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Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 14, 2008
The intelligence community had an inkling that Rajasthan could be next on the radar of terrorists but there was no specific input that could have helped prevent the serial blasts in Jaipur, which have prompted Delhi and the neighbouring states to be put on high alert. The Home Ministry has decided to dispatch explosives experts of the National Security Guard to Rajasthan for a post-blast investigation and send a team of security officials from Delhi. It also sent out an advisory to states to be extra vigilant in crowded places, spokesman Onkar Kedia said, adding that Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta was in touch with the state government. In Delhi, instructions have been issued to police personnel to maintain strict vigil.

Analysts are divided on whether there is a link between the recent infiltration attempt along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and the Jaipur blasts. “I think heightened activity along the border and the blasts are not just a coincidence,” said a BSF official, linking both to the recent regime change in Islamabad. “I am not surprised at the choice of targets,” said a senior official. Asked if he believed there was a link between developments along the border and in Jaipur, he said: “Definitely.”

Security analyst Ajai Sahni said it wasn’t just a question of Jaipur being targetted; every major city was a potential target. Since terrorists have not been able to execute in the usual high priority locations, they seem to have settled for Jaipur. Sahni suggested the terrorists would’ve expected the blasts to lead to communal tension.

It was a fear the ministry’s advisory also hinted at; it asked states to ensure miscreants were not able to take advantage of the situation.

Sahni said it was too early to conclude the blasts  or the border firing  were linked to the new regime in Pakistan. But he insisted that the blasts should serve to remind states to improve their intelligence and general policing standards.