A Tale of Life and Death : The R&AW Session (Youth Parliament’15)
By Sanat Mharolkar | with Noel Thomas
As international diplomats dove into action to save valuable human lives, morality united nations separated by a compelling political reason. It was quite literally, faith in humanity restored.
“If you are going to sit here without making a decision, you are going to cost civilian lives by the minute. Now tell me how you’re going to live with that going down on your conscience.” Abhishek Sarin, Crisis Director for the R&AW of the Youth Parliament’s voice rung through the room like a siren. A few seconds later, the Joint Director of the IB Rwik Kamilya rose up, as with an electric spike to address the issue. In his stern voice, he commanded, “Delegates we have a task at hand….”
Now tell me how you’re going to live with that going down on your conscience.
An exercise of pure reasoning, the R&AW segment of the Youth Parliament, hosted by Leaders of Tomorrow lived up to its name by demonstrating a real time narrative of crisis management. The event began with a dire warning, that there was a crisis that needed to be dealt with in twenty-four hours and that the room was secured according to standard R&AW proceedings. Once the nuances of the proceedings were taken care of, what followed was nine hours of intense discussion and gripping deliberation. The problem statement was to evaluate a possible rescue operation for a flight that had changed course from its set destination-Amritsar, to a shady one in Pakistan. Evidently, this was a gripping scenario and a serious discourse followed.
One by one, the representatives of various spy agencies (CIA, MI6, Mossad etc.) and other delegates spoke about the possible implications of the anomalous change in flight path. At first, the committee was unanimous in suggesting immediate precautionary measures to be taken. Given that the participants had done their homework, the participants did come up with brilliant suggestions, despite their initial hesitation.
In the form of periodic updates through a communication system that gave updates, one more intriguing than the previous one. The specifications of the missing airplane, the flight path it had taken into Pakistan and finally the introduction of a local R&AW asset’s reports into the discussion were all used by the committee delegates to deduce the ramifications of the crisis. The director, joint director and crisis director came in with helpful input to steer the participants’ thoughts towards critical aspects of the information being provided to them. The first day ended on a steep cliff-hanger suggesting that the next day would have more intense sessions.
The second day brought more information to the fore, turning the case even more intriguing. An inclined reveal showed deeper characters, intentions of terrorism and a tie to the Indian Mujahideen. The cool of the NLH room transformed into a buzzing tension as a mere hijack elevated to a full blown international crisis. A test of talking smart and making quick decisions, the participants often showed they were up to the task. The Joint Director of IB kept his calm when he learned his daughter was one of the hostages. In the event of intense inaction, the group set aside the differences and worked as one.
Plans of action were debated and settled upon, arguments fired back and forth. It was an exercise in humanity as countries set to use their resources together to save lives, where nobody considered humans as expendable assets. Everybody made it a priority to save the passenger as opposed to giving in to unfair demands.
The interrogation session revealed further information and it became clear that this crisis was bigger than what anyone had imagined. As the big conspiracy revealed itself, from a mole in the Indian Army to the demands made by the hijackers, emotions did surface and sweat was broken. Time was running out, and the lives of the passengers on the plane were at stake. After mobilizing agents on ground through a heated discussion, it was for the R&AW committee to take split second decisions about what instructions they had to give to the field agents.
Intensity ensued as the committee planned and executed their plan to neutralize the threat. From ordering sniper kills to moving agents to strategic positions, the participants had done everything to end the operation successfully. As the plane took off with less than 10 casualties sustained against the 230 lives saved, there were loud cheers all around the room.
There were multiple instances during the first day when ad hominem arguments questioned the professionalism of the entire setting, but were resolved in time. There were also moments of sheer brilliance, like when a blindfolded Air India employee was brought in to aid the interrogation. Hilarity ensued when the Joint Director insisted that the terrorist responsible should have been castrated multiple times. To one of the grand suggestions, the director replied,“That would have been a great move if your intention was to declare war.“
“That would have been a great move if your intention was to declare war. “
The organizers had left no stone unturned to make the event realistic and interesting. In spite of being monotonous in the beginning, the event gained traction as new information came in. The implication was to prevent a disaster mitigation effort by managing the crisis and their success in accomplishing this was evident. In twenty-four hours, everyone who left the room was convinced all the more that human life did have intrinsic value and the valiant efforts made to assert this was what resulted in glory to the campaign, rather than the sword of diplomacy. The decision making skills that the participants exhibited in this event showed that they had the potential to be great leaders of tomorrow.