Highly placed security officials believe terrorism has entered a “fairly dangerous” phase in India, the Mumbai train blasts representing just a tip of what organisations such as Lashkar-e-Toiba have in store. From available indications, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan’s claim that the LeT was a “far greater threat” than even the al Qaeda is based on solid intelligence.
The transit and training points the Pak-based terror machine is found to be using are spread over Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Nepal and Bangladesh. Weapons and explosives are frequently brought in from the Konkan and Gujarat coasts and carried via land routes to other places, including Jammu and Kashmir.
In this backdrop, Narayanan’s comments to CNN-IBN aren’t aimed at scoring brownie points against Islamabad. He told the news channel the evidence with New Delhi of the Pakistani role was “stronger” than what Washington had post-9/11.
The NSA’s observations were by way of a rejoinder to US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher’s counsel to New Delhi against jumping to early conclusions about any Pak-based jehadi group’s role in the blasts. The American official said India must wait for evidence and be led by it.
Boucher’s unsolicited advice has come at a time when security organisations here are striving to pre-empt the LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammad threat to not just common citizens but a host of high- profile installations and individuals.
It is understood the Kaiga Nuclear Power Station in Karnataka’s Uttar Kannada district is on the hit list of a Lashkar module.
Narayanan confirmed the reports, short of naming the nuclear plant: “There is information that one of our atomic installations is under threat. It is an LeT operation. I may be excommunicated after making this public. Far more than giving proof to anyone, I would like to be able to prevent this. I’d like to get to the module.”
The magnitude of the terrorist challenge is also driven home by secret reports on LeT’s other chosen targets: Mazagon Docks and the SEBI building in Mumbai, Infosys, Wipro and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the Almati Dam on the Krishna river.
If that's meant to harm the economy, communal ferment (if the Lashkar has its way) could be triggered by targeting places of worship: Mumbai's Haji Ali and Siddhi Vinayak and Ahmedabad's Akshardham.
The threat is exacerbated by evidence of local support from sections alienated by Ayodhya and the post-Gohra communal riots.
Money used for assembling logistics and buying loyalties comes, among other sources, from Saudi charities generous with their help to Jamat-ud-Dawa, the LeT's political arm that has popular acceptance in Pakistan for its earthquake relief work in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.