‘Intelligence is the key to prevent terror attacks’

Honorary Major Dr Deepak Rao and his wife Dr Seema Rao have been training Indian forces in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) for the last 18 years. They believe today’s Counter Terror Training & Urban combat is all about CQB. The Ministry of Home Affairs has appointed Raos as Resource Persons for CQB training for Indian police. In the backdrop of Paris terror attacks, Punekar News spoke to Raos.

Q : India has faced several bomb blasts and attacks like the one on Parliament and 26/11 Mumbai where terrorists stormed and opened fire. What is the best way to prevent such attacks?

Ans – The best way to prevent terror strikes is only by intelligence gathering. The next in importance it’s the presence of specialised anti terror QRTs in all key tourist entertainment and religious areas. The third thing is to show the efficiency of our anti terror teams by quickly and ruthlessly neutralising the terror strikes wherever possible.

Also policemen at grassroots level i.e. those on bandobast don’t know what an IED looks like and still they conduct searches on vehicles. We have personally contributed to this by preparing and distributing Bomb recognition charts to all police stations of Mumbai police, few years ago.

Q :  What preparations the armed forces/police should make?
Ans – The armed forces are not responsible for fighting terror in city or urban areas except in J&K and Eastern command. The Police are first responders. The paramilitary come next. By the time NSG arrives most of the damage is done as they are not the first ones called.

The principle job of the police is law enforcement.  The principle job of the paramilitary is border protection (BSF particularly) The primary function of the Army is war. So that leaves no force exclusively trained to fight terror.

In the current scene, many of the state govts have raised the new Anti Terror QRTs like Force One in Maharashtra etc to be responders.

However the Police should make MANY MORE smaller teams (QRTs) for terror combat  and place their small teams at strategic locations and keep  ROTATING these from location to location. I believe this is already being done. However we need to see many more specialised cops with AK-47s at many more places for terrorists to be varied.

Q : How citizens can contribute.
Ans :  Citizens can be made AWARE of types of terror occurrences like IED explosions, Suicide bombers, random shooting, Hostage situations, religious disharmony, sacred place/ statue mutilations. The police can have terror REPORTING HELPLINES. Citizens can be trained by police via seminars on how to respond specially college students.

Q :  How much have we learnt from previous attacks and what more needs to be done?
Ans – We have learnt a lot. The Police have already raised special units armed with special equipment and weaponry.  The Union government has raised specialised agencies to combat terror and investigate it.

But what is not done according to me is that the newer teams are not trained well enough. Their idea of training is to get trainers from overseas to train their units. However these overseas trainers don’t know about our training needs and our urban terrains.

The QRT units need to be trained inside cities, malls, theatres, public places, holding combat exercises with real people around and buzzing city adding to the confusion. Similar mock drills have been conducted but not entirely combative.

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