P.S: This piece may be considered as a view from a security observer placed in the public domain with the hope that it would attract necessary attention from the authorities to prevent the catastrophe that may be around. It is a sincere hope that this remains a speculation and the threat does not materialize.
It has been a tragedy that 239 passengers remain untraced along with the missing flight MH370 of the Malaysian Airlines. There is a distinct possibility that the flight might have crashed and all the passengers have already perished.
There is however a speculation (Refer here) that the plane might have been hijacked and might have landed safely along with its passengers some where. This “some where” has to be a rogue country which has the necessary air stripe as well as refuelling facilities. It also needs to have the facilities to host the 239 passengers so far without any leak out of information even from the number of mobiles these passengers might have been carrying with them. The speculation also adds a motivation that the aircraft may be used to crash into one of the Indian cities just like the 9/11 attack on USA. Countries which fit into this description are around India with Pakistan being the main suspect.
Despite the odds, the speculation cannot be completely ruled out. It is the duty of every security specialist to consider steps to meet any type of contingencies irrespective of the odds.
Security agencies need to therefore consider “What if the speculation is true?”.
There is one factor which makes the speculation gain some credibility. India is facing a historic election in which the terrorist friendly, weak administration of Congress is expected to give way to a strong government led by Mr Narendra Modi.
If Modi comes to power, there could be many changes in the fortunes of India and its relationship with the neighbors. This is not to the liking of Pakistan or the terrorist outfits supported by Pakistan.
Under these circumstances if a major terrorist attack takes place in India, it would seriously disrupt the elections. If elections cannot be held in time, there would be a constitutional crisis and there would be chaos in the country.
There is also a possibility that following the attack, the Congress may declare “Emergency” on account of external aggression and take full control of the administration, suspend elections until such time as Congress regains the confidence of winning an election.
If such an attack has to take place, the most likely target that causes maximum damage would be a crash on the Rashtrapathi Bhavan or Parliament in Delhi. If it results in the incapcitation of Mr Pranab Mukherjee in any manner, it becomes even more easy to declare emergency in the country.
If however the flight is destroyed before it reaches its target then UPA can take credit and get a huge electoral advantage.
Eitherway, the incident has in store some benefit for UPA and would act against the interests of BJP. It can even stop the Modi Wave and get back Congress to power even in the election.
If such an attack takes place, then the hijackers would ensure that the plane carries the passengers so that any attempt to shoot down the plane in mid air would be confronted with a humanitarian plea that it should be allowed to land.
There is also a possibility that the hijackers may even pose as if they intend to land along with the passengers and seek permission to land say in Delhi. After reaching Delhi airspace the plane may divert its flight path and crash on an intended spot. Probably at this time the flight may be piloted not by the regular pilot but by some other suicide terrorist.
Forgetting all the electoral advantages that may follow, it is necessary for the Indian defense to be prepared for any eventuality and ensure that the flight if it seeks entry into Indian airspace needs to be diverted only to a desert air stripe and shot down mid air if it fails to respond.
Do the Shinde’s and Antony’s have such guts?
Will the political parties including BJP pledge their support to such drastic action if such an eventualities arise?
Will the families of the 5 Indian passengers accept such a decision unlike the relatives of the Kandhar Indian Airlines hijack incident when the families mounted an attack on Vajapayee in Delhi to ensure a safe passage to the terrorists?
Let’s us keep our fingers crossed even while praying to God that all this talk becomes irrelevant.