Sunday, December 30, 2012



1.Tweet to spread and acquire knowledge and not to impress.

2.Don’t brag. Noone looks or sounds cheaper than a braggart.

3.Keep moving forward despite the tragedy of our Braveheart daughter. Don’t wallow in guilt complex.

4.Keep thinking how we could have handled it differently and what to do to prevent other similar tragedies.

5. Avoid grandstanding.

6.Have the courage to admit your faults at least to yourself, if not to others.

7.There are three kinds of human beings--- those who have the magnanimity to admit their faults to others as well as to themselves; those who have the courage to admit their faults to themselves, but not to others; and those who are not prepared to admit them either to others or to themselves. They are at the bottom of the scale of evolution of personality.

8. You are old? So what? Your ability to contribute to an improvement of your society depends not on your age, but on your mindset.

9. The greatest tribute that one should try to earn from others is---there was never anything mean about him or her. ( 31-12-12)



The next step in the case relating to the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old  girl in New Delhi, who has  passed away, is the investigation and prosecution  of the six accused in quick time to ensure that justice is done to the Braveheart, whom the shocked nation looks upon as its daughter. Justice means their conviction and sentencing to the severest sentence possible under the existing laws.

2.The Government has done well to designate a Special Prosecutor to ensure the successful prosecution of the accused. For this purpose, the proposed Special Prosecutor should be given whatever manpower, resources, and expertise that he might require for a successful  prosecution.

3.It would be unwise to be self-complacent thinking that since the accused have already confessed, getting them convicted should be no problem. There is every possibility of the accused retracting their confession as public memory and anger fades. It would be necessary to strengthen the other evidence that the police are able to collect to supplement the confessions.

4.Now that the girl is dead, the most important piece of evidence, inter alia, will be her dying declaration recorded before a magistrate  in a New Delhi hospital and the medical findings of the doctors who treated her in New Delhi and Singapore. The Special Prosecutor and his staff should see that an iron-clad case is made out of such evidence which will withstand attempts that might be made by the lawyers of the accused to question their acceptability before the court.

5.The Special Prosecutor, his staff and the Police should not let themselves be taken by surprise by any attempts by the lawyers of the accused to question the reliability of the evidence.

6. An equally urgent measure will be to strengthen physical security for women in public transport and in public places that are used by rapists  to commit their crime. The Government has already announced certain measures such as verification of the character and antecedents of the staff of public transport and removal of the coloured windows of the buses.

7.While necessary, these measures alone would not be adequate. It is equally important to order that all public transport plying anywhere in Delhi between 7 PM and 7 AM would have a Constable and making the staff of the transport and  their owners liable for criminal action if they ply a transport during these hours without a constable. All public places unfriendly and risky to women should be identified and static guards should be posted at all  such places during these hours.

8. The number of additional constables and supervisory staff that would be required for this purpose should be estimated and a special sanction issued by the MHA for the recruitment and training of the additional staff needed for preventing crime against women.

9.The police regulations, manuals, operating procedures and training syllabi having a bearing on the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime against women should be reviewed and updated in order to make them more women-focussed. There should be a separate training capsule on crime against women with a separate  examination for joining the police at any level---from constables up to IPS officers.

10. A list of offences against women, which should be treated as heinous offences, needs to be drawn up and incorporated in the police regulations and manuals. All heinous offences against women should be liable to mandatory supervision by senior police officers of the rank of at least a Superintendent of Police.

11.It should be made obligatory for Station House Officers to record an FIR and start the investigation in respect of all crimes against women ---whether heinous or not so. There  should be a computerized data base of all crimes against women indicating the stage of investigation and prosecution in respect of each case.

12. Separate divisions on crime against women should be created in the office of the Commissioner of Police and in the office of the Secretary, Internal Security, of the MHA, and these should serve as the nodal points for monitoring all action against crime against women. Crime against women should be treated as seriously as terrorism with special squads for investigation and prosecution and special courts for trial.

13.The need for early implementation of the police reforms recommended by a committee set up by the Morarji Desai Government and subsequent bodies such as the National Security Advisory Board and the Special Task Force headed by Shri Naresh Chandra has been stressed by many. The implementation of the recommendations at the pan-Indian level has been tardy due to resistance from different State Governments and political parties. The delay in implementation at the pan-Indian level is likely to continue.

14. The Government should, therefore, separate the recommendations relating to the Delhi police from those relating to other States and set up a fast-track implementation mechanism. The Delhi Police cannot be compared to the police of other metropolitan cities. In addition to tasks relating to crime control and law and order, the Delhi Police performs important and sensitive tasks of a unique nature relating to VIP security, including security of visiting foreign VIPS, and diplomatic security.

15.While there should be no problem in transferring to the supervision of the Delhi State Government the tasks relating to crime control and law and order, the MHA has to have a say in the supervision of matters relating to VIP security and diplomatic security. If this is also transferred in toto to the State Government, problems of co-ordination and command and control  could arise if different parties come to power in the Centre and the Delhi State.

16. Delhi, therefore, needs a separate policing architecture with the State Government having primacy of supervision in respect of crime and law and order and the MHA in respect of VIP and diplomatic security. All Governments which were in power in the Centre were opposed to changing the status quo in which the MHA has total control. The possibility of an alternate architecture with dual supervision had never been examined. The time has come for examining this.

17. The recent incidents  of violence in New Delhi  in the wake of the gang-rape incident highlighted the lack of sophistication in crowd control by the Delhi Police. Public were shocked by the crude manner in which the police officers, including the women police, handled women protesters. They used the same high-handed techniques against men as well as women. There is a need for a total revision of our crowd control techniques relating to men and women, in order to make them more sophisticated.  (30-12-12)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )


Friday, December 28, 2012



Both Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the outgoing US Secretary of State, and Mr.John Kerry, her successor-designate already officially nominated  by President Barack Obama, are public servants of style and substance who had distinguished themselves as Senators for their knowledge of the world and expertise.

2.Ms.Condoleezza Rice, who was Secretary of State  during the second term of Mr.George Bush, and Mrs. Clinton were different from the traditional cold war style of Secretaries of State that one had seen before them. They realized that they had to operate in a world that had changed and that continued to change after the end of the Cold War and that the old style of policy-making, execution and projection that served the US well during the days of the Cold War, would no longer serve it well.

3. They diluted the elitist tradition that dominated the functioning  and thinking of the US State Department before them. Public diplomacy and greater policy maker-people interaction became their defining characteristics. They discarded the traditional aloofness of US foreign policy makers and encouraged their staff in the State Department to do so too.

4.Mrs.Clinton was the most out-going and transparent Secretary of State that the US has had who never hesitated to speak her mind out whether to China or Pakistan or other countries. She could be blunt without being unpleasant in her interactions with her counterparts from other countries. One had a glimpse of her quintessential style of public diplomacy during her town hall interactions with selected members of the civil society in  Kolkata earlier this year moderated by Barkha Dutt of NDTV.

5. Mr.Kerry is as knowledgeable as Ms. Rice and Mrs. Clinton and his expertise in moulding policies is considerable. But in a commentary on Mr.Kerry after he was nominated by Mr.Obama, the BBC described  him as “deliberate and strategic” in thinking, but secretive in style. A commentary by the ”Christian Science Monitor” drew attention to Mr.Kerry’s past reputation of elitist aloofness.

6.Many commentators feel that public or people-to-people diplomacy of the kind in which Mrs.Clinton excelled as we saw in Kolkatta does not come naturally to Mr.Kerry. It is said that Mrs.Clinton was an excellent team manager in running the State Department. One has misgivings whether Mr.Kerry would be an equally good and warm team manager.

7. In fact, Mr.Kerry was not Mr.Obama’s first choice as Secretary of State to succeed Mrs.Clinton. His first choice reportedly was Ms.Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, who would have  been in the mould of Mrs.Clinton, but Ms.Rice’s controversial statements regarding the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi in September, which came in for criticism from some Republican Senators, made it doubtful whether she would be confirmed by the Senate. Mr.Kerry should have a smooth sailing in the Senate because of his experience as a Senator and as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign relations Committee.

8.While the style of Mr.Kerry  could be different from that of Mrs.Clinton, in substance one is unlikely to see any changes in  foreign policy except in nuances in relation to China and Pakistan. The broad features of foreign policy are largely decided  by the President  on the basis of inputs and advice from the Secretary of State, the Defence Secretary, the National Security Adviser and the Director of the CIA.

9.One has to wait to see whom Mr.Obama nominates to the posts of Defence Secretary and Director, CIA, before assessing  what could be the totality of the impact of the team as a whole on the foreign policy during the second term of Mr.Obama. Three constants in respect of China have to be kept in view: Firstly, during 2012, the US replaced the European Union as the largest buyer of Chinese goods. The economic dependence between the two countries would rule out any adversarial relationship of a permanent nature. Secondly, the strong support in the Congress for Japan’s sovereignty claims in the East China Sea and for continued supply of military equipment to Taiwan would keep alive the trust deficit between the two countries despite the flourishing bilateral trade. Thirdly, the US could press ahead with its policy of strengthening its Asian presence through continued support to some ASEAN countries on the question of their rights in the South China Sea and further diversify its growing ties with Myanmar, which would be, in long term, to the detriment of China.

10. Mrs.Clinton vigorously pursued and projected the policy of enhanced presence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter Chinese activism and to reassure the ASEAN countries and Japan. The projection and execution of this policy by Mr.Kerry to protect the interests of the US and its allies would avoid the rough edges of Mrs.Clinton without changing the overall US objectives in the region.

11.The continued importance of India during Mr.Obama’s first term was partly the result of Mr.Obama’s own conviction on the role that India could and should play as an emerging Asian power on par with China and partly the outcome of the energy and enthusiasm imparted by her to the growing strategic multi-dimensional relationship between the US and India. This is a policy constant that will continue under Mr.Kerry.

12. Mr.Obama continues to attach importance to pursuing a tough counter-terrorism policy in the Af-Pak region partly to prevent any more threats to the US homeland from terrorists based in this region and partly to maintain stability in Afghanistan despite the thinning out of the US presence in Afghanistan.

13. While vis-à-vis China, Mr.Kerry will enjoy some latitude in the way the policy as laid down by Mr.Obama is projected and executed , Mr.Obama is expected to continue in the driving seat in respect of the Af_Pak region. At the same time, one has to remember that Mr.Kerry has greater sensitivity to the strategic interests and concerns of Pakistan in the Afghanistan region than Mrs.Clinton and pays heed to the perceptions of the Pakistan Army. He might try to moderate  the consequences of Mr.Obama’s present tough policy towards Pakistan in order to soften Pakistani perceptions towards the US.

14.It remains to be seen  whether Mr.Kerry would play a more active role in identifying and executing policy options in respect of Syria and Iran. There was an impression that Mrs.Clinton, who has future political ambitions of her own, avoided  too activist a role in West Asia and the Gulf lest any policy mishap come in the way of her future political interests.

15. Many believe that Mr.Obama would want Mr.Kerry to show greater activism in West Asia and the Gulf than Mrs. Clinton did---particularly in Syria. Those who had seen Mr.Kerry’s policy flip-flops in relation to the regime change policy of Mr.Bush in Iraq----he first supported it in the Senate, and then marked his distance from the policy of Mr.Bush--- wonder whether Mr.Kerry would have the stomach for a vigorous regime change policy in Syria. ( 28-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-Mail  .Twitter: @SORBONNE75)



Monday, December 24, 2012




The Government of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and the Congress Party headed by Smt.Sonia Gandhi continue to be clueless on how to deal with the situation arising from the mass outrage of the youth of the country in the wake of the gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi.

2. There are multiple causes for the mass outrage----

·      The failure of the police to prevent repeated crimes against women,

·      the shockingly inept and brutal manner in which the police dealt with crowds of youth protesting against the incident,

·      the inability of the Delhi State Government headed by Smt.Sheela Dikshit to understand the seriousness of the situation and the magnitude of the public anger and respond to it appropriately,

·      the lack of unity of action between the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India, which controls the Delhi Police through the Lt.Governor, the Lt.Governor, who is responsible for law and order and crime control in Delhi, and Smt.Sheela Dikshit, who, as the Chief Minister, is responsible for the proper governance of Delhi,

·      the total lack of command and control over the functioning of the Police,

·      the insensitivity  of Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Home Minister, who lacks the ability for sophisticated communication and portfolio management,

·      a Prime Minister, who neither rules nor governs nor controls and who is devoid of any warmth in his interactions either in Parliament or with the public,

·      a Congress President who exercises vast powers without a proper understanding and appreciation of the feelings and sentiments of the people of this country, specially the youth, and

·       the absence of competent political advisers to the Government, who could make good the deficiencies of the political leadership and provide the necessary correctives in dealing with internasl crisis situations.


3.Mechanisms like the Political Affairs Committee of the Cabinet, the Cabinet Committee on Security, the Secretaries’ Committee, the Joint Intelligence Committee, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which were set up over a period of time to provide a continuous flow of crisis-management, strategic-thinking and policy-making inputs to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet have not been functioning as they used to do under the previous Prime Ministers.

4. The de jure power and decision-making vacuum in the Prime Minister’s office and the de facto accumulation of power in circles close to Smt.Sonia Gandhi have added to the command and control confusion. During a discussion on the current situation among retired government servants who had served under previous Prime Ministers, someone posed the questions: Who is taking the key decisions? Where are the key decisions being taken—in the Congress headquarters or in the PMO? Who is responsible for ensuring the clarity and sophistication of public communications and interactions? Who monitors the developments and suggests action and policy options to the PM? There were no answers available.

5. There is a paralysis of governance in New Delhi. Unless the existence of this paralysis is admitted and rectified, things are not likely to improve. The Government and the Congress do not seem to be unduly concerned over the public anger and the paralysis because the opposition has not been able to come out with an alternate policy frame-work. The BJP itself is in a state of semi organizational paralysis.

6. Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, has come out with an alternate style of governance in Gujarat, but his party and its present leadership have not been able to give this alternate style of governance a pan-Indian projection.

7. This state of affairs is unlikely to be rectified by fresh elections to the Lok Sabha, whether held now or in 2014. The country is in for a long period of misgovernance and administrative paralysis  till there is realization in the Congress and the country over the evils of dynasty rule and over the need to get out of its grip ( 25-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of india, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies.E-mail: and Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Sunday, December 23, 2012



In all democracies, the public has a right to demonstrate in public in a peaceful manner, but it does not have the right to demonstrate where it will, when it will and how it will. The police can impose reasonable restrictions on the right to demonstrate for maintaining law and order.

2.In Washington, there are restrictions on demonstrations in the vicinity of the White House, the Vice-President’s house, the Pentagon and the State Department. Similarly, in London, there are restrictions on demonstrations near 10, Downing Street and the Buckingham Palace.

3. The Delhi Police was justified in imposing restrictions on demonstrations outside the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, the Prime Minister’s residence, the Parliament and the North and South Blocks. Generally, such restrictions are imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC which bans any gathering of more than five persons.

4. Restrictions under Section 144 can be imposed as an anticipatory cum preventive action before trouble breaks out or in order to control a situation after trouble has broken out. The failure of the Delhi Police to impose restrictions under Section 144 near these places before the protesters gathered there enabled the protesters to gather there without violating any law and engage in a confrontation with the police that took an ugly turn. The Police imposed Section 144 only after trouble had broken out and were not able to enforce it effectively.

5. The police had the right and the responsibility to prevent the protesters from forcing their way into the residences and offices located in the high security areas. Not having imposed restrictions under Section 144, the police found themselves with no other option but to use force to prevent the protesters, who had gathered in these areas, from breaking into them.

6. Whatever be the gravity and legitimacy of the grievances of the protesters, they could not have been allowed by the police to go where they want and do what they want. The scenes of clashes between the police and the protesters that one saw indicated a continuing lack of sophistication in dealing with crowds.

7. We still follow, with  some modifications, the riot drill as laid down by the British for dispersing unruly crowds. This riot drill laid down the following steps for dealing with a crowd--- tear-smoke, cane charge, lathi charge, and firing. Use of water was added as the first stage in emulation of the Western countries. There is no lathi charge in Western countries. We continue to use lathis, which can cause severe injuries.

8. Under the riot drill regulations, a police force----whether from the district or armed police--- cannot use force on its own. It can do so only on the orders of a senior magistrate. The do’s and don’ts relating to the use of force lay down, inter alia, as follows:

(a). Use of force should be stopped when the crowd starts running away.

(b). An individual who is running away should not be chased and beaten up.

(c) A person who falls on the ground should not be beaten up.

9.The TV visuals that one saw created an impression that the police was not following any of these dos and don’ts. They were chasing and beating up a fleeing crowd and fleeing individuals and were beating up with lathis even a girl who had fallen on the ground and was helpless. They seemed to be trying to teach a lesson to the protesters .

10. This indicated an ill-trained force not subject to any self-control and self-discipline in dealing with unruly crowds. What one saw was clashes between unruly protesters and equally unruly policemen.

11. There is a need for an urgent review of our riot drill methods and the training of our police force in crowd control to introduce greater sophistication in crowd control. It is time for us to discard the use of lathis, which can cause severe physical injury. Many Western countries have discarded them.

12. It is equally important that senior police officers and magistrates remain present in the scenes of anticipated trouble to exercise leadership and control over the police force.

13. It is also important for our youth to realize that whatever be their anger and outrage, they cannot take the law into their own hands. The police have a duty to perform in maintaining law and order and should be allowed to do so. If everybody---whether protesters or the police---- start behaving and acting as they will, there will be anarchy. ( 24-12-12)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail:  .Twitter: @SORBONNE75)


Thursday, December 20, 2012




The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reasons to be concerned over the results of the elections to the State Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh announced on December 20,2012.

2.The elections were preceded by a sustained campaign based on allegations of corruption  against the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh, and some Congress leaders of Himachal Pradesh They were also preceded by a steady increase in inflation and by the economy reaching a road-block. The campaign of Anna Hazare and the anti-corruption activists headed by Shri Arvind Kejriwal since August last year was mainly directed against Congress misgovernance.

3.Many of us formed the perception that the public disenchantment against the Congress was so strong that its electoral defeat in the various elections to the State Assemblies and to the Lok Sabha in 2014 would be certain. We were surprised when public opinion polls held in some states a few months ago indicated that the disenchantment with the Congress was not as widespread as one thought it would be and that any disenchantment that did exist had not translated itself into enchantment with the BJP.I had pointed out  in earlier articles and tweets that the BJP had not been a beneficiary of any disenchantment with the Congress.

4. This was because of public skepticism over the capability of the BJP to set right matters and over the internal mess in its organization in States such as Karnataka. It was apparent that campaigns solely based on allegations of corruption and criticism of the dynasty rule were not making headway with the rural and small town voters. Signs of a creeping disillusionment with the BJP were there for all to see if only they wanted to see them.

5.The results of the elections to the Gujarat and HP State Assemblies clearly show that these misgivings were not ill-based. The elections to the Gujarat Assembly were preceded by months of a high-voltage campaign mounted by a group of Gujarati whiz-kids from the diaspora in the US to project NaMo as the coming saviour of India, who had performed economic miracles in Gujarat, which he was destined to repeat in New Delhi after gravitating to New Delhi and taking over as the Prime Minister of India following the 2014 elections.

6. NaMo willingly and uncritically allowed these whiz-kids from abroad and their associates in Gujarat to project him in a new designer-made personality as the development man, as India’s man of economic miracles, as the ruler who turned Gujarat into India’s Guangdong. Interestingly, some of these Hindutva whiz-kids from the US were earlier associated with some Telugu whiz-kids from Andhra Pradesh in the US, who had mounted a campaign some years ago to project Shri Chandra Babu Naidu, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, as the man of the technology-based development miracle sweeping across AP and as the coming saviour of India when the NDA under Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power.

7.These whiz-kids and NaMo had so convinced themselves that Gujarat was shining under him that they created for themselves an illusory world of unstoppable NaMo who was bound to sweep the polls in Gujarat before moving on to New Delhi. Their exaggerated expectations, based on hype and delusions, on the number of seats that NaMo was likely to get far exceeding what he got in 2007 drove them blind to the ground reality.

8. The Congress poll strategists, advised by sons of the soil analysts and not by imported whiz-kids, concluded that the strong state of the BJP in Gujarat and its undoubted economic record and the poor state of the Congress  would not enable them to prevent another NaMo victory. Their strategy was, therefore, designed to devalue the significance of NaMo’s hat-trick.

9. Whatever NaMo’s spin-kids may say, his was not a phenomenal victory. That NaMo himself realizes this is obvious from his remark in the victory speech “ a victory is a victory, whether one gets 93 or more”. The tone of his victory speech was that of an embarrassed leader whose Himalayan expectations have been belied.

10.Two significant indicators of the Gujarat poll results are the fact that the BJP got two seats less than in 2007 and registered a fall of one per cent in its popular support (48 %).As against this, the popular support of the Congress went up by one per cent to 40. The poll results clearly show a saturation effect and the onset of a NaMo fatigue. NaMo’s victory speech in Hindi was designed to conceal the signs of this fatigue and to project the significance of his hat-trick against a pan-Indian instead of a purely Gujarati background..NaMo is no longer the man going up and up and up. He is an engine which is beginning to stall.

11.If the Gujarat results are significant purely against the State perspective, the HP results are very significant from the pan-Indian perspective against the background of the sustained anti-Congress and anti-dynasty campaign mounted by the BJP. This campaign has failed to dent the Congress image. The BJP has not been a beneficiary of this campaign and is unlikely to be its beneficiary in other States too during the 2014 polls to the Lok Sabha.

12. If the BJP does not revamp itself and design a new poll strategy based on ground realities and not on imported myth and delusions of diaspora origin, its hopes of returning to power in New Delhi in 2014 are likely to be belied. If its own chances of returning to power are so weak, where is the question of NaMo assuming its leadership and becoming the next PM. It will be premature and futile to analyse NaMo’s chances, when the BJP’s own chances are questionable.

13. The BJP leaders should stop building castles in the air. ( 21-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, and , presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai,and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  .Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



The Government of India needs to be complimented for its reported decision to appoint Shri Nehchal Sandhu, who will be retiring as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau on December 31,2012, as Officer on Special Duty  in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to be in charge of internal security .It has been reported that he will be ultimately taking over as the Deputy National Security Adviser on March 21 when the current incumbent Ms Lata Reddy completes her tenure.

2.Shri Sandhu, who is from the Bihar cadre of the IPS, is an officer in the mould of Shri M.K.Narayanan and Shri Ajit Doval, both of whom headed the IB with tremendous distinction. Like them, he is a clandestine operative par excellence and a brilliant analyst.

3.Shri Doval and Shri Sandhu built up the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism capabilities of the IB in difficult years and contributed immensely to the fight against terrorism and insurgencies of various hues. Their names should figure prominently in any official account of the role of the IB in counter-terrorism.

4. When I was in service, I had an opportunity of working closely with Shri Doval and  Shri Sandhu, then a young officer, in the case relating to the kidnapping of Liviu Radu, a  Romanian diplomat posted in New Delhi, by some Khalistani terrorists in 1991. The credit for getting the diplomat released without conceding any of the demands of the terrorists should go to these two officers and to Shri Narayanan, the then DIB, who co-ordinated an excellent, copybook counter-terrorism operation.

5.. Shri Sandhu is a very pleasant officer, who has enjoyed a consistent reputation as a good team player with no trace of service or institutional parochialism. He got along well with other agencies of the intelligence community and the Multi-Agency Centre of the IB, which co-ordinates the counter-terrorism operations across the country, came of age under him.

6.Many, including me, had a feeling that under Shri P.Chidambaram, as the Home Minister, the internal security role of the NSCS tended to get diluted. Shri Sandhu, with his vast experience in intelligence and physical security, is the right choice to restore to the NSCS its due role as a co-ordinating centre in internal security strategizing.

7.Shri Sandhu will be an asset to Shri Shivsankar Menon, the National Security Adviser, in the processing and implementation of the recommendations of the Naresh Chandra Task Force on the modernization of our national security set-up. Its flagship chapters relate to internal security, intelligence revamp and cyber security and an experienced officer like Shri Sandhu should be of immense assistance to the NSA  and the Government in ensuring effective implementation.

8. The appointment of an outgoing DIB as the Deputy NSA should facilitate the current exercise to create the concept of an intelligence community in our country on the pattern of that in the US.

9.Shri Sandhu will be succeeding Ms.Lata Reddy, an officer of the IFS,who had played a commendable role in counter-terrorism as the Indian Ambassador to Portugal. Her tenure as the Deputy NSA was marked by the initiation by her of an exercise to strengthen our TECHINT and cyber security capabilities. Credit should also go to her for steering successfully the  work of the Naresh Chandra Task Force.

10. Shri Satish Chandra, another IFS officer, who held charge as Deputy NSA under the late Shri Brajesh Mishra and the late  Shri Mani Dixit, was the moving spirit behind the successful work of the Group of Ministers of the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government for the revamping of the national security set-up.

11. Ms Lata Reddy, under Shri Menon, played a similar praiseworthy role in respect of the Naresh Chandra Task Force for the modernisation of our national security set-up. Shri Sandhu will be a worthy successor to her.

12.Shri Sandhu had accompanied the Home Secretary on his visit to Islamabad earlier this year. This should have given him an opportunity to get to know senior officers of the Pakistani Intelligence Bureau and Internal Security Ministry. This should facilitate his interactions with them in his new role ( 20-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi. E-mail: . Twitter @SORBONNE75 )



The whole of India has been shocked and outraged beyond measure by the bestiality inflicted upon a girl in her early 20s by a gang of beasts.

2. When one tries to imagine her helpless moments at the hands of these beasts, one’s heart bleeds. The whole country, particularly its women, have been outraged not only by the bestiality of the gang-rape, but equally by the politics as usual attitude of the Government and the Congress.

3. This was the time to discard politics and to act to ensure that this will not happen again. The people of this country have a right to expect that the Government will not stand on false prestige in acting against rape. If we watch helplessly as our women ---urban or rural—are subjected to such bestiality, we have no right to call ourselves a civilized nation.

4. It is not a political issue. It is an issue of our feelings as human beings and our pride as citizens of this country. The agonizing call of our feelings has to be heard and responded to by our political leaders--- whatever be their political affiliation.

5. One would have expected Mrs.Sonia Gandhi as a political leader and as a woman to reflect the agony and anguish of the people of this country, particularly its women, and be in the forefront of an epic battle against rapes.

6.Instead of projecting her human personality, she has shown herself to be a woman of stone with no feelings, as a political opportunist calculating only the cost of action and inaction.

7.When the Lok Sabha debated the bestiality, what happened to her anger, her outrage, her heart? Why one doesn’t see any sign of blood in her heart as the flood of reports giving the details of the bestiality pour in?

8.Past woman leaders of the Congress must be grieving in heaven as they watch the stone-like response of Sonia Gandhi to this act of bestiality.

9. We need leaders with bleeding hearts, not a leader with a heart of stone.( 19-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi. E-mail:  .Twitter : @SORBONNE75  )


Tuesday, December 18, 2012



In our country, crime against women is not treated seriously by the police. Its prevention, investigation and prosecution are given low priority. This was so during the days of the British. This has been so since we became independent.

2.Our Police Regulations, which lay down how the Police should function, were originally drafted by the British. The Regulations as drafted by the British did not categorise any  offence against women as heinous requiring mandatory supervision by a senior police officer. The responsibility for investigation and prosecution used to be left to a Thanedar or a Head Constable with no supervision at senior levels.

3. One does not know whether the Police Regulations have since been revised to categorise rape as a heinous offence on par with terrorism, dacoity and murder requiring mandatory supervision at senior levels. If not, this is the first step that has to be taken to underline the gravity of the crime.

4. Every police officer holding independent charge is required to submit to his superior a fortnightly report of crime in his jurisdiction. The past proformas of this report when I was in service did not provide for a separate section on crime against women. The Government should prescribe a separate Fortnightly on crime against women indicating the measures taken for prevention and the progress of investigation and prosecution.

5. The attitude of policemen from the constable upwards upto the DG of Police has to change. It has to be ingrained in the minds of policemen during their training that a rape should be treated as seriously as an act of terrorism or a murder. This change can be brought about only by having a separate and special training capsule on crime against women in our police training institutions. When I was trained as an IPS officer in the Central Police Training College at Mount Abu in 1961-62, crime aginst women was given very low attention in the syllabus. The syllabus has to change giving the same importance to crime against women as to other categorized heinous offences.In the final examinations, there has to be a separate paper on crime against women.

6. The annual confidential reports of police officers, which determine their promotion, should have a separate column to assess their performance with the regard to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime against women.

7. There are very few instances of habitual rapists. Most rapists are one-time offenders. They rape in a momentary loss of sanity and self-control in the presence of women. They commit the crime under the sudden onset of a mad urge to rape. It is very difficult to identify potential rapists and anticipate their crime. Despite this, prevention is the most important aspect of dealing with crimes against women. Prevention has two aspects----prevention by women themselves through appropriate self-defence measures.A self-defence measure which can be fairly effective is the use of mini tear-smoke cartridges. These cartridges should be made easily available in the market for purchase by women. There is a possibility of other criminals like dacoits etc misusing these cartridges for  overcoming their victims, but this is a risk which has to be faced to enble women better protect themselves.

8. Prevention by the police has to be through enhanced anti-rape patrols in areas susceptible to commission of rapes such as transport buses, parking lots and deserted streets at nights. Since rapists operate more at night than during day time, these patrols should be intensified at night. Intensified anti-rape patrols would also have a salutary effect on other crime.

9.The police should set up a separate anti-rape control room and widely publicise its telephone number. Every woman should save this number in her mobile and activate it immediately on apprehending danger.

10. If rape is categorized as a heinous offence to be treated on par with terrorism, this would lead to changes in the way we react to it and deal with it with the creation of anti-rape squads for prevention, investigation and prosecution and anti-rape tribunals for speedy trial.

11.Since rape is an offence committed in moments of sudden insanity and loss of self-control, fear of death penalty may not be an effective deterrent, The only effective penalty will be to put all rapists out of circulation through mandatory life imprisonment. ( 19-12-2012 )

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Sunday, December 16, 2012



There is no need for one to be surprised by the trail of controversies and anger created by Mr.Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, during his three-day visit to India from December 14,2012.

2.What he sought to convey was that India cannot escape its share of the blame for the 26/11 terrorist strikes. That is why he sought to connect the Babri Masjid incident in December 1992, the explosion in the Samjotha Express in 2007 and the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. He subsequently tried to deny any intention to project them as connected, but he was clearly trying to minimize the gravity of the 26/11 strikes by bringing in the Babri Masjid incident and the Samjotha explosion. By announcing the arrest of another suspect in the Samjotha explosion during his visit, we have unwittingly given him an opportunity to go back to Pakistan and claim to the fundamentalists and the Army that he succeeded in forcing India to act against the remaining suspects in the Samjotha case. This shows how naïve we can be in matters concerning Pakistan.

3. On the basis of the various statements made by him regarding expediting the trial against the Pakistan-based chief conspirators of the 26/11 strikes, we should not nurse any illusions regarding the sincerity of Mr.Malik. He is an ex-police officer who heads a police Ministry. The Pakistani police has never had the courage and powers to act against the jihadi terrorists created and used by the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).We saw it in the case of the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, by a group of terrorists headed by Omar Sheikh, who was in touch with Brig. Ejaz Shah of the ISI, in 2002.Ten years after Pearl was murdered, the case is still going on and the appeal filed by Omar Sheikh against the death sentence awarded to him by a lower court has not been disposed off.

4.Similarly, the Pakistani Police has not been able to expedite the trial of the suspects in the Benazir Bhutto murder case five years after she was assassinated. Before the assassination, Benazir had named some officers of the Army, including Ejaz Shah, as posing a threat to her security. The police has been dragging its feet in the case because of the alleged involvement of the Army and the ISI.

5.The 26/11 terrorist strikes were carried out by the Lashkar-E-Toiba (LET), created and nursed by the ISI and used against India and in Afghanistan along with the Haqqani network. For us, to expect that Mr.Malik and his Police will act against  the ISI-protected LET will be to live in a fool’s paradise. Not only the Pakistani police, but even its anti-terrorism tribunals are hesitant to convict terrorists enjoying the protection of the ISI. Even if the Police collect all the evidence and produce them, the tribunal is unlikely to accept them and convict the masterminds.

6. We should not, therefore, have any illusions that Mr.Malik and his Police are going to act against the ISI-sponsored terrorists. It is for us to act through appropriate covert action against the LET. Unless and until  the Manmohan Singh Government realizes the nasty ground reality in Pakistan and acts on its own instead of depending on Mr.Malik to act, this charade will go on. (17-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India,and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

Thursday, December 13, 2012




The decision of the Government of President Mohammad Waheed of the Maldives to terminate the contract given to a consortium headed by an Indian company to run the Ibrahim Nasser International Airport of Male has given rise to speculation that China might have nudged the Maldivian Government to terminate the contract and that Beijing might ultimately emerge as the beneficiary of the termination with a Chinese company being made responsible for the running of the airport.

2. Apart from the fact that the termination of the contract was preceded by a visit to Male by the Chinese Defence Minister Gen.Liang Guanglie during the course of visits to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India and was followed by a visit to Beijing by Mr.Mohammed Nazim, the Maldivian Minister for Defence, National Security and Transport, earlier this week, no other evidence has been forthcoming in corroboration of this speculation.

3.The fact that Mr.Nazim handled the entire affair relating to the contract has added to suspicions that his visit to Beijing might have been utilized by him to brief his Chinese counterpart on the reasons and implications of the termination and to seek Chinese co-operation in running the airport.

4. During his stay in Bejing, Mr.Nazim met on December 11,2012,  Gen.Xu Qiliang, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Communist Party of China (CPC), followed by a metting with Gen.Liang. There are so far no reports of his having met Prime Minister Wen Jiabao or Mr.Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who is also the new Chairman of the CMC.

5.According to the Xinhua news agency, Gen.Xu said during their meeting that the two countries have in recent years increased mutual political trust, expanded trade and economic cooperation, diversified cultural exchanges and set an example for countries to treat each other as equals and cooperate with sincerity.

6.He added: “The two militaries should continue to enhance high-level contact, strengthen pragmatic cooperation, expand the scope of cooperation and upgrade military relations."

7.According to the Xinhua, Mr.Nazim said  the Maldives hoped to strengthen communication and cooperation between the two countries as well as their militaries, jointly address common challenges and meet opportunities so as to promote the two countries' relations to a higher level.

8.The Xinhua quoted Gen.Liang as telling Mr.Nazim: "China has always positively developed its military relations with the Maldives and hopes to enhance communication and cooperation, promote the construction of both militaries and safeguard regional peace and stability.”

9.After taking over as the President earlier this year, President Mohammad Waheed  Hassan had visited  Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province of China, in the first week of September,2012, to attend the second China-Eurasia Expo.

10. During his stay in Urumqi, he met Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao,who reportedly assured him that China would provide assistance  to the Maldives to counter climate change. Hailing the sound bilateral ties over the past four decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Mr.Wen said the two nations had set up a good example for countries of different sizes that treat each other equally and conduct cooperation in a friendly way, and that China would continue supporting the Maldives in economic and social development.

 11.Mr. Waheed  described  China as a reliable friend and  added that the Maldives was willing to increase communications with China in regional and international affairs, enhance their pragmatic cooperation and join hands with China to deal with global challenges including climate change, and advance the bilateral relationship into a new phase.

12.Three agreements were signed on September 2,2012, between the two Governments in the presence of the Maldivian President and Prime Minister Wen, providing for Chinese assistance worth US $ 500 million.

13.These amounts  included the grants under the annual economic and technical assistance program by the Chinese government, and a preferential loan of US $ 150 million from the  EXIM Bank of China for the onstruction of 1500 houses in the Maldives.

14.A press note issued by the President’s office in Male highlighted the fact that this was the first time that agreements had been signed in the presence of the heads of governments of the two countries and that the agreements were signed in Urumqi, a Muslim area of China.

15.It is my assessment that China’s immediate and medium-term interest in the Maldives wll be in establishing a communications base similar to what it had in the Coco Islands of Myanmar to facilitate communications with the Chinese anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf and to snoop on Indian naval communications and monitor Indian satellite and missile launches.

16. Whether the new Government of the Maldives in its petulance towards India will oblige Beijing remains to be seen. The Maldives has considerable dependence on India in national security matters. Whenever Maldivian Governments have faced threats to their internal security and natural disasters, they had generally sought Indian assistance. The rapidity with which India can rush to the assistance of the Maldives, China cannot. It will be unwise and suicidal for any Government in Male to reduce the dependence on India in national security matters and turn to the Chinese, but one never knows.

17.India needs to closely monitor the developments without jeopardizing the mutual security assistance programs that have been built up with the Maldives since 1979. ( 14-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



If NaMo, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had been well-advised, instead of raising the issue of Sir Creek, he would have raised the insensitive timing of the official visit of Mr. Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, to India at the invitation of Shri Shushil Kumar Shinde, our Home Minister. His visit is scheduled to take place from December 14,2012,a day after the 11th anniversary of the attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorists on December 13,2001. This is not only an insult to the memory of the security forces personnel who were killed during the attack, but a reminder of the embarrassing fact that 40 years after Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) started using sponsored-terrorism against India, we are still without an effective answer to it.

2.One can’t have an objection to Mr.Malik being invited to India to launch the new visa liberalisation measures, but this was not the time to do so. ISI officers will see in the timing of the visit a confirmation of their belief that India does not have the will to fight their use of terrorism against us.

3.Pakistan will try to project that with the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani  terrorist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET),  and its seeming pursuit of the trial against the main Pakistan-based conspirators of the 26/11 terrorist strikes, the terrorism chapter in Indo-Pakistan relations is about to be over and a new chapter can begin.

4. It is important to make it clear to Mr.Malik and other Pakistani leaders as well as to the international community that our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will continue so long as Pakistan does not act against all terrorists operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan and does not wind up the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory.

5.Since March 1993,the ISI has been responsible for a series of mass fatality terrorism against us. The attack on our Parliament in 2001 and the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai were acts of indirect aggression against India as per some resolutions of the UN General Assembly passed on the question of state-sponsored terrorism. All these attacks against our nationals, interests and sense of honour have remained without an appropriate response from our Government and political leadership.

6.The 26/11 strikes were qualitatively different and graver than the other acts sponsored by the ISI in Indian territory. For the first time in the history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, foreign nationals---including Americans and Israelis—were targeted and brutally killed. It was an attack not only on India, but also on the international community.

7. Any self-respecting nation would have seen that Pakistan paid an appropriate price for the attack. The relatives of the foreign nationals killed should have been mobilised to pursue the senior officers of the ISI before courts of their countries for their involvement. We not only failed to retaliate against the terrorist leaders in Pakistan, but also failed to mobilise the relatives of the foreign victims.

8. I am all for good relations with Pakistan. Even Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee sought good relations. But good relations do not mean letting Pakistan get away with its use of terrorism against us.

9. Our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism began in 1981.It has to continue without closure till we ultimately prevail. It has to be made clear to Mr.Malik that there will be no closure till terrorism originating from Pakistan ends.

10. I do not have the confidence that Dr.Manmohan Singh and Shri Shinde will vigorously articulate our position to Mr.Malik. Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rahul Gandhi do not understand the anger on this issue in the hearts and minds of innumerable Indians. This has to be done by the opposition leaders and the public. Let this be raised loud and clear during the remaining two days of the election campaign in Gujarat. ( 13-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: Twitter @SORBONNE75 )