The chief of the National Security Guard (NSG), the country’s elite counter-terror force, warned on Thursday of possible “multi-city multiple attacks” on India from a combine of global terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS and outfits like IM and LeT already active here.
This is the first time a top ranking official from the Indian security establishment has spoken about the country being in specific danger of potential attacks from such a sweeping terror alliance.
“We are preparing ourselves for multi-city multiple attacks along with anti-terrorists squads of the state police,” said JN Choudhury, who had a long stint in the Intelligence Bureau and as director general of police in Assam before heading the NSG.
The anti-terror, anti-hijack commando force, which flushed out terrorists holed up in Mumbai hotels and Nariman House during the 26/11 attacks, celebrated its 30th raising day on Thursday.
“The apprehension we have is that if they do have a combined kind of strategy or combined operations, we have to be prepared and be alert if a combined (terrorist) group takes action,” said Choudhury.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri released a video last month announcing the establishment of a new branch on the Indian subcontinent, vowing that its militants would bring Islamic law to the entire region.
Choudhury added that this was not the first time al-Qaeda had displayed intentions of carrying out attacks in India. About 10 years ago, operatives from the terror group had explored Goa and parts of Bengaluru.
NSG to shed VVIP load
The NSG, which protects some of the most ‘vulnerable’ VVIPs of the country, is set to reduce its load in this area and transfer some of these protectees to other paramilitary forces after an in-principle nod from the Union home ministry.
“We are working towards a system where we will have only 10 or 11 VVIPs to secure. We have 15 at present which is an all-time low number for us,” NSG chief JN Choudhury told reporters.