fear after it has come to light that the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit has acquired more than 50 para-gliding equipment from Europe.
Intelligence alert on the sale, setting off alarm bells on a possible air-borne suicide attack, after the sea route adopted in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, comes in just days before the Republic Day. The intelligence input has prompted authorities to ensure a tight air security around all vital installations.
According to news agency reports, the input about movement of overground workers, owing allegiance to LeT, in Europe led sleuths to find out that they were on a shopping spree for para-gliding equipment, the sources said.
Security agencies have carried out mock drills in different areas in the country as part of the exercise to prevent any air-borne suicide attack by LeT terrorists.
The input bears significance in view of the fact that government has already put all Air India planes operating in the country’s neighbourhood on high security alert following intelligence reports from Western agencies that LeT and other terror groups were planning to hijack a flight. The government has alerted its airports and national airline after intelligence reports said hijackers may attempt to seize a plane flying in South Asia.
The civil aviation ministry ordered extra searches of passengers right before they board and the “deployment of sky marshals on certain flights,” a government press statement said.
Militants linked to Al Qaeda or LeT’s guerrilla group plan in the near future to seize an Air India plane flying between any of eight South Asian countries, a national newspaper said, quoting unnamed intelligence sources had reported on Friday.
Meanwhile, ahead of the London conference on Afghanistan, Britain has said that Pakistan needed to do more against the terror infrastructure, including LeT and the Afghan Taliban.
Saying Pakistani authorities had made “significant progress” last year in tackling insurgency in the Swat valley and South Waziristan, British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg said that Pakistan still needs to do more against “other sources of instability and violence.”
“The government of Pakistan needs to take effective action against terror groups. We believe there has been significant activity in the last few months And we believe Pakistani authorities are taking situation very seriously.. We still think they need to do more to dismantle the terror infrastructure,” Mr Stagg said. He further noted that the LeT now has “global aspirations.”
Speaking about the London conference which is taking place on January 28, the high commissioner said that the aim of the conference was to give clear international support to the effort in Afghanistan. “We are hoping to offer a clear measure of success to Afghan people,” Mr Stagg said.
The British high commissioner further said that the conference would also be an opportunity for India to publicise the work it was doing in Afghanistan. “It’s an opportunity for Mr Krishna to give a clear message on what India is doing in Afghanistan and give perspective on India role,” he said.
There have been reports that the UK has proposed that India should look at training the Afghan police. Saying he was not aware of the proposal, Mr Stagg said, “There is a broad view that India training support for Afghanistan is very important,” he said.
Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner also said that Britain was satisfied with the security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games. He said that he expected the UK to send a substantial team for the Games and that a team of experts who had come to India had gone back reassured with the security preparations.