NEW DELHI:The Taj Mahal in Agra is among major targets in five Indian cities where terrorists plan to attack as the first anniversary of the Mumbai carnage approaches.
According to sources in the Indian government, the high profile National Defence College and parts of central New Delhi, that houses the seat of Indian government, Mumbai, the country’s commercial capital, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, where the Indian Military Academy is located, along with Agra were shortlisted as possible targets by terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Security has been raised across these cities to counter threats from terrorist groups, sources said, based on intelligence inputs.
According to the sources, these details have emerged after the
US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested David Coleman Headley, the Pakistan-born American national, and an accomplice in Chicago in the US for allegedly plotting terror attacks in India.
A team from the FBI, headed by its chief Robert Mueller, is coming to India next week to unravel
the Indian part of the Headley terror network. A team of Indian intelligence operatives were
briefed by FBI officials about details of the plot.
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters a team from India recently visited Washington to discuss this and other security related issues with their US counterparts, and have handed over investigations into the ramifications of the terror plot to
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), created as a nodal agency to coordinate anti-terror operations after 26/11.
The NIA along with the FBI are also probing Headley’s links with Pakistan-based terrorist groups. According to reports from Washington, American investigators are sure that Headley made multiple trips to Pakistan, where he spent “substantial time” undergoing training from terror groups and that he has also conducted
recruitment of cadres for the LET in India, to send them to a Gulf country using the services of his immigration business set up in Mumbai.
Information provided by the FBI has revealed that Headley operated a visa agency in Mumbai for almost two years until July 2008
and travelled to India on business visas nine times between 2006 and April 2009.
Since the audacious attacks in Mumbai last year, which revealed many inadequacies in the Indian security apparatus, efforts have been made to considerably shore up internal security with improved policing techniques, more rapid action forces, better intelligence coordination and arms purchases to equip security personnel, sources in the government said.
Heightened counter terrorism coordination will be a key factor in talks when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington on November 24 as US President Barack Obama’s first state guest.