As a nation, when will we move on from being reactive to being predictive? When will we boldly trust our foresight
and back up our assessments with action to thwart untoward incidents from happening?
We actually wait for a catastrophic incident to happen before we react and start thinking about and implementing
measures to stop its recurrence. Take for example the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, where the NSG had to waste a
considerable amount of time in finding air transport to reach Mumbai from their Manesar base via the New Delhi
airport, before we changed aviation rules to make a provision for them to take over any ready and available civilian
aircraft and commandeer it to reach their destination to meet a national emergency. It was also only after this incident, where many lives were lost, that it dawned on our government that the NSG needs to have other regional
bases for the crack commandos in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai, apart from the one at Manesar, because terror strikes can happen in other cities of India as well. It was also only after this incident, when the NSG,
after reaching the Taj and the Oberoi Trident hotels, realised that the local government had no architectural plans of
the terror struck buildings readily available anywhere outside of those facilities, that could help the Black Cats study
the layouts and plan their strategy to flush out the terrorists holed up in the hotels. It was after this incident that
guidelines were issued for a set of building plans of sensitive places to be kept in the nearest police station.
It’s not only a terror strike that makes us think in hindsight. Town planning too has always been an after-thought
here. It is only when sixteen pedestrians were killed within a month of the opening of the multi-lane Delhi – Gurgaon
Expressway in 2008 that authorities decided to build pedestrian overbridges and slip lanes. It is only after last month’s rain and waterlogged ‘Guru Jam’ embarrassment, that the Haryana Government sanctioned Rs. 1,000 crores to fix the drains and started road projects that were stuck for years for lack of funds.
Reactivity is defined as a phenomenon that occurs when individuals alter their performance or behaviour due to
the awareness that they are being observed. Governments too work that way, when politicians realise that they are in the public glare. As individuals too, we often tend to wait till an incident happens before we move with alacrity to find a remedy. Maybe the reason for this lies in our past, coming from a frugal background, we tend to wait till the last before we invest in solutions to plug the leaks. Has this reactive behaviour become a trait of our DNA? Why can’t we change to become predictive all the time and on all fronts so that loss incidents do not happen or are at least
Being predictive rather than reactive was one of the many takeaways from the SECURITY TODAY Knowledge Summit held in Delhi on August 30th and 31st. I am sure that those of you could not attend the Knowledge Summit will find very rewarding to go through this issue of SECURITY TODAY where the entire event and its takeaways have been covered in detail.
G B Singh
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