ISIS on mind, India sends IB chief to Saudi Arabia

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 29, 2014 01:30 IST

With an aim to forge a common front against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and al Qaeda terrorist groups, India on Sunday has despatched Syed Asif Ibrahim, director, Intelligence Bureau, for a week-long trip to Saudi Arabia to discuss radicalisation of Muslim youth over the internet.

Ibrahim, whose tenure led to a crackdown and subsequent decimation of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) group with the arrest of co-founder Yasin Bhatkal in August 2013, is currently under threat from a Pakistan-based IM splinter group Ansar-ul-Tauhid for taking the Indian fight to the Islamic jihadists. He was threatened and called names by Tauhid-run Al Isabah website on the 6th anniversary of Batla House encounter on September 18, 2014. The website was disabled that very day.

Top government sources said that during his trip, Ibrahim will be interacting with Saudi intelligence agency heads as well as the interior minister of the Kingdom to discuss ways to prevent Sunni youth from joining the so-called Caliphate of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi of ISIS. Under pressure from the global community, the Saudis this time are keeping a close watch on the Haj pilgrims to prevent the radicalisation in the name of religion. It is understood that central message from Mecca on Eid will be against terrorism.

While joining the coalition in the fight against ISIS, Saudi Arabia has assured India that it will not allow any Haj pilgrim to stray into Syria or Iraq and a close vigil will be maintained on the borders. Although MK Narayanan, national security advisor to the then PM Manmohan Singh, this month has revealed a figure of 150 Indians fighting with ISIS, the internal estimates of the Union home ministry still stand at 22 youth from Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

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