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Barack Obama's security: A selective pro-activism?


Not a single day passes without the Intelligence Bureau issuing an alert warning of a possible terror strike ahead of the Barack Obama visit. There have been at least 40 alerts that have been issued till date and India wants to ensure that no stone is left unturned in ensuring that security is at its peak when the US President visits India.

In the midst of all this the Delhi High Court did raise a very valid question about the installation of 15000 CCTVs ahead of the Obama visit. [Is it ok for Pakistan to attack India after Barack Obama leaves?]


"You are quick to install the CCTVs because of a visit by a foreign president. What about installing it for Indian citizens and if we direct you to do so you will take months and even years," the Bench of the Delhi High Court had said.

The CCTV problem:

After every terrorist strike in India, there has been a debate on the installation of CCTV's. The latest attack at Church Street Bengaluru also raised the same debate and it was found that some of the cameras were not working.

Very recently, there was a concern about the CCTV cameras at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and also at the Gateway of India.

These are all vital spots and there is a great deal of security threat over here. These issues are not under the purview of the union government but the state government and the airport authorities.

Delhi HC asked why CCTVs are not installed quickly for Indian citizens?

However when it comes to the installation of CCTVs there has been a laid back attitude by the authorities which prompted the Delhi High Court to also state that the 15000 CCTVs being installed should not be removed after the Obama visit.

The practical problem:

For the police the practical problem is the funds. There is a limit up to which the police can do. Hence we have asked private establishments and also apartments to install CCTVs and the footage we could rely upon the police state.

However where the police have been lacking in their approach is that they issue a directive, but do not bother to check and follow up on the issue. High profile cities would need at least 70000 CCTVs at any given time.

The IB alerts:

Ahead of the Obama visit, the entire mechanism appears to have gone into very pro active mode. The number of alerts that are being issued every day has hit the headlines. The sheer number of alerts that are being issued everyday has worried the citizens no end and has caused a sense of panic.

Now the question is are all these alerts actionable in nature. Most of them are says an Intelligence Bueau official. However there are some general alerts that have also been issued and thee are done with an intent of keeping the police force awake.

Unless there are alerts issued they never do their job and there is a need to shake the system up. Such alerts are issued periodically even when there is no high profile event taking place in the country too, the officer explained.

Should operational details be put out:

Ahead of the Obama visit, we have seen media outlets particularly television putting up minute to minute security details. An officer explains that media houses tend to bite the bait when it comes to sensationalism. Nine out of ten times the correct details of the security update is not given.

There is a need to be one up on terror groups and while countering them various strategies are adopted and one is misguiding them through the media.

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