New Delhi, November 21
India’s high value oil assets are being targeted by an unholy nexus of the underworld and terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed, says a report by the National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, to the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs.
Quoting several instances where containers and carriers of Indian oil have been targeted for hijack in Maharashtra, the report is categorical in asserting that India’s old bugbear, wanted terrorist don Dawood Ibrahim, is behind this.
Commercial gain appears to be the main motive while targeting strategic assets is in line with the operational framework of the jehadi groups who have significantly increased their operations in Mumbai and in other parts of Maharashtra such as Yawatmal and Beed – bordering Naxalite affected Andhra Pradesh.
Security forced have also uncovered some kidnap plots against senior officials of the oil companies and the latest security review carried out by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has suggested that round-the-clock security has to be provided to them.
Narayanan says that of late there has been a coalescing of threat to high value strategic assets rather than the random “scattered terror’’. He goes on to describe it as an unholy nexus.
Contrary to popular perception that Ibrahim has been marginalised he is still active and with the help of the ISI coordinates with the jehadi groups. The D-company has carried out several joint-operations with the JeM in vulnerable Mumbai.
Inter-group chatter picked up by the intelligence agencies points to a great deal of logistical planning and coordination between the terrorists. This trend is in consonance with the targeting of scientific institutions, nuclear installations and the people working there.
A new trend identified by the report is the likely investment in infrastructure such as telecom, power and ports by sovereign funds of certain countries. To protect national interest the report suggests that a clear policy be formulated by the intelligence agencies in certain sectors.
For example recently the Chinese government owned funds have picked a significant stake in Blackstone, a leading private equity involved with investments in several projects.
This renewed concern over security related aspects comes in at a time when oil rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE with huge foreign exchange reserves are investing in various parts of the world through specially created funds.
It may be recalled that a move by the UAE to invest in a port in the United States had led to a furore and eventually the US government denied permission.
The report says that the Cabinet should consider a countrywide freeze to keep out investment from South Korea, China and Pakistan.