The seizure of 5.6 kg of RDX explosives in a car in Ambala in Punjab points to the growing concern that internal security issues just cannot be taken lightly even if there haven't been any spectacular terror attack since the November 26, 2008, attack on Mumbai.
Attacks such as the Germany Bakery blast in Pune or the recent serial blasts in Mumbai or even the blast near the Delhi High Court are indicators that the enemy lies both within and without. If, as the Police say, the explosives were meant to detonate a large explosion in Delhi, then indeed the seizure is not only providential, but could also lead to other clues to strengthen our internal security mechanisms.
Unfortunately, even after an incident as significant as the gamechanging 26/11 attack, our authorities do not seem to have learned any lesson. Our police personnel continue to be under-trained, under-staffed and under-equipped. They do not have the necessary wherewithal to effect any counter attack in the case of a 26/11 type event, nor do they match up to the training provided to American law enforcement agencies following the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
A primary component of preventing terror attacks is, as this page has routinely argued, human intelligence. Even if you have the world's most expensive equipment to track down terrorists, there is no substitute for feet-on-the-ground human intelligence. We have failed to infiltrate terror groups and we have failed to keep our eyes and ears open in neighbouring Pakistan, the fount of most Islamist terror for the last decade. Also, the Union as well as the state home ministries have not realised that the first line of defence (as also intelligence) needs to come from the local police stations. Our personnel are just not trained to gather such intelligence. Nor have they shown any inclination. It is this lacuna that that is most concerning.