AT a time when deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan pose a grave threat to national security, the convening of an APC on the issue is a most appropriate step. Despite a clarification by the ISPR that there is no solid evidence of any unusual military movement by India on the borders, and a statement from New Delhi that it is not suspending the ceasefire agreement, there should be little scope for carelessness as Indian government leaders continue to point fingers at Pakistan, the latest being by Deputy Home Minister Shakil Ahmad, who has repeated the accusation that the terrorists were of Pakistani origin. There is a need under the circumstances to take all parties into confidence. It is heartening to note that most of them have assured the government of their backing. At a PML(N) meeting chaired by Mian Nawaz Sharif, the government was assured of complete support and New Delhi was asked to stop accusing Pakistan. As the initial impact of the Mumbai horror wears off, India would hopefully realize how difficult it is to contain highly organized and motivated groups of militants. Despite its vast experience of fighting Nagaland insurgents, Assamese extremists, Maoist militants, and Kashmiri armed groups seeking independence, India simply failed to stop a group of motivated militants, whom the Indians allege came by sea along with weapons and ammunition sufficient enough, according to an Indian security official, to kill 5000 people. That some of them could reportedly lodge themselves and store deadly weapons in posh hotels, is a failure of India's security system. In India, several militant groups, including the Hindu terrorists and their accomplices in Indian Army, have operated, some for decades, without the government being able to eliminate them. New Delhi has to realize that other countries too might face the same dilemma. The Congress-led government has long been criticized for not putting its house in order. Under mounting pressure from critics, resignations have been put in by Interior Minister Shiv Raj Patil and National Security Advisor M.K. Narainan, followed by Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil, while Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is also expected to follow suit. Instead of accusing neighbours, New Delhi should improve its security apparatus. That this can make a lot of difference is indicated by the failure of the terrorists to penetrate the US after 9/11. Pakistan is currently under a lot of pressure. The government cannot deal with it on its own. What is needed is the evolving of a national consensus on issues of vital importance. The joint parliamentary session on national security was the first step towards this direction. The APC would also hopefully send a message of unity.