Indian intelligence has sounded a countrywide alert for October, fearing a terror strike by Pakistan’s ‘sleeper cells.’
The advisory from the Indian home ministry has been sent to all states and it lists Delhi and states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab , Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir as possible targets.
Police have been instructed to launch special operations to track down Pakistan-supported terrorist groups, whose ‘sleeper cells’ are active in India.
Home ministry sources told bdnews24.com Pakistan might not only try avenging the cross-border strike by Indian special forces in Kashmir but also to derail the BRICS-BIMSTEC summit in Goa in mid-October by creating a scare.
“Since the SAARC summit in Islamabad has fallen through and Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation in South Asia is complete, you can count on Pakistan’s deep state to do something big to upset countries participating in the BRICS-BIMSTEC summit in Goa,” a top official of Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) said.
But he was unwilling to be named.
It is reliably learnt that India’s National Security advisor Ajit Doval has already requested his US counterpart to put pressure on Pakistan to avoid any further escalation.
“There has been a rise in extremist chatter on the cyberspace and some tanzeems (rebel squads) embedded in India are asking for a date to strike. This has been picked up by our intelligence,” the IB official said.
India is also factoring in the possible reactions of Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif, who is pronouncedly anti-Indian, having lost an uncle and a brother in wars with India.
“Raheel Sharif has also built up a larger-than-life image that now stands sullied by the Indian cross-border strike. He retires in four months and may try something spectacular to mark his legacy,” said former Indian army chief General Deepak Kapoor.
Former R&AW special secretary and known Pakistan expert Rana Banerji said Pakistan’s ISI could engineer some strikes against Indian interests in Afghanistan or Bangladesh to ‘complicate relations with our very friendly neighbours.’
“They have non-state actors in these countries, deep state assets capable of a terror strike. And Islamabad is surely very upset with Kabul and Dhaka for their firm backing of India.”
Banerji said India intelligence must have duly alerted neighbouring countries about such threats.
India intelligence has factored in Laskhar-e Tayyaba chief Hafiz Saeed’s threat of ‘teaching Indians what a surgical strike is really all about.’
“Saeed has to prove his worth to Pakistan now more than ever before,” says national professor Jayanta Kumar Ray, author of ‘Cross-border Terrorism: Focus on Pakistan.’