March 14, 2014
In the raw
V Balachandran, former special secretary of RAW and a member of the Pradhan Committee that probed the 26/11 attacks, has been known for his bluntspeak on matters of security. Over two decades he has been delivering lectures and writing incisive and sometimes provocative pieces, drawing from his experience in internal and foreign security. This massive body of work has now been put together in a book that will be released by Julio Rebeiro next week. Balachandran tells this diarist that one of the more significant sections of his book dwells on the sensitive issue of intelligence failure, a phrase that has returned to haunt our imagination all too often. Drawing examples from Pearl Harbour to 9/11, Kargil to 26/11, Balachandran has analysed how intelligence is often relegated to a dusty bureaucratic corner, leading to attacks of such magnitude. "From 2007 onwards there were enough and more indications and inputs that a major attack was being planned on Mumbai, but neither the state or the centre did anything about it," he says, adding that one should not read too much into the timing of the release. "It has nothing to do with the elections. It simply took me a lot of time to consolidate my work, that is all."