V.K. Singh: Let’s delink Mumbai attack, Pak’s Kartarpur proposal.
New Delhi: Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has said that India is better prepared and better organised since a group of sea-borne terrorists struck at the heart of Mumbai 10 years back, thanks to a string of security measures including a layered maritime surveillance. “We have come a long way since then,” he said in an interview in his office in South Block on the 10th anniversary of the 26/11. The Navy Chief said there has been a paradigm shift in coastal security as vulnerabilities and risks were fixed and a layered maritime surveillance and security architecture was put in place, making the coastline almost impregnable.
“The country is now better prepared and better organised,” Admiral Lanba said when asked about possibility of terrorists taking the sea route again to mount a similar attack on India.
He said the Indian Navy is now a potent multi-dimensional force, safeguarding India’s interests in the seas and that it is fully prepared to deal with any security challenge facing the country in the maritime domain.
Admiral Lanba, who is also chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, said critical gaps and vulnerabilities in the country’s coastal infrastructure have been addressed, and that a robust surveillance network, comprising 42 radar stations linked to a control centre, has been put in place.
The Navy Chief said 1,500 landing points for fishing boats are being monitored regularly besides making installation of AIS (Auto-matic Identification System) transponders mandatory for vessels of 300 tonnes and above for their easy tracking.
Meanwhile, minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh has called for delinking the Mumbai terror attack and Pakistan’s Kartarpur corridor proposal even as he asserted that there has been no change in the government’s policy that “talks and terror cannot go together”.
Asked if he was able to trust the new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that it has just started functioning and let it prove that it can be trusted. Mr Singh said that India has laid down a very simple parameter. “We are willing to talk and this we laid down in 2014. We are willing to talk on any issue whatsoever provided you create an environment for talks.”
Asked if India can believe what Pakistan has promised on building the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, the minister said at an event in Washington on Saturday, “Let’s not initially raise doubts (on Pakistan over the corridor). And if they don’t do, the whole world will see. Let’s delink 26/11 and Kartarpur Sahib.”
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died. Both India and Pak-istan have announced that stretches would be developed in their respective areas.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai through the sea, arriving by boat from Karachi, and went on the rampage, carrying out coordinated attacks on the main Chattrapati Shivaji railway terminus, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel and a Jewish centre — all in the heart of the financial capital’s downtown area.
Over 166 people including 28 foreigners from 10 nations were killed in the nearly 60-hour assault that sent shock-waves across the country and even brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.