When the foreign hand is a helping hand

If the FBI can help hunt down the killers, then why not accept its assistance?

There is nothing wrong in India accepting American assistance in investigating the recent blasts in Assam and Nagaland – after all, what good use is having a high-level Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism when the two countries cannot work jointly to investigate an actual act of what appears to be cross-border terrorism?

The development of Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts region into a veritable Waziristan-of-the-east is an issue of concern both to the United States and India. Jemaah Islamiyah’s Hambali has been reported to have been holed out in Bangladesh for some time before he was arrested. The United States cannot tackle this incipient regional threat alone without Indian cooperation.

Whether Indian investigators really require technical help and assistance from the FBI is a another matter; if the FBI can help close a gap in capabilities, it should be welcomed; if India can do it alone, then it should be declined.

Other than demonstrating closed intellectual shutters, turning down the American ambassador’s offer — which seems like a well-intentioned but misconstrued move — due to a perceived affront to sovereignty or national pride, does nothing else.

Ultimately, the terrorist attacks in the north-east are a greater threat to India’s sovereignty that the Ambassador’s offer of assistance. A sense of proportion is what the intellectual and political critics of the foreign ‘helping’ hand need.

8 thoughts on “When the foreign hand is a helping hand”

  1. Pingback: vichaar.org
  2. I agree.
    In fact, one requirement for contesting elections should be a required reading of ‘realpolitik’- the novel. 9Yeah, but that presumes literacy beforehand).

    India ought to realise that in the current global environs, the americans are more our friends than any other geopolitical power. We don’t have to swear undying friendship, rather base our decisions on pragmatism and again, realpolitik, and do the right thing.

    I believe the NDA govt was far more enlightened in regard to foriegn relations than this govt seems to be.

  3. Praveen Swami wrote this in The Hindu:
    “the scandal surrounding Research and Analysis Wing defector Rabinder Singh is merely a symptom of a far larger crisis in India’s most important intelligence organisation: a crisis built around flawed liaison with external
    intelligence agencies, the shackling of counter-intelligence capabilities intended to detect traitors, and a long-running erosion of officer probity”.

    “Within India’s intelligence establishment, there is growing concern about the unspoken costs of the new liaison and cooperation procedures. Under the National Democratic Alliance, RAW, the Intelligence Bureau and the Defence Intelligence Agency were all authorised to make contact with their counterparts overseas, often with little monitoring. As a consequence, hundreds of Indian agents have been exposed; the term professionals use to describe individuals whose real jobs are known to foreign intelligence organisations. “As things stand,” says a senior RAW officer, “we hardly have anyone left who can serve in a genuine covert role.”

    Do we still want American cooperation?

  4. RS,

    It is quite normal for intelligence agencies to spy on each other, even on ‘friendly’ countries. If anything, India should do the same on the United States, as its close ally, Israel, does.

    Praveen Swami’s views cant be taken wholesale, as B Raman wrote. The Rabinder Singh case is an important lapse, but it must not be construed to mean that the US is singling India out for such treatment.

    Its all part and parcel of ‘partnership’. The message is the same for India, “trust but verify”.

    Besides, do you seriously believe that Indian intelligence was unpenetrated before the India-US tango began? Will abandoning the tango, ensure that the Americans will not plant double agents in India’s intelligence agencies?

  5. U got a point in the last para. I think so it should be proceed but be cautious.
    I also think we should take the hepl of Mossad to train a hit squad to take out ULFA and other anti-India leaders sheltering in Bangladesh. Do u think such an idea is feasible?

  6. RS,

    There was some news of an Indian covert operation some time ago, but subsequent reports did not confirm that the raids did happen. But yes, covert raids using special forces is an option that India needs to consider using.

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