June 2000 News

India seeks Mossad help on Kashmir

2 June 2000
The Nation

NEW: India and Israel will formalise a strategic and tactical agreement next fortnight to exchange notes on security and counterintelligence during Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani''s fiveday trip to Tel Aviv beginning from June 13. Advani here told newsmen that he will seek Israeli cooperation on antiterrorism and said he was impressed the way Tel Aviv succeeded in tackling the ''Islamic fundamentalism''. ''Israel''s Mossad has proved itself to be an expert in this field,'' he said, leaving nothing to imagination about the nature of his visit. An official in the Indian Home Ministry here Wednesday announced that the first ever visit by any Indian Home Minister to Israel will also included a high power delegation including Home Secretary Kamal Pandey, Director Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) S.K. Raghvan and Director Investigation Bureau (IB) Shyamlal Dutta. Advani''s visit attains significance as Israel has been sending feelers to New Delhi on the common cause that is to put an offensive posture against Pakistan. Soon after Pakistan started working on its nuclear programme, Israel had repeatedly tried to seek New Delhi''s help in attacking Islamabad''s nuclear installations as it did in Iraq. Fearing backlash from Arab world and due to cold war power configurations, then Janata Party government led by Morarji Desai in 1978 and later Congress governments resisted the move. During his visit Advani and the officials accompanying him will hold talks on cooperating with the West Asian country''s internal intelligence agency, Shin Bet, and its external secret service, the Institute of Special Operations and Intelligence popularly called Mossad. Though India will take tips on ''some of the finer aspects of intelligence gathering from the Israelis'', the thrust of his visit would be on seeking cooperation from the Ehud Barak government on fighting Mujahideen in held Jammu and Kashmir. In return, India will share information with Tel Aviv on Islamic terrorists and organisations. ''It may be a small country encircled by Islamic terrorism and it has and continues to fight the menace throughout the world,'' Advani said. Among other things, Advani may also finalise an agreement to purchase pilotless surveillance planes, to be utilised extensively in Poonch and Rajouri regions of held Jammu and Kashmir. The southern Andhra Pradesh government had demanded that these planes be purchased to tackle left extremist affected areas in the state. Advani said, he was seriously looking into it. The Home Ministry spokesman said that formal signing of treaties of mutual assistance will take place later, during Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh''s proposed visit in June or early July. Advani, has years of association with Jewish communities throughout the world. He had been to Israel in 1994 when he was leader of Opposition. At that time he had rekindled friendship with two classmates who studied with him in St Patrick''s School, Karachi, in undivided India. ''Time permitting, I may look them up,'' he said. From Israel, Indian Home Minister will travel to Paris. At Lyons in France, the home minister will meet senior Interpol officers and impress upon them that New Delhi could do with tips from the organisation on international crimes and criminal syndicates. He will also thrash out details on how Interpol could expedite the process of executing red corner notices. Later in London, Advani will hold similar discussions with British Home Secretary Jack Straw on receiving assistance from the country''s security services MI5 and MI6 and Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard. Apart from his discussions with Straw, Advani will meet the chief of the Special Airborne Services (SAS), the elite antiterrorist force engaged in Northern Ireland. India has its own National Security Guard (NSG), but Advani is a proposing raising specialised counterinsurgency force which can function exclusively in Jammu and Kashmir.


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