Concurrently, the Army is also reportedly investigating reports of a tie-up
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and some serving Rashtriya Rifles (RR) personnel in the Home and Hearth battalions based in Poonch and Rajouri border areas of Jammu. The RR is group formed to fight terrorism and their alleged nexus with terrorists groups is alarming.
Mukherjee is rightfully stressing on the need for internal intelligence gathering mechanism as means to deal with such threats. However, he is also unnecessarily being defensive in dealing with the issue but that may be because of the political practice in India of castigating a Minister for even a minor error in the area that he may control. As a senior politician, Mukherjee needs to forcefully voice the issues without sugar-coating them and also propose ways of fixing the issues.
Meanwhile, a day after the National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan had said that India did not have “clinching” but “pretty good” evidence on the ISI’s role in the Mumbai 7/11 train blasts, Home Secretary V.K. Duggal
refuted the statement saying that the evidence was “fairly solid.” The
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) immediately jumped on Narayanan’s remarks accusing him damaging India ’s case. This is sort of controversy that the nation can ill-afford when fighting a shrewd organization such as the ISI.
These comments were also ill-timed as it coincided with a briefing for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Deputy Director (Intelligence) Karmen Medina and National Intelligence Council’s South Asia Head Nancy Powell by Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon. In the one hour briefing, Menon cited a Mumbai police report that blamed the ISI for master-minding the operation and executed by 11 Pakistanis of the LeT killing 200 people. The Americans also briefed the Indian side on the resurgence of Taliban and the huge strategic and security implications of these developments. Reportedly, a Russian team will also be in Delhi for a meeting of the joint working group to deal with terrorism.
Narayanan in a TV interview said that if Pakistan continues to deny and give a “negative answer” then India could call off the out-of-the-box joint mechanism. India would like to give Pakistan to act on the information first before such decision is made.
The danger of ISI infiltrating came up when several 50 detonators, safety fuse, and wire were found concealed below vermicelli packets inside the Punjab Regimental Center at Ramgarh, about 30 kilometers from Ranchi. A Muslim civilian apprentice at a tailoring unit inside the campus was arrested with the detonators and a half written note in Hindi that said: “Sending the stuff through Ansari; send back Lovely from your end.” Police say that “Lovely” is a code and may mean money or something else. Apparently, the civilian and another apprentice have been working at the tailoring shop for a year and a half. Ansari, the caught civilian, managed to get past the first gate but was caught at the second. He has reportedly implicated the other apprentice Mazhar, who is missing.
If such dangerous material can be transported into such a high security installation, it speaks volumes about the dangers to other less protected locations.