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Somali pirate-LeT tie-up is BIG threat for India

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 14:43 IST

Somali pirate-LeT tie-up is BIG threat for India

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Vicky Nanjappa

The coming together of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and southern Somalia-based Al-Shahbab poses new maritime protection issues for India.

The interrogation of several pirates who have been nabbed in Indian waters has revealed that the Somalis have been sponsored directly by the deadly Islamic terrorist group Al-Shahbab.

Intelligence sources told rediff.com that the Al-Shahbab group has links with the Al Qaeda and carries out the latter's operations. The cadres of this group specialise more on sea and have been using the pirates for their operations.

The IB says that every one out of ten attacks is attributed to some terrorist group.

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Image: An Al-Shahbab fighter

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India has witnessed at least 200 attacks so far from pirates. The IB believes that the pirates may be collecting logistical data for terrorist groups. They also raise funds for terror outfits through hijacked vessels.

The detail that has been most revealing during the interrogation of these pirates is that the Al-Shahbab group, which has been closely associated with the Al Qaeda, is now cozying up to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, which is probably India's biggest headache.

Intelligence reports suggest that the Lashkar-Al-Shahbab association will look to carry out more attacks on Indian waters and one could witness plenty of hostage crisis' in the near future, if not acted upon.

An officer dealing with maritime security told rediff.com that it is extremely difficult to keep a tab on the entire ocean and that the need of the hour was to have maritime cooperation between countries.


Image: Somali pirates nabbed by the Indian Navy

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Africa recently, addressed this concern to his counterparts, who assured him of all possible cooperation in this regard.

The officer points out that it is important that such activities are cut off at the source. It is a herculean task, but can be done if taken seriously.

Interrogation of pirates suggests that the Lashkar has created an entirely new wing under the leadership of a terrorist by the name Abu Yakoob to launch attacks from the sea. He in turn has roped in three different outfits to ensure that such attacks are coordinated.

The Al-Shahbab, which has control over the pirates, has been told to increase the number of attacks and not worry much about results for now.



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Yakoob has roped in the Abu-Sayaf and Jemaah Islamyah groups to help with their maritime operation.

There have been instances to show that there are movements between Pakistan and Somalia with an intention of planning more attacks on a larger scale.

While the Lashkar will rope in more such groups in the days to come, the entire operation would be headquartered at Karachi as was like during the 26/11 attack. While the Lashkar would try and execute attacks on the sea, they would also use this team of theirs to launch attacks on land as well. Coastal areas in India will be under the scanner since these would be the obvious targets.

Apart from launching attacks on Indian soil and waters, terrorist groups would also look to transport ammunition and also send in cadres into Indian soil. This gives an indication that land borders are no longer the favourite choice of terror groups to carry out an infiltration process.



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