New Delhi: Monday’s suicide bomb attack inside Moscow’s Domodedovo airport has been blamed on “security breaches”, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev clearly stating that he would hold airport security officials responsible.
Security breaches aside however, can an important public institution like an airport ever be completely terror proof? And how does an incident like this translate to an Indian context where crowds are larger, more chaotic and borders far more porous?
“There is no such thing as a terrorist proof institution”, said Prakash Singh, the former director general of the Border Security Force. “People preventing terror attacks have to get it right all the time, but a terrorist only has to get lucky once.”
Ved Marwah, the former governor of Manipur and Jharkhand and Convener Internal Security of the National Security Council Advisory Board agreed. “There is no such thing as a completely terror proof organization – stringent security measures can only make it really difficult for a terrorist to strike but not impossible,” he said.
Listen to a podcast with Ved Marwah talking about the threat of terror attacks on public institutions and India. Download here
However Marwah believes that in India the threat to security is worsened because of an inherent sense of public complacency, despite the fact that it has been subject to terror attacks on a number of occasions. “Every time there is a terror attack the government makes statements to the effect that it will have zero tolerance and make other similar strong statements. This is dangerous because this leads the public to assume that they have no sense of responsibility and the responsibility lies only with the government agencies. That is a great mistake.”
Singh in the meantime, pointed to the lack of proper law enforcement in many areas of India and excessive politicization of the forces as a worrying factor.