India is not wanted -Pioneer Editorial

via The Pioneer Edit Desk published on November 12, 2009
Uncle Sam snubs our investigators

In what can be best described as an outright snub to India, American authorities have denied a team comprising Intelligence Bureau and Research & Analysis Wing officers permission to question terror suspects David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. It will be recalled that the two had been arrested by American authorities for their links with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and for plotting terrorist attacks. Some of the targets on Headley and Rana’s hit-list included the National Defence College in Delhi, Doon School in Dehradun and Woodstock School in Mussoorie. In the backdrop of the alleged enhanced co-operation between India and the US on the security front, it was presumed that the Americans would readily grant the Indian intelligence officers access to Headley and Rana for cross-examining. After all, post-26/11, American intelligence officers were allowed to interrogate Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught alive in the attack on Mumbai. But the Americans, it seems, are not willing to reciprocate. Citing ‘procedural norms’, they have denied the Indian team its request, which it had been pursuing for over a week. If anything, this denial raises several questions and shatters the myth that India and the US are moving towards mutual security co-operation. For, it appears that the Americans are willing to co-operate as long as it serves their interests, not otherwise.

Which brings into question this entire notion of a US-led global alliance on terrorism. There can be no such global effort if the US continues to allow external political considerations to influence its anti-terror policies. It would be a bit naïve to assume that ‘procedural norms’ were the reason why the Indian intelligence team was prevented from questioning Headley and Rana. It is no coincidence that a leading Pakistani daily, Pakistan Observer, has reported that the Indian team had gone to the US to “implicate Pakistan” in the Headley-Rana affair. This clearly indicates that Islamabad had reservations about letting the Indian team have a go at the two Pakistanis in American custody. And the fact that it couldn’t exemplifies the problem at hand. Unless and until the US stops pampering Pakistan and views it as a part of the problem rather than the solution, all anti-terror efforts will be in vain. Global terrorism can only be crushed if all interested parties wholeheartedly co-operate on everything from exchange of information to enforcement of joint security mechanisms. Anti-terror goals and efforts have to be given primacy over any other consideration. Then only does the world stand a chance. If the US continues to treat the problem like a game of chess and look to further its own strategic interests, things will only go from bad to worse. Then again, can we really expect anything better of the Americans?

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