Last Saturday I attended a talk by Mr Pillai - Union Home Secretary at the Bishop Cotton's boy's school in Bangalore. It was the "General Thimmaiah Memorial lecture" and the topic was "India's Internal security, challenges and responses"I really should have types out my report earllier but various things delayed me. Anyhow a little report on the event appeared in the Times of India which I scanned - you can click on the image below to read the report, and below that is my own report.
The talk was attended by some fairly high profile people including some retired service officers - some of whom I know, and other whom I met, albeit briefly. Among the latter group were AM Fali Major, former CAS, Adm Shekhawat, former CNS, Admiral Dawson, former CNS, AM Rajkumar and many others. I also met the parents of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. I was completely choked up for words and all I could do was stand with my mouth shut and my hands folded for a few moments in front of them. What do you say when you meet the parents of a dead hero who sacrificed his life because India does not have the resolve to buttkick terrorists? ? Thanks? Sorry? Hello? Namaskaar?
Mr Pillai gave a very nice talk, although his powerpoint slides were janata quality. He spoke of 3 major internal security challenges, Pakistan, North East and Naxals.
About Pakistan Pillai only spoke of the anti-terror mechanisms put in place after 26/11 and claimed that the only reason we have had a 11 month lull is the arrest of Madanai, but that terror attacks were sure to start again.
The saddest part of his talk was about the North East. The North Est is an area that is misunderstod by most Indians. To me even the people on this form who imagine that it is patriotic to talk of a specific core definition for India and the "vermin" that India has are already half way down the route to rejecting the North east as more foreign than Bangladesh.
When you talk about the North East one can more easily understand what "modern India" is about. Modern India is a conglomeration of many proud Indian states, some are tribal states and other are old established kingdoms. Each has a history and culture which is sometimes quite different from the various "cores" we seem to discuss on here - starting from diet and religion. Mr Pillai's message on the NE was mixed. The insurgencies are settling but India needs to integrate the people and states of the NE mush better. This is not helped by a bureaucracy that wear the same blinkers as the core India seekers who will not find the core they are looking for in the North east. Two specific problems stand out. Ham handed Indian attempts from lack of understanding of the North East have led to people hedging their bets. They know that they are Indian but when their culture is crushed the only people they can rely on to help are their own militant rebels. Are we the rest of India willing to accept the tribes of the NE without burying them alive? The second problem is demographic. Some decades ago India actively asked people to migrate to the NE. Now the NE is so full that the indigenous people are a minority and feel threatened. And the migrants are not just "Bangladeshis" whom I will deal with separately.
The saddest story is that of Manipur - a proud kingdom that had a constitution of its own - a kingdom that relinquished its independence by signing the instrument of accession to India. Now Manipur is a forgotten corner of India whose people are called "c**nks" by Indians.
Bangladesh. Migration from Bangladesh is mainly economic. Bangladesh is set to drown as the sea level rises from climate change. The people will not want to drown. Guess where they will go?
Naxals. Naxals are the biggest threat. They are more organised and they are patient. Successive state governments have been so callous that there are huge tracts of India where a government functionary has not set foot in for decades. There is an 8000 sq km area in Jharkhand where the last time a govt functionary stepped in was in 1971. The area is isolated and there is a river to cross. If anyone tries to build a bridge now the naxals will kill the workers and blow up the works. This is our own Waziristan/FATA (my words, not Pillais) The naxals sit across the coal mines and power heartland of India. Even a 10 day Naxal organised strike will stop coal supply to various plants and affect the economy opf the country.
Mr Pillai noted that he was unable to understand how state governments were unable to bring in police reform and add to the police forces. He said that the sate chief minster has the power to offer 3 lakh government jobs to policemen - which is such an attractive and vote wining thing that it is inconceivable why India has among the lowest police population ratios in the world (see news item linked above)
A posting to far out areas is a punishment posting and the worst people get posted there. Those rotters treat the locals badly and it is no wonder that people become Naxals or rebels in the NE. All these rebels/Naxals are funded by extortion. Every government servant or businessmen pays extortion fees and in a sense it is the Government of India itself that funds these people.
I will stop now - have to go. More later if I remember any further details.