Vinay Kumar

There are plans to `occupy' some uninhabited islands and use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast

  • Prominent persons, vital installations likely targets
  • Terrorists plan to infiltrate through sea

    NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Wednesday said a "foreign country" and its spy agency were directing terrorist groups to the hinterland and making attempts to use local miscreants and organisations to perpetrate violent activities in the country.

    Though his six-page written speech at a police conference here contained a few references to Pakistan, its intelligence agency ISI, the Pakistan terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistani Mujahideen, Mr. Patil refrained from directly naming either the country, the ISI or any terrorist group. He referred to the "enemy" as "mischief monger," while inaugurating the three-day annual conference of the heads of the State police forces, Inspectors-General and top intelligence officials, organised by the Intelligence Bureau.

    "Apart from prominent individuals, organisations, institutions, vital installations, economic centres and important heritage monuments, our maritime interests are likely targets. There is need, therefore, for the police and security agencies to mount a very close watch on subversive elements and organisations in their areas to discern such efforts.''

    In the wake of the recent New Delhi-Washington agreement on civilian nuclear energy cooperation, India's atomic power plants became "highly vulnerable," Mr. Patil said. "Installations in the oil and natural gas sector, defence, communications and IT sector are equally vulnerable. There are reports to indicate that some of our multipurpose projects like the Nagarjunsagar dam and the Goa Shipyard continue to be targets of terrorist groups."

    Referring to maritime security, he said the coastal areas were coming under increased threat from terrorist groups as they had reportedly decided to use the sea route to infiltrate into India.

    "They also plan to induct arms, ammunition through the sea routes. Simultaneously, we understand the ISI has been collecting information on the location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline.

    Some Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist operatives are being trained specifically for sabotage of oil installations. There are plans to `occupy' some uninhabited islands and use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast."

    The country's critical infrastructure faced "serious" threats from terrorists. There were reports that some multipurpose projects continued to be on the hit list. A "mischief monger," an oblique reference to Pakistan, was constantly on the lookout for new targets, adopting new strategies and tactics, and widening its sphere of operations.

    Mr. Patil also dwelt on the wanton terrorist violence in Jammu and Kahsmir; the security scenario in the northeast, and naxalism that remained the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by the country.

    In his welcome address, Intelligence Bureau Director E.S.L. Narasimhan said "foreign-sponsors" of terrorism were a big challenge to internal security.

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