The following are my replies to some questions posed to me by journalists regarding possible threats to the security of the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
Question: Now that the opening function has gone off well without any security-related problems, has the security threat perception diminished?
Answer: Not necessarily. It is very gratifying that the opening function was handled very well by the organising committee and those in charge of physical security. Generally, the security arrangements are very tight on the opening and closing days because of the presence of a large number of Very Important Persons and the crowd. The alert level is also very high. Since there is only one event on the opening and closing days concentrated in a single stadium, making tight security does not pose any major difficulty. No serious co-ordination problems arise. During subsequent days, the events will be scattered in a number of stadia and venue. Co-ordination and supervision of security arrangements will be more difficult. Moreover, since very few VIPS will attend, alert levels, in the absence of effective supervision, might get lowered. This could aggravate threat perceptions.
Question: Sections of the media have claimed that there has not been much of a chatter among terrorists indicating their plans to carry out any terrorist strike during the Games. Is this reassuring?
Answer: I would not agree. The Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) etc indulge in chatter, but not the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The communications security of the IM is good.It generally sends out an E-mail message just before a terrorist strike materialises or immediately thereafter. Otherwise, its members avoid any tell-tale chatter either through phone or E-mails. ( 4-10-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )