India`s response post 26/11 overwhelming: Chertoff

Last Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 23:59

New Delhi: It might be a "frustration" for
India to restrict itself from any military action against
nuclear power Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks but
taking such a calculated response was "overwhelming", feels
former US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff, speaking at launch of a new think-tank
Vivekananda International Foundation, advocated United States`
policy of hot pursuit of terrorists in safe havens like
Afghanistan and Pakistan border areas but said it was in
India`s interest to keep heads cool.
"The subcontinent being a nuclear zone, results of a
conflict could be devastating. Terrorists would love to
trigger nuclear response. The Mumbai attacks may have been
designed to provoke that kind of response," he said.

Chertoff said in such situations "cool heads are
desirable" and lauded "calculated response of Indian
government".

The former secretary who initiated a series of measures
during his tenure between 2005 and 2009 to tighten security
and ensure a proactive response to any possible terror attack
in the United States post 9/11 said, "I understand frustration
but when you have nuclear power in the region such a response
in overwhelming."

Chertoff said the nations allowing their lands to be used
as safe havens for terrorist end up being the victim of the
very problem.

He said terrorism is not limited to national boundaries as
was evident in the Mumbai terror attacks in which finance was
arranged from outside which came to light after the arrests in
Italy and in the ongoing probe of Headley in the US.
Chertoff said although there were some positive
developments in Pakistan but a lot needs to be done.

The former secretary said terrorists do not lose their
focus and can get agitated by incidents that took place
500-600 years back, "so a persistent approach is the key in
tackling them".

He advocated implementation of the Patriot Act in the US
which is slammed by civil society activists as against the
basic principles of human rights. Most of the people opposing
the Act have not read it, he added.

The Act, drafted when President George Bush` was in power,
increases the ability of law enforcement and eases
restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the
United States.

Concluding the session, former director of Intelligence
Bureau Ajit Doval said one should not be confused with banners
of terrorists as long as they share "common ideologies, common
ideas and common targets".

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 23:59

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