Monday, January 11, 2016

Modi adviser Doval in interview he doesn't "remember" giving: Pathankot attack was intelligence failure, but...

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national security adviser Ajit Doval, widely publicized as 007 James Bond of India, has run into yet another controversy following the Pathankot terror attack: After giving an interview to a top Indian media house, where he attacked the media once again, he has sought to deny he ever gave the interview.
In an exclusive interview to the Hindi daily Divya Bhaskar’s online site, http://www.bhaskar.com/, Doval said that one shouldn’t say “India’s security is weak” or that it was a “matter of providence that the terrorists were in a limited area”. The reason, he suggested, is not that this is may not be true, but that this kind of view would “demoralize” the armed forces.
Soon after the interview, @ANI_news quoted Doval as saying that “I do not remember giving any such interview”. This led Divya Bhaskar to release the audio clip of the interview to prove that the interview, was indeed given. Meanwhile, the top Modi man became a matter of ridicule. Senior journalist Shivam Vij ‏@DilliDurAst tweeted if “India's NSA now has memory problems”.
Doval said in the “interview” that, in fact, for the sake of “encouraging” the armed forces, the “effort should have been to point towards how the six terrorist fidayeen, despite entering into the territory, failed to damage the Air Force base because of efforts” and that “after collecting intelligence, we sent the forces on time and the Air Force base.”
Refusing to deny the allegations of failure, he said, this kind of interpretation was needed so as to “motivate both the country and our soldiers”, adding, “We should learn this from France. Following the attack in France, no leader spoke out in opposition. The media also did not show the dead bodies for increasing its TRP, even though it was also an complete intelligence failure.”
Doval's letter to Cabinet Secretary seeking action against NDTV
“If agencies had not responded late, a lot could have been done in order to save the situation. Yet, there was no negative comment to demoralize the effort”, Doval asserted, referring to the Paris terror attack.
Answering the question on how he interpreted the “loss suffered” due to the intelligence failure, Doval replied, “If there is a war, and one is in the boxing ring, whether you like it not, you will receive some blows.”
Asked what he had to say about adverse comments on his “personal and professional life”, Doval said, “Earlier, only 1-2 per cent of whatever has been noted about me in the media is true. Besides, I do not have time to react to media speculations.”
The most controversial part of the interview, which attracted immediate large coverage on news channels, of course, was where he declared that, following the Pathankot terror attack, the “Indo-Pak secretary level meeting has been cancelled”, and that there would not be “any peace talks” till Pakistan does not take action against those responsible for the attack and India is not “satisfied by its (Pakistan’s) action.”
This is not for the first time that Doval has sought to target media. He is known to be behind efforts to brand NDTV anti-national in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary in October 2014, where he said, “It has been observed that in the last few years, it has become a regular practice, particularly in the media, to violate secrecy laws with impunity. Firm action need to be taken in such cases that undermine the national security of the country.”
Especially referring to the NDTV report dated August 20, 2014, which carried a “report about INS Arihand Nuclear Sabmarine and associated VLF communication”, even as showing images of Prime Minister on INS Arihant at DRDO Award function on the same day, Doval said, the information was an “offense under the Official Secrets Act.”

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