Marine jihadis coming, warns Patil

via Pioneer News Service | New Delhi published on November 22, 2006

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Wednesday said marine jihadis from Pakistan-based terror outfits were being specially trained to target critical Indian installations and that the country’s atomic power plants, defence, communications and IT sectors had become “highly vulnerable”.

“Our coastal areas are coming under increased threat from terrorist groups as the LeT has reportedly decided to use the sea route to infiltrate into India,” Patil said while inaugurating a three-day conference of the country’s top police brass.


 


 


“Simultaneously, we understand they have been collecting information regarding the location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline,” he said, adding that some LeT operatives were being trained specifically to sabotage oil installations.


 


“There are plans to occupy some uninhabited islands and use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast,” the Home Minister revealed.


 


“Likewise, our critical infrastructure faces a serious threat from terrorists. In view of the recent Indo-US agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, our atomic power plants have become highly vulnerable. Similarly, installations of the oil and natural gas sector, defence, communications and IT sector are equally vulnerable,” he added.


 


The Home Minister did not directly name Pakistan and its ISI but clearly indicated that they were behind terrorist operations aimed against India.


 


Patil said there were reports to indicate that some of the country’s multi-purpose projects and shipyards continue to be targets of terrorists groups.


 


“In view of the assessed threat, Government has asked the littoral States to establish marine police stations for which the Home Ministry has sanctioned Rs 400 crore for establishing infrastructure and purchasing boats. Training of these marine policemen has commenced with the help of the Coast Guard and efforts are afoot to integrate command and control among the police,” he said.


 


Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, Patil said the increase in incidences of infiltration and demonstrative acts of violence by militants “intent on a well calibrated agenda” had “vitiated the environment” there.


 


“Targeting by terrorists of vulnerable groups like tourists, non-state subjects and minorities including a high-profile suicide attack were clearly attempts by the terrorists to thwart the political processes aimed at reconciliation,” he said.


 


Patil said the “penchant of various terrorist outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir to indulge in wanton violence means that the safety of soft targets will continue to remain a priority concern for security forces”.


 


Referring to the North East, the Home Minister said while the overall situation had shown signs of improvement, the continuing violence in Manipur and a surge in depredations by the ULFA in Assam “are worrying indicators”.


 


Ceasefires with several underground groups had been achieved, but the Government cannot countenance the wilful use of violence by militant groups against the common man while talking about peace, Patil said.


 


“These groups must realise that the people have clearly rejected wanton violence and showed a clear desire for peace and stability that alone can guarantee development,” he said.


 


Cooperation between police forces and other security agencies in the NE, he said, was “absolutely vital” as there were close inter-linkages among militant groups in the region in areas like arms procurement and training.


 


 

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