also made clear to the Indian navy and the Coast Guard that when it comes to a boat or vessel from Pakistan there shall be no diplomacy and it would be viewed with suspicion.
The question of protocol
The standard operating procedure of the Indian Coast Guard would mandate that they try and intercept any suspicious vessel . They would tell the inmates of the boat to stop and surrender. If they do not listen then warning shots would be fired in the air.
After all this if the boat does not stop then the Coast Guard have the power to shoot the boat down. However in the case of the Pakistan Boat the attempt by the inmates was to destroy all the evidence and hence they ended up blowing the boat up themselves.
The seas are a tough area to operate. While it is one thing to deal with fishermen it is a whole other issue when dealing with fidayeens or suicide attackers. Fidayeens come with an intention of dying. Their brief is destroy as much as possible, but then die to avoid a trail.
Ajmal Kasab too was on a fidayeen mission. His brief too was to kill as many and die. However it was sheet back luck for Pakistan that he was caught alive.
No border is safe
Today the situation in India is extremely different. The threat is not just from Pakistan. India faces a threat from China, outfits in Bangladesh and the latest entrants are the terrorists down South. Intelligence Bureau officials say that with China there is the problem of encroachment.
From Bangladesh there is a looming threat from outfits such as the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh and the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami. The Bangladesh threat spreads from West Bengal to all other North Eastern states.
Recently there is a lot of activity down South as well. The Chinese investments in Sri Lanka has made India uncomfortable. Further the setting of an ISI module in Colombo and that too within the Pakistan high commission office is yet another grace reminder of the Southern threat that India faces.
There is also a threat perception from groups in Maldives and one must not forget that all these attacks which could possibly arise from these countries would be through the seas.
No more biriyani
The DIG, Loshali who has just apologized for the statements was entirely right when he said that he did not want to serve the Pakistanis any more biriyani. The word biriyani in terror cases had become famous following the Kasab incident.
Kasab being meted out VIP treatment in jail and fed biriyani had become headlines. It did show the establishment in very poor light when a ruthless terrorist was being treated like a VIP. One must also not forget the historic blunder that India had made in the case of Maulana Masood Azhar.
Azhar was arrested by India and his prolonged stay in jail without any action had led to the Khandahar hijack which was aimed at seeking his release. The terrorists did succeed in securing his release.
Fodder for Pakistan
Pakistan plans on a regular basis on how to attack India. They have created home grown modules such as the Indian Mujahideen and the radical SIMI only to ensure that terror continues unabated but Pakistan does not get the blame.
The Indian Mujahideen was asked to operate by itself. They were told that there shall be no communication with Pakistan. After the attacks investigations would always show that it was the Indian youth who carried out the attack, thus helping Pakistan escape.
Democratically elected governments in Pakistan may have shown intent of striking peace with India. However is that really possible. The army and the ISI controls pretty much everything in Pakistan and it is their way which is followed.
Several leaders who have tried to reduce the powers of the army and ISI and also made attempts to strike peace with India have been overthrown by the military.
While the intention of the military is clear about their India policy, it is surprising why opposition parties in India and others would want to give Pakistan fodder to speak.
Pakistan has pounced on the negative reports on the Pakistan boat incident and have been quoting only Indian reports to substantiate their claim that the boat had innocent people. The claim however came after they had first denied that the boat was coming in from Pakistan.