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Army on alert to quell terror bid for scuttling talks

india Updated: May 24, 2014 01:00 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times

With intelligence reports indicating pressure from Pakistan’s army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on prime minister Nawaz Sharif against attending the swearing-in of Narendra Modi on May 26, security agencies have alerted the Indian Army and para-military forces over possible cross-border terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian consulate in Herat, which has been attacked by suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists, was already on high alert with reports of impending suicide attacks.

The history of provocation from the Pakistani side on the eve of any dialogue to scuttle the talks was discussed on Thursday at a meeting, chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, with defence secretary RK Mathur seeking instructions in case of cross-border firing.

While the directions were not to provoke any Pakistani action, it was amply clear at the meeting that the elements opposed to the India-Pak dialogue would like to put the Modi-Sharif meeting under pressure through terror actions on the LoC or in the hinterland.

Immediately after the meeting, the Intelligence Bureau issued an alert from Jammu for the army and BSF to be on guard against any action by Pakistan’s army or the ‘jihadists’. While it is still not clear whether the Herat action is linked to Sharif’s India visit, the agencies are ruling nothing out as this eastern city of Afghanistan — where the Taliban’s writ does not run — is the territory of Shia warlord Ismail Khan.

The PM-designate was briefed about the Pakistan situation by Intelligence Bureau’s former director Ajit Doval a day after an Indian soldier was killed and two injured in suspected militant firing across the LoC in Akhnoor on May 18.

This incident came after two Pakistani infiltrators were killed carrying a claymore anti-personnel mine and two improvised devices in Poonch sector on May 10. One the infiltrators was wearing an unusual T-shirt, with “Shahadat is real life, al-jihad” written on it.

While the decision on Sharif’s visit is likely to be taken closer to May 26, the Indian security agencies are taking no chances given the violent reaction of ‘jihadists’ and Pakistan’s army to the India-Pak dialogue. “Forces inimical to bilateral ties will try to ensure that the talks are scuttled,” said a senior home ministry official.