Archive for the ‘New Delhi’ Category

Security Scare at Delhi’s Airport In India

December 4, 2008

The police force in charge of security at Delhi’s main airport has denied reports that people have been shot and injured there.

Police are investigating “two sharp sounds that were heard at the airport”, the force told the BBC’s Delhi bureau.

Earlier, airport officials told the BBC shots had been fired, and that several gunmen had been killed or injured.

Security has been strengthened at Indian airports after warnings of possible attacks.

Indian media reported that operations at Delhi’s main international airport appeared to have returned to normal after security forces examined the terminal after the security alert.

Tensions have been high in India since last week when at least 10 gunmen went on a shooting spree in Mumbai, killing nearly 200 people.

Indian officials have blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Mumbai attacks.

BBC News

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An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi ... 
An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on December 4. India has put all of its major airports on high alert following warnings of possible attacks using hijacked airlines, officials have said.(AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

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Airports in India went on high alert Thursday following fresh attack warnings as officials said India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The alert came as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari promised the U.S. secretary of state his country would take “strong action” against any elements in Pakistan involved in last week’s siege.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The new alert that warned of possible airborne attacks focused on three major airports — New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai — but security was stepped up across India. No details about the threat were released.

“This is a warning which we have received. We are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told reporters.

The British Broadcasting Corp. cited unconfirmed reports from airport officials as saying late Thursday that up to six gunmen had been shot and killed at New Delhi’s international airport. But Indian police told The Associated Press there was a minor incident and no deaths. “It was not a terrorist incident. No one was killed,” said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. He gave no further details.

Heavily armed guards from India’s Rapid Deployment Force manned roadblocks outside airports, while others patrolled inside airport buildings among passengers.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

Low IQ: Why India Fails on Terrorism

December 2, 2008

An advance team of security personnel securing the Oberoi in Mumbai for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit at a function on November 29 had no idea of persistent terror alerts for several sea-facing hotels in that city.

These alerts had been sounded by the country’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) not once but four times, as reported exclusively by Hindustan Times on Tuesday. Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance.

By Varghese K George
From the Hindustan Times

HT has learnt that a team of Special Protection Group (SPG), the outfit that protects past and present PMs and their families, left the Oberoi barely minutes before terrorists struck on November 26.

This paper reported on Tuesday that R&AW had four intercepts starting September 18 about an operation being planned and launched by the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba against Mumbai hotels using the sea route. Though the Oberoi was not among those named in the intercepts — the alerts were against sea-facing hotels. Those named were the Taj Mahal, the Marriott, the Taj Land’s end and the Sea Rock.

The Oberoi also faces the sea. But the SPG had no clue to these alerts.
 
Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance. And every threat perception is considered before the visit is allowed.

Each of these alerts was sent to a centralised intelligence group set up by the National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. Sources in the intelligence agency told HT they don’t know what happened to these alerts. They didn’t at least go to the SPG as it was not aware of these alerts. Officials in the group refused to discuss this issue when contacted for comments.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.asp
x?id=20388112-18af-44f2-b55f-dd8763ed84ecMumbaiunderattack
_Special&&Headline=Low+IQ%3a+Why+India+fails+in+stopping+terr
or+attacks

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting ... 
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting in New Delhi November 30, 2008. The Mumbai attackers were all from Pakistan, India’s deputy interior minister said on Monday, stopping short of blaming the government in Islamabad for last week’s carnage which left more than 170 dead. Singh’s government has taken a lot of criticism for their response to terror, both from the Indian media and the political opposition.(AFP/Raveendran)

India Says Pakistan Accepts Blame for Mumbai; U.S. Seems To Agree

December 2, 2008

The terrorist massacre in Mumbai was plotted in Pakistan and was executed by Pakistanis, Indian and US officials now agree. The big question now: How culpable are the Pakistani government and its military and intelligence agency, and how can the answer be handled either way it turns out?

That’s the tricky issue facing New Delhi and Washington as they put together pieces of the terrorist jigsaw to claimed 170-plus lives, including nearly 40 Muslims and nationals from 10 countries.

The Times Of London

US advice to India: wait and see how Pakistani government cooperates in the investigation before any punitive action. US directive to Islamabad: prove your protestations of innocence and non-complicity at the official level, with a full and transparent cooperation in the face of overwhelming evidence that the footprints of the terror attack lead back to Pakistan.

This is the gist of the exchanges between the three countries. On Tuesday, Washington broadly accepted India’s contention, based on evidence now shared with US law enforcement and intelligence agencies that the terror trail led to Pakistan. The preponderance of proof include detailed confessions by the one surviving terrorist, GPS tracks, e-mail and electronic tracks, telephone intercepts, and ordnance and forensic evidence, among other things.

US acceptance of India’s case — dismissed out-of-hand as knee-jerk, premature etc — was signaled by an unnamed senior American official who was quoted by Reuters as saying ”There are a lot of reasons to think it might be a group, partially or wholly a group, that is located on Pakistan’s territory.”

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Islamabad_accepts_terrorist
s_may_be_from_Pak/articleshow/3786207.cms

Pakistan’s Zardari Says Militants Could Start Regional War

December 2, 2008

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week’s attacks in Mumbai, saying militants have the power to precipitate a war in the region, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated (the) 9/11 (attacks on the United States) or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,” said Zardari.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the ... 
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the National Security Conference to discuss ongoing tension between India and Pakistan flared after the last week’s Mumbai attacks, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan has proposed a joint investigation of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after India blamed elements in Pakistan for the bloodshed.(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

More from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200812
01/ts_nm/us_india_mumbai_1

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From the Financial Times (UK) 
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Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India yesterday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, as Indian officials blamed a Pakistani militant group for the three-day rampage.

As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic pressure to respond forcefully to the attacks, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible.

His appeal came as tensions rose between the two countries. A day after the security forces finally regained control of Mumbai, Indian officials blamed Lashkar-i-tayyaba, a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India. Its name translates as Army of the Pure.

Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan.

But Indian officials last night stepped up the pressure on Pakistan. The ruling Congress party’s general secretary M Veerappa Moily told the FT: “All the terrorists involved in the Mumbai blasts are related to Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-tayyaba. We are seriously concerned and the government won’t let such acts go lightly.”

New Delhi was yesterday facing intense domestic criticism over its response to the attacks which claimed at least 172 lives.

India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan ... 
India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan over the attacks in Mumbai, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday.(AFP/Raveendran)

Shivraj Patil, the home minister, resigned as criticism intensified over the response of the security forces to the attack on India’s financial capital.

“The Congress government has no moral authority to survive,” said Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, blaming its weakness for collapsed intelligence gathering and a poor security response to the terror strike.

The Mumbai attacks ended on Saturday when commandos killed the last gunmen holed up at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Some of the most stinging criticism of the response of the emergency services came from business. “The police were woefully inadequate in terms of equipment and in terms of being prepared,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group that owns the Taj Mahal hotel. He said fire engines had taken three hours to arrive when the hotel caught alight.

Additional reporting by James Fontanella-Khan in Mumbai

India Tells Pakistan To Hand Over Terrorists

December 2, 2008

India demanded that Pakistan hand over suspected terrorists believed living in the country — including its most-wanted man — as diplomatic wrangling between the nuclear rivals intensified Tuesday following the deadly Mumbai attacks.

A list of about 20 names was given to Pakistan‘s high commissioner to India during a meeting Monday night, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

India has already demanded Pakistan take “strong action” against those responsible for the attacks, and the U.S. has pressured Islamabad to cooperate.

The moves come as the government faces widespread accusations of security and intelligence failures after suspected Muslim militants carried out a three-day attack across India’s financial capital, killing 172 people and wounding 239.

The 10 gunmen had trained for months in camps operated by a banned Pakistani militant group before slipping into Mumbai from the sea, the only known surviving attacker told police.

India’s foreign intelligence agency received information as recently as September that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks against Mumbai targets, according to a government intelligence official familiar with the matter.

The information was then relayed to domestic security officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to talk publicly about the details.

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting ... 
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting in New Delhi November 30, 2008. India warned Monday that the Mumbai attacks were a major setback to relations with Pakistan and promised a “stern” response, as Washington urged Islamabad to cooperate fully with investigations(AFP/Raveendran)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_re_as/as_indi
a_shooting;_ylt=AtlDs9N0Fzc2X1K8Awj9H0is0NUE

India Had Intelligence in Mid September of Hotel Attack, Sea Entry of Terrorists

December 2, 2008

As the investigation into the intelligence failures that preceded the Mumbai attacks proceeds, there is evidence that even quite specific information that was gathered was either not properly analysed or not acted on.
 
The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency, had provided several intercepts from signals intelligence over the last three months. These suggested that a terror  strike on a Mumbai hotel was imminent. But they were largely ignored.

By Vir Sanghvi
Hindustan Times

On September 18, R&AW computers intercepted a satellite phone conversation between a known Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) asset and an unknown person. The LeT asset said that an operation to target a hotel at the Gateway of India in Mumbai was being planned and that the sea route would be used.

On September 24, R&AW’s computer recorded another satellite phone conversation. This time, the LeT asset identified the hotels that were being considered for the attack by name. They were the Taj, the Marriott, the Land’s End and the Sea Rock. A possible attack on the Juhu airfield (used by a flying club) was also discussed.


All these hotels have one thing in common: they are easily accessible from the sea. The Taj is on the Apollo Bunder waterfront,  the Marriott is on Juhu sea face and the Land’s End and the Sea Rock are both on the sea-facing tip of Bandra. This should have been enough to let police know that: 1) Hotels were the target. 2) The attackers would use the sea route.

On November 19, R&AW listeners picked up another unexplained satellite phone conversation. A voice said, “We will reach Bombay between nine and eleven.” R&AW trackers identified the exact coordinates of the call and discovered that it came from the sea near Mumbai, 40 km west of Jhol.
 
This was clear evidence — at the very least — of an attempt being made to enter Mumbai illegally by people armed with advanced satellite phones.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx
?id=92057c70-5c4e-4d02-9901-e668997738efMumbaiunderattack_
Special&&Headline=26%2f11+could+have+been+stopped

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U.S. Warned India Twice About Terror From The Sea

United States intelligence agencies had warned India “twice” about a potential maritime attack on Mumbai at least a month before audacious terror strikes that has left about 200 people dead and scores injured, media reports said.

“The United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week’s massacre in the country’s financial capital,” the CNN quoted a US counter-terrorism official as saying.

The American network quoted the official as saying that the warning was issued not once but “twice”.

A second government source told ABCnews.Com that specific locations, including the Taj Hotel, were listed in the US warning.

“US intelligence indicated that a group might enter the country by water and launch an attack on Mumbai, said the official, who refused to be identified due to the ongoing investigation into the attacks and the sensitivity of the information,” the CNN added.

“Indian security forces have confirmed to CNN that not only did US officials warn them of a water-borne attack in Mumbai — they were told twice. The area entered a higher state of alert for a week, including tightened security measures at hotels, but those efforts were eventually reduced, Indian officials said,” the network, which repeatedly broadcast the story last evening, maintained.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageS
toryPage.aspx?id=b25c25e5-ae43-45a1-a388-150596a0f259Mumbaiunderattack_Special&&Head
line=’US+warned+India+’twice’+about+sea+attack+on+Mumbai’

U.S., India Face Blackmail From Pakistan on Terrorism

November 30, 2008

Pakistan says “sorry” but tension with India forces withdrawal of troops in tribal areas facing Afghanistan where taliban and al-Qaeda roam….

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The United States and India face tactics bordering on blackmail from a militarized Pakistan – where civilian control is still very dodgy — as they coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to analysts and officials on both sides.

By Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Times of India

In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its “Afghan move” to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Pakistani troops and tanks on patrol in the tribal areas facing Afghanistan.
REUTERS/Abdul Rehman (PAKISTAN)

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, “Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures.”

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don’t get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan’s withdrawal of troops from the Afghan front would obviously undermine the US/Nato battle in Afghanistan and allow breathing space for Taliban and al-Qaida. It would also ratchet up confrontation with India, which is at low ebb right now because Islamabad has been forced to engage on its western front and this minimizes Pakistan-backed infiltration into Kashmir, allowing India to tackle the insurgency in the state.

Related:
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure
and
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_Indi
a_face_Pak_blackmail_on_terror/article
show/3777307.cms

500 Tibetan protesters detained in Nepal

April 17, 2008

KATMANDU, Nepal – Police in Nepal say they have detained more than 500 Tibetan exiles who were protesting near the Chinese Embassy in the capital.

A police official says 505 Tibetans have been taken into custody from at least three separate protests near the embassy in an upscale neighborhood of the city on Thursday.

Nepal says it cannot allow protests against any friendly nations, including China.

In India, runners carried the Olympic flame along a heavily guarded route through central New Delhi. It was protected by about 15,000 police who kept away Tibetan exiles and other anti-China protesters.

For India, Tibet Poses Some Delicate Issues

April 2, 2008

 By Rama Lakshmi

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; Page A09

NEW DELHI, April 1 — Angry Tibetans in India chanted all kinds of anti-China slogans last month when they gathered to protest the crackdown in their homeland. But one chant, in particular, seemed to be an ominous warning to the government in New Delhi: “China-India brotherhood is a Chinese deception!” the Tibetans shouted.

The chant was an expression of anger over India’s burgeoning diplomatic and economic ties with China. But it also reflected the contradictions in the Indian government’s policy as it tries to ensure free speech for its sizable ethnic Tibetan population while also maintaining a fragile partnership with its powerful neighbor.

India enjoys a trading relationship with China expected to be worth $40 billion this year. At the same time, it hosts the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, his exile government and his followers. Authorities in Beijing have accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting the recent Tibet protests.

“It is a difficult position for India,” said Kanwal Sibal, a former Indian foreign secretary. “We gave asylum to the Dalai Lama and his followers on the condition that they would not conduct political activities on Indian soil. But the Tibetan government-in-exile is run from here.

“We have to weigh the costs of extending support to the Tibetans in a demonstrative way in the current situation against damaging our ties with China,” he said.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, India’s current foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said that the Dalai Lama was a “respected guest” and that India would continue to offer him hospitality. But the Dalai Lama should not do anything that could have a “negative impact on Indo-Sino relations,” Mukherjee warned.

India is home to about….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/01/AR2008040102861.html?hpid=topnews

China flexes its new muscle

December 20, 2007

By Willie Lam
International Herald Tribune
December 20, 2007

Beijing’s decision to cancel a port visit to Hong Kong by the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk last month could go down in diplomatic history as a watershed in China’s foreign policy.

The high-decibel “no” to the carrier group – and also to the U.S. frigate Reuben James, which wanted to dock at Hong Kong on New Year’s Eve – coincides with a tough stance Beijing has assumed in sovereignty disputes with Vietnam over islets in the South China Sea.

China also has reacted with uncharacteristic vehemence to the hospitality that the United States, Canada and especially Germany have shown the Dalai Lama.

It appears that the Chinese Communist Party leaders have decided to flex their muscles in a way they deem commensurate with China’s new-found quasi-superpower status.

The late Deng Xiaoping’s 1990s-era axiom for Chinese diplomats – “keep a low profile and never take the lead” – seems passé. The same is true for Deng’s dictum on how to handle America: “Work on cooperation and avoid confrontation.”

Instead, after decades of teeth-gnashing silence, Beijing is publicly thumbing its nose at what it perceives to be U.S. interference in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Kitty Hawk incident coincided with one of the largest shows of force by the Chinese military this year, a war game over vast swaths of the South and East China Seas. Crack units from four major People’s Liberation Army divisions test-fired Russian-procured and indigenously developed hardware, including 022 stealth missiles and Russian-made SS-N-27 “Club” anti-ship cruise missiles.

Apart from simulating a naval blockade of Taiwan, the exercises were meant to warn Washington and Japan against “meddling” in the Taiwan Strait.

It did not appear accidental that the United States, in apparent protest over the Kitty Hawk incident, had the carrier sail through the Strait on the way back to its base in Yokosuka, Japan.

That move prompted Beijing to express “serious concern,” implying that foreign vessels wishing to traverse the strait had to seek China’s approval, even though the strait has always been regarded as international waters.

The Taiwan-related war games extended well beyond the Taiwan Strait. The PLA conducted exercises near the Paracel Islands, claimed by Vietnam, drawing a protest from Hanoi.

In a related development, thousands of Vietnamese held demonstrations earlier this month outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi over Beijing’s establishment of the new Sansha municipality in Hainan Province, which will have jurisdiction over three islets Vietnam claims in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.

PLA forces also demolished a few unmanned Indian forward posts near two Indian bunkers in the vicinity of the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet border. The Indian media reported that Beijing told New Delhi that the bunkers violated Chinese territorial integrity.

And China adopted what analysts called an unusually strident stance at the recent annual China-EU summit meeting in Beijing. The deputy prime minister in charge of foreign trade, Wu Yi, heatedly disputed remarks made by the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, on Beijing’s supposed failure to stem the export to Europe of “a tidal wave of counterfeit goods.”

Moments after Mandelson finished his speech, Wu rushed to his side and issued a verbal protest. “I am extremely dissatisfied”‘ with Mandelson’s speech, she told astounded reporters.

While meeting EU leaders, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao launched a strong attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel for according VIP treatment to the Dalai Lama. He demanded that Berlin “acknowledge and rectify” its mistakes.

Beijing’s high-profile quarrels with the United States, Vietnam and Germany have followed a pattern of power projection that began last January when PLA missiles downed an old weather satellite. The feat, widely perceived in the West as the start of the PLA’s militarization of space, was followed by the successful launching of the country’s first lunar probe.

Moreover, the PLA has departed from its usual protocol of keeping new weapons under wraps. Semi-official military Web sites have recently showcased soon-to-be-deployed hardware ranging from the Jian-12 jet fighter to the Jin-class submarine, which is said to carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

According to Hong Yuan, a military expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the defense concerns of the new leadership and the force projection “have gone way beyond the Taiwan Strait.” Hong sees the next five years as “a period of rapid development in areas ranging from the PLA’s establishment, institutions and hardware to the extent and means of force projection.”

The show of strength also bolsters the leadership at home at a time when old Marxist values are losinmg their luster. As Wen said at the ceremony marking China’s impending conquest of the moon, the achievement was “a major manifestation of the increase in our comprehensive national strength and the ceaseless enhancement of our innovative ability.”

Beijing is undoubtedly aware that such assertiveness could feed fears abroad of a “China threat.” But both the Communist Party and the Army leaders seem convinced that this is the price the reinvigorated dragon has to pay to keep its place in the sun.

Willy Lam is an adjunct professor of China studies at Akita International University, Japan, and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

From Peace and Freedom: Our thanks to Professor Lam.