Kudos to intelligence agencies for nabbing terrorists
Within a span of a fortnight, the Indian intelligence agencies nabbed two most wanted terrorists—Syed Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal—on the Indo-Nepal border. The arrests show how terror groups have been operating in India, spawned by cross-border terrorism, besides indicating how porous the borders can be. The urgency to secure the borders and also the vast coastline cannot be just ignored.
These two terrorists have been involved in major attacks on the Indian soil. Seventy-year-old Tunda, an operative of Lashkar-eTaiba, is accused of mastermind over 40 bomb blasts in New Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi between December 1996 and January 1998 that left 21 dead and over 400 injured. Thirty-year-old Yasin Bhatkal is branded as the face of modern terror and he is accused of strikes in several instances including the German Bakery blast in Pune. These two arrests should lead to some more. However, some big fish remain out of the dragnet and the kingpin of all Dawood Ibrahim is at large, shuttling between Pakistan and the Middle East with impunity. Indian intelligence agencies should be unrelenting in their pursuit of terror groups.
In this issue, SP’s Special Correspondent has analysed the landing of Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules at Daulat Beg Oldie, the highest airstrip in the world, in a significant capability demonstration, besides raising eyebrows across the border, as the strategic airlifter is kitted out as a Special Forces vehicle. In a candid conversation with SP’s M.A.I., Susan A. Maraghy, Vice President, South Asia, Corporate International Business Development, Lockheed Martin, gave out details of the company’s focus in Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Moving to land forces, SP’s Special Correspondent has written about the pros and cons of Project Arjun Mk.II which has commenced user trials in the deserts of Rajasthan, an exercise that hopefully would confirm its usefulness to the Indian Army. This brings us to one point – that Indian armed forces need to be equipped with the best of equipment, whether it is from overseas or indigenous, and these inductions have to happen in double quick time.
Continuing in the same vein, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch in his fortnightly viewpoint has underscored the importance of giving teeth to the Indian Navy. He avers that India definitely requires two to three aircraft carriers, besides a larger number of submarines considering that Chinese submarines are already lurking in the Indian Ocean. As we talk about securing the coastline and strengthening the Indian Navy, we see a healthy partnership developing between original equipment manufacturers from overseas, one such being Spanish giant Navantia. In an exclusive interview with SP’s M.A.I., José Luis Montes Martinez of Navantia has spelt out how the Indian Navy’s plans perfectly fit into the company’s programmes.
Moving from the Indian Navy to Indian Air Force (IAF), there is good news. The IAF in its 81st year has got a new squadron, Squadron No.81, known as ‘Skylords’. Sucheta Das Mohapatra who covered the induction of the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter into the squadron at Hindon Airbase has a report wherein the Defence Minister A.K. Antony has outlined various initiatives to enhance capabilities of the armed forces.
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