Three prestigious global sports events are scheduled to take place in India between now and the end of the year---the World Cup Hockey, the IPL Cricket League and the Commonwealth Games.
2. These events will atract the attention of not only the sports enthusiasts of the world, but also of the terrorists with a global oran anti-Indian agenda who will look upon the events as an opportunity to publicise their cause and to demonstrate their capability to take the intelligence and security agencies by surprise. Even if they are not able to carry out any terrorist strike on the ground, they will try to create feelings of insecurity in the minds of sports enthusiasts and the general public by the spread of rumours, issue of threats and other means.
3.The Internet and the E-mail have placed at their disposal means of spreading nervousness through threats disseminated electronically in the names of well-known terrorist organisations. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to establish the authenticity of such mails and the seriousness of such threats. At the same time, it will be unwise not to factor them into our security planning just because their authenticity could not be established.
4. It is incumbent on all those------ whether governmental or non-governmental experts, sports enthusiasts or the general public--- who are determined to defeat terrorism not to let themselves be intimidated by such rumours and threats. They should go ahead with their administrative, logistics and security arrangements for these events and ensure that these events are held successfuly undeterred by the despicable attempts of the terrorists to sow the seeds of fear.
5. The moment we let ourselves be intimidated and unnerved by the tactics of the terrorists we will be paving the way for more terrorism in the world. Defiance in the face of intimidation should be our motto.
6. While thus maintaining our equanimity, we should ensure that our security planning leaves nothing to chance and that every security-related contingency is catered for. The intelligence and the physical security agencies of the Government should work in tandem and in close co-ordination with those in the organisations responsible for organising these events, who would be in charge of physical security.
7. Access control, venue security, route security and the security of the general public in the towns and cities where these events will be held should receive priority attention from those responsible for security. Strict access control at the place of stay of the participants, along the routes by which they will be moving to and fro, and at the venue of the events would go a long way in thwarting any plans by terrorists or other mischievous elements to disrupt the events.
8. The intelligence agencies will have, as always, an important role to play in enabling the physical security agencies to provide effective security by stepping up their intelligence collection efforts through intensified street patrolling, thorough local enquiries at transport hubs and places of stay such as hotels, inns etc and through technical means. We should not fight shy of seeking the assistance and co-operation of intelligence agencies of friendly countries well disposed towards India for supplementing our intelligence collection efforts.
9.Any equipment and other technical capacity shortages should be immediately identified and the deficiencies removed through our own efforts and resources or through the co-operation of friendly governments.
10. We are fotunate that these events will be taking place at a time when we will not be preoccupied with other high-level security commitments. We should be able to devote our undivided and undiluted attention to the security of the coming events and there should be no shortage of manpower for this purpose.
11. The quality of the supervision over the security arrangements would be of the highest importance. The Government of India, in consultation with the State Governments and the central intelligence and security agencies, should mobilise the services of the best officers in physical security, who have proved themelves in the past, for supervising the arrangements. (18-2-10)
( 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 )