With Pakistan-based pro-Khalistan separatists now threatening to open a second front in India after pan-Islamic jihadist groups, India is looking towards US for upgradation of its counter-terror capabilities with an aim to pre-empt future strikes through shared terrorist data-banks and advanced technologies. Indian aims to pre-empt strikes through shared terrorist data banks and advanced technologies.
Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Nehchal Sandhu is leaving for a week-long trip to the US on Friday to attend the annual conference of International Association of Chiefs of Police at Chicago.
Sandhu will meet FBI director Robert Mueller and director of National Intelligence James R Clapper with specific focus on counter-terrorism.
Sandhu will also visit Washington and Baltimore as New Delhi is interested in three areas of anti-terror operations.
Firstly, under Clapper, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) analyses intelligence with experts from FBI and CIA to pre-empt strikes within and outside the US. Home minister P Chidambaram visited NCTC in Virginia in 2009 and proposed an Indian version on similar lines. The Indian NCTC proposal is hanging fire since April 2010 in the CCS.
Secondly, the Terrorist Screening Centre set up in 2003 under the FBI houses an updated data bank of terrorists or a single consolidated watchlist of terrorists. Thirdly, Fusion Centres in the US — Sandhu will visit one such facility in Baltimore — is where intelligence agencies interact with state and local units.
Although Sandhu and his US counterparts will discuss activities of pan-Islamic jihadist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al Qaeda, the revival of Sikh terrorism is also an area of focus with FBI collaborating with IB.
However, Sandhu will not meet FBI lawyers and officials concerned with the David Headley and Tahawwur Rana case, as the two are being focused by the NIA as part of 26/11 probe.