KUALA LUMPUR: Indian intelligence agencies have uncovered 800 terrorist cells operating with “external support,” and are looking for the brains behind them within the country, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has said. “We are concerned that there is a great deal of external inspiration and support, we are also concerned and are looking at a mastermind within the country,” he told The Straits Times here.
He was replying to a question about investigations into the recent blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
Mr. Narayanan said intelligence agents had “disrupted” several modules, some of which were “not entirely foreign.”
“Clearly, there is some kind of organization. We have to find out if that organization is localized or there is an external group or module operating,” he said.
Mr. Narayanan said it was not important from the Indian point of view whether Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was impeached or not. “But it leaves a big vacuum and we are deeply concerned about this vacuum because it leaves the radical extremist outfits with freedom to do what they like, not merely on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but clearly our side of the border too.”
He said, “Like nature abhors a vacuum, we abhor the political vacuum that exists in Pakistan. It greatly worries us.”
Maintaining that the situation was evolving in a manner that nobody could quite reach a conclusion, Mr. Narayanan said he thought the impeachment of President Musharraf might not take place.
“And if at all he has to go, he will be allowed to go in grace and some sort of a compromise would be reached. Obviously that is not happening. Mr. Nawaz Sharif [leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] is very angry.”
Mr. Narayanan said a large number of people in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) were unhappy about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and most of them attributed it to the ISI or some such agency.
As for Afghanistan, Mr. Narayanan said India would not abandon that country in the wake of the attack on its mission in Kabul, saying New Delhi and the rest of the world were not prepared for it. India would “strengthen security very substantially” for its mission in Kabul.
Mr. Narayanan said one of the reasons for the attack could be that those behind it wanted to get India out of Afghanistan.
“Quite obviously Pakistan wishes to be the only country in Afghanistan so it can have Afghanistan as its client state,” he said, adding it was something that not only India but also the rest of the world were not prepared for.
Noting that the Kabul attack marked an entirely new stage in the levels of acrimony and violence, Mr. Narayanan warned that “therefore we expect that something would be done rather than mere words.”
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made it extremely clear, without raising his voice, to Pakistan at the recent SAARC summit in Colombo that “it could not be business as usual.”
“I think the message went home. Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani got the message.” Coming from Dr. Singh, it had the “most devastating effect.”
Mr. Narayanan said New Delhi had never accused Pakistan’s political hierarchy of being involved in the attack on the Indian embassy.
“ISI is behind it, according to whatever information we have,” he said, adding it was hoped that the political leadership would take some action against either the rogue elements in it or the ISI operating without control.
Commenting on the Line of Control, Mr. Narayanan said there had been increased infiltrations, increased activity and firings. “Pakistan denies it but clearly that is not the truth.” On dialogue with Pakistan, he said India was maintaining and would like to emphasize the importance of composite dialogue. – PTI