Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost in paraphrase: a touch of Indian tact?

Below, compare WSJ reporter Jackie Range's paraphrasing preface to a statement by Indian Prime Minister Singh to what Singh actually said. A significant nuance in Singh's warning about Pakistan may have been flattened:
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday termed Pakistan as the epicenter of terrorism and said Islamabad needs to do much more to crack down on militant activities on its soil.

"We have to galvanize the international community to deal with the epicenter of terrorism, which is located in Pakistan," Mr. Singh said, while replying to the debate in the lower house of Parliament on the security scenario in the country.
Singh's phrasing seems to differentiate malign forces "located in" Pakistan from Pakistan itself.

[Update, Dec. 14: more phrasing from Singh that stops short of accusing the Pakistani government of colluding with terrorists:
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hopes relations can be "normalized" — but not until "our neighbor stops allowing its territory to be used for acts of terrorism against India" (AP).
In a similar vein: the Indian government's recognition of its poor security apparatus recalls but makes an instructive contrast with Putin's bitter criticism of Russian security capabilities in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Beslan School in 2004. Putin used the occasion to gut democratic institutions, granting himself the power to appoint governors who to that point had been elected and otherwise consolidating the power of the Kremlin. Contrast the democratic accountability of India's new home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram:

Mr. Chidambaram said several bills would be introduced to strengthen legal provisions relating to the "prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of terrorist acts," including setting up a national investigation agency.

Mr. Chidambaram also said India would create a coastal command to supervise and coordinate maritime and coastal security. The nation has 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) of coastline; the Mumbai attackers came by sea.

India's intelligence gathering and sharing needs to become more effective and results oriented, the home minister said, and its intelligence organizations need advanced technical equipment. Commando units from India's armed forces are being stationed around the country. Some 20 counter insurgency and anti-terrorism schools will be set up across India for training commando units of the state police forces, he said.

The home minister asked the Parliament to pass the necessary new laws before the current session ends Dec. 23.

Much now depends on the government's ability to follow through on its plans: "This needs to be quantified and needs to be implemented, only then are we going to see anything worthwhile," said Ajay Sahni of the South Asia Terrorism Portal, a New Delhi-based research outfit.

Here's praying that India's leaders and institutions can withstand the pressures of this fury- and terror-inducing attack -- and of the wrenching economic slowdown now gripping the country.

1 comment:

  1. we need to plug all the holes. But it is important to realize that this cannot be done by just more speed boats or increasing the physical security alone. We must use technology smartly by using sonar and radar, that is what will make a hole free system.

    I think instead of putting systems in place we are wasting too much time talking to people abroad. We know that has never lead anywhere useful.